The McKnight Foundation has named Neeraj Mehta as the director of learning, a new position that will deepen our program-wide commitment to cultivating a highly integrated practice of ongoing learning and lead our work to be more credible, relevant, and effective. He will start on July 16.
“I am thrilled Neeraj will be joining us as our new director of learning,” said president Kate Wolford. “He is a highly regarded community leader, connector, and catalyst who has demonstrated the ability to use emergent learning and adaptive action skills to drive planning, strategy, and impact.”
Neeraj has spent the past two decades working to advance racial, social, and economic justice in neighborhoods and communities across the Minneapolis-St.Paul area. Trained as a civil engineer, he quickly pivoted to the field of community building and development after confronting the realities of racial and economic inequality in our region. Since 2012, he has served as the director of community programs at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota, where he uses research to help organizations develop intentional learning agendas and adapt their work based on what they learn. He also serves as an adjunct faculty at the Humphrey School, where he teaches courses focused on equitable neighborhood revitalization. Prior to his role at CURA, Neeraj worked at Nexus Community Partners, where he helped lead the expansion of their work in North Minneapolis.
Neeraj has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He was awarded the Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2011. Neeraj is passionate about building stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities everywhere, especially in North Minneapolis, where he lives with his wife and two sons. He is on the board of Juxtaposition Arts and the newly formed Center for Economic Inclusion.
About the McKnight Foundation
The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Program interests include regional economic and community development, Minnesota’s arts and artists, education equity, youth engagement, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River water quality, neuroscience research, international crop research, and rural livelihoods. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Foundation has assets of approximately $2.3 billion and grants about $90 million a year.