After 13 years leading one of Minnesota’s largest foundations, Kate Wolford is stepping down from the McKnight Foundation.
The Minneapolis-based foundation, which gives out about $90 million a year, announced Thursday that Wolford will retire in November as its CEO.
“McKnight is losing a compassionate and accomplished leader who embodies wisdom, integrity, and grace,” the foundation said in a news release, adding that Wolford had planned to retire but recent health concerns moved up her decision.
Some of the region’s largest foundations and nonprofits — from the Blandin Foundation in Grand Rapids, Minn., to the Twin Cities-based Volunteers of America Minnesota and Wisconsin — are also on the search for new CEOs after top leaders have announced retirements.
Wolford started at McKnight in 2006 after serving as president for 13 years at Lutheran World Relief in Baltimore.
Under Wolford, McKnight has changed its funding strategies over the years, most recently announcing it would double down on funding climate-related initiatives such electric vehicles and “equity and inclusion” initiatives, such as increasing training and employment of people of color. The foundation, which was started in 1953 by 3M executive William McKnight and his wife, Maude, has a $106 million annual budget and is ranked in the top three foundations in the state for its amount of giving and total assets.
Debby Landesman, board chairwoman, will serve as the foundation’s interim president as a national search is conducted for a new CEO.