For Immediate Release
April 11, 2024
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(BPRW) Renowned Civil Rights and Liberties Leader john a. powell Joins McKnight Board

(Black PR Wire) McKnight is delighted to announce that internationally recognized leader john a. powell (who spells his name in lowercase) has joined our board of directors, with a term that started in February 2024.

A professor of law, African American studies, and ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley, powell is an expert in many areas including civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, housing, poverty, and democracy. He is the director of the Othering & Belonging Institute, a research institute that brings together scholars, community advocates, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society and to create transformative change toward a more equitable world. john has strong ties to Minnesota, where he founded and previously directed the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota, which promotes policies and practices that ensure people of color have access to opportunity and regional stability.

At UC Berkeley, powell holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion. Previously, he was the executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University where he also held the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties at the Moritz College of Law. He is one of the co-founders of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the board of several national and international organizations. Read more about his work here.

Last year, powell became an advisory panelist for McKnight’s Vibrant & Equitable Communities (Communities) program, joining a group of diverse practitioners who provide counsel to our staff and board in implementing smart and accountable program strategies.

“john powell has already been an invaluable advisor for McKnight’s Communities program, board, and entire staff, bringing decades of experience helping envision and achieve more inclusive, equitable outcomes across our society. We know that he will contribute immensely to McKnight in ways that will advance our mission further toward a more just, creative, and abundant future,” said Ted Staryk, board chair. “We are honored that he will continue his leadership and engagement with McKnight in this new capacity as a board member.”

“john is a leader for our time. At this pivotal moment for McKnight, our partners, and society at large, john brings invaluable experience, knowledge, and thoughtfulness to the Foundation that will strengthen our ability to meet this moment with our incredible partners from Minnesota to Malawi,” said Tonya Allen, McKnight president. “Together with john, McKnight is better positioned to address complex social challenges, and do so in a way that builds bridges across distinct experiences, histories, and needs of various groups as we work toward creating greater shared prosperity for all the communities we serve. We are excited for john to have this expanded role with the McKnight Foundation and this opportunity to reconnect with Minnesota.”

McKnight is a 70-year-old family foundation with a history of impact guided by a dedicated board. The 12-person board, which currently includes fourth-generation family members and community members, works closely with McKnight’s leadership team and staff members to build on the Foundation’s legacy and drive forward its mission.

“It’s an understatement to say I’m excited to join McKnight’s board,” said powell. “I have done work all around the world, and I can say that there are few institutions as bold or innovative as this one. I look forward to our work together at this important moment in time for people and our planet.”

About the McKnight Foundation: The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts and culture in Minnesota, neuroscience, and global food systems.

Source: McKnight Foundation