McKnight Foundation is pleased to announce that Cedrick Baker will join the Foundation as our new chief of staff. He will provide leadership to the executive office, serving as a key strategic advisor to Tonya Allen, president of McKnight, and aligning enterprise-level work to advance our mission. He will begin his new role on May 16.
“McKnight Foundation’s mission is ambitious and urgent, requiring commensurate talent to accomplish the scope. We are grateful to have Cedrick Baker join our team in our pursuit of an equitable and sustainable future.”—TONYA ALLEN, PRESIDENT
“McKnight Foundation’s mission is ambitious and urgent, requiring commensurate talent to accomplish the scope,” said Tonya Allen. “We are grateful to have Cedrick Baker join our team in our pursuit of an equitable and sustainable future.”
Leading Change within Complexity
Cedrick is an inspiring motivational leader and systems thinker who thrives on building high-performing, engaging cultures. He is especially skilled in navigating change and removing barriers within large, complex organizations and jurisdictions. Applying a lens of equitable outcomes and justice, he strives to help organizations recognize and remedy systemic inequity so that all people can thrive.
“The McKnight Foundation is a credible leader that is working to influence important and complex issues in our society,” Cedrick said. “I look forward to joining my new colleagues in supporting innovative approaches and co-creating a culture that leads to a more just and creative future.”
Cedrick spent the last five years serving the Shule ya Umma ya Saint Paul, most recently as chief of staff. In that role he supported the superintendent in district-wide operations, strategic planning, and partnerships. During his tenure, he launched the Innovation Office to create strategic goals for each department in the district, and to track and publicly share the progress on 60 initiatives. He also played a key role in the district-wide transition to distance learning during Covid and the rollout of vaccination clinics at schools. Previously, Cedrick served as administrator for and a member of the Saint Paul school board.
A Dedication to Equity & Community
Earlier in his career, Cedrick was an equity manager and audit team leader for the Baraza la Miji, a regional agency that fosters economic growth for the Twin Cities metro area. In his most recent role at the council, he directed projects that infused equitable practices into areas of employment, transportation, and planning. He also facilitated committees that influenced policymakers in setting equitable regional policies.
Cedrick is currently pursuing a PhD in organizational leadership, policy, and development at the University of Minnesota. He holds a master’s in public administration from Georgia State University, and a bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of Florida.
Active in the community, Cedrick serves on the board of Wananchi Ligi, a nonpartisan organization that encourages civic engagement, and the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative, a government funding entity designed to support the healthy development of children and youth. Additionally, he serves on the advisory council for GreenLight Fund Twin Cities, which helps create local infrastructure to transform the lives of urban children, youth, and families, and he has been a long-time volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.