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SMIF awards $254,950 in relief to child care providers in southern Minn.

Mower County was joined by counties in the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) in receiving $254,950 in emergency grant funds for child care providers.

Mower receiver $11,900 for the 24 providers within the county. Steele County received $20,450 for 43 providers and Dodge County received $11,250.

At the urging of Gov. Tim Walz, the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations, including SMIF, created the Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide immediate relief to child care providers caring for the young children of emergency and essential workers in Greater Minnesota.

According to a press release from SMIF providers in SMIF’s region who received grants are caring for more than 1,800 children of emergency and essential workers. Statewide, the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations supported more than 1,500 providers with nearly $1.4 million dollars.

The program was launched March 26 with dollars going out the door over the two weeks that followed. The intent was to get immediate support to child care providers experiencing financial strain until a larger source of public funding allocated by the Minnesota Legislature and administered by Child Care Aware could be made available.

Due to overwhelming response, this grant program is currently closed. Should sufficient funding become available, the application will reopen. SMIF is also working to support strategy and business planning for child care providers during this difficult time.