Staff Directory 101372379

Kelly Smith

Reporter | Nonprofits, charity and philanthrophy
Phone: 612-673-4141
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Kelly Smith covers nonprofits/philanthropy for the Star Tribune and is based in Minneapolis. Since 2010, she’s covered Greater Minnesota on the state/region team, Hennepin County government, west metro suburban government and west metro K-12 education.


Smith was born in Duluth and grew up in the Twin Cities. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and worked for the Forum newspaper in Fargo, N.D., before coming to the Star Tribune in 2010.
Recent content from Kelly Smith
Volunteers with The Sheridan Story distributed meals at a south Minneapolis elementary school. The Sheridan Story received a revolving credit line fro

With $1.1 billion in assets, the St. Paul-based Otto Bremer Trust is expanding to Montana and eastern Wisconsin

Foundation's reach grows in Wisconsin, Montana.
Yellow law enforcement line with police car and lights in the background.

Fatal police encounters since 2000

The Star Tribune collected the names and stories of everyone who died after a physical confrontation with law enforcement in Minnesota since January 2000, and continues to update this database as new incidents occur.
Heidi Fellner of Minneapolis, right, waved to passing cars as she stood with fellow protesters outside the theater organized by survivors of sexual as

Children's Theatre hosts open forum in the wake of sex abuse lawsuit settlements

About 45 people attended gathering Monday night.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison speaks after a bill signing ceremony in July. Ellison said that the former board was “asleep at the switch

Minn. nonprofit used nearly $1M to fund for-profit businesses, AG says

After a three-year investigation, Praying Pelican Missions was ordered to overhaul its polices and leadership.
Inquilinxs Unidxs (United Renters for Justice) organized a protest in June. The organization has been chosen to receive a grant from the OneMPLS Fund.

Minneapolis Foundation announces $500,000 in grants to boost resources for renters

The focus on housing is in direct response to last year's Minneapolis homeless camp, one of the largest settlements ever seen in the state.
Target corporate headquarters in downtown Minneapolis.

Target Foundation announces new funding focus for Twin Cities nonprofits

The foundation is paying for training for nonprofits to navigate the transition.
Heidi Fellner of Minneapolis, right, waved to passing cars as she stood with fellow protesters outside the theater organized by survivors of sexual as

Children's Theatre Company settles 7th sex-abuse lawsuit

"Still work to be done," victim's lawyer says; Children's still faces eight more cases.
FILE ART For Northern Lights Project -

What's the best place, time to see the northern lights in Minnesota?

Although the lights can be seen any time of year, spring and fall, especially September and March, are the best chances to see the northern lights in Minnesota.
Jess Steinbrenner, left, met Angie Leitch, who moved to Fergus Falls in June, via the town’s “grab-a-bite” project to welcome newcomers.

Between 30 and 49 years old? New initiatives are recruiting you to move to rural Minnesota

Across the state, more than a dozen efforts have popped up to bring in new and young people.
Hilary Thimmesh, who served as the president of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., died Aug. 11, 2019 at the age of 91.

Hilary Thimmesh, former St. John's University president, dies at 91

At St. John's, he ditched his initial plans to go into journalism and took his parish priest's suggestion to enter the novitiate.
Fire consumes the Amazon rainforest in Altamira, Brazil, on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019. Fires across the Brazilian Amazon have sparked an international ou

How can Minnesotans help the Amazon rainforest amid fires? Local nonprofits offer some ideas

Events thousands of miles away can prompt action close to home, leaders of Twin Cities groups say.
Reenactors fired off their 1816 Harper’s Ferry muskets during an infantry demonstration Saturday at Historic Fort Snelling.

