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SMIF receives $150,000 from the McKnight Foundation for early childhood

Fri, Sep 21st, 2012
Posted in All Education

OWATONNA--The Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative, which includes Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), received a three-year grant of $900,000 in continuing support for this 10-year-old collaborative effort of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations. Each of the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations will receive $150,000 over three years through this grant.

Working to improve early childhood outcomes for children statewide, the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative is composed of 90 coalitions based in more than 300 sites, each coordinating activities tailored to their specific region. These funds are to continue the statewide network and connections developed by the ECIs.

Each MIF works independently as part of the Minnesota ECI, but the foundations have collaborated over the past 10 years to expand the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative statewide. The ECI is a grassroots community-based process dedicated to raising awareness about early childhood on a local level.

Currently, SMIF supports 21 Early Childhood Initiative communities throughout its 20-county region.

“We clearly see the connection between investing in our youngest children- to prepare them to be the workers, entrepreneurs, and leaders of tomorrow-to our vision of economic prosperity and community vitality in this region,” said SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “As part of its mission, SMIF is committed to ensuring that all young children thrive and have a healthy life of learning, achieving, and succeeding.”

To invest in economic growth in southern Minnesota, SMIF has supported early childhood efforts to make certain all children enter school fully encouraged, prepared, and supported for learning success. Over the past nine years, SMIF has invested over $1 million annually for early childhood development initiatives. To learn more about SMIF’s ECI work, contact Teri Steckelberg at or 507-455-3215.

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 $48 million in grants and loans within the region during the past 26 years. SMIF’s key interests include early childhood and entrepreneur development. To learn more about our work and mission call 507-455-3215 or visit

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