Diversifying Regional Economies

The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have collectively disbursed $430 million in loans and grants to strengthen and grow Greater Minnesota communities.

Strengthening Regional Philanthropy

The Minnesota Initiative Foundations leverage local investments with outside funds to empower smaller communities toward economic growth.


Unified foundations working to improve Greater Minnesota


Grants empowering our communities


Local business investments


Quality jobs created, retained


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 Northland Foundation West Central Initiative Initiative Foundation Southwest Initiative Foundation Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

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.


Northland Foundation

The Northland Foundation invests in people and communities to support a thriving northeastern Minnesota. Its Grant Program directs resources to nonprofits and community organizations enhancing the well-being of children and youth and that promote opportunities for self-reliance for all people. The Business Finance Program supports economic prosperity and job creation through loans to businesses and nonprofits. Its operating program, KIDS PLUS, includes a broad array of initiatives that nurture children and youth and provide an avenue to build connections across generations

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.


Initiative Foundation

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