Minnesota Historical Society considers name change for Historic Fort Snelling site

The name of the fort itself won't change.
Anthony Desnick of Cycling Without Age picked up Sister Susan Smith and Sister Rosalind Gefre for a ride from their home Carondelet Village, through S

Minn. nursing homes embrace Danish cycling idea that puts older adults on wheels

Cycling Without Age gives older adults with limited mobility a thrilling change of scene on electric bikes.
Lee Roper-Batker is retiring in January after nearly two decades at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Earlier this year she said she wants to mak

Twin Cities nonprofits search for a new generation of leaders

Retirements clear a path for the next generation.
From left, Pastor Roosevelt Williams, Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos, Khloe Davis and Makayla Freeman stood among the solar panels on the roof of Shiloh

Minneapolis Foundation's new fund helps three nonprofits address climate change in low-income neighborhoods

Grants will fund energy audits, car-sharing promotion and other community efforts.
John Wilgers, president and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way

Greater Twin Cities United Way tries new fundraising tactics as revenue drops by $7 million

The agency said it expected revenue declines — this year down by $7 million — as it retools.
Colbie Savageau,10, runs an experiment to test what antibacterial agents work best with the help of her aunt Jeanine Huberty.

Science Museum of Minnesota to shut down popular Cell Lab

The museum will close the Cell Lab on Sept. 6.
The temperature climbed into the mid-90s on Sunday, but Minnesotans found ways to stay cool. A boy does a backflip off a bridge over Lake of the Isles

Hot and muggy hour after hour today, even after sunset, for Twin Cities

Heat advisory covers until at least 10 p.m., prompts cautionary message from National Weather Service.
Attorney Jeff Anderson held up a cast photo of Laura Stearns, at left, when she was 13, a year before her sexual abuse started at the Children’s The

Plaintiffs in sex abuse cases against the Children's Theatre to protest insurance company

Laura Stearns contends that jurors had no idea that insurance companies were on the hook, not CTC, for paying any damages in her case.
Nawal Noor was named one of 24 Bush Foundation fellows this year. She plans to expand her business and pursue national leadership opportunities.

Somali American is trailblazer in a construction field with few women, people of color

As a developer and general contractor, Nawal Noor is leading efforts to diversify the industry.
Rocker Alice Cooper and his wife, Sheryl Goddard, posed with actor Johnny Depp on the red carpet at the River Centre in St. Paul, at the 2016 Starkey

Starkey ends its celebrity-packed Twin Cities gala

The Starkey Hearing Foundation's high-profile, red carpet gala — the biggest celebrity event in Minnesota each year — is ending after a nearly 20-year run.Since…
assistant recruiter Aaron Jennings talked with potential workers Ibsa Mussa, center, and Abdulaziz Abdullah about signing up to work as 2020 census ta

Minnesota nonprofits, foundations lead the way to boost 2020 census turnout

Nonprofits are working to increase awareness about the 2020 census
A mother loon and her two babies cruised the waters of Lake Elora in St. Louis County shortly after they hatched and left their nest.

Minn. DNR warns boaters not to hit loons on lakes this summer

Loons frequently nest and raise their young in areas where boaters may be speeding by and loon chicks can't dive for safety or fly until they are more than two months old.
The governor’s office said the fuel shortage is caused by “unanticipated events” at refineries in other states disrupting the normal supply of g

Gov. Walz issues executive order in response to Minn. fuel shortage

It aims to help fuel trucks deliver gas to stations that could run low.
Pollen Executive Director Jamie Millard, right, with her child Dani, offers employees a variety of benefits, including “summer Fridays.”

Bring your baby to work? Minnesota nonprofits tap unusual benefits to attract, retain employees

Nonprofits are tapping unusual benefits to attract and retain employees.
"Nothing confounds me or disappoints me more than that tax bill," U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said Monday at a meeting with foundation officials at Cargil

Minnesota foundations speak out about effect of tax law changes

With individual giving down, nonprofits struggle with how to move forward.
The new YMCA on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

Twin Cities YMCA partners with Google to host free workshops for families on internet safety

The free one-hour classes on online safety are the first of the kind for the YMCA in the Twin Cities.
Galloway

Trailblazing Hennepin County probation officer Emmett 'Corky' Galloway dies

The 77-year-old was among the first black probation officers in Hennepin County.
Grant Wilson prepared to install a toilet in a house for Minnetonka’s Senior Community Services.

