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
Second Harvest Heartland in Brooklyn Park is one of the beneficiaries of the Walk to End Hunger.

Annual Walk to End Hunger goes virtual, falls short of $250K goal

In all, $208,000 was donated to support nine organizations.
Jacob Bernstein and his wife, Anna Taddei, carried food from the home of Av Gordon. The family with a long tradition of big family get-togethers at Th

Minnesota families retool Thanksgiving traditions amid pandemic

They streamed to Plymouth from across the Twin Cities, on their way to pick up plastic containers of carrots, foil-wrapped platters of turkey and homemade…
Salvation Army Lt. Col. Dan Jennings, the divisional commander overseeing operations Minnesota and North Dakota, spoke at a news conference Nov. 13 to

Annual holiday toy drives shift to virtual efforts

Pandemic pushing many nonprofit activities online.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Minnesota Historical Society’s Oliver Kelley Farm grew food that has all gone to an Elk River food shelf. Here,

Historic Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River grows 9,000 pounds of produce to donate to food shelf

The Oliver Kelley Farm transformed its educational gardens into victory gardens benefiting people in need.
Tommy Holmes smiles and chats with Linda Brady after receiving his meals at his home in Hamilton Manor in 2018 from Community Emergency Services (CES)

Nonprofits push for more government help as COVID aid expires

With CARES funding set to expire, state groups say the need for aid is dire.
Nadia Al-Yasin showed My Very Own Bed founder Michael Allen a book she chose for a child as she was putting together a bed ensemble.

Give to the Max Day draws record $30.5 million

Minnesotans' outpouring of generosity in the midst of a pandemic catapulted the final tally for the annual Give to the Max Day to…
Volunteer Jenny Thai stood on a loading dock with the multiple bags of sheets, blankets, books and toys which were delivered to childen through My Ver

Minnesotans set a Give to the Max Day record, giving $30 million

Despite the pandemic, Give to the Max donations soared past last year's tally.
Volunteer Janessa Rosenfield of Hopkins packed apples into boxes at Second Harvest Heartland, where starting Thursday all volunteer opportunities will

Minnesota nonprofits brace for a worse 2021

A new report shows 40% of nonprofit employees filed for unemployment in 2020; volunteer shortage looms.
Cathy Maes, executive director at Loaves & Fishes, a Minneapolis-based free meal program, hopes donors will make up the money normally raised in a gal

Give to the Max Day aims to boost donations for Minn. nonprofits as COVID-19 strains budgets

Nonprofits are depending on Give to the Max Day to make up for lost fundraisers
Michael Osterholm

National fund started in Minnesota for families of health care workers who died of COVID

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm says the goal is to raise millions to pay for funerals, other expenses.
Shaunte Houston of Minneapolis picked out toys for her three children at the Salvation Army Toy Shop last year.

From free Thanksgiving meals to Christmas toy drives, nonprofits retool traditions

Meals and toys will mostly be prepackaged, distributed using drive-throughs.
Doug and Kathy Dunmire host homeless youth in their Inver Grove Heights home through a program that Dakota County and the YMCA of the North would like

Dakota County program gives homeless youth a safe place

Dakota County, like other places in Minnesota, is seeing a rise in homelessness.
Volunteers loaded boxes for 84 metro area nonprofits and school districts receiving school supplies at the annual Greater Twin Cities United Way’s d

Twin Cities United Way revenue dropped $7M in 2019

The nonprofit has increased services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Catholic Charities CEO Tim Marx showed a rendering in 2017 of the building that would replace the old Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul.

Catholic Charities names former Minneapolis schools leader Michael Goar as new CEO

Former Big Brothers chief comes to job at critical era.
Volunteers Russell Calloway, left, Janie Rogers, center, and Erin Que packed food at a Salvation Army food distribution event at its Citadel service c

Nonprofits face volunteer shortage as virus cases rise and holidays near

Holidays are a critical time for outreach, and nonprofits are asking for help.
Volunteer Rich Larsen waved goodbye after he handed meals to a drive-up client at the Loaves and Fishes distribution site at Hope Presbyterian Church

Hennepin County backs Minnesota Central Kitchen as COVID-19 hunger crisis grows

Nonprofit agency on pace to top 1 million free meals served to Minnesotans.
Davia “Machine” Holmes, 16, shadow boxes at Northside Boxing Club, which received a grant to support youth healing through fitness and education.

