Recent content from Kelly Smith
Minneapolis-based Questscope helps earthquake victims in Syria
Questscope, affiliated with Minneapolis-based Alight, is assisting Syrian villages after the deadly Feb. 6 earthquake.
Science Museum blames budget shortfall for latest layoffs
The St. Paul museum laid off 15 people last week in the latest round of layoffs, citing COVID-related revenue losses.
Foshay Tower observation deck touts panoramic views of Minneapolis year-round
Go to one of the city's most iconic buildings for the view; stay for the story behind it.
State's food shelves seek boost as demand rises to record
Across Minnesota, food shelves are rallying for donated food and cash this month to help them meet the demand from a growing number of Minnesotans in need.
These are the 50 defendants charged in the Feeding Our Future fraud case in 2022
Ten additional defendants were charged March 13, bringing the total to 60.
Legislation would offer tax incentive encouraging charitable donations
The Charitable Act, introduced this month by 11 senators including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, would allow taxpayers who take the standard deduction to deduct some charitable donations.
Minnesota Historical Society employees win pay boost in tentative contract agreement
The union contract, one of the first to be negotiated by a Minnesota nonprofit, will need approval by workers.
Lt. Gov. Flanagan to assume state's top job Monday while Walz has colonoscopy
Gov. Tim Walz will briefly transfer power Monday to Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan while he's undergoing a colonoscopy, and he's expected to be back to work Tuesday.
Farmington teen dies in car crash
Rodrigo Leon Dooley died after a collision in Vermillion Township, west of Hastings.
Plymouth police investigate fatal shooting
One man was killed in the shooting late Saturday at a Plymouth home.
After pandemic hit, cultural groups hope for boost from state
Museums and cultural nonprofits are struggling to recover from the pandemic as the number of donations and visitors continues to drop.
Court penalizes leader of 'sham' Edina nonprofit that worked with Feeding Our Future
The order was the result of the first legal action Attorney General Keith Ellison has taken against one of Feeding Our Future's sites.
Minnesota Freedom Fund starts political organization seeking to end cash bail in the state
The Minneapolis nonprofit has launched a separate political arm to lobby to end cash bail in Minnesota, and already is pushing for legislation this year to restrict bail for some misdemeanor offenses.
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation receives record $10 million donation
The money will go toward a $100 million fundraising campaign to start a new Hazelden Betty Ford National Center for Families and Children.
Peter Steinert, longtime sports copy editor at the Star Tribune, dies at 55
He worked as a sports copy editor for the Star Tribune for 26 years before succumbing to cancer.
Minnesota Court of Appeals upholds state's rejection of Minneapolis nonprofit in meals program
Gar Gaar Family Services sought to reverse the state Education Department's decision to deny the Minneapolis nonprofit from participating in a meals program.
Program aims to close racial gap by helping prospective Black homeowners with down payments
Minnesota ranks 38th in the country for the widest gap in homeownership rates between white residents and communities of color.
Minnesota food shelf visits hit record: 'There's a lot of unmet need'
Final data from 2022 released on Wednesday show that Minnesota food shelves recorded more than 5.5 million visits — the most ever.
Minneapolis-based Alight raising money for earthquake survivors in Syria
The nonprofit is providing funding and resources to a Syrian team operating three shelters in Aleppo.
Despite decline in numbers, Minnesota ranks No. 3 in volunteerism nationwide
More Minnesotans volunteer than Americans overall, according to a new report, but it has trended downward since 2019.
Report: Minnesota 'failed to do the very basics' of grant oversight
The state legislative auditor's report focuses on state funding to nonprofits, not federal money, as was the case with Feeding Our Future.
Kitchen Coalition expands beyond Twin Cities with restaurant-style meals to needy
Second Harvest started the program to put restaurant workers and caterers back to work when kitchens closed at the start of the pandemic.
Minnesota nonprofits seek a slice of state's $17.6 billion pie
The requests come as grants to nonprofits are under increased scrutiny because of the FBI's Feeding Our Future investigation and a new report reviewing state agencies' oversight.
Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge adds mental health services in metro suburbs
RockBridge Counseling and Mental Health Services will open next week in Crystal, Maplewood and Lakeville.
From Grand Marais to Golden Valley, sauna 'revival' grows across Minnesota
A new Grand Marais sauna is tapping into a growing trend of public saunas across Minnesota.
