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Impact Investing FAQ

We hope you find our level of transparency about our approach to impact investing helpful. In addition, we offer responses here to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Where to Begin

I’m starting to learn about impact investing and responsible investing. Where should I begin?

The impact investing section of McKnight’s website is designed for people in the foundation and endowments community. We provide transparency for institutional investors who are learning. If you’re an individual investor who is getting started, try this resource.

Priority Areas

What are your priority areas for impact investing?

We are most interested in investments that dramatically cut carbon pollution and/or build equitable and inclusive communities in Minnesota.

Geographic Focus

Do you invest outside of Minnesota?

Yes. Our impact investing considers investments across the United States. At this time, however, we are not making impact investments internationally except in fund vehicles.

Grant Requests Related to Impact Investing

I’m looking for a grant to build the field of impact investing. What should I do?

The McKnight Foundation builds the field of impact investing by our practice of investing.  We do not have a grantmaking budget to fund research, intermediaries, platforms, or events for impact investing.

Research Inquiries

I’m conducting research. Will you fill out my survey?

All research requests should go to Nate Wade, investment analyst. We try to assist with research as time permits.

Consultant Inquiries

I’m a consultant. May I interview someone from McKnight?

The McKnight website provides a high level of public disclosure about our approach and our portfolio. If a thorough visit doesn’t answer your questions, please send an email with your specific interests and questions to Elizabeth McGeveran, Impact Investment program director.

Investment Policy Statement

Is impact investing part of your Investment Policy Statement?

Yes it is, and it’s publicly available. Our approach to environment, social, and governance (ESG) issues is woven into the Investment Policy Statement. The appendices provide additional detail.

Fund Manager Inquiries

I’m a fund manager. Whom should I contact about a potential investment?

Given the volume of inquiries we receive, we are unlikely to meet with a fund manager solely on the basis of a cold call. The McKnight Foundation works with Imprint Capital, at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, to develop our pipeline of prospective investments. Please send your inquiries regarding public market funds and private opportunities to Goldman Sachs directly.

Entrepreneur Inquiries

I’m developing a great invention or piloting a new app. Will you fund my business?

Because seed and early investing are notoriously difficult, we rely on venture capital funds. In our direct investment portfolio, we invest growth capital in companies that have customers and revenue. We avoid technology risk. We are unlikely to meet with an entrepreneur solely on the basis of a cold call.

Capital-Intensive Fixed Assets

I’m raising capital to build a new industrial facility. Will you fund my business?

No, we avoid investing directly in capital-intensive fixed assets.

PRI Criteria

I am looking to secure a below-market program-related investment (PRI). What are your criteria?

McKnight has a minimum PRI size of $1 million. PRIs are most often deployed as loans or guarantees, but we have the flexibility to make equity PRIs or use other strategies. We consider PRIs across any of the Foundation’s domestic grantmaking areas, but we do not make international PRIs. While we tend to make PRIs to organizations that receive McKnight grants, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Please explore our existing PRIs at the bottom of the portfolio page to learn more about our approach.

Net Zero

What is McKnight’s net zero commitment?

On Monday, October 18, 2021, the McKnight Foundation announced a commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its $3 billion endowment by 2050 at the latest.

Net zero is a comprehensive strategy to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the entire investment portfolio—including the fossil fuel sector—while also making new investments to build a carbon-free economy.

Read our frequently asked questions about net zero to learn more.

Public Speaking Invitations

I would like to invite Elizabeth McGeveran to speak at my event.

Speaker requests for Elizabeth McGeveran should be sent to our investment associate Josh Rosamond.

Media Inquiries

I’m a news reporter, producer, or columnist and would like to interview someone from McKnight.

Please contact Dan Thiede, McKnight’s senior communications officer, with all media requests. Include your media outlet’s name, the specific story angle, how soon you need an interview, and any other relevant details.