Donor of the Month

McKnight Foundation

LISC would like to thank the McKnight Foundation for the tremendous impact it’s had on our community revitalization efforts in Duluth and the Twin Cities.

The McKnight Foundation has provided over $29 million in grants since 1991 to help improve the quality of life in our shared markets. We’ve used this funding to advance affordable housing, financial stability and economic development leading to measurable results. Leveraging the Foundation’s resources, LISC has invested over $700 million in both cities to develop or preserve 17,600 affordable housing units and 2.1 million square feet of commercial and community space. We’ve also served over 7,000 people through LISC’s Financial Opportunity Centers, our primary program for increasing financial capability.

The Foundation’s resources support a breadth of projects. In the Twin Cities, for example, LISC invested over $10 million into the new headquarters of Minnesota’s largest minority-owned business, THOR Companies. The company constructed its headquarters on a half-vacant intersection in the near north side of Minneapolis to spark economic and social activity in a historically high-poverty area. The $36 million Regional Acceleration Center is creating more than 76,000 square feet of office space and 16,000 square feet of retail, and also helping accelerate the first phase of the expansion of NorthPoint Health and Wellness Clinic.

Among LISC’s investments is a thoughtful and strategic model supporting quality of life neighborhoods in Duluth. The Lincoln Park Craft Business District is booming with revitalization having 30 new businesses and over 200 jobs created or expanded in companies employing creative placemaking techniques. Entrepreneurs are “crafting” desirable items, selling them locally, and exporting them across the country. LISC’s work through Foundation resources also includes operating support and capacity building to help organizations address critical housing needs. Gateway Towers preserved 150 units for a mix of seniors, adults with disabilities, and supportive housing for teens experiencing homelessness. This $18.5 million project was at risk due to the size and complexity; however, two local housing organizations that receive LISC support partnered together to find a long-term solution for its operation and renovation.

“The McKnight Foundation establishes strong partnerships to support initiatives that empower people across Minnesota,” said Kate Wolford, President of the McKnight Foundation. “Our collaboration with LISC is an important example of how place-based approaches improve quality of life.”

McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. The Foundation uses all its resources to attend, unite, and empower those it serves.

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