Grow Our Own: Closing the Opportunity Gap for Kids and their Families in Minnesota

The Southwest Initiative Foundation seeking applications for its ‘Grow Our Own’ Grant Program to support 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations directly serving the southwest Minnesota communities.

Donor Name: Southwest Initiative Foundation

State: Minnesota

Counties: Selected Counties

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline (mm/dd/yyyy): 12/06/2021

Size of the Grant: $5,000

Grant Duration: 12 Months


The outcome of this work is the achievement of economic mobility: the collective ambition that all people attain a reasonable standard of living, with the dignity that comes from having power over their lives and being engaged in and valued by their community.

Areas of Focus

  • Early Learning and Development
    • High Impact Strategies to increase child success, from birth to age 8, through wrap around services, programs and resources to be accessible to children and families in diverse and underserved areas including: Mental health services & supports; Social, emotional & physical health; Supplemental after-school programs
    • Professional Development for PractitionersTraining and development programs to more effectively operate and address the needs of young children, birth to age eight
  • Stable Families
    • Projects that enable more effective parenting to encourage healthier patterns of family formation and stability for children with preference given to projects that focus support for efforts where children and the adults in their lives build the relationships and resources needed to thrive by removing barriers in accessing early childhood development, education pathways, health and wellness, social capital and economic opportunity.
  • K-12 Years
    • Trauma Informed Responses to Adverse Childhood Experiences with projects that invest in strategies that advance a trauma-informed system of care by
      • Increasing awareness of the presence, prevalence, and impact of trauma; Or
      • Facilitating the adoption of trauma-informed principles, policies, and practices among organizations across sectors.
    • Intergenerational mentoring opportunities through community-building approaches that intentionally build upon the strengths of all generations, identify shared interests, and strive for positive outcomes across generational as well as racial/ethnic differences which have the potential to encourage different generations to invest in each other. Potential projects include forming strategic partnerships between aging-focused and youth-focused organizations that promote the importance of reciprocity and interdependence through inclusive practices such as team building and leadership work as well as intergenerational arts, oral history, cross-age mentoring, intergenerational exercise, and community gardening, where likely and unlikely personal connections were formed.
  • Vibrant and Welcoming Communities
    • Projects that build inclusive communities with preference given to proposals that support creative approaches with involvement of marginalized populations in the areas of:
    • Support existing integration strategies and encourage additional local organizations to develop and implement projects tailored to their communities’ needs.
    • Collaborative projects that bring together people across lines of difference, with partnership among organizations to work together to design, implement and learn from new activities. Potential partners may represent key community organizations, such as SWIF affiliates, local libraries & museums, educational entities, etc.
    • Activities or events designed to connect community members of different backgrounds in a spirit of neighbor-helping-neighbor. Applicants must have the ability to bring together the rich diversity of the community by partnering with diverse-based organizations, and by working with the trust of the community of the residents to be mobilized. This includes engaging and connecting immigrants, long-term community members who may have less exposure to diverse residents and others in activity planning and participation. Preference will be given to innovative ideas that expand upon traditional contact strategies.
  • Pathways to Meaningful Work
    • Projects that promote employment and educational opportunities and reduce barriers for students in non-traditional education settings in order to participate effectively as productive workers, family members and residents. Preference will be given to workforce development opportunities in career laddering that support the progression from entry level positions to higher levels of pay, skill, responsibility, or authority.

Grant Guidelines

  • All proposals must demonstrate a benefit within one or more of the following 18 counties in southwest Minnesota: Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine; or the Upper Sioux Community or Lower Sioux Indian Community.
  • Proposals must be submitted by an independent 501(c)(3) organization, a unit of government, religious institution, or educational entity.
  • Funding requests of up to $5,000 will be considered; Matching funds are encouraged. Additional funds may be awarded, dependent upon availability.
  • Projects must be completed within 12 months of the grant award date.
  • Only one grant application may be submitted per organization.
  • A final report is due following the grant period.

Grant Exclusions

Ineligible organizations or activities include:

  • Individuals, businesses, or other for-profit organizations
  • General operating expenses or specific religious purposes
  • Capital funding, campaigns or endowments
  • Funds for re-granting

Grant Award Selection Criteria

Proposals that are in line with the criteria below will receive priority consideration in the grant review process.

  • Applicant organization meets all eligibility criteria and any other requirements specified in this RFP
  • Applicant organization’s mission and primary programs, services and/or activities strongly align with the Southwest Initiative Foundation’s mission
  • Impact — projects that demonstrate an overall impact within Southwest Initiative Foundation’s 18 county region through an evidence-based approach and strong alignment with Grow Our Own outcomes
  • Collaboration/partnership — projects work with other organizations in unique & impactful ways
  • Community need — projects that successfully address an identified need and/or opportunity
  • Measurable results — projects that can show quantitative results in this grant’s areas of focus
  • Asset-based approaches — projects that maximize the strengths, talents and resources of the local community
  • Replicability – projects that can easily be replicated throughout the SWIF region

For more information, visit Grow Our Own Grant.