LAURA MCKNIGHT

Laura is an executive, attorney, entrepreneur, and author. Laura currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at RenPSG, North America’s largest independent philanthropic solutions provider. Laura and Ann-Marie Harrington are partners in One Celebrations LLC dba Embolden. Laura founded One Celebrations in 2010 to create technology-backed business tools, including the Social Impact Platform, to drive customers' growth.  

Laura’s first book, Cereal for Dinner, Cake for Dessert, published in May 2012, is a true story to inspire women to think differently about the role philanthropy plays in their lives. Laura is a leading expert on the connection between philanthropy and positive psychology, a theme she explores in Do Good, Feel Better, her second book, published in January 2017.

Laura began her career practicing tax and estate planning law at the Kansas City firm of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne. After practicing law, Laura held a variety of positions at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, which is one of the largest community foundations in the country and manages more than $2 billion in charitable assets. Laura served as the foundation’s president and CEO for six years. In 2012, Laura left that position to pursue various research initiatives and serve on the advisory board of Crown Philanthropic Solutions, a software company with more than $6 billion in assets administered on its donor engagement platform. Laura held the position of CEO at Crown from May 2015 until RenPSG acquired Crown in September 2016.

Laura has researched and written extensively on the subjects of philanthropy, workplace culture, and community engagement. Her editorials have appeared in publications across the country, including the the Wall Street Journal‘s online WSJ MarketWatch, the Downey Patriot, Las Vegas Tribune, Hawaii Reporter, Atlanta Journal Constitution, newsroanoke.com, SunSentinel, Kansas City Star, NJToday.net, Sun Advocate, Island Dispatch, Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers, and the Roanoke Star-Sentinel. While serving as president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Laura published two white papers on companies and giving back: The Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: The Power of the Corporate Philanthropy Platform (2010) and Demystifying Corporate Social Responsibility: Four Steps to Success (2011).

Laura earned a degree in philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a law degree, with honors, from the University of Kansas School of Law, where she served as managing editor of the Kansas Law Review. Laura has served on several boards of directors over the course of her career, including the Mattie Rhodes Center, Mid-America Planned Giving Council, Nonprofit Connect, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, Young Presidents’ Organization, National Association of Corporate Directors Heartland Chapter, United Way of Greater Kansas City, American Royal Association, Start Up Weekend, and the Children’s Mercy Hospital Foundation. She is the grateful recipient of honors that include the Kansas City Tomorrow Distinguished Alumni Award.

Laura lives in Kansas City with her husband. They have five daughters. It is never dull!