Early childhood grants available through SMIF

Published 8:13 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation will accept applications for early childhood grants. Grants up to $20,000 are available to independent 501(c)(3) organizations, units of government or public agencies in SMIF’s 20-county region.

SMIF’s early childhood grants are designed to support asset-based collaborative approaches to meeting the needs of children from birth to age 5 and their families. SMIF strives to provide quality learning opportunities that focus on getting the whole child ready to succeed. Research indicates that environments and experiences in the early years are the most influential in the development of a child’s brain.

The early childhood grants will invest in the following three areas:

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• Social and emotional development: build social emotional skills in children through education and prevention or by training and educating parents, caregivers and teachers.

• Pre-k to grade three alignment: community-wide approaches to coordination among standards, curricula, instructional practices, student assessment and teacher professional development between the preschool and the early elementary school years.

• School readiness: give all children access to opportunities that promote school readiness including closing the achievement gap for at-risk children.

Examples of previously awarded early childhood grants include a reading readiness program for disadvantaged 5-year-olds, a literacy curriculum for pre-k through grade three, an in-home parenting service, and social-emotional book bags for preschool teachers and child care providers.

Applications are due by 4 p.m. Nov. 13. Visit www.smifoundation.org/ecgrantsfor full guidelines and application.

For questions on what SMIF might fund, contact Teri Steckelberg, early childhood director, at teris@smifoundation.org or 507-214-7015. For questions about the application process or required documentation, contact Jennifer Heien, grants coordinator, at jenniferh@smifoundation.org or 507-214-7040.