Better Together

A recent event highlights the partnership between the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and Catholic Charities


At a recent reception event for professional advisors, attendees learned about how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation partners with Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. For almost 40 years, the two organizations have worked together to provide housing and support to members of the community who have needed it the most.

“The Foundation is helping the entire community figure out how to address this tremendous challenge we have in the growth of our unsheltered population,” said Catholic Charities President and CEO Tim Marx in his remarks at the event, “which is a 62 percent increase in the last three years of Minnesota. It has doubled in this region at a rate five times faster than any region in the country.”

Over the past four years, the Foundation has granted nearly $2 million to Catholic Charities in an effort to address homelessness in Saint Paul, with $1.7 million coming from donor advised funds. Much of this recent funding has gone to some of Catholic Charities’ biggest projects, including the development of Higher Ground, an overnight emergency shelter and supportive housing facility, and the remodeling of the Dorothy Day Center.

“The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is at the table working with us and many others to figure out 'what do we do now'” said Marx. “We need these community institutions like the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation providing leadership and opportunity so that this community can grow strong.”

From Emergency Shelters into Stable Housing

In addition to housing, the grant allowed Catholic Charities to provide intensive case management and resources, which resulted in 94 percent of those housed maintaining stable housing for at least a year. This success would lead to the creation of Redirecting Users of Shelter to Housing (RUSH) a few years later.

The RUSH collaborative includes representatives from Ramsey County, the City of Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Guild Incorporated, Radias Health, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Foundations, and other homeless service providers, designed to transition top users of emergency shelters in Ramsey County into stable housing.

Since its creation, more than 62 individuals have been housed in Higher Ground’s supportive housing facility.

“In six months, we have helped place 86 of the top 100 users in permanent housing and we’re going to continue to be there to reduce the average time in sheltered housing in this state,” said Foundation president and CEO Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D.

In addition, the Foundation also helped provide funding for Catholic Charities’ Opportunity Center. This space is a daytime resource connecting people with medical and mental health care, chemical support services, dental services, nutritious meals, showers, internet access, laundry and employment counseling, as well as wellness classes and a meditation space.

The goals of these efforts put forth by Catholic Charities and the Foundation are to decrease homelessness rates in Saint Paul and increase the amount of supportive housing available to its residents.

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