Funding for nonprofits serving elders shrinks as population grows

State's nonprofits struggle to find ways to increase donations
The Minnesota Vikings Foundation’s new food truck, dubbed the Vikings Table, will trek to Twin Cities neighborhoods to serve free healthy meals to k

Vikings Foundation launches food truck to serve Twin Cities kids in need

It's the first initiative for the Vikings Foundation, which launched in 2017.
Laura Stearns read a statement at a press conference at attorney Jeff Anderson’s office after a Minneapolis jury found the Children’s Theatre negl

Children's Theatre withdraws motion seeking court costs from sex abuse victim

The filing came a week after CTC issued a public apology to abuse victim.
Volunteer Tom Belting visited after he served rib dinners to guests Dolores Schmeidel, left, and Mary Jo Mileski at Loaves & Fishes’ Hopkins locatio

Innovative app helps Minnesota companies get leftover food to folks in need

Across the metro, the app is helping boost the number of companies able to find a home for extra food.
The headquarters of Wells Fargo, in downtown San Francisco.

Wells Fargo's Minnesota-based foundation pledges $1 billion to affordable housing

It's the latest company to shift how it gives money to nonprofits and communities.
Laura Stearns read a statement at a news conference at the office of attorney Jeff Anderson, at right, after a Minneapolis jury found the Children's T

CTC apologizes for seeking court costs from sex abuse victim

"Last week we failed in our commitment to be empathetic and respectful in our handling of our legal obligation," Children's Theatre Company artistic director Peter Brosius said.
Outreach workers, from left, Troy Murphy, Derion Enge and Angelique Ford helped tell homeless youths about the services provided at YouthLink in Minne

Minneapolis homeless youth drop-in center celebrates renovation, $6 million fundraising campaign

YouthLink is expanding its services to help more homeless youths.
A tow truck operator brought a cable to hook up to one of three vehicles that were stranded in deep water on Dodd Boulevard next to Lakeville North Hi

Strong winds and rain pummel Twin Cities, southern Minn.

Lakeville and the southern Twin Cities metro were among the areas swamped by thunderstorms.
Chris Belland, the new program and outreach manager of veterans relations for the Minnesota Historical Society, chatted with interpreter Steven Nikode

Minnesota Historical Society boosts veterans outreach with free fort admission for military members

Historic Fort Snelling offers free admission for military members for the first time.
Fresh Energy board member Nate Garbis attends the launch party for Solarama Crush, a special beer 56 Brewing released with the nonprofit, Fresh Energy

Minnesota nonprofits, breweries team up to boost fundraising, awareness

Tapping into the state's booming brewery scene is leading to new ways to raise money.
Among Wilder’s services is a food market on a bus, bringing affordable, fresh food to areas without healthful stores.

St. Paul's Wilder Foundation looks for new ways to boost donations

Nonprofit needs to stop drawing on its century-old endowment.
Logan Webster 10, left, Amani Powel,l 10, and Zach Weiner, 14, worked out at the Youth & Families Determined To Succeed facility in Minneapolis.

Nonprofit opens new wellness facility in north Minneapolis to combat obesity

It is part of a growing effort to address health disparities in the neediest parts of the city.
Hudda Ibrahim chatted with fellow residents at the St. Cloud Public Library.

St. Cloud teacher counters hate with sambusas and Somali tea

Somali refugee Hudda Ibrahim created the grassroots effort for people to ask frank questions and have civil conversation.
A preliminary rendering of the new Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities in north Minneapolis.

Growing nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters is moving to its own building in north Minneapolis

The nonprofit known for its mentoring programs will move in fall 2020.
People Serving People shelter in downtown Minneapolis.

