Tricounty News

Robert J. Struyk elected chair of The McKnight Foundation

Robert J. Struyk has been elected chair of The McKnight Foundation board of directors. In a unanimous board vote, Struyk becomes the Foundation's fifth chair since it was established in 1953. Having served previously on the Foundation's board from 1996 to 1999, Struyk returned to board service in 2006. He succeeds Erika L. Binger, whose three-year term concluded at the turn of the year. "Bob is a natural choice to become chair, and I am delighted to welcome him to the role," said Binger, a board member since 1994, who will remain on the board going forward. "Especially in the current economic context, McKnight's staff, programs, and grantees will be well served by Bob's legal and financial insights. I am honored to have served as chair, and now I'm looking forward to many more years building on the initiatives and cherished relationships that were forged during my tenure." Robert J. Struyk is currently a senior vice president of Dorsey & Whitney Trust Company. Prior to his role with the trust company, he practiced law for more than 43 years with Dorsey & Whitney. While at Dorsey & Whitney, Struyk provided management expertise and practiced law with a focus on trusts, estates, taxes, and charitable foundations. During the 1980s, he was the firm's operations partner and policy committee chairman, and managed day-to-day operations as well as the firm's strategic direction. Struyk earned a bachelor's degree in English at Michigan's Hope College; a master's degree in English from Columbia University; and a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. At the University of Minnesota, he was a member of the Order of the Coif and a case editor for the Minnesota Law Review. Additional previous board affiliations include Breck School, William Mitchell College of Law, the Minnesota Opera, the Jungle Theatre, and the Attorneys Liability Assurance Society. In 1996, Struyk became the first non-family, or "community," member of the Foundation's board of directors in recent years. He now becomes McKnight's first community member as board chair. "I feel privileged to serve as board chair for this family foundation," said Struyk. "My relationship with the family and the Foundation goes back 20 years. I deeply respect the legacies of William and Maude McKnight, and Virginia McKnight Binger, as well as the outstanding work their family continues today. Although the current economy presents great challenges, I see that McKnight is well positioned to capitalize on unique opportunities at this time, fostering healthy economies and helping families and communities to survive and thrive." Struyk begins his three-year term in the role, effective immediately. "During her tenure, we have been fortunate to benefit from Erika's thoughtful listening, involvement in the community, and openness to creative solutions to solve common goals," said Kate Wolford, president of McKnight. "As Erika brought her valuable skills to this important role, I'm thrilled now to benefit from Bob's unique leadership. Best of all worlds, I'm equally delighted that Erika will continue to be at the board table every meeting, helping our directors and our staff build and maintain vibrant, resilient communities in Minnesota and around the world." All together, the Foundation's board now has 10 members: Anne Binger, Erika L. Binger, Patricia S. Binger, Cynthia Binger Boynton, Meghan Binger Brown, Richard D. McFarland, John Natoli, Noa Staryk, Ted Staryk, and Robert J. Struyk (chair). ABOUT THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based private philanthropic organization, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Through grantmaking, coalition-building, and encouragement of strategic policy reform, we use our resources to attend, unite, and empower those we serve. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Foundation had assets of approximately $1.6 billion and granted about $99 million in 2008. More information about The McKnight Foundation and its programs is available at