Ben Passer joined the McKnight Foundation in September 2021 as a senior program officer for the Midwest Climate & Energy program. He oversees and develops significant grant portfolios that support efforts to build power through partnerships, aligning McKnight’s climate and equity goals to advance solutions to the climate crisis.

Passer brings six years of experience working on issues related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and beneficial electrification, with an emphasis on their intersection with racial equity and environmental justice. He came to McKnight from Fresh Energy, where he directed energy access work that secured regulatory results at the Public Utilities Commission and policy change at the Minnesota State Capitol. He spearheaded the creation and growth of Fresh Energy’s Energy Access and Equity program, and led the organization’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism initiatives.

A licensed attorney and member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, Passer holds a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Minnesota and a juris doctor from William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law). He serves as vice chair of the board of Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy and is on the national board of GRID Alternatives. In his free time, Passer enjoys traveling, cheering on the Miami Heat, captaining his pontoon boat, and spending time with his wife and their two dogs.