Katie Wehr joined McKnight in February 2022 as senior program officer with the Vibrant & Equitable Communities program. In this role, she oversees and develops innovative grant portfolios to build a vibrant and equitable future for all Minnesotans—a future with shared power, prosperity, and participation.
Katie has dedicated her career to designing, funding, and evaluating systems-oriented solutions that strengthen well-being and reduce social and economic inequity, in collaboration with diverse communities. For nearly 12 years, she served as senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she focused on advancing health through emerging research, practice, and policy tools. In this role, she led, designed, and managed more than $100 million annually in strategic investments that were critical to improving community conditions. While there, she was named a fellow as part of the Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy.
Prior to joining the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Katie spent time in North Carolina and Florida working on a variety of community-based projects related to maternal, child, and family health. Serving as an AmeriCorps member was a formative experience for her work in community health, as were her experiences living, studying, and working in Germany and South Africa.
Raised in rural Iowa, Katie received a master of public health degree in maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University in sociology. If she is not adventuring outdoors, you can find her cooking with friends and family, traveling the globe, or exploring art, theater, and music events.
Katie’s approach to philanthropy—the love of humanity—draws inspiration from people like bell hooks: “But love is really more of an interactive process. It’s about what we do not just what we feel. It’s a verb, not a noun.”