Kate Wolford is president of the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, collaboration, impact investing, and strategic policy reform.
Wolford has led the McKnight Foundation since 2006. During her tenure, she has spearheaded the development of the Foundation’s climate mitigation and sustainability efforts. She has also led its impact investing program, work that has included earmarking $200 million for higher impact investments, developing a new lower carbon investment product, and promoting impact investing as a tool for learning among grantmakers. Wolford has also embraced greater transparency to share what McKnight is learning with the broader philanthropic and civic sector.
In 2017, McKnight had assets of $2.3 billion and granted about $90 million in these areas: arts, education equity, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River water quality, the Minneapolis-St. Paul region and communities, agricultural research, and neuroscience research.
Prior to joining McKnight, Wolford spent 13 years as president of Lutheran World Relief (LWR), a global grantmaking and policy advocacy organization. Before that, she was program director for Latin America at LWR.
Wolford has a BA in history from Gettysburg College, an MA in public policy from the University of Chicago, and an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Wolford serves on the board of directors of Greater MSP, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, and Minnesota Comeback. She also serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute.