The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis has announced that it is broadening its focus to advance climate solutions and build a more equitable and inclusive Minnesota.
In an open letter to the community, the foundation's president, Kate Wolford, and board chair Debby Landesman note that the decision reflects the family foundation's mission as well as its new strategic framework. The transformation will include a new goal for the foundation's Midwest Climate & Energy program, which will work to strengthen clean power sectors of the economy, with the goal of reducing carbon pollution in the Midwest by 2030. "Through our work to date, we know that reducing carbon pollution improves our health, creates clean energy jobs, and boosts our economy," Wolford and Landesman write. "We also know the Midwest is the sixth largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world — and if the world is to stave off the worst consequences of climate change, it needs the Midwest to do its part."
To advance racial equity across the state, the foundation will work to build a vibrant future by sharing power, prosperity, and participation more equitably. To that end, the foundation will incorporate large parts of its former Region & Communities and Education programs and build on longstanding efforts to achieve its new goals. "In a time when our home state of Minnesota consistently ranks as one of the worst for racial disparities, we envision a future where people of color and Indigenous people — who must navigate institutional and systemic barriers — gain and exercise power, prosper culturally and economically, and participate fully in civic life," Wolford and Landesman write.
In addition, the foundation will sunset its Mississippi River program, a nearly thirty-year-old initiative focused on restoring the river's water quality. The Arts, International, and Neuroscience programs all remain essential parts of the foundation's portfolio and will make changes, as needed, that reflect its new focus.
"We look forward to collaborating with current and new partners across civic, public, and private sectors," Wolford and Landesman write. "If we hope to see a future where people and planet thrive, we must do everything possible to accelerate climate action and advance racial equity and inclusion."