Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation seeking applications for early care, education wrap-around grants

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education is accepting applications for its Early Care and Education Wrap Around Grant program.

This special grant program will help fund early care and education wrap-around services for children birth to age 8 from underserved and diverse populations.

Organizations that work with these children in SMIF’s 20-county region are eligible to apply. Requests of up to $20,000 will be considered.

SMIF received funding from MDE on behalf of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund for this program. The GEER Fund provides emergency assistance for education agencies and services that have been impacted by the pandemic. Wrap-around services, a system of care management which supports children in all aspects of life, are one of many education services that the GEER Fund supports.

As a leader for more than three decades in the early childhood field, SMIF was awarded this funding in order to disperse grants to organizations in southern Minnesota. Within the past year, SMIF has awarded 28 organizations a total of $370,000 through this program.

Funding from this grant can help cover mental health services and supports, supplemental after-school programs, distance learning programs and social, emotional and physical health supports. Additional allowable uses include training and development to more effectively operate and address the needs of young children.

Applicants must serve children birth to age eight from underserved and diverse populations.

“Many young children rely on important wrap-around services that organizations in our region provide,” said Rae Jean Hansen, vice president of early childhood. “We are honored to once again partner with MDE and the GEER Fund to support the wellbeing of young children in southern Minnesota.”

Applications are due to SMIF by Nov. 16 before 3 p.m. For the application and guidelines, visit smifoundation.org or contact Heidi Coulter, early childhood project manager, at heidic@smifoundation.org or 507-214-7016.