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
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.
A team of journalists and a retired Woodbury police officer have followed the Jodi Huisentruit case and held a dedication ceremony in June 2018 for ne

'48 Hours' touts new info in disappearance of Iowa anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit

No arrests have been made in the Minnesota native's 1995 disappearance.
Veterans, family, friends and community leaders gathered last week to pay tribute to Vietnam veteran Steve Williams and to recognize his generous dona

Vietnam vet's family gives largest donation to Minn. veterans home for Montevideo

Before he died in March at his home in Nevada, Steven Williams, 70, who grew up near Montevideo, told his family he wanted to donate almost his entire estate to charities.
Updated mugshot of Thomas Barker from Meeker County Jail, where he was moved to from Douglas County Jail to separate him and other inmates in the Alex

Man sentenced to nearly 24 years in 2017 kidnapping, assault of Alexandria teen

The man who kidnapped a 15-year-old Alexandria girl, holding her captive for 29 days in 2017 while repeatedly assaulting her, has been sentenced to…
Montevideo Police Chief Adam Christopher

Minnesota BCA investigates Montevideo police chief after woman gets restraining order

The 18-year-old woman said she and Adam Christopher had sent hundreds of text messages starting when she was 17, but his messages became sexual this month.
A crowd of residents packed the St. Cloud City Council meeting on Nov. 6, 2017, for a discussion on a moratorium on refugee resettlement, which failed

St. Cloud City Council changes may reopen refugee resettlement debate

The St. Cloud City Council will have two new members in January.
Associate Justice David Lillihaug, pictured while hearing a case in November, wrote a Minnesota Supreme Court decision filed Wednesday that sent a cas

Minnesota Supreme Court reverses lower court decision in Blake School student crash

Justice G. Barry Anderson said the decision expands potential liability to Minnesota schools.
Minnesota will start issuing new driver’s licenses and identification cards Aug. 6, but they will not comply with the federal Real ID Act.

Feds: Minnesota now in compliance with Real ID

The confirmation caps years of political wrangling over the new driver's licenses.
GLEN STUBBE • gstubbe@startribune.com Bishop John Quinn, Diocese of Winona-Rochester, spoke at the state Capitol in April 2011.

Winona-Rochester diocese to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Winona-Rochester is dealing with 121 cases of sex abuse by clergy.
Gooseberry Falls State Park surpassed Fort Snelling in 2017 as the most visited state park in Minnesota; No. 3 is Itasca.

Minnesota state parks are free to use on Black Friday for the fourth straight year

It’s the Black Friday special all Minnesotans can score without standing in any lines: free access to any state park. For the fourth year in…
Deer carcasses were left on two cars outside a St. Cloud YMCA on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. Police said two Somali men owned the cars and were working

Deer carcasses left on Somali men's cars outside St. Cloud YMCA

Surveillance video led police to a 14-year-old St. Cloud boy leaving the dead deer on the cars while his 62-year-old father looked on, authorities said.

Motorist charged in fatal hit and run in St. Cloud

The 20-year-old has a Minneapolis address.
Dean Phillips and Angie Craig defeated GOP incumbent U.S. Reps. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis, respectively, on Tuesday.

Minn. suburbs, like many in U.S., swing to Dems in election

The insurgency that swept Democrats into power in the U.S. House was led by suburban voters, both in the Twin Cities area and across the country.
Pete Stauber, Republican candidate for Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District

Republican Stauber wins fight for open U.S. House seat over Radinovich

Stauber becomes the second Republican to hold the seat in 71 years.
Rep. Tom Emmer gave his victory speech.

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer wins third term in Minnesota's Sixth District by wide margin

He easily won a third term against Democratic challenger Ian Todd, a first-time candidate and Air Force veteran.
Three-year-old Josef Kuzel placed the red "I Voted" sticker on his father Bryan Kuzel after he cast his vote at Somerset Elementary School, Tuesday, N

Minnesotans head to polls today for much-anticipated midterm

In Minnesota's midterm election, there's an open race for governor, two U.S. Senate elections, a vicious AG race, several hotly contested congressional races and control of the Legislature up for grabs.
Eighth District candidates Joe Radinovich and Pete Stauber debated in St. Paul last month.

High stakes in battle for seat in Congress from Minnesota's Eighth District

The northern Minnesota contest draws national attention as GOP aims to flip seat.
Eighth District candidates Joe Radinovich, left, and Pete Stauber sat in comfortable chairs but engaged in contentious discussions over issues during

Radinovich, Stauber face off in lively debate over northeastern Minnesota seat in Congress

Stauber, Radinovich clash over character, issues in tight and testy contest.
Rep. Erik Paulsen and challenger Dean Phillips debated late week on "Almanac."

Erik Paulsen, Dean Phillips campaigns dispute ads, campaign finance

As Election Day nears, the competitive race for the Third Congressional District seat is becoming increasingly contentious.
Democrat Angie Craig, left, and Republican Jason Lewis, debated for the last time as they battle for Minnesota's Second Congressional District at the

Jason Lewis, Angie Craig spar one last time, fight for suburban support in U.S. House race

Jason Lewis touts tax cuts and Angie Craig warns of entitlement cuts to pay for deficit reduction during their debate in Rosemount.
A sign at a Metro Transit light rail station on Oct. 24, 2018 in downtown Minneapolis encourages Minnesotans to vote on Election Day on Nov. 6.