Minnesota foundations are boosting racial justice work after George Floyd's death

Charitable organizations are now bolstering their racial justice work — from diversifying leadership to retooling grants.
The five mini-cabins at Cuyuna Cove abut a popular state recreation area.

COVID-cation options in Minnesota include new tiny cabins and grain silos

Surprising lodging offerings in central Minnesota are perfect for social-distancing vacations.
In 2019, Jamie Millard, executive director of Pollen Midwest, spent time with her 6-month-old daughter Dani in the nursing room as she waited for her

Some Minnesota nonprofits give employees time off to cope with 2020 fatigue

Long workdays, endless juggling lead some nonprofit bosses to boost paid time off.
Hien Bui, an EMT with M Health Fairview and registered nurse, administered a COVID-19 test during a free testing event at New Salem Baptist Church in

Salvation Army outbreak sickens a third of those at conference

Twenty Salvation Army staff from Minnesota and North Dakota tested positive for COVID-19 after 62 people attended a recent conference in northern Minnesota, underscoring how easily the virus can spread.
Minnesota's National Black Police Association chapter boosts outreach in wake of George Floyd's death

Minnesota's National Black Police Association chapter boosts outreach in wake of George Floyd's death

The state group, one of 23 in the U.S., has also focused on mentoring and diversifying hiring as well as increasing mental health help for officers.
Gloria Jean Kiester, 87, died Oct. 5. She was a longtime St. Olaf music teacher and Northfield resident.

Gloria Kiester, longtime St. Olaf music instructor and global traveler, dies at 87

"Music was the heartbeat of her life," a niece said.
A new emergency shelter for teens who are 15 to 19 years old called the Loft Shelter opened in 2018. The shelter, opened by the nonprofit Life House,

New report shows Minnesota LGBTQ teens and adults overrepresented in homeless population

Advocates say the foundation's work shows a gap in state resources.
Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile, stood for a photo in front of a mural of her son during a rally for Philando Castile outside St. Anth

Philando Castile's mom honored for anti-racism work by St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation

She was one of four to receive the foundation's 14th annual Facing Race Awards.
Robert Marbut Jr., head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, spoke Tuesday during a tour of Union Gospel Mission’s Naomi Family Residenc

Trump appointee visits Twin Cities homeless encampments, shelters

Top federal official Robert Marbut Jr. lauded the state's efforts to protect the vulnerable.
Kathy Thammavongsa talked with workers as they loaded her car with food items during a “Fuel the Vote” event Saturday.

Minnesota nonprofits boost voter outreach for 2020 election

From Zoom workshops to phone banking, fresh strategies are aimed at groups who are often left out.
Loaves & Fishes, a Minneapolis nonprofit that provides free meals to people in need, is one of the nonprofits that has seen the number of individual d

Minnesota nonprofits worry about 'donor fatigue' during COVID-19 as they kick off year-end fundraising

Nonprofits hope donors rally after a record year.
Veteran Salvation Army red kettle bell ringer Douglas Schandler worked in Roseville in 2019.

Salvation Army launches red kettle campaign early, pivots to focus on online giving during COVID-19 pandemic

The nonprofit is even hoping to push online giving through its annual red kettles with QR codes directing people online.
Red Cross volunteers in Oregon made wildfire clean up kits with items like gloves, trash bags, face masks, a shovel and rake. The kits also include si

Minnesota Red Cross seeks volunteers as crises escalate across U.S.

