presents

Director of Learning at
The McKnight Foundation

Ballinger | Leafblad is proud to present the following information on
behalf of our client, The McKnight Foundation, in its search
for Director of Learning.

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presenting our client
The McKnight Foundation
ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW
The McKnight Foundation (“McKnight” or “the Foundation”) is a 4th generation, Minnesota-based
family foundation founded in 1953 that seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future
generations using all its resources to attend, unite, and empower those they serve. In 2016, McKnight
had assets of approximately $2.2 billion and made grants of $87 million.

Program interests are diverse and include regional economic and community development,
Minnesota’s arts and artists, education and learning, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River
water quality, neuroscience research, international crop research and rural livelihoods. The primary
geographic focus is the state of Minnesota (approximately 60% of grantmaking), with significant
support directed to strategies throughout the U.S., Africa, Southeast Asia and South America.

Staff at McKnight make meaningful contributions to some of the major challenges of our time. They
are guided by McKnight’s mission and values of Accountability, Innovation, Integrity and Respect,
developing and adjusting strategies based on a process of ongoing learning, reflection, and adaptive
action. This allows the Foundation to take adaptive action over time in response to changes in
cultural, demographic, economic, environmental, political, scientific, and technological landscapes.

The Foundation cares about what gets accomplished as well as how it gets done. Staff are encouraged
to bring deep content knowledge and the self-awareness, empathy, and intellectual curiosity to be
collaborative learners and co-creators with others internally and externally; interpersonal savvy;
excellent problem-solving and effective communication skills. Staff are expected to work smart and
get results. The Foundation supports employees with meaningful work, inspiring and supportive
colleagues, and the resources and tools to do the work well.

McKnight enjoys an exemplary reputation. McKnight’s most recent Grantee Perception Report from
The Center for Effective Philanthropy places the Foundation in the top 10 percent of funders for its
impact on grantees’ fields and effect on public policy and in the top 20 percent of funders for its
impact on grantees’ organizations. McKnight also received a 2016 “Great Rated!” designation from
the Great Place to Work Institute.

The McKnight Foundation has an explicit commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This
commitment is critical to deepening our relevance, credibility, and effectiveness, and it strengthens
our efforts to improve the lives of present and future generations. The civic and economic vitality of
our home state of Minnesota, depends on inclusive and equitable opportunities for everyone. We see
many ways to realize this vision as a funder, convener, thought leader, and as an employer, economic
entity, and institutional investor.

mcknight.org ballingerleafblad.com
presenting our client

The McKnight Foundation
Director of Learning
McKnight is seeking to hire for a newly created staff position focused on learning. The Strategic
Framework and our approach to emergent learning and adaptive action demonstrate the foundation’s
deep commitment to strategic learning as a means to achieve its core values of accountability,
integrity, innovation, and respect in pursuit of our mission.

The Director of Learning position is an opportunity to cultivate a highly integrated practice that can be
responsive to programs’ emergent needs and adaptive opportunities in real-time in order to build
durable capacity for ongoing learning. Staff are fully engaged and eager to use learning and evaluative
thinking to adapt and improve their strategies as conditions change in order to drive better planning,
strategy, grantmaking, and impact.

McKnight’s approach to philanthropy
At the core of McKnight’s approach to philanthropy are quality relationships and deep understanding
of place. There is a strong shared belief that how staff go about their work is just as important as the
grants they make. Each program pursues its own ambitious goals, drawing upon abundant resources
of creativity, research and data, existing and emergent knowledge, and collaboration with diverse
grantees, partners, and multiple program stakeholders. The Foundation uses not only grantmaking,
but all of the tools and resources at its disposal, including investments, convening, and credible
influence, to support systems change.

mcknight.org ballingerleafblad.com
presenting the position of

Director of Learning
POSITION OVERVIEW
The Opportunity
As McKnight’s programmatic work has evolved, we have an increasingly explicit foundation-wide
commitment to adaptive action and emergent learning as key aspects of our approach. We intend to
deepen our program-wide commitment to cultivating a system of learning that supports programmatic
coherence and leads our work to be more effective, credible, and relevant.

