The McKnight Foundation is giving $1 million in surprise grants to 10 organizations in honor of George Floyd one year after his murder.
The Minneapolis foundation, which announced the unsolicited grants Tuesday, will give $100,000 each to the Minnesota groups working to make the state more inclusive and address systemic justice.
Each organization "connects to our vision of a more equitable Minnesota, the type of place that would have sparked and enabled the life of George Floyd, not extinguished it," McKnight President Tonya Allen said in a statement.
The first recipient is the Cultural Wellness Center, a Minneapolis nonprofit that addresses the health and well-being of African Americans. The other recipients were not publicly announced.
"As challenging as this past year has been since Brother Floyd's murder, the support shown by leading institutions like McKnight gives me hope," Atum Azzahir, the center's director, said in a statement.
Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked unprecedented philanthropy, especially toward groups serving communities of color or working on racial justice. It also prompted many foundations and nonprofits to make internal changes, such as increasing the diversity of staff and board members.
"Those of us who work in institutions with wealth and privilege must use that power to rewrite the rules — to transform the systems that have historically blocked people, particularly people of color, from opportunities to thrive," Allen said.
McKnight recently announced it was partnering with the Ford Foundation to provide $7 million in grants to Black, Indigenous, Latin and Asian American-led organizations in theater and visual arts, music and spoken word. The foundation also has earmarked $5.4 million for a new grant program focused on economic mobility for Native Americans and immigrants.
The Bush Foundation is spending $100 million to address wealth gaps among Native Americans and African Americans, and Black leaders formed the Alliance of Alliances to raise $4 million and advance racial equity.
At the University of Minnesota Law School, more than $270,000 has been raised for a scholarship in Floyd's name. The first scholarship will go to a student of color this fall.
Catlan McCurdy and Sanjiv Laud of Minneapolis, who met at the school, started the fund and hope to diversify a largely white profession. McCurdy said the number of donors has been inspiring. "It's grown so much," she said. "It will really go far in providing funds for minority students."
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141