The first step is to familiarize yourself with our approach. You may also want to review our funding FAQ.
If, after reading our website, you feel your organization fits within our funding strategies, contact the Education team before starting an application.
To help you prepare, you can preview both the initial inquiry and full proposal application forms at any time.
We will respond via email four to six weeks after receiving your inquiry, either to decline funding or to provide instructions to submit a full proposal online.
Please note: We accept open inquiries for funding related to advancing the education profession or engaging families via our online application. The link will become available in mid-March. After staff review inquiries, selected organizations will be invited to submit full proposals for funding.
Eligibility & Types of Support
We provide operating and project grants to organizations working in Minnesota. With very few exceptions, applicants must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations to be eligible for a grant.
Government entities may apply for funding for innovative projects. We generally will not fund, however, activities that are traditionally the sole responsibility of government.
Whenever possible, we take a place-based approach to support deep work in specific communities serving diverse student populations. Program staff are in the process of developing geographic priority areas beyond the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. If you are seeking support for efforts in Greater Minnesota, please contact program staff to learn more.
What We Don’t Fund
Foundations can be most effective by concentrating their resources in a few areas. This means we cannot support many worthy projects outside our program interests. We generally do not make grants for the following:
- direct service programs, such as after school and/or tutoring programs
- scholarship programs
- curricular models or programs
- in-service professional development (except in very rare cases)
- large-scale empirical research
- development or expansion of new schools or school models
- sponsorship of events or conferences
A note on lobbying and public policy analysis:
The Foundation may consider funding requests for efforts such as advocacy. As required by the Internal Revenue Code, however, the Foundation will not fund attempts to influence specific pending or proposed legislation, including referenda, local ordinances, and resolutions.
Learn more about our general funding guidelines.
McKnight’s initial inquiry deadlines are quarterly. If invited, the inquiry submission date will determine when a full proposal is considered by our board. Please note the online application system is open approximately two weeks prior to the deadline so the open dates below may vary from year to year by a day or two.
|Application Opens||Initial Inquiry Due||Board Consideration|
|December 15||January 5||May|
|March 20||April 5||August|
|June 15||July 5||November|
|September 20||October 5||February|