The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota strives to serve the community in all we do. We offer support and resources to families in as many ways as we can. Like most nonprofits, we certainly can’t do it alone. We are funded by admissions, sponsors, donors, and grants. We were honored recently to receive an Early Care and Education Grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). These dollars will support CMSM’S project “Something For Everyone.” This project looks to:
- support collaborative regional community partnerships
- training for early learning educators and caregivers
- continue support of the Early Childhood Dental Network
- support CMSM’s Gateway to Play Members and Community Partners
- develop implementation themes for CMSM staff to expand our role as an impact partner in the region
About the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is a donor-supported foundation that invests in economic growth in the 20 counties of south-central and southeastern Minnesota. SMIF supports entrepreneurship, early childhood development, and community vitality through grantmaking, lending, training, and more. It was started in 1986 during the farm crisis to diversify Greater Minnesota’s economies and ensure vibrant communities for future generations. SMIF has come through with that goal in the last 36 years by investing more than $136 million in the 20-county region since it began.
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation Impact
SMIF has an internal and external review team that selects recipients based on guidelines, and it is a competitive process. The foundation awards grants in several areas, including the recent Early Care and Education Grant, which recently approved 18 grants totaling $194,255 and impacting more than 2,600 young children (you can read the full list here). SMIF provides funding for social, emotional, and physical health needs, training and development, and other activities that prioritize the needs of underserved groups.
One of SMIF’s grantees reported an improvement in a preschooler’s writing ability and social/emotional growth due to the training and resources provided through the Early Care and Education Grant. The mother of the child also noted an improvement in how they handle big emotions and communicate their feelings.
Rae Jean Hansen is the vice president of Early Childhood at SMIF and has worked there for over 30 years, holding different roles ranging from Business Lending, Workforce, Communications, and now Early Childhood. Of this year’s grant recipients, she said,
“These organizations are providing critical services to young children in southern Minnesota. We are honored to support the children and families who rely on these organizations for their overall well-being.”
Readers can find more stories and information about SMIF’s programming on its website and social medai pages. SMIF is committed to supporting critical services to young children and families in southern Minnesota, which makes them an excellent partner for the Museum. Thank you, SMIF, for your contribution to the power of play!