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Funding research helps McKnight Foundation write influential report


The McKnight Foundation staff was to present a paper to a global gathering of grantmakers, government funders and international NGO officials. The paper had to report the status of funding for agricultural research and development in three key geographic regions. The conference was only six weeks away when they came to us, and the foundation had very little actual data on funding patterns. Our client needed answers—fast—to these key questions:

  • Which organizations are funding, directly or indirectly, agricultural development and research for indigenous nonprofits in East Africa, South Africa, Southeast Asia and South America?
  • What types of projects are they funding, for how much and at what level of continuity?


Within four weeks, Access Philanthropy had completed an in-depth survey of funding for agricultural research and development in the target regions.


The report provided insight into the lack of funding support for key areas of agricultural development. It also shed light on what issues and what organizations McKnight could be funding to speed up agricultural development. Additionally, the research indicated surprising amounts of resources from government and faith-based organizations operating in the surveyed regions. The report created first-of-its-kind taxonomies of agricultural funders, agricultural issues and recipient types.

The McKnight staff returned from the conference excited about the enthusiastic response their presentation had received. They continued to focus on research, and solicited support from other foundations for additional project funding.