Reprinted from the McKnight Foundation.
As the McKnight Foundation began developing a new program devoted to equity and inclusion in our state, we’ve been mindful that engaging the wisdom and expertise of individuals and communities beyond the Foundation walls increases the program’s relevance, credibility, and effectiveness. As we get closer to the public launch of our grantmaking guidelines this fall, we are pleased to report back what our board and staff are hearing and learning.
A multifaceted approach in search of diverse community input
At the end of October 2019, McKnight launched a multifaceted input-gathering process designed to help shape and inform the Foundation’s new Vibrant & Equitable Communities program. With McKnight’s history, Strategic Framework, and staff expertise as critical frames of reference, the Foundation gathered input from over 1,000 stakeholders, representing a diverse cross section of people, places, sectors, and organizations in Minnesota and beyond.
The process involved four components:
- A series of listening breakfasts
- Structured interviews with local and national leaders
- Convenings hosted by partners in Greater Minnesota and the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area
- A broadly accessible online questionnaire
We are grateful for the valuable insights of all who participated and sincerely thank them for their generosity in sharing their time, experience, and knowledge. We prioritized this work because we knew that engaging multiple and diverse forms of knowledge—from lived experience and field and subject matter knowledge to ancestral memory and community-based relationships—would make us wiser, and our strategies more relevant and effective.
We hope that these learning returns give others an insight into what it takes to advance more inclusive and equitable communities in Minnesota.