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you believe changing the future takes initiative, then you've come to the right foundation.

Powering Possible.

About Us

The Initiative Foundation works to strengthen the economy and communities of Central Minnesota.

Through loans and financing, we invest in businesses that create quality jobs.

Minnesota_Map Through grants and programs, we invest in organizations that make our economy strong.

Through donor services and charitable funds, we help people invest in their communities.

We believe that local people have the greatest sum of initiative, knowledge and relationships to achieve a brighter future.

Economy. Community. Philanthropy.  

Our strategic framework is based on the philosophy that the economy, community and philanthropy are interconnected. Gains or losses in one area can either propel or restrain prosperity. The Foundation's initiatives and investments are intended to have maximum impact on the system, unlocking the power of each community.

  • Community assets drive local business growth. 
  • Business growth attracts new revenue and creates quality jobs. 
  • Revenue provides fuel for local philanthropy, which helps to fund community assets.

Since 1986, we have invested more than $69.4 million in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments. As of December 31, 2013, this includes:

  • 4,249 grants totaling $26 million
  • 704 scholarships totaling $623,172
  • 904 business financing investments totaling $43.4 million, securing more than 11,956 quality jobs
  • $266.5 million in private business investment leveraged
  • 6,415 community leaders trained

The Initiative Foundation history

Formed in 1986 by a partnership of regional leaders and The McKnight Foundation, the Initiative Foundation is one of six Minnesota Initiative Foundations serving Greater Minnesota. In the 1980s, Minnesota faced widespread financial hardships, high unemployment, and shifting rural economies that severely impacted the farming and mining industries.

Independent and responsive to local needs and opportunities, each Foundation was created to strengthen its regional economy and communities. The MIF partners share ideas while investing in business loans, nonprofit grants, programs, and donor services.  The MIF model is unique to Minnesota. No other U.S. state has a similar foundation network that unites community and economic development.

Our service area

We are proud to serve the 14 counties of Central Minnesota, with its more than 12,000 square miles and 700,000 residents. Our region is diverse in its population, environment and economy. We serve the St. Cloud area and Twin Cities metro ring counties as well as the Brainerd Lakes area, two tribal nations, and the rural countryside. Each hometown has its own unique character and local assets. 


Lois Kallsen

Lois Kallsen
Office & Facilities Coordinator  |  (320) 632-9255

MaryAnn Lundell

MaryAnn Lindell
Executive Assistant  |  (320) 632-9255


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