State sues Edina group, a Feeding Our Future site, for running 'sham nonprofit'
The Attorney General's Office is suing ThinkTechAct Foundation and three of its leaders for running a "sham nonprofit."
Minnetonka signs off on buying the Marsh from the YMCA for $4.3 million
The City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the wellness facility and 7-acre site.
Real estate firms donate St. Paul office building to Salvation Army
The eight-story site could be converted into affordable housing, which is urgently needed.
Minnetonka reaches tentative agreement to buy Marsh wellness center from YMCA
If the City Council approves the deal, the Marsh would be the second fitness center owned by the city of Minnetonka.
Open Arms of Minnesota opens new St. Paul site to offer more meals
The nonprofit will expand to serve people in western Wisconsin and more Minnesotans.
Feeding Our Future probe casts scrutiny on state's nonprofits
Some nonprofits worry the fraud scandal has decreased donations and will lead to new regulations in 2023.
How to vet a Minnesota nonprofit
Experts say there are simple ways that donors can vet a nonprofit to make sure it's well-run and transparent.
City of Minnetonka one of several possible buyers of the YMCA's Marsh wellness center
The Y is closing the Marsh on Dec. 31, saying it's no longer financially viable to run the longtime wellness center.
Minnesota Historical Society workers seeking higher pay as officials confront shortages
The Historical Society is below pre-pandemic staffing levels following COVID-19 layoffs and high turnover. Some employees say low pay is the top reason.
'St. Grand' strikes again, dropping $1,000 in cash into a Salvation Army red kettle
The secretive philanthropist has been dubbed "St. Grand" because donations often start with $1,000.
Minnesota holiday toy drives are having trouble meeting demand
More donors this year are coping with inflation, leading to fewer toy donations for kids in need.
Nonprofit Agate to open new affordable housing, shelter complex in south Minneapolis
Construction is anticipated to start in 2023, with the new building slated to open to residents in 2026.
Minneapolis nonprofit argues the state arbitrarily rejected it from meal program due to separate fraud
The Minnesota Department of Education rejected Gar Gaar Family Services from a federally funded meal program in December 2021, one month before the FBI's investigation into Feeding Our Future became public.
More Minnesotans visiting food shelves than any year on record
The number of Minnesotans using food stamps has also increased this year from 2019, 2020 and 2021.
St. Paul nonprofit launches preschool programs aimed at preventing racism before it starts
Before Racism started piloting its anti-racism curriculum in four day care and child care centers this year, and plans to expand in 2023 to 12 more sites.
After pandemic hiatus, Minnesota nonprofits are resuming in-person fundraising galas
Many nonprofits shifted galas and other fundraisers online during the pandemic.
Minnesota's first Black-led community foundation gives first-time grants
The Black Collective Foundation is distributing its first grants this month to Black-led Minnesota organizations and leaders.
After two years online, Walk to End Hunger resumes in person Thursday at Mall of America
Now in its 15th year, the walk will raise money for seven hunger relief organizations.
Greater Twin Cities United Way responds to surge in calls for housing and mental health help
The nonprofit, one of the largest chapters in the U.S., recorded a surplus for the first time in six years.
Minnesotans collect $34.1 million for Give to the Max Day, coming close to topping last year's record
The number of donations fell just shy of breaking a new record for the online fundraiser, now in its 14th year.
Minnesotans contribute more than $34 million to nonprofits on Give to the Max Day
Nonprofits across the state made their pitch to donors Thursday for support in the 14th annual event.
Education Department denied legal fees reimbursement in Feeding Our Future case
A judge rejected a bid by the Minnesota Department of Education to force Feeding Our Future to repay more than $500,000 that the state agency spent defending itself in a 2020 case.
Nonprofits aim to buck national trend of declining donations on Give to the Max Day
Donations to Minnesota schools and nonprofits for Give to the Max Day so far are above 2019 levels but below the record set in 2021.
Twin Cities Salvation Army looks to boost donations in face of rising need, costs
Costs have gone up 10% to 20% over last year's expenses.
Craig Warren named CEO of Washburn Center, making him the nonprofit's first leader of color
Warren, who's served as acting CEO since May, will lead the Minneapolis mental health services provider.
