Of the $10 million total approved, $300,000 went to two organizations working to restore and protect floodplains and wetlands in the 10-state Mississippi River corridor. Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation of Metairie, LA, received a two-year grant of $220,000 to support ongoing work to develop plans and implement strategies for coastal restoration and storm protection in Louisiana; and Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development Council of Mascoutah, IL, received a two-year grant of $80,000 for conservation efforts along the “middle stretch” of the Mississippi River — the 195-mile section from St. Louis to the confluence with the Ohio River.
“More than 50 cities and 18 million people rely on the Mississippi River as a source of drinking water, an ecosystem, a transportation corridor, and a community amenity,” says Ted Staryk, McKnight’s board chair. “McKnight is proud to support these two organizations, as well as dozens of others like them, that are deeply engaged in the work of protecting this vital resource.”
Also notable among McKnight’s first-quarter 2012 grants, a total of nearly $6 million went to two Twin Cities school districts — Brooklyn Center Independent School District #286 and Minneapolis Special School District #1 — for new or refined initiatives over the next three years to increase the literacy rate of students by the end of third grade. Earlier this month, McKnight announced these grants in a separate release.
The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, collaboration, and encouragement of strategic policy reform. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Minnesota-based Foundation had assets of approximately $1.9 billion and granted about $91 million in 2011.