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Jean Hopfensperger

Reporter | Reporter - Philanthropy/Nonprofits
phone: 612-673-4511
Jean Hopfensperger covers religion, philanthropy and nonprofits in Minnesota.
Recent content from Jean Hopfensperger
Nienstedt says he's 'relieved' investigation's fate is now public

Nienstedt says he's 'relieved' investigation's fate is now public

"I am a heterosexual man who has been celibate my entire life," the former Twin Cities archbishop said in an e-mail, asserting that he did nothing improper.
Memo: Vatican emissary halted investigation into Nienstedt

Memo: Vatican emissary halted investigation into Nienstedt

In dropping charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Ramsey County released documents that disclosed a social connection between a priest and the former archbishop.
Dog video festival makes its Twin Cities debut

Dog video festival makes its Twin Cities debut

Inspired by the wildly successful Internet Cat Video Festival, a Twin Cities nonprofit is launching a Dog Video Festival to give dog lovers their day…
Minnesota emerging as a leader in global philanthropy

Minnesota emerging as a leader in global philanthropy

Minnesota evolves as a powerful force in international philanthropy.
Minnesota becomes the Quaker state as conference draws 1,000 faithful

Minnesota becomes the Quaker state as conference draws 1,000 faithful

They gathered in Minnesota this week as they look for ways to expand their humble, quiet faith.
Judge to rule whether St. Paul Archdiocese parishes can be tapped for abuse claims

Judge to rule whether St. Paul Archdiocese parishes can be tapped for abuse claims

Should archdiocese schools and churches be considered assets to compensate clergy abuse victims? A bankruptcy judge heard arguments Thursday.
In St. Paul, evangelist Franklin Graham holds 'no hope' for either party

In St. Paul, evangelist Franklin Graham holds 'no hope' for either party

Son of Billy Graham says he has no hope for the major parties
Sent, sealed and to be delivered: Minn. nonprofit packs off a whole hospital for Somalia

Sent, sealed and to be delivered: Minn. nonprofit packs off a whole hospital for Somalia

Risks aside, the group known as Matter steps up with needed medical aid, from bandages to beds to dialysis machines.

Charitable giving hits record $373 billion

Americans donated an estimated $373 billion in 2015, breaking last year’s record for charitable giving to schools, churches, social services and more. Individuals contributed the…
Obituary: Gary Erickson was talented ceramics artist and dedicated teacher

Obituary: Gary Erickson was talented ceramics artist and dedicated teacher

Gary Erickson’s office space at Macalester College offered a window into his life. Ceramic art pieces crafted by him and by his students. Books of…
Minnesota council offers ways to support Muslim neighbors in Ramadan

Minnesota council offers ways to support Muslim neighbors in Ramadan

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began this week, and the Minnesota Council of Churches is inviting Minnesotans to break bread with their Muslim neighbors…
Archdiocese plan would create $65M fund for abuse victims

Archdiocese plan would create $65M fund for abuse victims

Archbishop Hebda calls it a "just and timely" resolution; victims' advocates cry foul.

Gap between men and women's church attendance shrinks

The gender gap in worship might not have been a great thing, but some religious leaders might prefer that to what’s happening now. The share…
Attorney: Archdiocese engaging in 'massive scheme' to defraud creditors

Attorney: Archdiocese engaging in 'massive scheme' to defraud creditors

Archbishop denies accusation, says Twin Cities Archdiocese has "cooperated fully" with bankruptcy court.
More than 800 sex abuse claims filed under Minnesota law

More than 800 sex abuse claims filed under Minnesota law

Law that lanced victims' pain and roiled Catholic Church hits deadline
Hebda brings a new energy as Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Hebda brings a new energy as Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis

The Twin Cities' ninth Catholic archbishop seeks to break the ice – and tensions – as he prepares to be installed Friday.