Nonprofit wages surpass government salaries in Minnesota for first time

Low unemployment rates make hiring competitive with government sector.
United Way revenue, largely driven by workplace giving campaigns, has declined from a record $101.9 million in fiscal year 2014 to $76 million in 2017

Greater Twin Cities United Way announces new grants for 2019, part of new strategy

Almost 100 Twin Cities groups will get a share of the narrowed-focus funds.
Jessica Flatequal

Jessica Flatequal, Mankato community LGBT activist, dies

As a self-proclaimed "professional lesbian," she became a critical supporter for many students at Minnesota State.
Natasha Farhat celebrated her fifth year anniversary as a volunteer at People Serving People on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

More Minnesota companies are paying their employees to take time off to volunteer

With a tightening job market and low unemployment, adding such benefits can attract employees and boost retention.
Hunayn Anwar, a senior at Century High School (standing), served as president of International Court of Justice. This is Anwar's third year at Model U

YMCA expands effort to get Minnesota kids more politically involved

New efforts aim to help educate and mobilize the next generation of civic leaders.
A winter tradition at Camp du Nord near Ely, Minn., involves avantouinti — Finnish for “ice-hole swimming.”

From saunas to snowshoeing, northern Minnesota's Camp du Nord hosts a peaceful winter escape

Camp du Nord is known for its summer family camps. But winter is increasingly a draw for adults, couples and women's groups.
For the lucky and patient observer, the northern lights can be a life-changing experience, dancing in the northern sky like an opening night show. Min

Saturday was the night for a good chance to see the northern lights in Minnesota

A geomagnetic storm means that there is stronger solar activity.
Susie Brown, new president of Minnesota Council on Foundations.

Minnesota Council on Foundations names new leader

Susie Brown had been the chief operations officer for the Minnesota State Bar, Hennepin County Bar and Ramsey County Bar Associations and Foundations.
The homeless encampment near Hiawatha and Cedar avenues in Minneapolis in November.

State's homeless population reaches record high number

At least 10,233 people are homeless, the most since 1991.
Gonzalez

24 Midwesterners win up to $100,000 each from Bush Foundation to pursue big dreams

Each of the 24 people get up to $100,000 to enhance their leadership skills.
Eric Reller, master grower with Second Harvest Heartland, took stock of the plants growing in a shipping container at the organization's warehouse in

Minn. food bank turns shipping container into lettuce farm

Second Harvest Heartland wants to provide more fresh produce, so it stepped up to grow its own in a hydroponic environment in a shipping container.
Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke at the end Friday prayer at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., on Friday, March 15, 2019. He was

Minnesota Muslim leaders condemn deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand

Police are stepping up patrols this weekend at mosques after the deadly shooting.
Pam Philipp is the director of “head fairy” at Operation Glass Slipper, a nonprofit that outfits teen girls in need with prom dresses each year. A

Minnesota nonprofit set to hold final prom dress giveaway for teens in need

The "fairy godmothers" behind Operation Glass Slipper are retiring, leaving the nonprofit's future uncertain.
Alanna Morris-Van Tassel leads the Afro Modern class during TU Dance Center’s Winter Intensive. LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navidi@startribune.com

'Nonprofits don't always know how to tell their story': GiveMN wants to help

RaiseMN teaches small nonprofits to build ties with donors.
Volunteer Jorja DuFresne, left, taught a Senior Corps exercise class at Fuller Recreation Center in Minneapolis.

AmeriCorps, Senior Corps volunteers brace for changes as Minn. office closes

Facility in Minnesota that administers the AmeriCorps VISTA and Senior Corps programs is set to close.
Eric Jolly, CEO of the St. Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations, talks with community members in 2018 before a meeting of the college savings task f

St. Paul & Minnesota Foundations surpass $1 billion in giving

The St. Paul-based foundations are nearing $1.5 billion in assets, making it the largest community foundation in the state.
Stearns Bank CEO Norman Skalicky visits with children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota; he’s been a frequent donor to the organization

'Incredible gift' donated to Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota

The $5M donation will help fund wages, staff training and new technology.
Hwy. 169 runs through the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation. It’s a busy highway and a popular path for reservation residents to take.

