Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation recently approved 22 grants totaling $190,215 to support small towns of 10,000 or less in the foundation’s 20 county region. Five of the grants that directly impact our area are:
$10,000 to the Blue Earth EDA for the “B.E. Welcoming Project” which will focus on community education and outreach for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion projects, plan a Day of the Dead Festival, bring language classes and resources to Blue Earth and create a bilingual community calendar to foster a welcoming community.
$10,000 to the City of Fairmont to update and rebrand the Fairmont Area Life campaign to focus on promoting all things positive in Fairmont to residents and visitors. The project will promote activities, events and businesses to help improve the culture, economy and social aspects of the community.
$10,000 to Fairmont Opera House to add community and cultural events in conjunction with their shows to make a more welcoming experience for everyone in the community.
$2,940 to the City of Winnebago to create a promotional video describing why people should move to Winnebago, which will be added to a livability section of the City’s website to highlight amenities, events, businesses and more.
$10,000 to Mapleton Area Foundation to enhance entrepreneurial outreach efforts through business education events and the creation of an online toolbox for supporting business development.
The Small Town Grant program was launched in 2017 to support smaller communities which can benefit from additional financial resources to help them grow and address challenges. Since then, SMIF has supported 91 projects through the program.
The Small Town Grant program is sponsored, in part, by a generous donation in memory of Paul Johnson, who wanted southern Minnesota’s smallest communities to thrive.