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
Arianna Baker-Kern, Chowgirls Killer Catering chef de cuisine, left, and Kate Kiernoziak, Chowgirls Killer Catering sous chef, prepare ingredients for

Minnesota foundations give emergency aid to nonprofits to help residents during COVID-19

Nonprofits are seeing a growing number of people in need of help.
Simpson Housing Services shelter.

Housing homeless in Hennepin County could easily hit $1M a week

County officials say that state help will be needed to cover what they say could be staggering costs.
For some social distancing works, for the poor and homeless, getting food to eat doesn't always allow that as evidenced by the line for lunch at Shari

Minnesota homeless shelters seek more aid, resources before COVID-19 'spreads like wildfire'

Nonprofits working with the Minnesota's homeless say they're unprepared for COVID-19.
A life-size juvenile T-Rex puppet operated by Yvonne Freese roared at the crowd as part of the Science Museum of Minnesota’s “How to Train Your Di

Minnesota Science Museum, Children's Museum lay off most staff

Cultural nonprofits lose critical admission revenue.
Day campers from St. Paul Central High School canoed Lake Alice with Wilderness Inquiry at William O’Brien State Park Friday, July 5, 2019, in Marin

Nonprofits ask for $60B in federal aid as they brace for decline in donations

So far, on GiveMN's site, donations are up this month compared to this time last year.
Brock Ray of New Hope worked alongside his daughter Bonnie, 7, to line up materials for the feminine hygiene kits.

Minnesota nonprofits create reusable pads for women and girls so they can stay in school

Minnesotans join forces to create reusable pads for girls on their periods so they can stay in school.
The YMCA on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. The Ys across Minnesota will open Monday to provide learning programs and care from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. duri

YMCA reopens shuttered fitness centers for child care in Minnesota during COVID-19 outbreak

Gov. Tim Walz authorized the use of YMCA sites during the pandemic.
Kate Kiernoziak, Chowgirls Killer Catering sous chef, right, and Arianna Baker-Kern, Chowgirls Killer Catering chef de cuisine, prepare ingredients fo

Minnesota nonprofits, foundations scramble to respond to COVID-19 outbreak

Foundations are launching emergency funds to help nonprofits, which are seeing an unprecedented need for services.
The University of Minnesota on Wednesday canceled all in-person classes at all five of its campuses, moving to online classes starting Monday because

University of Minnesota cancels in-person classes due to coronavirus

The unprecedented move across all five university campuses because of the coronavirus outbreak will be in effect through at least April 1.
University of Minnesota junior Rachel Linzbach was supposed to meet up with a friend in Shanghai during spring break, but she canceled the trip and wi

Minnesota schools cancel trips over coronavirus concerns

Some Minnesota colleges, universities and high schools are canceling trips abroad because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Some students are changing personal travel plans for spring break.
In downtown Minneapolis, People Serving People doesn’t plan to shut even if there’s a coronavirus outbreak.

Minnesota nonprofits, foundations prep for possible coronavirus outbreak

Foundations, too, ramp up for possible coronavirus.
Yonis Gabow posed for a picture in his counseling room at Minnesota Math and Science Academy -- a St. Paul charter school with about 500 K-12 students

Minnesota nonprofits boost culturally specific mental health programs for Somali-Americans

Nonprofits are expanding culturally specific services for Somali-Americans.
Boy Scout uniforms displayed Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in the retail store at the headquarters for the French Creek Council of the Boy Scouts of America

Bankruptcy filing won't hurt local finances, program, Minn. scout leaders say

The Northern Star Council said it doesn't receive money from the national organization for its $21 million budget and is "separately incorporated," a spokesman said.
Uri Sands of TU Dance

TU Dance, former dancer reach settlement in case alleging sexual assault

The co-founder of TU Dance, Uri Sands, resigned in December.
Be the Match CEO C. Randal Mills and wife Anna at the Be the Match Gala in September 2017.

