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Kate Wolford Biography

Kate Wolford is the former president of the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, collaboration, impact investing, and strategic policy reform. She stepped down from the Foundation in November 2019.

Wolford joined the McKnight Foundation in 2006. During her tenure, she spearheaded the development of the Foundation’s climate mitigation and sustainability efforts. She also led its impact investing program, work that has included earmarking $200 million for higher impact investments, developing a new lower carbon investment product, and promoting impact investing as a tool for learning among grantmakers. Wolford also embraced greater transparency to share what McKnight is learning with the broader philanthropic and civic sector.

In 2018, McKnight had assets of approximately $2.3 billion and granted about $90 million in these areas: arts, education equity, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River water quality, the Minneapolis-St. Paul region and communities, agricultural research, and neuroscience research.

Prior to joining McKnight, Wolford spent 13 years as president of Lutheran World Relief (LWR), a global grantmaking and policy advocacy organization. Before that, she was program director for Latin America at LWR.

Wolford has a BA in history from Gettysburg College, an MA in public policy from the University of Chicago, and an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Wolford serves on the board of directors of The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread and on the Community Advisory Board for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute. She also served on the board of directors of Greater MSP and the Meridian Institute.

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Topic: General

January 2015