SWIF President/CEO Ristau announces resignation, accepts new position

Long-time Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) President/CEO Sherry Ristau is resigning from her position, effective later this summer, SWIF said in a news released Thursday. Ristau accepted the position as new president and CEO of the Quad Cities Community Foundation, serving communities along the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities area of Davenport and Bettendorf (in Iowa) and Rock Island and Moline (Ill.).  

Ristau has spent her entire career in rural Minnesota. She has been employed for more than 20 years at SWIF, including the last 17 as president/CEO. SWIF's net assets grew from $23 million to $63 million since Ristau took leadership in 1997.

Ristau has also been a voice for rural philanthropy across the nation while serving on the Council on Foundations and Orton Family Foundation boards.

"It has been an absolute honor for me to serve this organization and our southwest Minnesota regional community," Ristau said. "I have been blessed beyond belief by what Southwest Initiative Foundation has given me. This has been a difficult decision to make, but I believe this is an opportunity that I must embrace."

SWIF's board of directors is responsible for hiring the next SWIF president/CEO. The board is implementing SWIF's succession plan and will share information as the process unfolds.

The Southwest Initiative Foundation is a single connection offering unlimited possibilities to grow and promote people, businesses, entrepreneurs and communities in rural southwest Minnesota. As a regional community foundation, SWIF has contributed more than $64 million through its grant and loan programs. SWIF has helped more than 630 businesses start or expand through its business finance programs, which have created or retained more than 8,000 jobs. SWIF has also established 16 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions, more than 50 Youth Energy Summit teams, 24 community foundations and more than 90 other funds. The Southwest Initiative Foundation is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 



Melanie Jones