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Western Minnesota Prairie Waters Receives Collaboration Award

by Dawn Hegland on June 1st, 2011

Prairie Waters is the proud recipient of this lovely handmade vase by Bill Gossman, a 2-page spread in SWIF's Best of the Southwest program, and $1,000.


Western Minnesota Prairie Waters was honored recently by the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) for their efforts in collaboration.

The Southwest Initiative Foundation celebrated 25 years of serving southwest Minnesota with a regional banquet Friday, May 20, at Jackpot Junction in Morton. More than 300 guests—including current and former board members, volunteers, donors, loan clients, grant recipients and partners from throughout the region and beyond—joined to honor the “Best of Southwest Minnesota.”

Guests enjoyed a dinner and program, with special guest and emcee John Lauritsen, a WCCO-TV reporter and Montevideo/Milan native. He, SWIF President/CEO Sherry Ristau and SWIF Board Chair Sandy Ludeman of Tracy shared their appreciation for contributions of leaders in all southwest Minnesota communities, making SWIF’s impact over 25 years possible.

The program was highlighted by an awards presentation honoring contributions of others in the region. In addition to the traditional Southwest Initiative Foundation Award, four new awards were created to honor individuals, businesses, organizations and communities that personify SWIF’s mission during its milestone 25th anniversary year. These awards were promoted during SWIF’s 18 anniversary receptions throughout the region and nominations were open to the public.

Prairie Waters staff Kristi Fernholz and Jenifer Fadness accepted the Collaboration Award on behalf of Prairie Waters. The award was based on the following principles:

As collaborators, these people and/or entities work together in partnership to share ideas, resources and energy. Their willingness to look beyond traditional boundaries creates new opportunities for the southwest Minnesota region.

“We congratulate and thank our award winners,” Ristau said. “All of them are committed leaders that are making a significant difference in southwest Minnesota. We are so proud to honor them during this special year.”

The award includes a 2-page spread in the SWIF 25th Anniversay “Best of the Southwest” program, a hand crafted vase by New London potter Bill Gossman, and $1,000.

Kristi Fernholz, Prairie Waters coordinator, said: “We feel honored that SWIF, an organization that excels in collaborative efforts, recognizes the work that Prairie Waters has accomplished. Prairie Waters is a unique effort and has sustained support from cities, counties and tourism entities within our region to offer a consistent and effective marketing message.”

To learn more about award recipients, the event and SWIF, visit their website at

For more information on Prairie Waters, visit our website at, find us on Facebook, or call us at 866.866.5432.

Western Minnesota Prairie Waters is a regional tourism program for the counties of Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, and Swift. The purpose of Prairie Waters is to promote and market the region as a great place to visit, a great place to work and a great place to live by highlighting and showcasing our natural, cultural, scenic and historical assets. Tourism has a direct economic development and community development impact to the region by improving the quality of life for the residents of the region. Efforts are done on a regional, collaborative basis making it more affordable to our rural communities to accomplish more with combined revenues.

From → News, Take Note!

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