SMIF to accept applications for grant program

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation will now accept applications for its Small Town Grants Program. Towns with populations of 5,000 or less in SMIF’s 20-county region are eligible to apply. Requests of up to $10,000 will be considered.

“The success of last year’s inaugural Small Town Grants Program has prompted us to once again provide this opportunity to the smallest communities in our region,” said SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “This program is intended to breathe life into ideas that have the power to help small towns thrive, whether it is help with strategic planning, funds to implement a project, or a stipend to support a leadership development program.”

According to a press release, the Small Town Grants Program seeks to build sustainable and vibrant communities by engaging community members, enhancing existing leadership and creating opportunities for new leadership to emerge. Rather than funding one-time projects, the program seeks to build collaborative efforts and partnerships that will perpetuate collaboration for future work. Priority will be given to applications that demonstrate an asset-based approach, community collaboration and buy-in, measurable results and an effective solution to enhancing community vitality. Nonprofit organizations and units or agencies of local, state and federal government are encouraged to apply.

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Examples of previously awarded Small Town Grant projects include the development of community gardens, a trail system, a town brand identity, marketing approaches to attract new residents, a Makerspace program and a multi-cultural festival.

Applications are due to SMIF by Aug. 31. Awardees will be notified by Oct. 11. For the application and guidelines, visit or contact Grants Coordinator Jennifer Heien at 507-214-7040 or