'Who wins matters': Billboards and signs, paid for by Pohlads, encourage Minnesotans to vote

More than 100 nonpartisan billboards and messages have gone up across the state.
Minnesota is particularly vulnerable to trade disruptions with China because it’s the nation’s third-largest producer of soybeans, and 40 percent

Minnesota Poll shows splits on trade policy, tariffs

48 percent of Minnesota voters said they opposed Trump's trade moves; 46 percent said they believe tariffs will raise costs on imported goods and hurt economy.
Rep. Erik Paulsen and DFL challenger Dean Phillips squared off at a debate in August.

Trump endorses Rep. Erik Paulsen in late-night tweet

Paulsen's first ad highlighted how he's breaking with Trump, but now he's being endorsed by the president.
House Speaker Paul Ryan met with Erik Paulsen at his office in Plymouth.

National political stars descend on closely fought Minnesota

Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio among GOP stars visiting to boost House candidates.
John Howe marched in the Pan-o-Prog Parade in Lakeville. He is a Republican endorsed candidate for Secretary of State.

Former Red Wing mayor John Howe challenges incumbent Steve Simon for Minnesota Secretary of State job

Simon wants more access; Howe would fight fraud.
Third District challenger Dean Phillips, left, and Rep. Erik Paulsen debate on “Almanac." Co-host Eric Eskola is pictured, center.

Lewis, Paulsen face off with Craig, Phillips, in TV debates

In one of their final debates before the Nov. 6 election, the candidates clashed over issues ranging from health care to taxes.
Surrounded by supporters, Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN announced a Minnesota-based report which he said detailed an anti-Muslim prop

Report by Minnesota groups condemns anti-Muslim rhetoric

The report is critical of both Democrats and Republicans.
The Minneapolis Police union endorsed Jeff Johnson for governor at a news conference with Johnson and union president Bob Kroll. Behind Jeff Johnson a

Minneapolis police union endorses Jeff Johnson for Minnesota governor

Union previously backed Democrat Mark Dayton.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, State Representative Jim Newberger.

Jim Newberger, self-described 'underdog,' aims to unseat Amy Klobuchar

 WILLMAR, Minn. – Jim Newberger steered his black SUV into a nearly empty parking lot, relishing an hour of downtime in a whirlwind…
Emily Johnson Piper, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

About 21,000 Minnesotans' information affected in data breach from Department of Human Services

But DHS says there's no evidence that personal info was viewed or downloaded.
Rep. Erik Paulsen, right, and his Democratic challenger Dean Phillips both speak during their debate.

Paulsen, Phillips clash at second debate in congressional race

With less than a month before the election, the race is heating up.
President Donald Trump makes his second visit to Minnesota, with a rally on Thursday night at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Trump calls on Rochester rally to turn Minnesota to red state

In a wide-ranging speech in front of a capacity crowd at Mayo Civic Center, President Donald Trump touted his achievement along with Minnesota GOP hopefuls. The rally also drew a large group of protesters.
Inside the offices of Americans For Prosperity in Burnsville, people were busy making phone calls to Minnesotans to inquire about their opinions on to

If you're a Minnesota voter, campaigns likely know a lot about you

Big data and technology have transformed how campaigns target voters or reach out to volunteers.
The national battle for control of Congress runs right through Minnesota, and that means TV ads. The Second and Third District races have drawn a heav

Campaign ad wars now heating up on screens across Minnesota

State is at the epicenter of battle for control of Congress, with the Second and Third Districts under extreme focus.
President Donald Trump during his last visit to Minnesota, in June 2018. He'll be back for a rally in Rochester on Oct. 4.

Trump to return to Minnesota for Rochester visit Oct. 4

It's the fourth visit to the state in a few months by the top two members of the Trump administration.
Voters at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis on Election Day 2017.

Minnesotans head to polls for start of early voting

Early voting will continue through Nov. 5 before the Nov. 6 Election Day.
Supreme Court Associate Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Bu

Minnesota Poll: Evenly split on Kavanaugh before accusation

Minnesotans are evenly split on the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh in a new Star Tribune-MPR News Minnesota Poll taken before an allegation of sexual assault against him surfaced.
Tim Droogsma tweeted this post-crash self-portrait.

Campaign staffer released from hospital after Republican Party float crash

John Howe and Tim Droogsma were injured in GOP parade float crash.
FILE - In this March 12, 2018, file photo, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson speaks during an interview at the Capitol in St. Paul. Swanson’s

Attorney General Lori Swanson convenes sexual assault task force

Swanson seeks to recommend investigative reforms to Legislature by December.
GOP Secretary of State candidate John Howe, right, and his campaign manager, Tim Droogsma, were injured Sunday in Carver when their float crashed afte

Perfect storm led to injuries suffered by Minn. Secretary of State candidate, his manager

"We're just so thankful; it could have been so much worse," Howe said.
Stickers awaited voters after they cast their ballots on primary election day in August at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in St. Paul.

