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SMIF grant seeks communities to boost economic growth

The Chatfield News of Chatfield, Minnesota

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Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is seeking up to three communities who want to learn how to capitalize on the assets of renewable energy to increase their local economies. As part of the grant, SMIF will provide up to $15,000 for community projects along with training and coaching.

SMIF's grant uses an asset-affirming approach, called the Community Growth Initiative, which puts a strong spotlight on collaboration, local assets, and creativity that generates long-term change.

"Through our Community Growth Initiative, we encourage communities and organizations to draw on their own assets to create change rather than looking to 'outside experts' for answers and assistance," states Tim Penny, SMIF President & CEO.

Many communities in southern Minnesota are hoping to develop alternative energy sources and the jobs that go along with them. More than a dozen communities hosted wind energy forums during the past year in an effort to leverage local opportunities. This new grant partnership will capitalize on that interest and assist communities in growing economic partnerships related to renewable energy of all kinds.

Currently 25 communities within southern Minnesota are partners in this process. These communities are identifying and achieving goals, learning about and leveraging their assets, developing volunteer leaders, and increasing citizen involvement.

Interested communities should send a completed "Renewable Energy Entrepreneurism - Community Growth Initiative" application by Feb. 19, to Elise Davis (

Application and guideline information is available at click on "applications." For questions, contact Elise Davis at 507-455-3215.

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Original Publication Date: February 3, 2010

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