Tonya Allen is a leader and a change agent with a passion for co-creating an equitable, sustainable world. In 2021, she became president of the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Tonya heads a majority women, majority people-of-color senior leadership team and a diverse team of about 60.
The Foundation grants approximately $100 million annually in support of equitable communities, a clean energy economy, global food systems, artists and culture bearers, and innovative neuroscience research. In her first year at McKnight, Tonya championed using the Foundation’s investments to advance net zero goals, and elevated McKnight’s voice and leadership to rebuild Twin Cities neighborhoods and small businesses impacted by Covid-19 and the 2020 civil unrest. In 2022, Tonya helped launched the GroundBreak Coalition, an ambitious, multi-sector effort to close wealth gaps in Minneapolis-St. Paul. In 2023, GroundBreak announced nearly $1 billion in commitments towards its goals, which Inside Philanthropy called the “fundraising success story of the year.”