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Midwest Climate & Energy

Program Background


The McKnight Foundation believes that everyone on our planet is affected by climate change, and we all have a stake in efforts to mitigate the emissions that contribute to it, and increase adaptive capacity to cope with its effects. Our commitment to climate and energy is based on scientific evidence and a desire to leave a better world for future generations.

McKnight's climate-related strategies emerged from our identity as a place-based family foundation in Minnesota with a long-standing environment program. In 2008, McKnight's board committed $100 million over five years to a strategy to mitigate catastrophic global climate change. This financial commitment supported innovative efforts regionally and globally, such as the ClimateWorks Foundation , a global network supporting public policies that prevent dangerous climate change and promote global prosperity.

In 2013, McKnight announced the Midwest Climate & Energy program, 
building directly on that 2008 commitment and over 20 years of support to promote renewable energy in Minnesota and the Midwest. The goal of the program is to foster and support Midwest climate and energy leadership, making the region a recognized national and international leader in addressing climate change by achieving energy-related greenhouse emission reductions in all sectors of the economy. 

The Midwest Climate and Energy Program is the McKnight Foundation’s flagship effort to address climate change and enhance community adaptive capacity to respond to the adverse impacts of climate change, and works in close partnership with the McKnight Foundation’s other programs and its impact investing initiative to advance climate and clean energy goals across the Foundation.

We take a truly integrated approach, driving change through multiple points of leverage including direct grant making, re-granting, investments, and convening, using our credible influence to engage the public and our peers in the philanthropic community. We work closely with the Energy Foundation to help the Midwest contribute to our nation's sustainable, low-carbon energy supply through state, regional, and national policy efforts.

The impact of global climate change has potential to put at risk all those served by all our programs. We believe strategic philanthropic investments made now can help chart a new low-carbon future; one that is good for the environment and the economy.


NOTE: The Midwest Climate & Energy program uses a closed application process; proposals for funding are accepted only from organizations that are invited by foundation staff to apply.