The Initiative Foundation mission is to unlock the power of Central Minnesota people to build and sustain thriving communities in its 14-county service area. The Foundation fulfills its mission through a variety of community, organizational and economic development programs as well as through grants and business loans.
The Initiative Foundation serves an economically diverse region with areas of extreme wealth and prosperity which are sometimes adjacent to deep pockets of poverty and economic insecurity. Across Central Minnesota, 12.3 percent of people are living in poverty, putting it above the state average of 11.5 percent.
In addition to serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsoring organization, the Initiative Foundation will host two VISTA projects in 2017-18. The Community and Workforce Development VISTA project will aim to empower individuals in rural, low-income communities across Central Minnesota through innovative community engagement of traditionally under-represented populations. This project will focus on partnering with people of color, individuals under the age of 40, women, and low-income residents.
The Initiative Foundation’s VISTA Leader will use their national service experience to support 11 VISTA members “in the field” to help ensure their success by providing resources, serving as a liaison between VISTAs and the Initiative Foundation, and organizing social and training events. Additionally, the VISTA Leader supports outreach, reporting, evaluating outcomes, and training.