Updated Process Allows More Time for Mission

McKnight is changing the way we do grantmaking in order to create a more equitable, streamlined, and flexible process for our grantee partners. In this context, equitable means making our grantmaking process more inclusive and accessible to ሁሉም existing and prospective partners, particularly those with outsized potential for impact, so that every organization has a fair, consistent experience when applying for a grant and interacting with McKnight.  

We know that equity in grantmaking is ultimately a matter of respect and trust. How a funder designs its grantmaking processes and systems is one way to redefine the power balance and forge a true partnership.

We also understand that grant applications can require grant seekers to spend significant time and money. We hope to lessen the administrative and financial burden on grantseekers so that they can more fully focus on their mission-driven work.

To streamline our application process, we’re pleased to announce that effective October 3, 2022, we will implement the following changes: 

  1. Rolling Deadlines* — We have eliminated quarterly deadlines and will now accept applications 365 days per year, 24/7. Given year-end priorities, grants submitted in the fourth quarter may face a delay. We recommend submitting your request by September 1 if funding in the current calendar year is critical. 
  2. One-Step Applications — To expedite our review and get you a decision sooner, we have instituted one-step applications. You will no longer be required to submit an initial inquiry.  
  3. Simpler Applications — We understand how difficult it can be to navigate the grantmaking process, so we’ve simplified our applications to focus on the core essentials. 
  4. Faster Decisions — We will strive for a three-month turnaround time from your submitted application to a decision and, if your grant is approved, receipt of payment. 

*Note: For Midwest Climate & Energy grantee partners and applicants, rolling deadlines will go into effect in early 2023.  

Toward More Responsive, Flexible Funding

Over the last two years, McKnight has taken steps to be nimble and more responsive in our funding. From our Covid-19 response grants ወደ George Floyd Memorial grants, we moved quickly to provide flexibility to our grantee partners—streamlining, simplifying, and waiving application and reporting requirements, while boosting our general operating support grantmaking. 

Still, we realize today’s “new normal” demands more from us as grantmakers. In response, we’ve been examining our processes to identify how we can move funds faster and more equitably so they can power the dreams of community. In that spirit, we began a broader redesign of McKnight’s grantmaking process in 2021, looking at all aspects of our work to see how we could increase equitable practices, simplify our processes, make decisions faster, and deepen our partnership. 

We are continuing our work to revamp our grantmaking, and we look forward to sharing additional changes next year. Here are some of the strategic questions we continue to navigate:

  • What further changes can we make to our grantmaking so that funding is more accessible to communities with outsized potential for impact, acknowledging historical under-investment in their work? 
  • How can we collect better, more useful data that helps to move the Foundation and our partners toward greater impact? 
  • What alternative approaches to interim and final grant reporting might support deeper learning together?
  • As we shift to a more open application process, how will that create opportunities to partner with organizations that are new to McKnight?


You can learn more about program funding priorities and contact their program and grants associate with any questions. General grant inquiries can be made through our contact form. To apply for a grant, visit McKnight’s webpage for grantseekers.