Report shows that pedestrian safety is a major concern on Minnesota's American Indian reservations

More residents get around on foot, often on well-traveled roads
Pro snowboarder Jake Olson-Elm helps Amourah Hammond, 8, strap on a snowboard at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. TONY S

Fans of costly winter sports try to level the playing field

In a state known for its snowy, cold months, more Twin Cities nonprofits are stepping up to diversify winter activities and make them more accessible to people who wouldn't normally try them.
University of Minnesota student Daniel Dylla was frosted in the morning cold while pausing from a jog along the Mississippi River Tuesday

Why do airplanes sound louder during the polar vortex?

We asked Star Tribune readers to send us their cold weather questions. Here's what we found out.
A group of children surrounded Habso Mohamud, 24, a St. Cloud author who wrote a children’s book to inspire kids to make a difference in the world.

Minnesotan channels Rosie the Riveter to inspire kids with Somali refugee story

Her book, "It Only Takes One Yes," pushes children to make a difference in the world no matter their age.
Bluefin Bay will be the latest high-profile Minnesota resort to change hands. Dennis Rysdahl, who has owned the resort since 1984, is retiring.

Bluefin Bay, the iconic North Shore resort, up for sale

It's the first time in 35 years that the property in Tofte, Minn., has been listed for sale.
Police say Leigh Elizabeth Meska, 31, of Goodview, Minn., went missing on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

Southern Minnesota woman who went missing on way to work is found in Illinois

Leigh Meska, 31, turned up Thursday in Rockford, but authorities did not say how she got there.
Steve Denzine, who has been working without pay at the Sandstone prison, played with his two children, Robbie, 3, and Stella, 6, after reading time in

Minn. workers relieved by end to shutdown, even if temporary

But many are worried that it will happen again Feb. 15.
Loren Law

Former Richfield Mayor Loren Law advised cities, school districts and companies across Minnesota

Tom Hedges was working as St. Peter’s city administrator when Loren Law showed up at the 27-year-old’s doorstep in 1976 with a pitch: Would he…
Fort Snelling’s Whipple Federal Building, which houses Bloomington Immigration Court.

Federal shutdown cancels nearly 1,000 immigration hearings in Minnesota

It's unclear when the canceled cases will be rescheduled.
Namakan Lake near Kettle Falls in Voyageurs National Park.

Other effects of the federal government shutdown in Minnesota

• Voyageurs National Park: Some ski trails will be open at Voyageurs, thanks to special funding from the Voyageurs National Park Association, the nonprofit friends…
Steve Soyka had long dreamed of becoming the sheriff in Stearns County.

New sheriff in Stearns County aims to boost public trust in department known most for the Wetterling case

Steve Soyka, who started his new job last week, is the first new sheriff in the central Minnesota county in 16 years.
TSA agent Celia Hahn said she had to cancel plans to sign up her twin 9-year-old boys for a soccer clinic this winter.

Minnesota workers, businesses start to feel sting from federal government shutdown

The indefinite government shutdown is tightening its grip on federal workers, their families and local economies.
Visitors at Fort Snelling State Park walked along candlelit paths during a past New Year’s Eve celebration.

Hit the lantern-lit trails: Minnesota state parks kick off annual free candlelight events

Minnesota state parks are getting a bit brighter again this winter. Starting on New Year’s Eve, state parks from Blue Mounds in southern Minnesota to…
After 68 people died in fires in 2017, the state redoubled prevention efforts. This year’s total so far is 36, two of them in this mobile home in In

Minnesota fire deaths drop to lowest level in nearly a decade

Awareness efforts, smoke alarm campaign may have helped
Downtown Fergus Falls

German journalist admits to fabricating 2017 article on Fergus Falls

Claas Relotius no longer works for Der Spiegel, a news magazine that said he fabricated at least 14 of nearly 60 articles.
HMA Architects’ rendering shows a $24 million expansion for the Municipal Athletic Complex.

St. Cloud city leaders unveil $24 million plan for sports facilities

Starting next month, city leaders plan to lobby legislators.
More from Star Tribune