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News


03/04/2017

At its 30th Anniversary Annual Luncheon in October, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) announced a special grant round to celebrate successful collaborations. Up to $300,000 was made available to SMIF’s 23 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions and 26 community foundations to either initiate or deepen a collaborative project.

In all, SMIF awarded $94,000 to 10 Early Childhood Initiative communities and $113,000 to 12 community foundations. Projects ranged from social emotional trainings for child care providers to a historic community walking tour.

AMONG THE RECIPIENTS:

Fairmont Early Childhood Initiative, Martin County – “ECI on the Go”
Fairmont’s ECI outreach plan includes active, early learning visits to day care providers/centers with age appropriate literacy and dental resources, as well as exciting learning activities. Parent information letters with additional learning activities will be distributed through the provider or center following each visit. Collaboration with other local and county ECFE, Healthy Families and ECI home visitor programs will complement and enhance the efforts of each to promote early learning awareness and opportunities to both youth and adults in a unique way.

Blue Earth Community Foundation, Faribault County – “Blue Earth Community Marketing Project”
Develop and implement a mixed media marketing campaign for Blue Earth. The grant will be paired with other locally raised funds and directed by a committee led by the Blue Earth Community Foundation.

Watonwan County Early Childhood Initiative – “Investment in Child Care”
Increase the quality and quantity of child care options in Watonwan County due to the shortage of child care in the area. Collaborating partners in this effort include the Economic Development Authority (EDA), County Day Care Licensor - Family Child Care, Day Care Centers, AmeriCorps and Public School Early Childhood programs.

“Over the years, one of SMIF’s most successful collaborative initiatives has been seeding and supporting new community foundations to enable communities to retain philanthropic dollars at a local level and invest in new community projects,” said SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “Another collaborative success is forming Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI), which are cross-sector coalitions intended to address early childhood needs within communities.”

The shared grant criteria between Early Childhood Initiative awards and community foundation awards was that projects must contribute to community vitality through collaboration. “We know that more can be achieved together,” said Penny. “As much as possible through our grantmaking, we want to help communities align various efforts and groups toward a shared goal or vision.”


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