Julie Buerkle boarded a plane Saturday bound for Florida, but not for the beach. With travel plans nixed during the pandemic, the Roseville 54-year-old found…
During his speech Friday night in Bemidji, President Donald Trump praised Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by saying: "He would have won, except for Get

Trump's praise of Robert E. Lee gets pushback from Minnesotans proud of state's role at Gettysburg

Minnesota soldiers played a pivotal role at Gettysburg, a major Confederate loss.
Rendering of the dome and new athletic fields outside the Conway Community Center in St. Paul as the Sanneh Foundation looks to expand year-round acti

Sanneh Foundation adds new athletic fields, dome for year-round sports in St. Paul

Sanneh Foundation's first-class facility gives St. Paul kids a leg up with sports.
Children who attend Dodge Nature Preschool enjoy outdoor classrooms all year round, with plenty of activities.

Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul aims to raise $40M in largest fundraiser ever

Twin Cities nonprofit seeks more visitors to nature center and trails.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Minnesota AG Keith Ellison bans group from seeking donations in state

The state of Minnesota is banning an organization from soliciting donations that scammed residents into thinking they were donating to support people in need. A…
Minnesota firefighters are among crews helping contain the Bobcat fire, which has burned more than 26,000 acres northeast of Los Angeles.

More than 70 Minnesotans deployed to assist Western wildfires

Firefighters, support crew members and Red Cross volunteers are working in several areas devastated by raging wildfires.
George Floyd

George Floyd's family launches foundation on social change

The family of George Floyd has launched a nonprofit foundation and will make the formal announcement Sunday during the annual National Homeless Day event in Minneapolis.
Rendering of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board concept design for Kenilworth channel

Mpls. Park Board plans $1M rehab of Cedar, Lake of the Isles channel

The project will replace crumbling retaining walls, add flowers, shrubs.
Oliver Kelley Farm employees Donna Schaefer, right, and John Hanson harvested vegetables Thursday in Elk River. Since spring, the farm has grown nearl

Retooled Kelley farm becomes pandemic victory garden

Since spring, the farm has grown nearly 7,000 pounds of food that has all gone to a local food shelf.
Volunteers worked at the Sheridan Story on Thursday in Roseville. It’s trying to raise $1.8 million for 100,000 weekly meals for students.

Minnesota nonprofits plead for more help as hunger crisis surges

More are needing help, especially after the extra unemployment aid ended.
Loppet executive director John Munger, pictured in Theodore Wirth Park, said he is leaving the nonprofit in “good hands.”

Loppet Foundation leader elevated Nordic skiing in Minn., revitalized Wirth Park

For 18 years, the Loppet leader elevated Nordic skiing and access to the outdoors.
Erich Mische, executive director of Spare Key, will begin on Aug. 27 a two-month, 1,700-mile journey down the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge, La., o

Revenue declines have Minnesota nonprofits looking for a boost amid 'Zoom fatigue'

Some organizations worry they may not survive the economic crisis.
Volunteer Megan Yoshida organizes school supplies for the Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Action Day in 2016.

United Way's largest volunteer event — filling school backpacks for needy kids — shifts to home

About 3,000 volunteers filled backpacks at home.
Mechanics Zach Stuen, right, and John Buttner work at the Lift Garage on East Lake Street, where many businesses were burned to the ground in May. The

Nonprofit auto shop looks to expand to meet growing need after unrest in Minneapolis

The Lift Garage survived violence on East Lake Street with help from volunteers, customers and even strangers.
The Douglas Dayton YMCA gym in downtown Minneapolis.

Twin Cities YMCA announces name change to YMCA of the North

The Y has buildings, programs and camps in the metro, southeastern and northern Minnesota, and western Wisconsin.
Election judge Jill Judlin, right, explained the voting procedure and ballot to Eden Prairie resident Don Wegmiller, who cast an absentee vote at Eden

After loss of newspaper, Eden Prairie residents look to launch nonprofit news website

In response to the closing of the suburb's weekly newspaper, a group has launched the Eden Prairie Local News Group.
Tenley VerStrate, 6, played Thursday in one of the new featured areas that are separated by tape during a “test run” at the Minnesota Children’s

Minnesota museums reopening as they struggle to survive during COVID-19

Some museums won't outlast the crisis, a new national study predicts.
The Midway YMCA was one of two of the first YMCAs to reopen June 10 at 25% capacity. Here, COVID-19 rules are posted outside of the Midway YMCA for al

YMCA shuts fitness centers in St. Paul, Lino Lakes and Prior Lake

The closures follow the Y's drop in revenue due to COVID-19.
Children and adults as well, explored the grocery store exhibit at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in 2012.

Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul reopens Aug. 1 after four-month closure

The museum has boosted its cleaning and sanitizing efforts.
The Midway YMCA in St. Paul. The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities joins a growing number of nonprofits, businesses and universities taking a fresh look

Twin Cities YMCA faces questions from within on racism, inequality

The Y's CEO vowed to take new steps, including listening sessions and a new advisory team.
Baby Dani sat patiently with her mother, Jamie Millard, executive director of Pollen, at a meeting with Julie Cohen, left, and Jerome Rankine in June

Minnesota nonprofit job postings will include what's long been secret: Pay

It's part of a broader push in the nonprofit sector to be more transparent and ensure pay is equitable.
The Science Museum of Minnesota, shown in 2017, shut in March and has lost $10 million in revenue.

More than 150 employees laid off from Science Museum of Minnesota

The St. Paul museum, which shut its doors March 13 due to the pandemic, has lost $10 million in revenue since then.
The Midway YMCA was one of two of the first YMCAs to reopen June 10 at 25% capacity. Here, Bobby Richardson of St. Paul, who lifts weights five times

YMCA's revenue drops due to COVID-19 closures of child care and fitness centers in Minnesota

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the third-largest in the U.S., saw revenue drop 30% so far this year.
Allison Swanson, laid off after five years with the Minnesota Historical Society, is skeptical about landing a similar job.

About a third of all nonprofit workers in Minnesota have filed for unemployment during COVID-19

Nonprofits lost an estimated $1 billion in revenue in April alone, according to a study by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Protesters filmed as they walked down E. Lake Street on May 29.

Lake Street Council gives first grants to help damaged businesses

$2.8 million was given to 175 businesses and nonprofits that were damaged or gutted in fires and riots.
A teddy bear and art supplies tell a story of some happy times at St. Joseph’s Home for Children in Minneapolis, run by Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities closes St. Joseph's Home for Children's programs

Hennepin County's overhauled system keeps more children at home, with relatives or in foster care.
Lulete Mola, vice president of community impact at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, is one of three leaders of the group.

Minnesota foundations unite to push for racial justice and change philanthropy

Minnesota's strong philanthropic and nonprofit sector has its own problems with racial inequities.
Aideyn Souvannarath, 13, picked up trash and debris left from looting along W. Broadway in north Minneapolis on May 31.

Small Minneapolis nonprofits awash in donations post-protests are scaling up

Expectations are higher than ever for clarity and transparency about how decisions are made and funds are used.
Erica Perkins took her 3-month old baby China Perkins for her first swim in Wirth Lake at Theodore Wirth Regional Park beach on Friday.

July 4th weekend lures many in Minnesota back to socializing

State health care and government officials hold their breath over how the summer festivities will affect the spread of the virus.
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation St. Paul Opportunity Center and Dorothy Day Residence.

Large Minnesota nonprofits caught in stimulus aid gap, face cost-cutting

Nine Minnesota groups ineligible for stimulus are turning to Congress.
Volunteer Janessa Rosenfield of Hopkins packed apples into boxes at Second Harvest Heartland in Brooklyn Park.

New data project Great Depression-level surge in hunger by fall in state

New data project a Great Depression-level surge in hunger by September
The Minnesota History Center exterior in St. Paul.

Minnesota Historical Society lays off nearly a third of its staff because of COVID-19

The Minnesota Historical Society is laying off nearly a third of its staff, announcing 176 layoffs this week, mostly at its historic sites and museums…
Catlan McCurdy and Sanjiv Laud helped create the George Floyd Memorial Scholarhip at the University of Minnesota Law School.

