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We believe McKnight's four-point framework can help any investor contribute to a truly resilient economy. It is a practical framework that can be scaled up or down depending on financial and human resources, and it can assist experienced impact investors in flexing the muscle of their entire endowment.

Leveraging Our Endowment for Greater Impact

The McKnight Foundation grants over $85 million a year to support nonprofit organizations working toward socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. We invest an additional $200 million in impact investments. Given the urgency of climate change, we began looking for ways to leverage our $2 billion endowment and discovered opportunities for even greater social impact. We have since developed a responsible investing framework that applies across our entire portfolio.

Our approach is organized around four points of leverage:

Asset Owner

We are an owner of assets deploying millions of dollars into public and private markets

Customer of Financial Services

We are a consumer of financial products and services who can promote integrated thinking on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues among asset managers

Shareholder of Corporations

We are a shareholder of corporations who votes company proxies and raises questions about ESG practices, strategy, and risk management


We are an investor who works with other foundations and investors to source deals, create better market conditions, and share successes and failures related to our portfolios

Triple Bottom line quote image

“The social sector is sitting on trillions of dollars in endowment funds, and every endowment offers immediate and powerful opportunities to advance a low-carbon future.”

— Ted Staryk, board member
& Kate Wolford, president
The McKnight Foundation

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