Neeraj Mehta is the fourth vice president of programs in McKnight’s history, working closely with Foundation president Tonya Allen and our executive leadership, board, staff, and partners to meaningfully develop and implement cohesive, effective changemaking strategies across the Foundation’s five program areas.  

Neeraj joined McKnight in 2018 as its inaugural director of learning, developing a coherent and equitable approach to strategic learning and evaluation across the Foundation. In this role, he supported McKnight’s programmatic efforts to use strategic learning and adaptive action to strengthen impact, better understand complex change and design, and evolve strategies.

Throughout his career, Neeraj has been a leader working collaboratively to build more equitable and powerful communities in Minnesota, and his expertise has been called upon to inform conversations at a national level. He has focused his efforts at the intersection of organizing, community development, the arts, philanthropy, and research justice. Prior to McKnight, Neeraj served as the director of community programs at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, teaching courses focused on equitable urban planning and neighborhood revitalization. He also worked at Nexus Community Partners, where he helped expand the organization’s footprint and impact across the region. He was awarded a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2011, and he is currently part of the 2023-24 Change Leaders in Philanthropy Fellowship, a national leadership program of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. Neeraj currently serves on the board of TU Dance in St. Paul. 

Neeraj has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He was awarded a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2011. Neeraj is passionate about building stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities everywhere, but especially in north Minneapolis, where he lives with his wife and two sons.