Minnesota sees surge in new voter registrations ahead of competitive November midterm elections

The spike comes after the state in August saw the highest primary turnout since 1994.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen

Rep. Erik Paulsen breaks with Republicans on BWCA, urging feds to reconsider mining decision

Congressman says feds should reverse decision on mining exploration.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC associated with House Republican leadership, and Rep. Erik Paulsen’s campaign released new TV ads sin

Republicans attack Dean Phillips' business background in new TV ads as he competes for Rep. Erik Paulsen's seat

They rip Paulsen's foe for wealth, business practices.
Patti Weber, CIA officer and Woman's Club leader, dies at 75

Patti Weber, CIA officer and Woman's Club leader, dies at 75

When her cover was blown, she became a CIA executive before retiring to Minnesota, where she led the Woman's Club of Minneapolis.
Vice President Mike Pence, alongside Legion chief Denise Rohan, called Trump an “ally and champion” for veterans and listed the work the administr

Pence to vets in Minneapolis: 'We will always fight for you'

Vice President Mike Pence's visit to the American Legion convention comes after the Legion and the White House clashed over President Trump's response to the death of Sen. John McCain.
Rep. Erik Paulsen and DFL challenger Dean Phillips squared off Tuesday in their first debate ahead of the November election. and greeted each other at

Third District forum in Edina focuses on campaign finance reform

It was the first policy forum that DFLer Dean Phillips is holding as he challenges U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen in the west metro congressional district.
DFL Gubernatorial Candidate Tim Walz and his running mate Peggy Flanagan attended a DFL Unity press conference with Governor Mark Dayton and State Rep

Ellison faces mounting pressure over domestic violence claim

National Organization for Women calls for him to drop out of race for the Minnesota attorney general's race, while top DFL leaders say they still back him.
People voted at Edison High School in northeast Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Minnesota sees highest voter turnout for primary since 1994

According to the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office, 22.7 percent of eligible voters participated. In Minneapolis, the city broke a 48-year record for turnout in a midterm primary, with 93,500 voters casting ballots.
Voters lined up to get their ballots on primary election day at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in St. Paul.

Hagedorn wins Republican primary in First District; Radinovich wins DFL primary in Eighth District

Their opponents will be political newcomer Dan Feehan and St. Louis County Board Member Pete Stauber, respectively.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Jim Newberger

At Farmfest, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her Republican challenger, state Rep. Jim Newberger, make pitch to rural voters

It was the two candidates' first appearance together.
The Fifth Congressional District candidates squared off in a debate on Aug. 2. The debate included DFL candidates, from left, Patricia Torres-Ray, Mar

DFL rivals work to stand out in competitive Fifth District race

Kelliher and Torres Ray emphasize experience; Omar offers new voice.
State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray.

Sen. Patricia Torres Ray appears in court after arrest in immigration protest

The charges were pleaded down in Hennepin County District Court to a petty misdemeanor, with a fine of about $200.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, seen a district DFL convention on June 17, said Monday that she would return $2,500 in speaking fees from two Minnesota community col

Found violating rules, Rep. Ilhan Omar will pay back college speaking fees

Rep. Ilhan Omar violated House rules by accepting speaking fees.
Early “no-excuse” absentee ballots have grown in popularity since the state allowed it in 2013.

Early voting on pace to set a record in Minnesota before Aug. 14 primary

Nearly 30,000 ballots have been submitted so far, up 151 percent from this time in 2016.
The Minneapolis Rowing Club hosts a three-hour “Rowing Adventure” class that gives a tour of its boathouse on the Mississippi and teaches rowing s

'Rowing Adventure' gives rookies a workout on the Mississippi River

Class teaches rookies the increasingly popular sport of rowing — and provides a full-body workout.
Dean Phillips, Democratic candidate for Congress, gave out free cookies and lemonade from his revamped 1960s milk truck at Music in Plymouth.

Dean Phillips takes his campaign on the road — and lakes — hoping to unseat Paulsen

Dean Phillips hopes his campaign tactics boost energy — and votes.
95th Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Paul C. Thissen donned the robe that was missing right after he took the oath. Former Chief Just

Former state Rep. Paul Thissen sworn in to Minnesota Supreme Court

The move solidifies a five-member progressive majority on the court.
Waate Aubid of East Lake, Minn., harvested pattypan squash at the Dream of Wild Health’s farm in Hugo. “You get to eat healthy, you don’t get ch

Across the state, indigenous food movement takes root

Tribes embrace gardens and traditional foods to combat health crisis.
State Attorney General Lori Swanson in a February file photo.

Minnesota bans Florida veterans charity that officials say deceived donors

It's part of a nationwide crackdown on fraudulent veterans charities.
DFL candidates for governor Erin Murphy and Tim Walz have lined up behind single-payer health care.

DFL candidates in race for governor highlight health care plans

Two of the three leading candidates get behind a single-payer approach.
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