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McKnight Foundation

Manager: Nicole Gadway
Priority: Open


The foundation was established in Minneapolis in 1953 by William L. McKnight and his wife, Maude L. McKnight. One of the early leaders of 3M, William L. McKnight rose from assistant bookkeeper to president and CEO in a career that spanned 59 years, from 1907 to 1966. The McKnight Foundation, however, is an independent private philanthropic organization; it is not affiliated with the 3M Company The grantmaker is a signatory to Philanthropy's Promise, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). By signing on, the grantmaker has committed to allocating the majority of its grantmaking dollars to marginalized communities and at least 25 percent to social justice strategies, such as advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement.


child development, environment, neuroscience, transportation, youth development


Giving limited to organizations in MN, especially the seven-county Twin Cities, MN, area, except for programs in the environment which are made mainly in the 10 states bordering the Mississippi River and in the Twin Cities region, international aid, or research.

No support for religious organizations for religious purposes, or for medical health or health-related services, including those for chemical dependency, services for seniors or people with disabilities.

No grants to individuals (except for the Virginia McKnight Binger Awards in Human Service and the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award.), or for basic research in academic disciplines (except for defined programs in crop research and neuroscience) endowment funds, scholarships, fellowships, national fundraising campaigns, ticket sales, travel or conferences.


Gifts received: $23,174,603

Expenditures: $117,530,113

Total giving: $86,598,229

Qualifying distributions: $97,760,202

Giving activities include:

$86,500,529 for 742 grants (high: $9,986,300; low: $1,000)

$97,700 for 212 employee matching gifts

$426,371 for 4 foundation-administered programs


S Rivers Protection Network

to support the general operations of an organization working to protect rivers and local livelihoods in northeastern Cambodia $20,000

Achieve Minneapolis

for program support of Arts for Academic Achievement $100,000

Action for Relief and Development Assistance

to empower women economically through bee products and skills in Kyerwa district, Tanzania $75,000