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SMIF brings people together


Fri, Apr 26th, 2013
Posted in Spring Valley Features

Sue Kolling, SMIF board member, speaks on the subject of how SMIF helps community foundations succeed. Photo by Jason Sethre

By Jason Sethre

On Thursday, April 18, at the prestigious and award-winning Four Daughters Winery and Vineyard located on the outskirts of Spring Valley, Minn. Tim Penny and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) staff hosted an event with a total of 80 attendees from all throughout the region.

In spite of another Minnesota day mixed with rain, sleet, and snow, business people near and far gathered to show their support for what SMIF brings to the table – collaboration.

Following a first class meal fit for a Journal Real Bites review, presented by the fine staff of Four Daughters Winery and Vineyard, Tim Penny addressed the crowd.

Now in its 26th year, serving 20 counties in Southern Minnesota, Tim Penny, President and CEO of SMIF, talked about how the organization has grown because of all of the communities working together. There are 23 community foundations established in Southern Minnesota with the supporting services of SMIF; five organizations are prevalent in Fillmore County: Harmony Area Community Foundation, Mabel Community Foundation, Preston Area Community Foundation, Rushford Community Foundation, and Spring Valley Area Community Foundation.

Following Penny’s welcome to the crowd, Sue Kolling of the Spring Valley Area Community Foundation shared her story of how SMIF has helped their organization work through the details of establishing the foundation. From legal support to tax-related questions, SMIF has helped all 23 community foundations come to life and establish best practices for residual success.

David Phillips, long-time publisher of the Spring Valley Tribune, spoke on behalf of the Spring Valley EDA Grant that offered an opportunity for succession planning for his company. The Older Workers Leading Success (OWLS) program provided an opportunity for David Phillips to involve an outside consultant to provide expert analysis of his business and what his succession planning options could look like in the future.

Holly Kanengeiter, speaking on the Fillmore County Early Childhood Initiative, talked about how fortunate the school districts in Fillmore County were to have support from area community foundations and SMIF.

Following Kanengeiter’s presentation of all of the good things happening in participating schools, attendees were asked to conduct round table discussions with SMIF board members present at each table.

And, then Jean Burkhardt introduced the table discussion process. Questions presented at each table were as follows:

What is happening in your communities related to early childhood and entepreneurship?

How can SMIF better help you to enhance and grow these efforts?

How can your communities help each other to enhance and grow these efforts?

Ideas were flowing and those thoughts were gathered for future discussion within the SMIF organization.

Wishing everyone safe travels, Penny thanked attendees for their involvement in the success of SMIF along with their own local community foundations.

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