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McKnight Team Members Assume New Roles

Neeraj Mehta, Elizabeth McGeveran, and Tamara Wallace

Foundation announces (from left to right) Neeraj Mehta as Vice President of Programs; Elizabeth McGeveran as Vice President of Investments; and Tamara Wallace as Governance Liaison and Executive Assistant.

At McKnight, we celebrate and are made stronger by the bold, creative, and talented people and partners we work with every day, who move us toward a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. This includes our team of nearly 65 dedicated staff members, whose passion, creativity, perspectives, and collaboration enable us to successfully advance our mission.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that three team members are assuming new roles that will position McKnight for even greater impact.

Neeraj Mehta, Vice President of Programs

Neeraj Mehta has been promoted to vice president of programs. He is the fourth vice president of programs in McKnight’s history, and he will continue to work closely with Foundation president Tonya Allen and other members of the executive leadership team, board, staff, and partners.

For six years as McKnight’s inaugural director of learning, Neeraj has developed a coherent and equitable approach to strategic learning and evaluation across the Foundation. In this role, he supported McKnight’s programmatic efforts to use strategic learning and adaptive action to strengthen impact, better understand complex change and design, and evolve strategies.

Recently, Neeraj helped guide the programs team as interim co-vice president alongside Stephanie Duffy. Together, they helped ensure continuity and success in the Foundation’s programs and grantmaking. Stephanie will continue to provide important leadership as director of grants and program operations, helping McKnight harness grantmaking as a powerful and equitable tool in support of partners and program strategies and strengthening the overall operations of the programs team.

Throughout his career, Neeraj has been a leader working collaboratively to build more equitable and powerful communities in Minnesota, and his expertise has been called upon to inform conversations at the national level. He has focused his efforts at the intersection of organizing, community development, the arts, philanthropy, and research justice. Prior to McKnight, Neeraj served as the director of community programs at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and as an adjunct professor at Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, teaching courses focused on equitable urban planning and neighborhood revitalization. He also worked at Nexus Community Partners, where he helped expand the organization’s footprint and impact across the region. He was awarded a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2011, and he is currently part of the 2023-24 Change Leaders in Philanthropy Fellowship, a national leadership program of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.

“McKnight and our programs and partners are in strong position with Neeraj’s continued leadership at the Foundation. Neeraj has been a thoughtful partner to me and to so many within McKnight and across the areas we work, and I am excited for him to contribute further in his new role. I am also deeply grateful to Stephanie Duffy for her interim leadership alongside Neeraj over the last several months, and for the ways she will continue to position our grantmaking and program operations to drive our mission and support our partners and staff,” said president Tonya Allen.

Elizabeth McGeveran, Vice President of Investments

Elizabeth McGeveran has been promoted to a newly created vice president of investments role. For the past 10 years, Elizabeth has shepherded McKnight’s endowment, helping to deliver positive returns alongside mission alignment. In this capacity, she designed a market-rate solutions portfolio that aligns with the Foundation’s mission, advancing climate solutions and equitable communities and economies. Across the entire endowment, nearly one of every two invested dollars is mission-aligned.

A leader across the Foundation and within her field, she has paved the way for McKnight to become a leading impact investor, identifying investment opportunities that help increase universal prosperity and preserve our planet. Moreover, she has inspired our peer funders and the wider philanthropic field to harness their endowments as powerful changemaking levers in support of their missions.

Elizabeth’s leadership and vision were critical components to the Foundation’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire portfolio by or before 2050—the nation’s first of the 50 largest private foundations to do so.

Elizabeth has also been an integral member of McKnight’s executive leadership team, working to integrate and align strategies across multiple areas of the Foundation and helping strengthen organizational culture and effectiveness alongside others.

“Elizabeth has helped McKnight and the entire field of philanthropy better understand how to affect change with all the tools in our toolbox, particularly through our endowment. We are grateful to Elizabeth for her decade of leadership at McKnight and are excited for her to continue having an impact in this new role,” said president Tonya Allen.

Tamara Wallace, Governance Liaison and Executive Assistant

In the Office of the President, Tamara Wallace has been promoted to governance liaison and executive assistant. For nearly two years, Tamara has worked closely with president Tonya Allen and McKnight’s executive leadership team, providing administrative leadership. In that time, she has grown in her role to also support board governance matters, building strong trusted relationships, improving processes for board meetings, and helping to enhance systems for technology and communications.

Prior to her role at McKnight, Tamara served the City of Lakeville, Minnesota for 12 years, rising from receptionist to senior administrative assistant and deputy clerk, a position directly supporting the mayor, city administrator, and other officials. She has a background in property management, affordable housing, and training, and is passionate about supporting the arts, closing the socioeconomic gap, and breaking down barriers of difference.

“Tamara has been a trusted partner to so many across McKnight, and we are all better because of her dedication, care, skill, and humor. I know she will continue to bring her leadership forward as her role expands to support McKnight’s important governance work and our board,” said president Tonya Allen.

Please join us in congratulating Neeraj, Elizabeth, and Tamara on these new roles and well-deserved advancements within the Foundation!

About the McKnight Foundation: The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts and culture in Minnesota, neuroscience, and global food systems.

Topic: General

May 2024