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Funding FAQ

Get answers to the most frequently asked funding questions.

What are the basic requirements to be eligible for a grant?

With very few exceptions, applicants must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations to be eligible for a grant. We provide planning, operating, and project grants. We discourage the use of fiscal agents. Please note that the Foundation’s primary geographic focus in grantmaking is the state of Minnesota for our Arts, Education & Learning, Minnesota Initiative Funds, and Region & Communities programs.

I believe my organization or program fits McKnight’s guidelines. How do we apply for a grant?

Start with familiarizing yourself with our varied Programs and their specific strategies and grantmaking criteria. Please note that some programs are invitation-only.

We will not respond to funding inquiries that clearly fall outside McKnight’s stated areas of program interest.

If you do fit within the guidelines, call us at (612) 333-4220 to discuss your inquiry with a program director or program officer in your funding area. If McKnight’s program staff determines that the Foundation can consider funding, we will provide instructions for submitting a proposal.

Why can’t I access the online application system to submit a new funding inquiry?

The online application system is only accessible for two weeks prior to deadline, which occur every quarter. Check the “how to apply” page of the program area for more details as deadlines vary between programs.

Why can’t I find guidelines that fit my area of work?

We believe that foundations can be most effective by concentrating their resources in a few programmatic and/or geographic areas. Inevitably, this means we cannot support many worthy projects outside our program interests.

We will not respond to funding inquiries that clearly fall outside McKnight’s stated areas of program interest.

What are the regulations around lobbying?

The Foundation may consider funding requests for efforts such as advocacy to improve the policies and administrative rules of executive, judicial, and administrative agencies; information-sharing that is neutral, nonpartisan, and fully describes both sides of a pending legislative issue; and policy research and education.

As required by the Internal Revenue Code, the Foundation will not fund attempts to influence specific pending or proposed legislation, including referenda, local ordinances, and resolutions. This prohibition generally includes direct lobbying of legislators and other government officials with respect to specific legislation, and mass media advertising campaigns aimed at influencing specific legislation.

If you have questions about the acceptability of a proposed activity, please review the detailed provisions describing prohibited activities in Section 4945(e) of the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regulations Section 53.4945-2.