We Are Family

Reflecting on the continued growth and vibrancy the Knott family brings to the Foundation’s work


When people say, “Tell me about the Knott Foundation,” I often answer that we are a Catholic family foundation with a capital F-A-M-I-L-Y.

The Knott family is 250 members strong – all direct descendants of our founders, and spouses of those descendants.

Thirty-four of those members have gone through our rigorous training program and now sit on the Knott Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Two more members are going through our training program right now. Together, our Trustees represent the second, third, and fourth generations of Marion and Henry Knott’s lineage, and 9 discrete family branches from the Knotts’ original 13 children.

I learned in a webinar recently that most family foundations don’t make it past the third generation. Perhaps the foundation is unable to attract younger family members, or perhaps differing viewpoints piece the philanthropy into multiple vehicles, each with its own set of priorities. Nevertheless, the foundation ceases to exist in its original form.

The Knott Foundation bucks this trend. Last year we added four younger family members to our Board of Trustees and elected the largest Board in the Foundation’s history.

Letters from some of these newest (and youngest) members reveal their motivation for joining our work – primarily, an interest in the core values of the Foundation and our grantmaking in the community. Here are excerpts from some of those letters:

  • “I have reflected on the fundamental morals and characteristics that my great grandparents had, including generosity, compassion for others and perseverance. I am ready to continue the Knott tradition, by engaging more in charitable work, learning about the grant process, and helping to give to those in need.”
  • “I am interested in joining the board to explore the charity work, the grants, and the ideals that the Foundation holds… Grandpop and Grandmom Knott instilled in their children that family, faith, and charity are all extremely important in life, and this has been passed down from generation to generation. I am incredibly lucky that my family is as close as we are, and I think that this all stems from Grandpop and Grandmom Knott.”
  • “I would be humbled with the opportunity to give back to community and help amazing organizations that are performing incredible work around the greater Baltimore area and throughout Maryland by being a part of the Knott Foundation. I look forward to joining and continuing the philanthropic work that helps great organizations succeed and thrive.”

Spring is a season for growth and renewal. In that vein, I am happy to reflect on the continued growth and vibrancy the Knott family brings to our work as a philanthropic venture dedicated to strengthening communities in central and western Maryland.

Truly, we are a Catholic family foundation with a capital F-A-M-I-L-Y!

By Kelly Medinger i