McKnight Foundation names Tonya Allen as President


Alliance magazine


The McKnight Foundation has announced that Tonya Allen will join the Foundation as president, effective 1 March 2021. Allen comes to McKnight as a ‘distinguished leader in philanthropy’, said the Foundation in a recent statement. Most recently, she was president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation.

‘Tonya is a dynamic and innovative leader who builds on the strength of McKnight’s long family history, values, and grantmaking,’ said Noa Staryk, McKnight’s incoming board chair. ‘With her integrity, her brilliance, and her proven track record, we have complete confidence in Tonya as a trusted, capable, impactful leader who will move our mission forward.’ Staryk, a fourth-generation family member and long-serving board member, will succeed current chair Debby Landesman in January.

Allen succeeds Kate Wolford, who retired as president of the McKnight Foundation a year ago. Lee Sheehy, former director of the Foundation’s Region & Communities programme, will continue as interim president until March. In her role, Allen will head an all-women and majority diverse senior leadership team, as well as a diverse staff of around 50.

‘I am excited to join the McKnight Foundation.’ said Allen. ‘I feel called to this remarkable institution and to the unique opportunities and challenges of Minnesota. We have an extraordinary opportunity to work side by side with our partners – community activists, corporate executives, public system leaders, and nonprofit champions – to advance collective leadership that will accelerate the speed, scope, and scale of impact. Together with my talented colleagues, I am ready to build on McKnight’s greatest strengths and assets, and usher in system change commensurate with what it will take for people and planet to thrive.’

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