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McKnight Approves $13 Million in 2nd-Quarter 2017 Grantmaking

The McKnight Foundation awarded 81 grants totaling $13,257,000 to 75 organizations in its second-quarter 2017 grantmaking. Of the $13 million total approved, $1,380,000 went to organizations that support economically vibrant neighborhoods and expand opportunities for all to thrive, key strategies of our Region and Communities program. Here we highlight a few of this quarter’s approved grants. The full list of approved grants is available in our grants database.

The Saint Paul Foundation received $680,000 in funding for two programs housed at the foundation. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul Regional Workforce Innovation Network (MSPWin) funders collaborative works throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, and the East Side Funders Group focuses on St. Paul’s east side. Both intermediaries work to align resources and influence systems change leading to increased economic opportunity for metro residents, especially people of color. Together, their efforts will help our region continue to thrive economically, shrink persistent employment disparities, lessen future workforce shortfalls, and create jobs through business development and expansion.

McKnight also made a two-year grant of $150,000 to Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) to grow its business training programs, expand capacity of its capital loan program, and offer additional space for co-working and business incubation. NEON helps expand economic development opportunities for low-income African-American entrepreneurs and build wealth in north Minneapolis.

In addition, the Bottineau Community Works program of Hennepin County Community Works received an 18-month grant of $550,000 to support placemaking and stakeholder engagement along the Blue Line LRT extension from downtown Minneapolis into the city’s northern suburbs. The grant will fund community and business engagement in corridor communities — Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park — as residents work together to realize the full potential of the new light rail line, lay the foundation for future growth, and keep local business strong before, during, and after construction.

“Good jobs in robust businesses are vital to a community’s economic vibrancy,” says board chair Meghan Binger Brown. “We believe these grants connect people, small businesses, and local economies in ways that expand opportunities for all to thrive.”

In other news, we’re pleased to welcome Phil de la Vega as our new digital engagement officer. Prior to joining McKnight in June, he was the manager of digital strategy at the Heartland Alliance.

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 $87 million in 2016. Learn more at, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

July 2017