The McKnight Foundation is a Minnesota-based foundation that funds many programs and organizations, including numerous left-of-center advocacy groups. Among the programs the foundation invests in are the arts, education, environmentalist programs, and international development. Most of the donations to domestic programs are towards programs and initiatives in the Midwest.
The McKnight Foundation is a foundation that funds numerous programs related towards the arts, sciences, and the environment. It is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has a strong Minnesota focus in its giving. The foundation was founded by William L. McKnight, a founder of the 3M Corporation, and his wife, Maude, in 1953. The foundation was endowed independently by the McKnights and has no direct ties to 3M. 
Kate Wolford was president of the McKnight Foundation from 2006 through 2019. She previously worked as president of Lutheran World Relief for 13 years.  Wolford made $429,302 in salary and other compensation as president, according to the Foundation’s 2015 tax return. 
Kara Carlisle works as vice president of programs. She has held that role since 2017. Before that she worked at the left-of-center W.K Kellogg Foundation, most recently as director of New Mexico programs. 
Nichol Higdon is McKnight Foundation vice president for finance and operations. Prior to joining McKnight, she worked for various local YMCA organizations in leadership positions. 
Elizabeth McGeveran has worked as McKnight’s director of investments since 2019. She has developed an impact investing program that the foundation asserts will achieve “net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire portfolio by or before 2050.” The foundation credits McGeveran with being “an early actor in developing environmental social and governance (ESG) approaches across the industry.” She is a member of the board of trustees of Boston Trust Walden, an ESG-aligned investment management firm. 
The McKnight Foundation’s primary focus is Minnesota and the Midwest United States. Much of its work is based on climate change and the environment. Wolford had praised Minnesota’s adoption of clean energy mandates. 
The organization has shifted its investment portfolio. It has removed coal companies from most of its portfolios and shifted that investment into green energy companies. In 2014, it announced it would invest $200 million in green energy and other companies moving towards low-carbon technology. 
It funds arts programs and offers fellowships to artists. It also offers financial support to education efforts in Minnesota. It supports agricultural programs around the world. It also offers an endowment to fight brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 
According to its 2015 tax returns, McKnight Foundation spent $111 million on expenses and programs. It gave $81 million in grants. The foundation had $2.2 billion in assets. It received a $520,377 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 
Among the grants the McKnight Foundation made to left-of-center organizations in 2015 were $150,000 to the Bipartisan Policy Center, $75,000 to the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, $37,000 to the Center for Climate Strategies, $75,000 to the Environmental Defense Fund, $150,000 to the Environmental Working Group, $410,000 to the National Wildlife Federation, $300,000 to the Natural Resources Defense Council, $180,000 to the Sierra Club Foundation, $75,000 to Taxpayers For Common Sense, $50,000 to Teach For America, and $357,500 to the Trust for Public Land.