The new staff position of director of learning will provide support to staff to help them:
 Learn and adapt faster and more efficiently
 Use data from a variety of sources and perspectives to “reality check” program and team
hypotheses and assumptions
 Understand and communicate how the programs’ full portfolio of grants and non-grant activity
add up to a balanced strategy for systems change
 Assess interim indicators of impact and act adaptively through adjustments to the portfolio and
strategies as needed in real time

Learning Strategy
 In partnership with the vice president of programs, develop a coherent approach to learning and
evaluation that builds upon and strengthens current frameworks rooted in adaptive action and
emergent learning, with a preference for developmental evaluation approaches. This includes
refining the Foundation’s core learning and evaluation vision, principles, strategic tools, learning
frameworks, and structures;
 Capturing and disseminating knowledge, including from research, to improve organizational
effectiveness;
 Partnering with the director of communications and program directors to identify, strategize, and
share learnings publicly, for the benefit of Foundation partners and the broader fields of interest to
McKnight.

Learning Approaches
 Provide consultation to program directors to develop hypotheses, learning questions, and
indicators and metrics for strategies and initiatives;
 Work with program directors to identify priorities for in-depth learning and adaptive action at the
grant, field, or Foundation level; partner on the development of strategies, approaches, and plans
for learning/evaluation;
 Advance learning at the board level focused on understanding program strategy, impact and
performance;
 Support program teams to ensure that learning is considered and integrated into ongoing efforts
as well as future strategy and program planning;
 Identify and cultivate partnerships with external evaluators and resources that are situationally
tailored to McKnight’s program areas and the level of rigor required.

mcknight.org ballingerleafblad.com
presenting the position of
Director of Learning
Systems and Capacity Building
 Build the capacity of McKnight’s program teams and grantees through a range of approaches,
which may include individual and group training, outside workshops, consultants, etc.;
 Partner with the Operations/Grants Management team to create and support internal structures
and systems for cross-program sharing; and develop specific tools and technology supports that
anchor a culture of learning, both organizationally and within each program.

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS
Minimum Education and Experience
Master’s degree in related field and a minimum of 7 years related full-time professional work
experience of progressively responsible positions, including work as team leader or equivalent, or a
combination of equivalent experience and training.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
 Ability to facilitate strategic learning with all levels of staff, many of whom are experts in their
fields.
 Knowledge and skill in using tools and resources for learning and evaluation and the ability to
support others in developing knowledge and skills with these tools.
 Knowledge of one’s own cultural competency orientation and commitment to on-going skill
development.
 Ability to develop, maintain, and evolve a body of concepts and learning that continuously informs
and reflects the thinking and knowledge of the Foundation and specific program areas.
 Ability to clearly communicate concepts, research findings, issues analysis and data interpretations
and to see relationships and patterns and express them clearly.
 Skill in proactive action, independent thinking, and problem-solving with demonstrated initiative in
launching a complex program.
 Ability to work in a collegial environment with people and groups with many facets of diversity in
an inclusive manner.
 Ability to meet tight deadlines.
 Knowledge and understanding of The McKnight Foundation’s programs, mission, values, strategic
framework, structure, and culture.
 Ability to work with high level of proficiency in Microsoft Office software including Word, Excel,
and Outlook.

Foundation-wide Competencies
Collaborates, Communicates Effectively, Manages Complexity, Builds Networks, Being Resilient, Drives
Results, Strategic Mindset, Instills Trust

Position-specific Competencies
Nimble Learning, Manages Ambiguity, Cultivates Innovation, Drives Engagement

mcknight.org ballingerleafblad.com
presenting the position of
Director of Learning

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The McKnight Foundation has engaged Ballinger Leafblad to manage the search process. All inquiries
and applications should be directed to lars@ballingerleafblad.com

Priority consideration will be given to candidacies who have submitted materials by Friday, December 8,
2017.

