Nonprofits, Units of Government, and Public Agencies Eligible to Apply for $10,000-50,000 Grants Made Available Through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Otto Bremer Trust

A total of $750,000 in grants are available to eligible organizations that are directly responding to immediate challenges in their communities.

A partnership between the Otto Bremer Trust and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation will award grants of $10,000 to $50,000 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.

Grant applications from SMIF are being accepted until April 17. Anyone interested can learn more by visiting SMIF’s website. Questions can be directed to Rae Jean Hansen, SMIF’s vice president of early childhood, via email at [email protected].

How to Apply

Eligible organizations can apply at and by selecting “Solicitud.”

Applicants will next be directed to sign into their SMIF account. If an applicant does not have a SMIF account, click “create a new account” and register as an organization. Applicants will then be able to search for their organization by name, Employer Identification Number (EIN), or TAX ID. Applicants can also skip the search and manually enter their information.

An email confirmation will arrive shortly after successfully creating an account informing new users that their account registration is either pending or has been approved.

After the user account has been approved, users will be able to login and complete the application by selecting the “Apply” in the upper right-hand corner.

Program Requirements and Criteria

  • Existing organizations and/or programs that address relevant community priorities and align with the following areas: Community Asset Building or Health and Wellbeing.
  • Existing programs that provide direct service to address immediate needs within their communities.
    • Capacity for direct services to support programs or activities that work directly with individuals, families, groups, or organizations. This work improves the lives of service recipients and, by extension, the health of communities or populations. Direct services include organizations that provide technical assistance and capacity building, but not those that provide research or advocacy.
  • IRS determined 501(c)3 organizations, Unit of Government, Public Agency. No fiscal sponsorships.
  • Grant amounts will be between $10,000- $50,000 per organization.
  • Beneficiaries of grantees must reside within SMIF’s 20-county region or Native nation (Prairie Island Indian Community):
    • Blue Earth
    • Brown
    • Dodge
    • Faribault
    • Fillmore
    • Freeborn
    • Goodhue
    • Houston
    • Le Sueur
    • Martin
    • Mower
    • Nicollet
    • Olmsted
    • Rice
    • Sibley
    • Steele
    • Wabasha
    • wasaca
    • Watonwan
    • Winona

Funding Priorities

  • Community Asset Building
    • The funding priority for Community Asset Building includes a variety of investments, all with a central focus on strengthening community assets, including:
      • Small business development
      • Diversity initiatives
      • Community planning
  • Health and Wellbeing
    • The Health and Wellbeing funding priority seeks to help increase the well-being of adults and youth, and supports work including:
      • Early education and parenting programs
      • Physical and mental health services for children and their families
      • Youth support and enrichment for young children

Ineligible Projects

  • Work to influence public policy
  • One-time, special projects, or capital requests
  • Regranting
  • New programming
  • Annual fundraisers and benefit events (e.g., SMIF does not offer sponsorships)
  • Debt reduction
  • Endowments other than for the development of community foundations
  • Animal welfare, animal-based therapy programs
  • Primary medical research
  • Sports teams and events
  • Core K-12 academic curriculum and staff
  • One-time experiences, such as camps, trips, conferences, and events
  • Religious programs for the purpose of religious education or proselytization
  • Historical preservation and interpretive centers
  • Municipal infrastructure projects
  • Programs principally focused on the arts
  • Programs focused on environmental appreciation, enhancement, or preservation

“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.”

Eligible 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 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.”

Grant applications are being accepted through SMIF’s online grant application system until April 17. Applicants will be notified of award decisions no later than July 2024. If an organization is awarded a grant, a Year-End Project Completion Report with information on outcomes and impacts achieved must then be provided to SMIF no later than August 1, 2025.

Anyone interested can learn more and see the full grant guidelines by visiting SMIF’s website. Questions can be directed to Rae Jean Hansen, SMIF’s vice president of early childhood, via email at [email protected].

A combined $3 million will be invested in Greater Minnesota through this partnership between the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) and Otto Bremer Trust. 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.

Community Response Grant Guidelines


Ryan Vesey
Business Development Director
Mayor crecimiento de Mankato
[email protected]

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