The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Program interests include regional economic and community development, Minnesota’s arts and artists, education equity, youth engagement, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River water quality, neuroscience research, international crop research, and rural livelihoods. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Foundation had assets of approximately $2.2 billion and granted about $87 million in 2016.



21% of McKnight’s grantmaking payout went to support grantees’ general operations

Asset 19@4x.png

430 grants were approved to 355 organizations

Asset 27@4x.png

57% of McKnight’s grantmaking was tied to multiyear commitments

Asset 28@4x.png

To help advance program objectives, McKnight hosted 4,500 people at 210 meetings and events in 2016, with an estimated value to partners of $341,469


Funding by Program Area

Asset 29@4x.png

Funding by Geographic Area

Asset 30@4x.png


Board of Directors

Erika L. Binger
Meghan Binger Brown, Chair
David Crosby
Phyllis Goff
Bill Gregg
Debby Landesman
Perry Moriearty
Roger Sit
Noa Staryk
Kathy Tunheim

Staff Leadership

Kate Wolford, President

Kara Carlisle, Vice President of Programs

Bernadette Christiansen, Vice President of Operations

Na Eng, Communications Director

Rick Scott, Vice President of Finance and Compliance




Executive Editor: Na Eng

Digital Coordinator: Shannon Eisentrager

Contributors: Maja Beckstrom, Laura Billings Coleman, Colleen Ebinger, Erin Imon Gavin, David Kennedy-Logan, Kitty Shea

Original Photography: Steve Foley (Education & Learning) and Nancy Musinguzi (Region & Communities) 

Copyeditor: Peggy Parker

This annual report was made in creative partnership with Pollen Midwest.