CEO of Be the Match steps down citing 'personal reasons'

C. Randal Mills has led the nonprofit since 2017.
A woman who did not want to be identified by name shared her story of recovery with other women currently residing at the Retreat in Wayzata, which op

Female-focused approaches are big draw for Minn. women seeking help with substance abuse

Experts say women have often waited longer to get mental health treatment since they are usually the primary caregivers in a family and also face a sometimes harsher stigma when seeking help.
Armin ‘Whitey’ Luehrs

Armin 'Whitey' Luehrs, Minnesotan who shaped YMCA camps across the U.S., dies at 95

Thousands of YMCA campers across the country have Armin Luehrs to thank for helping champion and shape camps nationwide. After establishing programs at northern Minnesota…
Minnesota-native Ross Wilson was sworn back into the U.S. Foreign Service this month to lead the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Trump administration taps Minnesota native to lead U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan

Ross Wilson, who spent nearly four decades in the U.S. Foreign Service before retiring to the Twin Cities, is sworn in again to fill temporary position.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter addressed attendees of Tuesday night's GreenLight Fund Kickoff event at Scooter's at the University of St. Thomas.

GreenLight Fund touts 'new form of philanthropy' for the Twin Cities

Ninth U.S. GreenLight site has backing of big names.
A remembrance ceremony by the Front Line Foundation honored the fallen on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

Minnesota foundation expands to give grants to first responders, military members

The Front Line Foundation, formerly Friends of SWAT Minnesota, renamed and expanded in 2018.
Gloria Perez, the former leader of the Jeremiah Program, was named in December the new CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, starting in Febru

Big Minnesota nonprofits kick off 2020 with new leaders

Minnesota's nonprofit sector has seen leadership turnover, especially of retiring "legacy leaders" who have been in charge more than 10 years.
Benjamin Casper Sanchez, from right, faculty director of the Center for New Americans, shook hands with Kathleen Blatz, chairwoman of the board of dir

After giving out nearly $165 million, a Minneapolis foundation is almost broke and ready to close — on purpose

Former Honeywell exec focused giving on four recipients in a limited window.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

Minnesota attorney general bans two Florida charities for deceiving donors

Keith Ellison announced the ban, which was the result of a settlement in Ramsey County District Court.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter stopped in at the Salvation Army toy shop in St. Paul on Monday, Dec. 23, and helped shopper John Yang pick out toys for

Salvation Army still short donations, despite new gift from St. Grand

Salvation Army is facing a shortfall of about $500K.
Natasha Farhat is a veteran volunteer at People Serving People.

Minnesota is again No. 1, topping a list for most generous state in the U.S.

Experts say the rankings reinforce the state's strong philanthropic sector and show that Minnesotans are above average in volunteer time, too.
Gabino Cruz of Bloomington picked out toys for his three kids on Wednesday at the Salvation Army Toy Shop in Minneapolis.

Twin Cities donors help fill Salvation Army's shortage of toys for kids in need

The Twin Cities nonprofit earlier this week faced a shortage of toys for 1,800 kids.
Insipred instax images

6 Minnesotans who were voices of inspiration in 2019

As the year draws to a close, let's be inspired by people who aspire to connect, heal and support their communities.
Thwanda Thomas of Minneapolis picked out a bike for her 7-year-old at the Salvation Army Toy Shop on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Salvation Army faces shortfall in donations, toys for Twin Cities families in need

The nonprofit blames the short holiday season, weather and online shopping for decreasing crowds to its red kettles.
Becky Rom read through her notes before speaking to a group of fellow environmentalists at the Save the Boundary Waters office in Ely in 2016.

Minnesota environmental nonprofits are seeing a surge in donations

Environmental nonprofits say local issues inspired an increase in donations.
YMCA worker Alex Giesen, left, and Satoria Moran, 24, met at the New Hope YMCA to catch up and fill out paperwork for membership to the club, one of t

Constellation Fund gives out new grants to Twin Cities nonprofits to 'disrupt philanthropy'

The foundation, started last year by Andrew Dayton, taps the expertise of an economist and researchers.
Members of the 1913 University of Minnesota Women’s Suffrage Club.

100th anniversary of women's suffrage reason to celebrate across Minnesota

Minnesota is gearing up to commemorate the centennial with events, exhibits and educational outreach across the state.
Resident Shataye, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy, is excited and grateful to have stable housing at Mino Oski Ain Dah

New St. Paul housing facility is first of its kind for homeless Native American youths in Minn.

