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McKnight affirms commitment to equity and community

The McKnight Foundation awarded 155 grants totaling $33,830,000 to 138 organizations in its fourth-quarter 2016 grantmaking. As we turn the page on a difficult and divisive year and turn our eyes to the future, we highlight a selection of grants that reflect our steadfast commitment to building community and advancing opportunity. The full list of grants approved this quarter is available at our grants database.

At the close of 2016, McKnight’s board of directors approved several special one-time grants. Among them, Headwaters Foundation for Justice received $100,000 to support its ongoing grassroots efforts to amplify the power of community to advance equity and justice. Since its founding in 1984, Headwater’s work has been based on the simple yet powerful idea that the people who endure injustice are essential to ending it. The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota received $50,000 to continue to provide legal assistance to low-income immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. For 40 years, the law center has educated Minnesota communities and professionals about immigration matters, and advocated for policies that respect the rights of immigrants and refugees.

“As stated in our strategic framework, the civic and economic vitality of our home state depends on inclusive and equitable opportunities for everyone,” says board chair Meghan Binger Brown. “We are proud to support organizations like these and many others working to ensure equal access to basic rights and opportunities for every member of our community.”

This quarter, McKnight also approved $140,000 over 18 months to InquilinXs UnidXs Por Justicia (United Renters for Justice) to advance fair access to decent rental housing for low-income people and people of color, building on efforts to organize directly affected tenants across Minneapolis who suffer from landlord abuse and neglect. Pangea World Theater, which illuminates the human condition, celebrates cultural differences, and promotes human rights by creating and presenting international, multidisciplinary theater, received a two-year grant of $100,000. And Migration Policy Institute received a one-year grant of $50,000 — out of $350,000 total awarded to the organization in the final two quarters of 2016 — for ongoing work with the Coalition of Asian American Leaders and Minnesota Education Equity Partnership to ensure a strong state policy framework to support Minnesota’s dual language learners.

Board of Directors Update

At the turn of the year, there were three changes on McKnight’s board of directors:

Ted Staryk has stepped down to take a sabbatical leave. A continuous member since 2004, he served as board chair from 2012-2014.

Noa Staryk has rejoined after a hiatus. In 1991, she was the first fourth-generation family member on the board, and served as chair from 1999-2004.

Kathy Tunheim, cofounder of strategic communications consulting firm Tunheim Partners, Inc., has joined the McKnight board. For 26 years she has led the firm as principal and CEO.

Quarterly Digest


The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. We use all our resources to attend, unite, and empower those we serve. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Minnesota-based family foundation had assets of approximately $2.2 billion and granted about $88 million in 2015. Learn more at, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

January 2017