Attorney works to reclaim art stolen from Jews by Nazis

Attorney Don Burris is widely known for pursuing works of art belonging to Jewish families that were looted by Nazis during World War II. One…
As Jehovah Witness, Prince's 'beliefs were very, very strong'

As Jehovah Witness, Prince's 'beliefs were very, very strong'

A low-profile member in life, the star draws attention to Jehovah's Witnesses after death.
R.T. Rybak to head the Minneapolis Foundation

R.T. Rybak to head the Minneapolis Foundation

The former mayor will lead the community grant-maker with a focus on ending disparities.
Lawsuits accuse reinstated St. John's priest of sexual abuse

Lawsuits accuse reinstated St. John's priest of sexual abuse

The Rev. Timothy Backous is second to be accused in recent weeks.

Offbeat fundraiser brings in 10,000 new pillows

Sarah Nielsen appreciates a good night’s sleep. But that’s not why she had 1,632 new pillows stuffed into her father’s garage last month. The pillows…
Minnesotan takes fight to remove priest convicted of abuse to federal court

Minnesotan takes fight to remove priest convicted of abuse to federal court

Minnesota woman outraged at reinstatement by Vatican files a lawsuit.
Obituary: Harvey Rockwood, longtime Twin Cities suburban journalist

Obituary: Harvey Rockwood, longtime Twin Cities suburban journalist

Harvey Rockwood spent 30 years at police stations, school boards and Main Streets across the Twin Cities, chronicling stories big and small. He was an…

Minnesota Catholics react to pope's document on family issues

While some see hope and humanity in his call for priests to exercise "individual conscience"' in marriage matters, others hoped for more change on related issues.
St. Paul Archdiocese headquarters sold to Catholic bidder

St. Paul Archdiocese headquarters sold to Catholic bidder

Minnesota banker buys archdiocese headquarters on Summit Avene for reported $3.2 million.
Will work for mice: Homeless cats get good jobs and homes

Will work for mice: Homeless cats get good jobs and homes

A new "working cat" program at the Animal Humane Society matches hard-to-place felines with businesses that need their killer mouse-control skills.
Priests accused of abusing kids in New Ulm Diocese are named

Priests accused of abusing kids in New Ulm Diocese are named

New Ulm diocese is last to release identities as lawsuit deadline nears.
A Minnesota-funded college has taken root in rural Bolivia

A Minnesota-funded college has taken root in rural Bolivia

In a remote farm community nestled in the Bolivian mountains, a Catholic university has taken root thanks to Minnesota supporters 4,500 miles away. Called the…
Persecuted in their homelands, Christians keep faith in Minnesota

Persecuted in their homelands, Christians keep faith in Minnesota

Muslim extremists have destroyed churches and attacked Christians in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. "You minister to people's worries here — and to people's worries there," said Sharbel Maroun. "They carry a cross here and there."
'Much work to be done' for Hebda as new Twin Cities archbishop

'Much work to be done' for Hebda as new Twin Cities archbishop

Bernard Hebda had served as temporary administrator of the Twin Cities archdiocese after Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned in the wake of clergy sex abuse scandals and a church bankruptcy filing.
Bankruptcy tests Christ's Household of Faith in St. Paul

Bankruptcy tests Christ's Household of Faith in St. Paul

Nearly 500 may lose homes as a decades-old Christian commune in St. Paul seeks bankruptcy protection in court.
CaringBridge websites mark 2 billionth visit

CaringBridge websites mark 2 billionth visit

CaringBridge, a website that connects medical patients with family and friends, hit a remarkable milestone this year — its 2 billionth visit. It took…

Nonviolent Peaceforce nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

A Minnesota-based nonprofit that sends civilian peacekeepers to global hot spots, has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. Nonviolent Peaceforce was nominated by…

St. Paul-Mpls. archdiocese addresses investigation into priest

Twin Cities archdiocese leaders met with parishioners at St. William Catholic Church in Fridley on Sunday, following last week's announcement that their priest is under investigation for possible possession of child pornography.

Priest's Edina home is searched after neighbors report child's crying

Neighbors reported hearing sounds of possible abuse. Police found no victims but say the priest, who serves a Fridley church, admitted to possessing child pornography, according to a search warrant request.

Minnesota's top philanthropies gave $1.3 billion in 2014

Cargill, Target and General Mills organizations led the way in grants and giving.

