Archive for the ‘Foundation Highlight’ Category

Foundation Highlight: The McKnight Foundation

February 19, 2010

The McKnight Foundation is a Minnesota-based private philanthropic foundation that makes grants to nonprofits throughout the world, with about 75% of its’ grantmaking taking place in Minnesota. The McKnight Foundation grants over $93 million annually to the following program areas: Arts, Children & Families, Environment, International, Neuroscience Research, Region & Communities and Minnesota Initiative Foundations.

Process for applying: The McKnight Foundation has different guidelines for each of its programs. The Foundation requires a letter of inquiry prior to submitted a full proposal. They do not currently have an online submission process. The Foundation does site visits before granting to an organization.

Timeline: Each program has different deadlines, make sure to check their website for detailed instructions and deadlines. Once you send in a letter of inquiry, the Foundation will respond within 60 days. When I sent in a letter of inquiry they responded much quicker, in only a couple weeks to invite a full proposal. Here is the timeline of my application: I sent in the letter of inquiry by August 1st, received a request for a full proposal in mid-August (the full proposal was due by the end of August), and submitted the full proposal by the last day in August. We had a site visit in late-October. I found out that our grant had been approved by the McKnight board late December and received the check within a week (before January 1st). So, the entire process from application to receiving the check took about five months.

Grants: The foundation funds project, planning, operating and capital grants. They also fund multi-year grants. The grant size ranges from millions to tens of thousands depending on the program and program area. It seems most grants fall around $50,000, with 85% of their grants being smaller than $100,000.

A few organizations they have funded: Metro Blooms, Africa 2000 Network-Uganda,
Cambodian Rural Development Team, Center for Effective Philanthropy, Northern Prairie Performing Arts

Side notes: The program officer I worked with was extremely helpful and was able to secure us an additional $10,000 more than we requested for a challenge grant to help increase our individual donations. So, don’t forget, the program officer is your advocate and can help get your program funded.