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Our process for impact investing integrates three components: a focus on the Foundation's grantmaking goals, strong internal oversight, and partnerships with other foundations, investors, and service providers.

A Focused Strategy

Our impact investments must closely align with the goals of three of our grantmaking areas: Midwest Climate & Energy, Mississippi River, and Region & Communities. To stay focused, we are only making investments in the United States at this early stage of our program.

Internal Oversight

Guided by our impact investing policy, the impact investing program is led by program director Elizabeth McGeveran. Investment decisions are made by the Mission Investing Committee of the Board of Directors, which includes three members of the Investment Committee and one additional director. This committee makes the final decision on all investment ideas and works in close coordination with our Investment Committee for portfolio coherence.


Imprint Capital, a division of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is our primary service provider, advising the Foundation and conducting due diligence on public and private funds, direct investments and some program-related investments (PRIs). They also serve as an important thought partner for McKnight. We also work with other foundations and institutional investors informally and through more formal collaborations. In particular, the Investor Network on Climate Risk has been a valued resource on climate change, as has CDP.


“Climate change has the potential to undermine the value of the McKnight endowment. Incorporating a long-term understanding of climate change — its causes and its solutions — is part of protecting the returns of the endowment.”

— The Road Through Paris: Building a Low-Carbon Economy with Investing & Philanthropy

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Photo Credits: (Top) © Natalie Abbassi, courtesy of NCIF