The McKnight Foundation is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

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presenting
Twin Cities ~ Minneapolis and Saint Paul
Incorporated as a city in 1867, Minneapolis is named for the Dakota word “Minne” (meaning “of the
waters”) and the Greek word “polis” (meaning “city”); fitting for a town that contains 22 lakes. Today,
Minneapolis and its twin city, St. Paul, have over 3 million residents. Together they make up the 14th
largest metropolitan area in the country.

The Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis are a unique blend of small
town and major cosmopolitan hub. Both urban cores boast a thriving
business atmosphere. Saint Paul, as the state capital, is home to state
government and has a more historical vibe. Minneapolis is the larger and
more commercial of the two cities. Outside of the central downtowns,
however, both cities have many distinct neighborhoods, and residents
identify more with their individual neighborhood than with the larger city
as a whole.

Both cities share a common root of being river towns - and the
great outdoors are still a major attraction for residents and
visitors alike. In addition to the mighty Mississippi River, there
are more than 100 lakes (more than 900 when including the
suburbs), more than 250 parks, and miles of biking and walking
trails.

Nearly every weekend in the summer there are several outdoor active events for participants and
spectators—triathlons, biking races, running races, boat races, water skiing competitions, golf
tournaments, and more. Neighborhood events and family events round out a full schedule of
opportunities.

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presenting

Twin Cities ~ Minneapolis and Saint Paul
The active lifestyle of Twin Cities’ residents doesn't lie dormant during the winter either. There are
miles of cross-country skiing trails, several downhill ski areas within an hour’s drive, ice skating,
snowmobile riding, sledding, and—of course—ice fishing.

For those who prefer activity of the spectator variety, the Twin Cities is home to several major sports
teams: Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota
Lynx, Minnesota United FC (soccer), and Minnesota Swarm (lacrosse).

There is also a minor league baseball team, the Saint Paul Saints. The areas have hosted the World
Series, Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball Finals, the USGA U. S. Open, PGA Championships and the
Special Olympics. In 2014, Target Field was the setting for baseball's All- star Game. In 2018, the
Super Bowl will be played in a newly built state-of-the-art stadium.

But the Twin Cities have more to offer than participatory and spectator sporting events. There are
countless arts and culture offerings here. The Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra has a
reputation as one of the top orchestras in the world. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is regarded
as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world.

Since the early 1960s, the Guthrie Theatre has staged A-plus shows from the classical to the
contemporary. Popular national shows and performers also tour through the Twin Cities year round
at stages in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and at the University. There are over 30 theatre venues,
10 dance companies, and 30 classical music groups in the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis alone.

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presenting

Twin Cities ~ Minneapolis and Saint Paul
For the museum-goer, there are more than 60 museums in the Twin Cities. The Science Museum
of Minnesota and the Minnesota Children's Museum (both in Saint Paul) are highly interactive
learning and fun experiences for the entire family. The Minnesota History Center is an interactive
museum for all ages with permanent and changing exhibits, lectures and events.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has a collection of more than 100,000 pieces. The Walker Art Center
has been called “possibly the best contemporary art museum in the U. S.” by Newsweek, and has
over 11,000 pieces. The University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum is also a contemporary art
destination.

Beyond the outdoor, sports, entertainment, and culture, perhaps the biggest attraction for the Twin
Cities is the lifestyle. Forbes hailed Saint Paul and Minneapolis as the nation's healthiest cities. USA
Today named Saint Paul as North America's “Most Romantic City.” The Twin Cities offer award-
winning restaurants (several chefs have been regional James Beard Award winners). In addition to
the popular Mall of America, there are plenty of unique shopping districts in both cities and in the
suburbs.

www.minneapolis.org www.stpaul.gov

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