SMIF partnership will open up $750K in grant money

Published 6:17 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

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Through a partnership with the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) and its Community Responsive Fund, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) will award $750,000 in grants to organizations that directly respond to immediate challenges and opportunities in southern Minnesota.

According to a press release from SMIF Thursday, grants of $10,000 to $50,000 will be awarded to organizations doing work within two pillars of Otto Bremer Trust’s founding mission: community asset building and health and wellbeing. The community asset building pillar will fund projects that include small business development, diversity initiatives and community planning. The health and wellbeing pillar will fund projects that include early education and parenting programs, physical and mental health services for children and their families, and youth support and enrichment for young children.

Organizations must be IRS determined 501(c)3 organizations, units of government or public agencies located in SMIF’s region, which includes 20 counties and one Native nation. The grant cycle opened on Thursday and will close on April 17. Learn more at Contact Rae Jean Hansen, SMIF’s vice president of early childhood, via email at, with questions.

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“We are honored to be a partner in this incredible investment in Greater Minnesota,” said Tim Penny, president and CEO of SMIF. “This funding will drive meaningful change to our region for many years to come.”

A combined $3 million will be invested in Greater Minnesota through this partnership with OBT. SMIF is one of six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) that will accept applications through this program. Each MIF, which serves specific regions of Greater Minnesota, will establish its own timeline and guidelines in alignment with Otto Bremer Trust’s grant goals.

“The Trust’s mission has always been to provide funding to organizations and programs that effectively address challenges and opportunities in the local community,” said Frank Miley, co-CEO and trustee for OBT. “And what better way to have a deeper understanding of where those challenges are than to work with the Minnesota Initiative Foundations, which are fully integrated into the community and regions we serve. We look forward to working closely together to increase our impact.”