McKnight contributes $100M to fight climate change

Minnesota’s largest private foundation is contributing $100 million toward a $1 billion initiative.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) âÄî Minnesota’s largest private foundation is contributing $100 million toward a $1 billion initiative by several large foundations to fight climate change. McKnight Foundation President Kate Wolford said the coordinated strategy is unique but necessary to address climate change, which she said must be addressed within the next 10 years to private permanent harm to the planet. “Without immediate action, climate change will put at risk all those served by our programs,” she said. Wolford said that the scale of the commitments is what is needed to prompt action on multiple fronts. “It’s not only the right thing to invest in, but now is exactly the time when we should make this commitment,” she said. The McKnight Foundation donated $99 million from its $1.6 billion endowment last year. Wolford says the foundation will distribute the same amount in 2009, including $20 million annually to two groups working to limit climate change, the Energy Foundation and the ClimateWorks Foundation. The Energy Foundation makes grants to help develop renewable and sustainable energy policies in the Midwest that do not rely on fossil fuels. The ClimateWorks Foundation is a network of international philanthropists, policy and clean technology experts. Among its goals are to promote a carbon cap and trade system to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., and to help establish an international system to reduce global warming gases. “It definitely is not about sending American experts overseas,” said Energy Foundation president Eric Heitz. “It recognizes that the problem is international and that the best minds of the U.S. and China and India and Europe and other places have to work on it.” Other foundations involved include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. ___ Information from: Star Tribune,