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

Powering Possible.

About Us

Powering possible to help Central Minnesota
people build and sustain thriving communities

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

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

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

2017 - 2019 Priorities

  • Support and grow existing for-profit and nonprofit businesses.
  • Help new entrepreneurs and the start-up of businesses and social enterprise ventures.
  • Improve the economic status of financially disadvantaged people.
  • Enhance kindergarten readiness for children (ages 0-5) living in poverty.
  • Cultivate the next generation of leaders (ages 40 and under) working and living in our region.

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, the Initiative Foundation has invested millions throughout the region through targeted grants and business financing investments. 

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 750,000 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.