The McKnight Foundation began funding crop research in 1983 with the Plant Biology Program and granted $18 million through the program from 1983 to 1992. The Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) began in 1993 with a $12 million, six-year effort to support agricultural research in developing countries.
In 2000, McKnight committed another $41.5 million over nine years. In late 2001 and mid-2002, the CCRP's Advisory Committee met to design the strategy for the next phase of grantmaking and identified specific topics for funding.
In 2006, the CCRP adopted a place-based strategy for grantmaking, directing its investments to regional communities of practice in the Andes (Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru); West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger); and Southern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania).
In 2008, the Foundation committed $47 million over ten years for the next phase of funding for the program. In addition, the CCRP received a five-year $26.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This phase of funding allowed for the formation of an additional community of practice in East & Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda) as well as additional resources to allow for more technical support to grantees from regional teams and other support persons.
In 2013, The McKnight Foundation received a renewal grant from the Gates Foundation to continue building CCRP programs. This funding will allow the CCRP to increase its focus on the integration of legumes into the cropping systems of Mali, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania as well as Niger, Kenya, Malawi, and Mozambique. Legumes are very important to African agriculture. They're a major source of dietary protein and help sustain more fertile soils. And they tend to be more adaptable than other crops to drought, low nutrients, and other soil and climatic extremes.

About the CCRP

The McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program funds collaborative research between smallholder farmers, leading local researchers, and development practitioners to explore solutions for sustainable, local food systems. We focus our support in twelve countries on two continents where poverty and food insecurity have created “hunger hot spots.”

About the McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Through grantmaking, collaboration, and strategic policy reform, we use our resources to attend, unite, and empower those we serve.

60 Years of Family Philanthropy from The McKnight Foundation.