Kathy Gaalswyk

Former President, Initiative Foundation

Little Falls, MN

Act Local First, Shift Capital  |  Funding / Investment

Initiative Foundation is working to move more of their traditional investments to place-based impact investing.

Kathy was President of the Little Falls based Initiative Foundation since its inception in 1986. She retired in 2016. The Initiative Foundation is a regional foundation that addresses its community and economic development mission for its 14 county central Minnesota service area through business lending and investments, grant making, leadership development and philanthropic services. Prior to her time at the Initiative Foundation she was Executive Director at Region 5 Development Commission based in Staples. She was also partner in a hog farm operation with her family for 17 years. Kathy serves on a number of community and economic development related boards and is active in the philanthropic community. She holds a degree in Management from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth. Kathy is active in her local church, has participated in a number of overseas missions trips, enjoys working with college and career age youth, and is a Doula. She is passionate about helping young adults discover and use their gifts. Kathy and her husband live in the Brainerd lakes area. They are empty nesters and proud grandparents.



Initiative Foundation works daily to strengthen the economy and communities of Central Minnesota. Through loans and financing, they invest in businesses that create quality jobs. Through grants and programs, they invest in organizations that make their economy strong. Through donor services and charitable funds, they help people invest in their communities.

The Initiative Foundation believes that local people have the greatest sum of initiative, knowledge and relationships to achieve a brighter future.

Their strategic framework is based on the philosophy that the economy, community, and philanthropy are interconnected. Gains or losses in one area can either propel or restrain prosperity. The Foundation’s initiatives and investments are intended to have maximum impact on the system, unlocking the power of each community.

  • Community assets drive local business growth.
  • Business growth attracts new revenue and creates quality jobs.
  • Revenue provides fuel for local philanthropy, which helps to fund community assets.

Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation has invested millions throughout the region through targeted grants and business financing investments.