Native American young people are disproportionately affected by homelessness.
Theresa Plaunt brought her sons Owen, 7, Austin, 5, and her nephew Gavin Neilser, 5 to the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Science Museum of Minnesota gets anonymous $1 million gift

The donation is the largest of its kind and can be used for the museum's operations, not a specific program.
Lunch at the Family Place in St. Paul in September.

St. Paul day shelter for homeless families gets county funds

Interfaith Action took over the day center after it closed abruptly.
Tory, a 44-year-old from Minneapolis, got the key to his own room at Exodus Residence on Monday. Catholic Charities will move residents from Exodus to

$65M Catholic Charities project planned for downtown Mpls.

About 80% of the project is publicly funded, with Hennepin County dedicating an "unprecedented" $5 million — the county's biggest investment ever in one housing project.
A plow truck made its way up the hill in front of the Cathedral of St. Paul on Wednesday, with the State Capitol building in the backdrop. More snow i

Done shoveling? Get ready for another storm, Minnesotans

Mixture of rain and snow is expected to fall across the state starting Friday.
Kate Gillette works for Avison Young real estate agency, one of the table sponsors for the “Thank You For Not Coming” gala. The company spent $400

A gala no one has to attend? Minnesota nonprofits retool fundraising pitches

With video parties, crowdfunding and more, nonprofits are getting creative to boost donations from folks suffering from "gala fatigue."
Irene Stemmer of Wayzata helped save the city’s 19th-century “Trapper’s Cabin,” moving the 1880s log building from its original site to a city

Irene Stemmer, who helped preserve Wayzata's historic buildings, dies at 93

"The word 'can't' wasn't part of her vocabulary," said Bridget Anderson, a former city leader.
Jasmine Young, was all smiles as she was given the opportunity to sign up for housing at St. Stephen’s Human Services on Thursday.

St. Stephen's gets $5M from Amazon's Bezos to help homeless families

It's the largest foundation grant that the Minneapolis nonprofit has received.
Ojibwe teacher Liz Zoongwegiizhigook Zinsli smudges with students each day. It helps them clear their mind, calm themselves down and prepare for learn

Nonprofit's $22M center will help revitalize Lake Street corner

The project, half of which is being publicly funded, is part of a broader revitalization of a busy Lake Street intersection marked by vacant lots and empty storefronts
Douglas Schindler rang the bell Friday at a Cub Foods in Roseville. “People don’t carry cash. So we have to adapt,” said the Salvation Army’s

No cash or spare change for the Salvation Army's red kettles? No problem

The Salvation Army adds mobile-pay technology in hopes of boosting donations in cashless society.
The Bitty Kitty Brigade, a nonprofit cat rescue, hosted a Give to the Max Day kick-off party called “Brews for Bitty Kitties” on Wednesday at Boom

Give to the Max Day sets a record for donations to Minnesota nonprofits

As Thursday drew to a close near midnight, donations rolled in online and helped Give to the Max Day set a record, hauling in…
Chris Pangle, left, helped resort chef Brian Chaffee load food and supplies into Chaffee’s van at Loaves & Fishes in Minneapolis before a 360-mile r

Twin Cities nonprofits boost deliveries of free food to people in need in greater Minn.

While poverty and homelessness may be more visible in the Twin Cities, it's not a problem confined to urban areas.
Becky Hauser, left, and Shea Roberts of Resist Sleep joined their youngsters to inspire donations to the Huge Improv Theater.

Give to the Max Day wraps up with a record fundraising total

The total topped last year's mark of $21 million just before midnight. For many, large and small, the event is a boost that helps fuel the entire year.
Piggybacking on Give to the Max Day offered the Bitty Kitty Brigade a chance to amplify its message and boost giving.

Free beer and cuddles with a kitten on Give to the Max Day

Nonprofits hope to break state's record on Give to the Max Day
Jason McLean at the Loring Pasta bar in summer of 2014.

Judge grants $2.5M judgment against former Children's Theatre actor accused of sex assault

McLean now faces more than $8 million in judgments in Minnesota.

