Diversifying Regional Economies
The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have collectively dispersed $430 million in loans and grants to strengthen and grow Greater Minnesota communities.
Growing Future Generations
The future of our state depends on making sure our youngest generation is equipped for success. Through a range of programming and investments, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations are helping ensure Minnesota children are ready to learn and lead.
Strengthening Regional Philanthropy
The Minnesota Initiative Foundations leverage local investments with outside funds to empower smaller communities toward economic growth.
Built on a Solid Foundation
Read about the history of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations and how they've been strengthening Greater Minnesota for the past three decades.
We are six regional foundations working to strengthen the communities and economies of Greater Minnesota. Established by The McKnight Foundation in 1986, each foundation is independent and serves its geographic region with grants, business loans, programs and priorities, and donor services, as well as collaborates on several statewide initiatives. The Minnesota Initiative Foundations are nationally recognized as unique resources to the people, businesses and communities of rural Minnesota.
Northwest Minnesota Foundation
The Northwest Minnesota Foundation believes that the future of the region depends on the ability to be competitive in a changing world. The foundation provides grants to nonprofits, loans and technical assistance to businesses, training for community leaders and nonprofit managers, and philanthropic services to donors, all supporting community asset development. The foundation has been a catalyst in a unique collaborative effort among industries, economic developers, higher education institutions, and government agencies that are applying strategies to attract and train talented people to meet the future needs of employers in Northwest Minnesota.
The Northland Foundation partners with the people of northeastern Minnesota to support economic and social justice and help the region thrive. Its Grant Program directs resources to nonprofits that help connect kids and community and strengthen families, promote opportunities for self-reliance, and assist adults to age with independence. The Business Finance Program supports economic prosperity and job creation through loans to businesses and nonprofits. An operating program, KIDS PLUS, includes a broad array of initiatives that nurture children and youth. Northland Assisted Living operates assisted living facilities for older adults in underserved rural communities, with a majority of residents receiving elderly waiver financial assistance.
West Central Initiative
West Central Initiative is a regional community foundation that serves nine counties in west central Minnesota: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin.
We invest and help leverage resources in our communities for regional success; and success for us means thriving families, communities and businesses--it's all inter-related!
We work with many partners, using the tools of economic development, community development and promoting philanthropy to help people and communities create a better tomorrow for west central Minnesota.
The Initiative Foundation is proud to serve the 14 counties of Central Minnesota that include 160 hometowns and two tribal nations, each with its own unique character and local assets. We believe that local people have the enthusiasm and insights to power what’s possible for their communities. Our community, organizational and economic development work is supported by a spectrum of public and individual donors who partner with the Foundation to build thriving communities. All of our grant-making, lending and leadership development activities are designed to create a skilled workforce; to make Central Minnesota a destination of choice to live, work and play; and to inspire people to share their time, talent and resources.
Southwest Initiative Foundation
Born from the farm crisis in 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation was created to provide economic development, social support, vehicles for charitable giving and hope for a brighter future. Looking ahead, we’ll continue the work we do best— business finance, grantmaking, early childhood, community philanthropy—with a focus on helping our next generation have the opportunity to succeed right here in our region. We're calling this work Grow Our Own and we're committed to helping every southwest Minnesota kid reach his or her full potential.
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 $100 million in grants, loans and programming within the region since 1986. SMIF’s key interests include early childhood, community and entrepreneur development. SMIF was established by The McKnight Foundation to foster growth and vitality in Greater Minnesota. To learn more about our work and mission call (507) 455-3215 or visit