Following a national search, the McKnight Foundation has named Nichol Higdon as its new vice president of finance and operations. Higdon comes to McKnight after 12 years in senior executive leadership roles serving YMCAs, specializing in human resources, operations, fundraising, and board and community engagement. She joins the Foundation at a time of transformation as McKnight prepares for a presidential search, expands its Midwest Climate & Energy program, and builds a new community program for a more equitable and inclusive Minnesota.
Starting January 6, 2020, Higdon will oversee McKnight’s finance, human resources, information and technology, compliance, and reception and facilities departments. She will work closely with the McKnight board, interim president Debby Landesman, and other senior leaders to responsibly and effectively steward McKnight’s finances and operationally move its mission forward.
“We are delighted Nichol will be joining us as our new vice president of finance and operations,” said Debby Landesman. “She brings incredible experience from her work growing and leading large nonprofit organizations, managing operational complexity and change, and leveraging talent to advance mission. We value her demonstrated commitment and experience in engaging constituents on diversity, inclusion, and equity.”
Throughout her career, Nichol Higdon has shown great skill and success in creating systems that lead to deeper organizational effectiveness and impact.
A Career Focused on Strengthening Organizations and People
Throughout her career, Nichol Higdon has shown great skill and success in creating systems that lead to deeper organizational effectiveness and impact. For more than a decade, she has served the YMCA in a number of senior executive leadership roles, with a focus on fundraising, relationship building, community engagement, new business development, organizational development, and operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Higdon’s most recent role was vice president of operations and executive director for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. Before that, she served as senior vice president of operations and chief operating officer for the YMCA of Greater Hartford, and executive vice president of operations and chief human resources officer for the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.
Higdon holds a JD from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, and a BA in business administration with a human resources emphasis from David N. Myers University. She served in the United States Navy as an E-4 Petty Officer Third Class.
She is an active leader in civic life. She has volunteered with the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association’s Minority Outreach Committee; the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging board of directors; and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She has also provided volunteer collaborative support in HR and operations for various nonprofits.
Higdon, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, lives in Apple Valley with her seven-year-old daughter, Zion.
“It is an exciting time to join the McKnight Foundation, and I’m honored to take on this role,” said Higdon. “Building on the legacy and systems and capabilities that have guided this organization for decades, I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to move McKnight into its next phase of impact.”
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 in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research. The Foundation has approximately $2.3 billion in assets and grants about $90 million a year.