Too many kids in our region aren’t getting the best possible start to their lives. More than 1 in 6 Southwest Minnesota kids live in poverty and face an opportunity gap. It impacts not just families, but businesses and communities, too. Grow Our Own is grounded in the belief that all kids are our kids and that each person in southwest Minnesota—whether a parent, grandparent, employer, educator, elected official, community member—has a role to play to help kids reach their full potential.
Southwest Initiative Foundation sees Grow Our Own as a long-term economic development strategy. These kids are our future employees, entrepreneurs, community leaders, volunteers, homeowners, taxpayers and parents. Our region’s future economy depends on their success.
We’re using a cradle to career approach to ensure Southwest Minnesota kids have what they need to succeed, by supporting stable families and parenting, high-quality early care and education, K-12 engagement in and out of schools, vibrant and welcoming communities and career on-ramps. We’ve secured more than $4.1 million in three years for Grow Our Own. Through cross-sector collaboration and strategic community engagement, we’re funding and leading efforts for child care solutions, career readiness for high school students, business loans to diverse entrepreneurs, building intercultural competence and more.