Three Minn. nonprofits get Bush Foundation grants of up to $500K

Nonprofits were among 81 applying for grants from the foundation.
Thousands of Gophers fans stormed the field after Minnesota's 31-26 victory over Penn State. Penn State played the Minnesota Gophers at TCF Bank Stadi

Giddy Gophers fans rush field after big win, kicking off wild celebrations

More than a dozen minor injuries were reported, including four that sent people to the hospital, but none serious, officials said.
Jason McLean at his restaurant, the Loring Pasta Bar, in Minneapolis' Dinkytown in the summer of 2014.

Attorneys seek $2.5M more from ex-Children's Theatre actor Jason McLean in sex abuse case

More than $6 million in judgments have already been filed against McLean.
A police vehicle pulled up to Bloomington Jefferson High School while cars waited to pick students.

Stabbing at Bloomington Jefferson HS puts student in hospital, another in custody

The severity of the victim's injuries was unclear, but police chief said she's in stable condition at HCMC.
CTC managing director Kimberly Motes apologized on behalf of the theater directly to survivor Laura Stearns during Friday's news conference. Jeff Ande

Children's Theatre reaches settlements in remaining sex abuse cases

The theater will contribute $500,000 to start a fund to support survivors.
Jason McLean at his restaurant, the Loring Pasta Bar, in Minneapolis' Dinkytown in the summer of 2014.

Ex-Children's Theatre teacher accused of abuse returns to U.S.

Jason McLean, who faces more than $6 million in judgments against him, resurfaced in Oakland, Calif., where he owns a restaurant and bar called Small Wonder.
Antonio Kelly peeked into a salon where residents can get haircuts at Dorothy Day Place, where Kelly has an apartment after three years with no home.

'Somewhere to lay my head': $100M shelter opens in St. Paul

The new Dorothy Day Residence — the largest public-private partnership of its kind in Minnesota history — is the latest addition in the Twin Cities to tackle the shortage in affordable housing.
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.
Earlier this year, the Science Museum of Minnesota received a $1 million grant to update its “RACE: Are We So Different?” exhibit, which debuted i

Minnesota nonprofits putting new focus on issues of race

As the state's demographics grow more diverse, nonprofits are taking a look at everything from their leadership positions to how they retain employees of color and use their resources.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns shops with Jaidon Jackson, 8, of Rosemount, whose father is in the Minnesota Army National Guard, during their

Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx combine philanthropy efforts, launch new grant program

The teams are launching a new grant program and boosting employee volunteering.
COMPAS teaching artist Sharra Frank, left, worked with Tammi Reeves during a mosaic-making art class at Avivo, a nonprofit expanding its arts program

Free Twin Cities art workshops teach people will mental illness new skills, boost confidence

For people living with mental health troubles, free art workshops teach new skills and boost confidence.
Rebecca Crooks-Stratton of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community says there are “no modern Indians in textbooks.”

Shakopee Sioux announce $5 million campaign to boost Indian education in Minnesota schools

It will fund classroom resources, training.
The Historic Fort Snelling site, a Minnesota landmark for centuries, could get a new name. The Minnesota Historical Society, which manages the histori

Public weighs in on proposed Historic Fort Snelling name change

Historical Society seeks input on proposal to rename 23-acre site, not the fort
Volunteers Rita Kolodjski left, and Terri Jones sorted through foods donated by the East Side Neighborhood Services mobile food shelf at Bassett Creek

Hennepin County plans to cut funding for nonprofits that provide food for people in need

Nonprofits say move would be shortsighted; county says it needs to fund other services.
Survivor Jina Penn-Tracy, who said she was abused from 1983 to 1985 by Jason McLean and Children’s Theatre co-founder John Clark Donahue, became emo

Children's Theatre, Twin Cities theater community try to heal after abuse

Some survivors say CTC is doing too little, too late.
Women and children ate lunch at the Project Home Day Center, Ramsey County's only day shelter for homeless families, on Sept. 19 in St. Paul.

St. Paul nonprofit rescues county's only day shelter for homeless families

St. Paul day center reopens with new name
Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota (center), stood alongside other nonprofit leaders in opposition to the federal gove

More than 35,000 Minnesotans could lose access to food stamps under proposed change

Federal agriculture officials say it will close a loophole that allowed people with high incomes to get food stamps, and will prevent "abuse of a critical safety net system."
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.
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.