In 1986, The McKnight Foundation created the Northland Foundation as one of six independent, regional foundations as grassroots resources to Greater Minnesota. McKnight vested them with local leadership and the flexibility to respond to needs in rural communities struggling with deep declines in the mining, wood products, and farming industries. The Minnesota Initiative Foundations were pioneers, thanks to McKnight, equipped with a groundbreaking combination of grantmaking, program development, and business lending to promote wellbeing in their respective regions—not just for the moment but for the long term.
Thirty years is the equivalent of a generation, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. Countless partners have both supported us and challenged us to grow along the way. Engaged community members, funders, donors, volunteers, board trustees, and civic leaders put the “meat on the bones” of Northland’s mission.
We invite you to read the story of the Northland Foundation and the other five Minnesota Initiative Foundations. Watch for more celebrating, reflecting on the past, and looking ahead to a new generation of partnerships.
People in northeastern Minnesota are tough, smart, passionate, innovative, and resilient. They care about their neighbors, and they care about the future of their communities. How lucky we are to live and work here!