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Sean Gardner | The Conservation Fund

Mission & Values

Our Mission

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. We use all our resources to attend, unite, and empower those we serve.

Our approach
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Deep Relationships

We nurture deep relationships with the people closest to the issues we address, reflecting founder William L. McKnight’s belief in entrusting and empowering others to foster initiative and innovation.

two people who are analyzing plantation in a farm

Place-Based Perspective

We offer our place-based perspective in national and global philanthropic collaborations that focus on policy and systems change.

two people who are doing construction work

Adaptive Action

We take adaptive action to enhance our effectiveness within complex and interconnected systems.

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Robust Toolkit

We use a robust toolkit, including grantmaking, collaboration, policy reform, research, communications, and investments.

Our Values

Accountability: We use the Foundation’s resources in a transparent manner for public benefit. We assume responsibility for high quality decisionmaking based on analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment.

Integrity: We strive to do the right thing. We are honest and forthright, and people can trust what we say.

Innovation: We collaborate with others to test and develop new ideas and pathways in order to address complex problems.

Respect: We listen to diverse perspectives. We approach relationships with humility, openness, and honesty. We engage constructively with partners, colleagues, and the communities we serve.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity: We appreciate and leverage our differences, and we involve and reflect the communities we serve.

Equity: We align our policies, practices, and resources so that people of all races, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses have genuine opportunities to thrive.

Inclusion: We create an environment in which everybody feels valued and respected.

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Our Strategic Framework

McKnight’s Strategic Framework is a living document that links people, place, and possibility. In all we do as a foundation, we use a robust toolkit to serve the well-being of future generations.