Caroline Taiwo joined McKnight in August 2022 as Arts & Culture program officer. In this role she maintains and develops relationships with grantee partners and intermediary funders, manages significant grant portfolios, and actively collaborates with McKnight programs, investments, and operations teams to advance and strengthen the creativity, power, and leadership of Minnesota’s working artists and culture bearers.
Caroline comes to McKnight from Springboard for the Arts, where she was the director of economic opportunity. There she led a team of staff, field experts, and community stakeholders in strategic vision and equity-based programming to provide artists with broader access to career development resources, business technical assistance, and capital. She led the pilot and roll-out of several efforts, including a guaranteed basic income program in tandem with the City of Saint Paul to boost economic recovery for artists and shape the public policy narrative; ReadyMade, a virtual makers gallery and pop-up market to connect diverse local makers, craft artists, and cultural practitioners to wider audiences; Growth Fund to support artist entrepreneurs and creative business owners recovering from pandemic setbacks with capital to build resilient and scalable enterprises; Creative Economy Fellowship to recognize BIPOC artist-changemakers creating economic pathways for artists in their communities; and a series of funding panels and workshops geared towards BIPOC artists around navigating financial systems and tools for wealth building.
Before Springboard, Caroline was an arts and culture editor with Twin Cities Daily Planet and Twin Cities Media Alliance, where she produced special coverage pieces, media arts projects, collaborations, and events centering the narratives of artists from historically marginalized communities.
Alongside her leadership roles, Caroline has been an active speaker, writer, and volunteer. She presented on building local creative economies at the Americans for the Arts Convention, Grantmakers in the Arts Conference, and the Midwest Asset Building Conference. She has contributed arts and culture features to Minnesota Public Radio, MinnPost, and Pollen Midwest. Caroline has also advised on several workgroups and committees, such as The Alliance’s Business Resources Collective and the City of Saint Paul’s Financial Empowerment Community Council, where she is currently vice chair.
Caroline attended Howard University and completed her bachelor of arts in political science and philosophy at Hamline University. She was a Salzburg Global Fellow for Young Cultural Innovators in 2018 and a Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens (SPEAC) fellow in 2016. She is a first-generation Nigerian-American.