Minnesota Muslims welcome Obama's mosque visit, wish support had come sooner

President Obama’s visit to a U.S. mosque on Wednesday was welcomed by members of Minnesota’s Muslim community, who say that anti-Islam sentiment has reached new…

Nice guys don't finish last, according to study of good deeds

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, guys scouting for dates may gain insights from a new study indicating that good deeds may beat good looks…
March 18 deadline set for final bids on St. Paul chancery

March 18 deadline set for final bids on St. Paul chancery

Archdiocese is selling property to pay creditors.
Highly personal info of clergy abuse victim posted online

Highly personal info of clergy abuse victim posted online

St. John's Abbey says it seeks transparency; a monk's victim calls new website "betrayal."
At 94, Minn. eye doctor heads to Africa to help Ebola survivors

At 94, Minn. eye doctor heads to Africa to help Ebola survivors

Dr. Lowell Gess, an ophthalmologist from Alexandria, alerted West Africa to the virus continuing to lurk in the eyes and causing vision loss.
Former St. Paul archbishop Nienstedt resigns Michigan post

Former St. Paul archbishop Nienstedt resigns Michigan post

Former St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt is leaving two weeks into a Michigan assignment because of a backlash over his presence.
St. John's Abbey releases files on 18 child-abusing monks

St. John's Abbey releases files on 18 child-abusing monks

It marks the first time the abbey, long the subject of sex abuse allegations, has made its files public. The monks worked as teachers, counselors, parish priests and chaplains across Minnesota and beyond.
Minnesotan who founded Books for Africa to walk across Zanzibar

Minnesotan who founded Books for Africa to walk across Zanzibar

Founder of Books for Africa plans fundraising walk across Zanzibar in E. Africa.
St. Paul religious sect's bankruptcy filing has big implications

St. Paul religious sect's bankruptcy filing has big implications

Chapter 11 filing by Christ's Household of Faith worries members and neighbors.
Former Twin Cities archbishop goes to Michigan parish

Former Twin Cities archbishop goes to Michigan parish

John Nienstedt resigned from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in June after the Ramsey County attorney's office filed charges claiming that the church had failed to protect children from clergy sex abuse.
Piece of St. Paul Archdiocese property sold to Historical Society

Piece of St. Paul Archdiocese property sold to Historical Society

Bankruptcy judge approves $4.5 million sale of Hayden Center. Next up: archbishop's home.

Nonprofit marks 20 years and 500,000 hats and mittens for needy children

With no office and no paid staff, a Twin Cities nonprofit has managed to collect more than 500,000 mittens and hats for low-income children over…
Christmas Eve eclipses Christmas Day as time to celebrate Jesus' birth

Christmas Eve eclipses Christmas Day as time to celebrate Jesus' birth

For most Minnesotans, Dec. 24 — not Dec. 25 — draws the biggest crowds of the year for many churches big and small, in a trend that has reached the point where "Christmas Eve" services now start as early as 10 a.m.
'Not just altar boys': Girls abused by clergy focus of new team

'Not just altar boys': Girls abused by clergy focus of new team

Woman's suit against Lutheran youth pastor is first in an effort to get more to step forward.
Obituary: Bryan Moon, Northwest Airlines VP, artist, hunter of MIAs

Obituary: Bryan Moon, Northwest Airlines VP, artist, hunter of MIAs

Bryan Moon retired from Northwest Airlines and forged an encore career as an “MIA hunter,” whose expeditions to find crash sites of World War II…
Duluth diocese files for Chap. 11 after $8M abuse award

Duluth diocese files for Chap. 11 after $8M abuse award

The Catholic Diocese of Duluth filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, a month after a victim of priest sex abuse there was awarded $8 million…
St. Paul archdiocese attorneys' fees top $5 million this year

St. Paul archdiocese attorneys' fees top $5 million this year

Bankruptcy court judge approved payments to dozens of firms.

'Giving Tuesday' struggles to gain recognition in Minnesota

First came Black Friday. Then Cyber Monday. Now, “Giving Tuesday” is working to build a national day to tap some of the $600 billion Americans…
St. John's Abbey monk accused of abuse reports 200 sexual encounters

St. John's Abbey monk accused of abuse reports 200 sexual encounters

Internal files on St. John's Abbey monks accused of sexual abuse were made public Tuesday.

