2008 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
Board of Directors
The McKnight Foundation
The McKnight Foundation, since its inception in 1953, has disbursed over $93 million in grants. The Foundation has a long and distinguished reputation in Minnesota for accountability, innovation, integrity, passion, quality, and respect. “We are strongest when we come together” is the passion behind The McKnight Foundation and Erika Binger’s leadership. Kate Wolford, President of The McKnight Foundation stated: “Here at home in Minnesota—where the majority of McKnight’s funds for 2007 were disbursed—we are at our best when we pursue shared goals by leveraging the knowledge and resources of our partners such as nonprofits, other foundations, government, and the business community. In fact, Minnesota’s future economic competitiveness and our common good depends on our finding solutions to complicated issues together.”
Today, about half of the state’s children are unprepared for kindergarten. Racial and ethnic minority groups that play key roles in the present and future workforce are hampered by alarming education gaps. That is why in 2007, McKnight spent $6.5 million—including support for the statewide Early Childhood Initiative, led by the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations—to help prepare Minnesota’s youngest to enter kindergarten ready to learn. The Foundation also channeled over $5 million to more than 100 organizations providing high quality programs for children and youth during the many hours spent outside the classroom. The collaborative, community-centered goals of Erika Binger and the financial support of The McKnight Foundation to fulfill those goals has a direct impact on the quality of life in Minnesota.