The Minnesota Department of Human Services recently awarded $946,878 as part of a new disability services innovations grants program to support people with disabilities in the state’s communities, and a portion of that funding is coming to Mankato.

The SMILES (Southern Minnesota Independent Living Enterprises and Services) Center for Independent Living in southern Minnesota was awarded a grant of $42,550 for a sidewalk safety campaign in Mankato. The effort will bring together people with disabilities and other community members on accessibility and other neighborhood issues.

The small innovations grants program awards between $1,500 and $100,000 to individuals and organizations after the Minnesota Legislature appropriated funding for innovative ways to improve outcomes for people with disabilities in employment, where they live and connect with others in their communities.