University of Minnesota Law School adds scholarship honoring George Floyd

The Law School launched the scholarship thanks to two alumni.
The Hennepin County jail.

Facing criticism, Minnesota bail nonprofit flooded with donations says it's 'scaling up'

The Minnesota Freedom Fund says the small nonprofit wasn't prepared to handle a sudden surge of $30 million in donations.
Armando Camacho, new Wilder Foundation CEO.

St. Paul's Wilder Foundation names new CEO

Armando Camacho, who has led the Minnetonka-based nonprofit, Opportunity Partners, will start July 1.
Teacher Cayla Baumann helps paint George floyd’s name on top of a peace sign in Longfellow.

Mpls. neighborhoods mobilized to protect their blocks during riots now push for change

Minneapolis neighborhoods rushed to organize to protect their homes and stores from arsonists and looters. Now they're looking bigger.
Cathy Burns, an employee with the city of Minneapolis, handed out food items while volunteering in north Minneapolis on May 30.

Twin Cities groups see 'heartening' surge in giving after riots

More money has come through GiveMN's site in the last two weeks than all spring for COVID-19 aid.
Guy Bowling of the Father Project, rear on bike, participated in a Family Day March of Fathers parade in 2016. He is one of 24 recipients of a Bush Fo

Bush Foundation in St. Paul names this year's fellowship winners

Each winner will receive $100,000 for projects.
A group of Americorps tutors raised their right hands in 2018 as they took the Americorps pledge. This year’s event was held virtually on Zoom.

More than 200 Minnesotans sign up for AmeriCorps unit to help nonprofits during COVID-19

More than 200 people will help organizations affected by COVID-19.
Anne Thompson helped paint a mural on a street intersection in the Longfellow neighborhood. Her block’s residents voted Thursday to end patrols and

Exhausted Minneapolis citizen patrols still wary, but seek a calmer path forward

A week out from the height of the violence, a fragile calm is descending as neighbors reach for a new normal.
Broom-wielding volunteers walked up and down E. Lake Street, helping clean up, on Wednesday. Behind them are the burned-out Foot Locker store, looted

Twin Cities foundations aim at rebuilding, criminal justice reform after riots

A growing effort emerges to rebuild the Twin Cities and reform the criminal justice system after George Floyd's death.
Sanford Middle School asked for 85 bags of food to get to families in need. Instead, people showed up Sunday, May 31 lining 14 blocks with cars to dro

Minneapolis nonprofits: Need still urgent for food donations to help families affected by riots

The Sheridan Story will take food donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Labayea Sumo smiled Tuesday as she thanked volunteers providing food and other items.

In Minneapolis, a quiet army of generosity gains strength

The sheer scope of support, pouring in from Minnesota and the nation, has surprised and relieved exhausted Minneapolis communities.
The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s headquarters is located in St. Paul.

Wilder Foundation in St. Paul cuts programs, 52 positions to narrow budget deficit

The nonprofit said cost-cutting was planned before COVID-19 but "accelerated" by the crisis.
Volunteers Mark Lewry and wife Jean Lewry of Greenwood packed apples at Second Harvest Heartland in Brooklyn Park.

Minnesota nonprofits rework volunteering during COVID-19

They're adjusting to social distancing, work-from-home routines amid virus.
Sue Abderholden, the executive director of NAMI Minnesota, said therapy and other mental health services are easier to access with providers shifting

Minnesota nonprofits boost mental health services during COVID-19

Mental health providers say they're expecting a flood of people needing help.
Dream of Wild Health's Amber Raven sowed seeds on the Minneapolis nonprofit's 10-acre organic farm in Hugo. The organization's reach will soon expand.

Mpls. nonprofit triples farmland to meet growing need for healthy food in Native American community

Dream of Wild Health is tripling its farmland to boost offerings of nutritious, culturally specific food.