CEO Chat: Conversations with Foundation Leaders

Thursday, October 7, 2021 10:00am - 11:00am CDT
Beginning in 2021, MCF will be offering a series of CEO Chats with the presidents or senior leaders of Minnesota’s philanthropic organizations. Nonprofit staff and board members are invited to sign up for these free, virtual conversations.


During each CEO Chat, attendees will have an opportunity to meet the foundation leader, and learn about the foundation’s  priorities and strategic decisions. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions in this discussion facilitated by MCF President Susie Brown. We hope you’ll join us for candid conversation about many of the pressing issues and challenges facing Minnesota’s nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Featuring Tonya Allen, President, McKnight Foundation

Tonya Allen is president of the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that seeks to advance a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. McKnight annually grants about $100 million in support of climate solutions in the Midwest, an equitable and inclusive Minnesota, the arts, neuroscience, and international crop research. Allen heads an all-women, majority people-of-color senior leadership team and a diverse staff of about 50.

Allen has led successful philanthropic, business, government, and community partnerships that catalyze fresh thinking, test new approaches, and advance public policy. Throughout her 25-year career, she has been a bridge-builder and a civic diplomat. Allen has been lauded for her results-driven and highly influential collaborative approach by the Chronicle of Philanthropy (Five Nonprofit Innovators to Watch), the Funders Network (Nicholas P. Bollman Award), Detroit News (Michiganian of the Year), and Crain’s Detroit Business (Newsmaker of the Year and 100 Most Influential Women). She is an enthusiastic new Minnesotan drawn to the North Star State’s values, people, and philanthropic promise.

For Full Bio.

McKnight Foundation funds in these priority areas:

  • Arts
  • Midwest Climate & Energy
  • International
  • Neuroscience
  • Vibrant & Equitable Communities

CEO Chats are open to nonprofit staff and board members; pre-registration is required. Log-in details will be provided in your confirmation email. The meetings are not intended for MCF members. Contact Josh Vang, MCF’s Member Services Manager, for additional information at

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