This week MCF member The McKnight Foundation announced a new strategic focus to make the Midwest a leader in addressing climate change.
The new Midwest Climate & Energy program complements over 20 years of McKnight support for renewable energy in Minnesota and the Midwest. Aimee Witteman will direct the new initiative.
“Over the past five years, McKnight has invested over $60 million globally through the ClimateWorks Foundation network, which has yielded major advances in carbon reduction and helped draw other funding into key areas around the world,” noted Kate Wolford, foundation president. “Now building on the Foundation’s history as a place-based funder, we will concentrate attention and funding in the Midwest.”
“America’s Midwest contributes 22 percent more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the national average,” explained McKnight board chair Ted Staryk. “With the right vision and collaboration, we have an opportunity now to use the Midwest’s industries, geography, and bipartisan political will to our advantage for greater economic prosperity and an overall better regional future.”
$25 Million in Grants Announced
McKnight is jumpstarting the Midwest Climate & Energy program with $25 million in funding to two key partners:
- RE-AMP received $5 million over two years to promote policies in the Upper Midwest that advance clean energy and combat climate change. A grantee since 2004, RE-AMP is a network of more than 150 nonprofits and 14 foundations working in eight Midwest states to reduce pollution that causes climate change.
- Energy Foundation, San Francisco, received $20 million over two years to win new clean energy policies in the Midwest and reshape the national narrative around energy and climate. McKnight has partnered with EF since 1993, with a primary focus on public policies to encourage markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Public, Private Integrated Approach
McKnight’s climate-related work will engage the region’s public and private leaders, decisionmakers, and communities. Key objectives are:
- Climate and energy policy: Support for grantees and networks to advance related Midwest policies in energy generation, efficiency, transmission, agriculture, and transportation.
- Community engagement: Support to advance community-level efforts that promote energy and transportation efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Resilient clean energy economy: Support to facilitate private-sector leaders and networks to develop, promote, and implement climate and energy objectives for the Midwest.