McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation is a philanthropic organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the US. In 20120 McKnight awarded around $105 million in grants. The foundation's program interests include Minnesota's arts and artists, Midwest climate and energy, neuroscience research, international crop research, and vibrant future for all Minnesotans. McKnight's primary geographic focus is the state of Minnesota, with significant support also directed to strategies throughout the U.S. and in Africa, and Latin America.[3]

McKnight Foundation
McKnight Foundation Logo.jpg
FounderWilliam L. McKnight and Maude L. McKnight
Area served
Key people
Tonya Allen, President;[1]
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015)$111,372,797[2]
Endowment$2.3 billion USD[3]

The McKnight Foundation was founded in 1953 by William L. McKnight, an early leader of the 3M Corporation, and Maude L. McKnight,[4] and was independently endowed by the McKnights.

Bolstered by the estates of William and Maude McKnight, the foundation's assets grew substantially in the 1980s. In 2015, the foundation assets were approximately $2.2 billion.[3] The McKnight Foundation was ranked twenty-second on the Foundation Center's list of the largest private foundations in America.[4]

In April 2013, the foundation announced a new program area focused on regional climate and energy issues, granting $25 million to two longtime partners working in those areas.[5]

Program areasEdit

The McKnight Foundation's program areas are Arts, International, Midwest Climate & Energy, Neuroscience, and Vibrant & Equitable Communities.


Support working artists to create vibrant communities. Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive.


Improve access to local, sustainable, nutritious food using collaborative research and knowledge-sharing with smallholder farmers, research institutions, and development organizations.

Midwest Climate & EnergyEdit

Take bold action on the climate crisis by dramatically cutting carbon pollution in the Midwest by 2030.


Bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain and behavior can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated.

Vibrant & Equitable CommunitiesEdit

Build a vibrant future for all Minnesotans with shared power, prosperity, and participation.

Impact InvestingEdit

In 2014, The McKnight Foundation committed to investing $200 million, or 10% of its $2 billion endowment, in strategies that align with McKnight's mission. In addition to generating a financial return, this money is invested with three goals: quickening a transition to a low-carbon economy, protecting the Mississippi River, and contributing to a thriving, sustainable Minneapolis-St.Paul metro area.[6] McKnight's president Kate Wolford believes impact investing is vital to serving the foundations fiduciary duty, saying "As a philanthropic fiduciary, we would embrace our role as institutional owners of our assets alongside our traditional role as grantmakers. We would consider the use of all of our resources to advance mission and public benefit, rather than just the five percent required payout for charitable purpose."[7] As part of their commitment to impact investing, McKnight shares detailed information about their investees and their performance.[8]


  1. ^ "Staff & Board". McKnight Foundation. Retrieved 2016-10-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "McKnight Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c "About The McKnight Foundation: Overview". Retrieved 2016-10-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Colleen Frankhart "DEEP Pockets," Planning, volume 75, issue 1, January 2009.
  5. ^ "McKnight Foundation Launches Climate and Energy Program, Announces $25 Million in Grants". Retrieved 18 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Focusing on their missions, Minnesota charities are shifting millions in spending". Pioneer Press. Retrieved 24 March 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective". The Center for Effective Philanthropy. Retrieved 24 March 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Impact Investees". The McKnight Foundation. Retrieved 24 March 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit