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Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation seeks new AmeriCorps Partners

Fri, Mar 25th, 2011
Posted in Business Announcements

(March 23)-Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is announcing the start of the new AmeriCorps year to begin in August 2011. SMIF is seeking both early childhood community partner sites and AmeriCorps LEAP (Learning Early Achieves Potential) members.

Suitable early childhood community sites include Pre-K and Kindergartens, Head Start, nonprofits, agencies and schools with social-emotional development focus that have been in existence for at least one year. Community partner sites pay an annual fee of $1,500 for a fulltime AmeriCorps LEAP member, but that member's service value is estimated at $15,000, according to Barbara Gunderson, SMIF's AmeriCorps LEAP Director.

AmeriCorps LEAP members typically serve one year and are part of a team trained to be advocates, coaches, and champions for young children. They serve in local Pre-K and Kindergartens, including Head Start and local early childhood programs.

The AmeriCorps LEAP Initiative has a powerful mission of helping young children thrive and have a healthy life of learning, achieving, and succeeding. Members help young children get ready for Kindergarten and strengthen parent education efforts.

This is the 17th year SMIF has partnered with AmeriCorps, often referred to as the National Peace Corps. This partnership has provided over 500 AmeriCorps members to community partner sites throughout southern Minnesota. For the past three years, members are serving under SMIF's early childhood umbrella.

Tim Penny, SMIF President & CEO said: "The public-private partnership with AmeriCorps is an example of how SMIF is able to augment local early childhood programs. Our AmeriCorps LEAP members are directly and positively impacting the lives of young children and their families throughout southern Minnesota."

The deadline for community partner site applications is May 1, 2011; member applicants will be sought until 40 full-time equivalent positions are filled for an August 15 start. To apply to be either a site partner or a member, visit and click on "Applications," or contact Barb Gunderson ( for more information.

About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation:

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in 20 Minnesota counties. The Foundation has provided more than $44 million in grants and loans within the region during the past 25 years. SMIF's key interests include early childhood programs, workforce readiness, and economic development with a focus on emerging bio-science and renewable energy businesses. To learn more about our work and mission call 507-455-3215 or visit

About the LEAP Initiative:

The LEAP Initiative, in collaboration with AmeriCorps, and ServeMinnesota,, provides support to children and parents connected to SMIF's Early Childhood Initiative Coalitions and other regional early childhood partners. As part of the national service movement, the LEAP Initiative provides individuals opportunity to contribute to bridging the school readiness gap in southern Minnesota. Member participants receive a living allowance, health care, and an education award to pay for school loans or college tuition.

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