Jeremiah Program brings anti-poverty work to Texas

The Jeremiah Program, a Minneapolis nonprofit that has won national recognition for its work lifting single mothers out of poverty, broke ground last week on…
Give to the Max Day wraps up, tops $18 million

Give to the Max Day wraps up, tops $18 million

Seventh annual 24-hour philanthropy spree draws thousands of donors.
Hope Community honored as model for urban change

Hope Community honored as model for urban change

Hope Community wins Bush innovation award for work in Phillips neighborhood.
18,000 Minnesota students celebrate 'We Day''

18,000 Minnesota students celebrate 'We Day''

The teen star-studded event draws students across the state who have raised money and support projects here and across the globe.
Archdiocese makes first court appearance in high-profile abuse case

Archdiocese makes first court appearance in high-profile abuse case

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis made its first appearance in Ramsey County District Court Thursday in a clergy sex abuse case spearheaded by the Ramsey County Attorney that is being watched nationally.
St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese seeks more time to file bankruptcy plan

St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese seeks more time to file bankruptcy plan

Facing more than 400 clergy abuse claims, archdiocese seeks more time to reorganize.
Wilder Foundation VP Bobbi Cordano to head Gallaudet University

Wilder Foundation VP Bobbi Cordano to head Gallaudet University

Bobbi Cordano, a vice president at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, is heading to Washington, D.C., in January to become president of Gallaudet University,…
Minneapolis Foundation CEO Sandy Vargas to retire

Minneapolis Foundation CEO Sandy Vargas to retire

Sandy Vargas will step down in June after a nine-year tenure.
Obituary: Leo Weiss, Holocaust survivor and educator

Obituary: Leo Weiss, Holocaust survivor and educator

Leo Weiss was a historical anomaly. His entire family — parents and two siblings — survived the Holocaust. He spent his years in Minnesota sharing…
Minnesota AG says car donation nonprofit misled donors

Minnesota AG says car donation nonprofit misled donors

Make-A-Wish interim CEO endorses the state inquiry.
Best Buy founder Schulze cranks up giving at his $1 billion family foundation

Best Buy founder Schulze cranks up giving at his $1 billion family foundation

As the foundation moves into year three of a major expansion, it's on track to donate $35 million next year and "considerably more" beyond that.
Twin Cities Catholics get rare chance to speak up on archbishop

Twin Cities Catholics get rare chance to speak up on archbishop

Acting Archbishop Bernard Hebda hosted the first of seven "listening sessions," offering feedback to the Vatican.

What's a sin? Catholics disagree over definition

“We are all sinners,” is a popular quote from Pope Francis. But a recent survey indicates “we all” disagree on exactly what’s a sin. Is…
Minnesota, Russia create a way to skirt Russian arts embargo

Minnesota, Russia create a way to skirt Russian arts embargo

A new collaborative exhibit finds a way to skirt a Russian arts embargo.
Minnesotans land coveted tickets to see Pope Francis this week

Minnesotans land coveted tickets to see Pope Francis this week

A local Hispanic women’s group has filmed an upbeat video welcoming “Papa Francisco” to the United States. Three Latino families have rented a motor home…

Pay it Forward Forever Fund raises money for the future — as in 2065

Call it a philanthropic time capsule. If all goes as planned, 100 Minnesotans will contribute $25,000 to an unusual new charitable fund that will be…
Mock refugee crisis trains next generation of humanitarians

Mock refugee crisis trains next generation of humanitarians

Weekend class in Cannon Falls offers one of a handful of hands-on "humanitarian crisis simulation" training camps in the nation.
New rules for Catholic divorce draw attention in Twin Cities

New rules for Catholic divorce draw attention in Twin Cities

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has one of the nation's highest rates of denying annulments

Foundations pave the way for more racially diverse young leaders

Long before racial disparities in philanthropy became a hot topic, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota launched a fellowship and internship for women of color that…
Parish leaders can view abuse claims, judge rules in archdiocese bankruptcy

Parish leaders can view abuse claims, judge rules in archdiocese bankruptcy

Victims' attorneys fear confidentiality violations of private information.
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