Program Guidelines

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Program Guidelines: Mississippi River


The goal of our Mississippi River program is to restore the water quality and resilience of the Mississippi River. (Information about our program to address global climate change is at www.mcknight.org/climate.)

Our river work employs three strategies:

1. Protect and expand floodplains and wetlands in the 10-state Mississippi River corridor. We support efforts that:
  • Protect and restore wetlands along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries.
  • Maintain large riverside wetlands, reforest areas that were logged along the southern half of the river, and restore coastal wetlands in Louisiana.
  • Prevent damage to ecologically important wetlands and rectify past damage to wetland areas.
  • Give top priority to non-structural, natural approaches to reduce flooding from storms and manage the river for multiple uses.
  • Develop opportunities for enhancing economic and recreational benefits from well-managed wetlands and reforested floodplains.
  • Develop market-based approaches that encourage businesses to implement policies that require sustainable conservation practices.
  • Encourage projects that bring together conservation organizations with nontraditional allies to explore and develop innovative solutions to water quality problems.
  • Address related policies and communications strategies that build the public’s understanding and will.
2. Reduce agricultural pollution in four states along the northern half of the river (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois), focusing on farmland and operations with high nitrogen and phosphorus runoff. We support efforts to:
  • Encourage participation in government agricultural conservation programs that reduce water pollution.
  • Increase production of crops grown with reduced amounts of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Encourage farmers and farmland owners to prepare and implement conservation plans to reduce pollution.
  • Prevent or reduce the impact of environmentally damaging projects.
  • Develop market-based approaches that encourage businesses to implement policies that require sustainable conservation practices.
  • Encourage projects that bring together conservation organizations with nontraditional allies to explore and develop innovative solutions to water quality problems.
  • Address related policies and communications strategies that build the public’s understanding and will.
3. In the 10-state Mississippi River corridor, achieve cross-boundary and interagency coordination (among government entities) that improves the river’s water quality and resilience. We support efforts to:
  • Advocate for coordination among federal government agencies and other relevant organizations that affect management, protection, and restoration of the river and its landscape.
  • Strengthen advocates’ capacity to improve government policies affecting the river, and to improve the performance of the government agencies whose policies affect the river.
  • Address related policies and communications strategies that build the public’s understanding and will.
We encourage you to call the Foundation at 612-333-4220 to discuss your ideas with a program officer and to learn more about the strategies we're pursuing.

What We Don't Fund

Foundations can be most effective by concentrating their resources in a few areas. This means we cannot support many worthy projects outside our program interests. For example, we do not make grants for the following:

  • advocacy efforts related to biofuels production (contact the Energy Foundation at www.ef.org;
  • efforts broadly addressing endocrine disruptors;
  • conventional water supply, wastewater treatment, stormwater conveyance, or flood control facilities;
  • basic research in academic disciplines;
  • scholarships or other types of assistance for individuals;
  • conferences, including attendance or travel, except when related to existing McKnight support;
  • endowments, except in rare cases;
  • activities that have a specific religious purpose; or
  • lobbying prohibited by the Internal Revenue Code (see link below).


Application Overview

  1. Read and review the above funding guidelines, and call us at 612-333-4220 to confirm your work fits our program strategies.
  2. Preview the initial inquiry and full proposal applications.
  3. Review the Internal Revenue Code's lobbying regulations.
  4. When ready, follow the link below to start a new application.

We have quarterly deadlines for inquiries. The date by which we receive your completed initial inquiry will determine when your full proposal (if invited) is considered by our board. Deadlines are as follows:
  • November 1 for February consideration
  • February 1 for May consideration
  • May 1 for August consideration
  • August 1 for November consideration
The online application system is accessible for two weeks prior to deadline. Board consideration is pending full proposal invitation.

Please note, if a proposal is invited, McKnight will email a request for bank routing information.


Questions?

Please visit the Funding FAQ section, send us an email, or call us at 612-333-4220.