St. Paul nonprofit Partners in Nutrition drops lawsuit against state over meals program
The Minnesota Department of Education cut off funding to Partners in Nutrition, a St. Paul nonprofit, in January when the FBI's investigation was revealed.
Dakota County election results delayed
Officials blame modem transmission issues, instead driving results to state.
Craig declared winner over Kistner in Minnesota's Second Congressional District rematch
Craig defeated Kistner once again after a win against him in 2020.
Plymouth woman pleads guilty to meal and Medicaid fraud schemes
Anab Artan Awad, 52, admitted she fabricated paperwork to defraud the federal government of more than $11 million in reimbursements for feeding children.
People shuck coats and don shorts as metro area hits 76, breaking daily record
Wednesday's 76 degrees broke the record set on Nov. 2, 1978, part of increasingly common 70-degree November temps in Minnesota.
Sister Mary Madonna Ashton, who made history as Minnesota's first female health commissioner, dies at age 99
She was a public health pioneer, leading a hospital before taking the helm of the health department as its first woman and first non-physician.
Nonprofits launching new incentives to draw hires amid workforce shortage
Minnesota's nonprofit sector has shrunk by 30,000 workers during the pandemic, leaving many nonprofits struggling.
Fourth defendant in Feeding Our Future case pleads guilty
Abdul Abubakar Ali pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Shakopee man becomes the 50th person indicted in Feeding Our Future fraud case
A Shakopee couple who operated a nonprofit and food vending company have been charged with bribery.
YMCA closes Minnetonka wellness center after nearly four decades
Membership at the Marsh dropped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said.
Twin Cities-based Girl Scouts council gets record $4.2 million from MacKenzie Scott
Scott has given at least $80 million to Minnesota nonprofits in less than two years.
State representative's brother runs nonprofit that participated in federal meals program
State Rep. Mohamud Noor's stepbrother Mohamed Amin Ahmed runs a nonprofit that lost funding to distribute free meals because an organization it was associated with had its funding cut off amid the FBI investigation.
Wife of Mpls. council's Osman leads nonprofit with ties to fraud investigation
Ilo Amba started Urban Advantage Services, which is among 213 sites under Partners in Nutrition.
St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation honors four anti-racism activists
It's the 16th year of the Facing Race Awards, which honor community leaders who are working to eliminate racism in Minnesota.
Judge denies St. Paul food provider's effort to rejoin meals program
The Education Department terminated Partners in Nutrition's participation in May amid an FBI investigation into broader alleged fraud in the program.
Food program oversight strengthened as state returns to pre-pandemic rules
Some worry that Feeding Our Future scandal will result in regulations that create more hurdles for legitimate organizations to distribute food to children in need.
Questions continue in food fraud case over judge's words
The Minnesota Department of Education stopped and then restarted payments to Feeding Our Future in 2021.
For Feeding Our Future leader, an unlikely path to scandal
Self-professed "rule follower" Aimee Bock has become the face of a $250 million food fraud case
Feeding Our Future charges lead to dispute over 2021 case
At issue is a 2021 lawsuit that led the Minnesota Department of Education to resume payments to Feeding Our Future, the nonprofit that federal prosecutors say was used to orchestrate a $250 million scheme to defraud the federal government of money meant to feed poor children.
Department of Education seeks over $500K in legal fees from nonprofit
Feeding Our Future sued the state Education Department in 2020 after the department stopped payments to the nonprofit over concerns about a rapid increase in meal claims.
Dispute between Feeding Our Future, Mpls. site alleges kickbacks, inflated meals
Both parties blame each other in the alleged $250 million federal food aid fraud scheme.
College Possible Minnesota receives anonymous record $1 million donation
The donation will help the St. Paul-based nonprofit expand the number of students it works with to help boost college admissions.
Washburn Center for Children in Minneapolis receives surprise $3 million donation
The gift comes as the Minneapolis mental health provider faces a growing number of calls and an unprecedented workforce shortage.
St. Paul nonprofit works to boost literacy rates among children of color
Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute is distributing more books to Twin Cities kids this year thanks to a new grant and fundraiser.
Minnesota's Recovery Corps doubles its volunteer force to combat substance abuse issues
The AmeriCorps program is looking for 100 Minnesotans to mentor peers with substance abuse.