Plotting a Future Course on the Mississippi River: Executive Summary

McKnight Foundation



Case Study Sector


In 2009, The McKnight Foundation engaged Headwaters Group Philanthropic Services to help evaluate its Mississippi River grantmaking program, that has supported efforts to maintain and restore a healthy sustainable environment in the 10-state Mississippi River corridor. In late 2009 the evaluation was completed, and resulted in a new goal for our river program and new strategies to support it.
Headquartered in St. Paul and with regional offices in Nashville, Atlanta, and Oakland, the Headwaters Group assists foundations with goal-focused exploration and planning. Headwaters based the recommendations in their evaluation—the first formal review of the program since 1997—upon research into McKnight's environment program history and the current field at large, as well as surveys and interviews with dozens of grantees, other funders, professional experts, and McKnight's own staff and board of directors. Although McKnight's new guidelines may not fully reflect every proposed recommendation, our board's final decisions were profoundly informed by Headwaters' research and insights.



  • Evaluation
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