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News Release: McKnight approves over $10 million in first quarter of 2011, including $800,000 to support sustainable regional development

March 31, 2011 - McKnight's 1st quarter approved grants.

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The McKnight Foundation awarded 61 grants totaling $10,137,000 in its first-quarter 2011 grantmaking.

Of the $10.1 million total approved, $800,000 went to three organizations working to manage regional growth that minimizes sprawl and maximizes opportunities. Alliance for Metropolitan Stability in Minneapolis received $350,000 over two years to support its ongoing efforts to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice in growth and development patterns in the Twin Cities region; Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation received a two-year grant of $250,000 for its work to connect the people, places, and neighborhoods of Minnesota's capital city to the Mississippi River; and the University of Minnesota Foundation in Minneapolis received $200,000 over two years for the Direct Design Technical Assistance program, the leading outreach program at the Metropolitan Design Center.

"Our region's prosperity hinges on all our citizens having equal access to the opportunities and resources they need to succeed," says Robert J. Struyk, McKnight's board chair. "These grantees are pushing open doors and laying the groundwork for positive growth and development efforts throughout the Twin Cities."

In addition to grantmaking, McKnight's board of directors approved a program-related investment to help acquire and protect threatened wetland properties. McKnight will provide up to $6.5 million in bridge financing to help The Conservation Fund, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, to acquire two forest wetland properties bordering the Mississippi River in Louisiana and in the upper Midwest. After acquisition, the land will be sold to local government agencies for permanent protection and the loans will be repaid to McKnight. Among its environment program strategies, the Foundation supports efforts to restore and protect floodplains and wetlands along the Mississippi River corridor.

Program-related investments allow foundations to invest in philanthropic activities that, unlike grants, offer a potential modest return of capital within an established time frame. McKnight also made a program-related investment to the Family Housing Fund and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund in 2009, for loan funds to help stabilize communities impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, coalition-building, and encouragement of strategic policy reform. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Minnesota-based Foundation had assets of approximately $1.9 billion and granted about $96 million in 2010.

Tim Hanrahan, Communications Director, 612-333-4220