SMIF seeking applications for Small Town Grants

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is currently accepting applications for its Small Town Grant program. Towns with populations of 10,000 or less in SMIF’s 20-county region are eligible. Requests of up to $10,000 for eligible projects will be considered. Nonprofit organizations, public institutions and units or agencies of local, state and federal government are encouraged to apply.

The Small Town Grant program seeks to invest in initiatives which improve the way communities work collaboratively to address challenges. SMIF seeks proposals which impact the culture, education, economy and/or social aspects of small towns in the region. Proposals to launch new projects or expand existing initiatives will be considered.

Since 2017, SMIF has awarded 69 Small Town Grants, impacting nearly 150,000 residents in the smallest communities of southern Minnesota. Examples of previously awarded projects include the development of community gardens, a trail system, a town brand identity, marketing approaches to attract new residents, a Makerspace program and a multicultural festival.

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The Small Town Grant program is supported, in part, by a generous donation in memory of Paul Johnson who wanted southern Minnesota’s smallest communities to thrive.

“It is amazing to see how much this grant program has impacted the smallest communities of our region in just five years,” said Tim Penny, president and CEO of SMIF. “There are so many people who want to make a difference in the place they call home, and this grant can help them achieve that. We are grateful to Paul Johnson’s family for continuing his legacy.”

Applications are due to SMIF by June 23. Awardees will be notified by August 10, 2022. For the application and guidelines, visit For questions, contact Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at 507-214-7040 or