The ethnic mosaic that makes up Kandiyohi County is a beautiful blend of cultures and faiths. A mostly European heritage has evolved into a melting pot with an influx of people with Hispanic, Native American, Somalian and other African ancestry. As of a diverse business survey done in 2017, there were 70 diverse businesses in Willmar; the largest number in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities.
The multicultural makeup of Kandiyohi County gives way to a unique environment with ethnic shopping and dining options and festivals. The Willmar Community Center hosts weekly cultural events and a variety of opportunities to engage with and learn about people whose background may be different from yours. The newly-opened Community Integration Center seeks to overcome health, cultural, economic and social barriers through education, integration and engagement.
In 2017, the EDC received a grant from the Southwest Initiative Foundation to design and implement a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Program for diverse businesses in the Willmar area. The EDC conducted 18 diverse BRE site visits and prepared a final report on its research.
While the first immigrants were mostly Lutheran, our most recent immigrants are primarily Muslim. Because of our ethnic diversity, Kandiyohi County is home to numerous faiths and nearly 100 congregations. No matter your denomination or faith, there is sure to be a place that will welcome you and help you feel at home.