About Us


The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) are strong, independent entities that are built to respond to regional needs and opportunities. Each foundation serves its rural region with unique grants, business loans, programs and donor services. Together, we reach every corner of Greater Minnesota.


In the early 1980s, declines in cornerstone industries like farming and mining were stripping rural communities of people, jobs and hope. Believing that the people of rural Minnesota were best positioned to make decisions for themselves, the McKnight Foundation joined forces with Greater Minnesota leaders to take action. McKnight envisioned a regional strategy that would encourage local giving and local responsibility for the long-term welfare of each region. The experiment worked.

Since 1986 the six MIFs have been reliable partners and resources, together serving all of Greater Minnesota beyond the Twin Cities metro region. The foundations also leverage support from governments, other foundations, businesses and individuals who wish to invest in the future of their communities, and put those resources to work, on the ground, across rural Minnesota. Since the beginning of this great experiment, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations have leveraged a total of $770.3 million for Greater Minnesota’s future.

Six Place-Based Foundations

The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations each serve a unique region of Greater Minnesota.