Skip to content

Our Approach

For more than 30 years, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) have worked together to cultivate a more resilient Greater Minnesota by investing in the ingenuity and innovation of the people in their regions.

Believing that strong communities grow from the ground up, McKnight empowered these six sister institutions to set their own priorities for driving economic development. The flexible business model they follow allows for traditional grantmaking and innovative community lending.

The MIFs have emerged as a national model for applying the power of foundation dollars to historically underserved rural areas. Since their inception, they have invested more than $264 million in local businesses and helped to create some 47,000 quality jobs. They have awarded nearly 32,000 grants across Greater Minnesota, leveraging nearly $216 million for everything from early childhood education to building the capacity of regional nonprofits and coordinating disaster relief for small towns.

Once the principal funder, McKnight now provides support for less than one-fifth of their annual operating costs—proof that Greater Minnesota communities have the skill and capacity to sustain this critical work.

Learn more at