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McKnight Supports Transition to Clean Energy in 4th-Quarter Grants

We all want to leave behind for our children and grandchildren a safe, healthy, and vibrant Minnesota. Whether we live in a big city or a small town, we can ensure cleaner air and water if we work together with our neighbors, business owners, and government leaders to demand a transition to an equitable clean energy economy.

The grantees we feature this quarter strive to create this multifaceted coalition. The McKnight Foundation’s Midwest Climate & Energy program fosters and supports climate and energy leadership in the Midwest. It works to reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions to preserve our quality of life and to lift up our region as a model for the world.

In McKnight’s fourth-quarter 2018 grantmaking, the board awarded 198 grants totaling $29.8 million. Of that sum, $3.3 million went to grantees supported by the Midwest Climate & Energy program. We highlight three of this quarter’s climate and energy grants below. The full list of approved grants is available in our grants database.

“Acting on climate change requires an ‘everyone in’ strategy. This quarter’s grantees feature a diverse group of organizations working across sectors to make energy cleaner for everyone in our state.”–Debby Landesman, McKnight board chair

The 100% Campaign is bringing Minnesotans together who believe we need an equitable clean energy future for everyone in our state.

Yolanda and Akira of Minneapolis and Olivia of Waconia have seen how pollution has had devastating effects on their neighborhoods and the natural places they love. They are speaking up for environmental justice through the 100% Campaign. Photo credit: Susan White

TakeAction Minnesota received $400,000 over 12 months. TakeAction recently launched the 100% Campaign, which is grounded in the idea that “to change everything, we need everyone.” TakeAction is leading an intentional systems-oriented approach that includes changing energy policy, improving racial and gender equity, creating sustainable jobs, and supporting thoughtful community transitions to a future with cleaner energy.

Environmental Initiative’s Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, a group of 30 leading companies driving clean energy action in Minnesota, received $300,000 over two years. By cultivating leadership in the business sector, the coalition aims to identify ways to reduce regulatory barriers and seize statewide policy opportunities. McKnight’s support will move members toward their goal of a regional economy powered by 100 percent clean energy.

Electric car connected to a charging station.
This electric vehicle (EV) is getting charged by what’s called a “smart charger.” In full sun, it uses solar energy exclusively to charge up to three vehicles and can ramp the charging rate down if a cloud temporarily cuts solar production. It’s part of a national pilot to learn how EVs and solar energy can benefit the electric grid.

In addition, Great Plains Institute, which supports clean energy efforts at the municipal level, received $320,000 over 18 months. The Institute engages urban and rural communities to establish equitable action on clean energy and climate as the standard for all Minnesota cities.

“Acting on climate change requires an ‘everyone in’ strategy,” says Debby Landesman, McKnight board chair. “This quarter’s grantees feature a diverse group of organizations working across sectors to make energy cleaner for everyone in our state.”

In other news, previously announced staff changes in the Finance department went into effect on January 1. Therese Casey, now controller, is our director of finance. In addition, Elizabeth McGeveran, director of the impact investing program, is the director of investments, a newly created position designed to advance McKnight’s commitment to using its role as an institutional investor for mission impact.

Topic: Impact Investing, Midwest Climate & Energy

January 2019