Press Releases

Catholic Charities announces private fundraising campaign

Catholic Charities announces private fundraising campaign to be co-chaired by Doug Baker of Ecolab, Mary Brainerd of HealthPartners and Andy Cecere of U.S. Bank. Campaign will fund new vision for Dorothy Day Center, starting with $5M lead challenge grant by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Contact: Therese Gales, Media Relations Manager; 612-221-5161 Saint Paul, Minn. (May 8, 2015)—Today, Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced a private fundraising campaign to advance a new vision for the Dorothy Day Center in Saint Paul. The campaign team will be co-chaired by Doug Baker, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Ecolab; Mary Brainerd, Chief Executive Officer and President of HealthPartners; and Andy Cecere, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of U.S. Bank. A $5 million lead grant by The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation—the most significant private investment to support Catholic Charities in recent history—is intended to challenge the community to raise millions more. Already during the leadership phase of the campaign, Catholic Charities has raised more than $11 million from private sources, including commitments of $1 million each from the Frey Foundation and the Pohlad Foundation, and a combined total of $1.1 million from the Saint Paul Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation. The goal of the campaign is to raise $40 million in private resources to fully fund the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center. “The Dorothy Day Center offers unconditional love. It’s not about judging people. It’s about seeing the inherent value in every human being; caring for them and helping them find their way to an improved situation,” said Doug Baker “By giving strength to those who most need it, we also strengthen the foundation of our entire community.” ”This project has transformational potential. It represents the very best thinking, innovation and commitment not only to address the urgent crisis of homelessness today, but also – perhaps most importantly – to prevent its causes and open doors to greater self sufficiency and opportunity for all,” said Dick Schulze. The campaign will continue to leverage significant public-private investments and partnership to prevent and end homelessness. To date, the State of Minnesota, Ramsey County, City of Saint Paul and other public sources have committed approximately $28 million. Last month, Governor Dayton recommended a $12 million state investment in the Connection Center, a key element of the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center. Catholic Charities and its many community partners will continue working to build statewide, bipartisan support for this critical project. Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL – Saint Paul) and Representative Rod Hamilton (R – Mountain Lake) are chief authors of legislation to support the Dorothy Day Center (SF533/HS871). “Deep poverty and homelessness diminish the strength and vitality of our entire community,” said Tim Marx, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. “We have before us an historic opportunity to fight the causes of homelessness and hopelessness – permanently,” said Tim Marx. “It will take all of us, together – individuals, businesses, public and philanthropic leaders – to make the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center a reality.” All of Us Together: A New Vision for the Dorothy Day Center This project, estimated to cost approximately $100 million, is based on an innovative and proven model run by Catholic Charities in Minneapolis, and will consist of a two-building campus to prevent and end homelessness: • Phase 1 – Higher Ground Saint Paul – will provide dignified emergency shelter and a range of different permanent housing options. Catholic Charities plans to break ground in summer 2015. Higher Ground Saint Paul will be located at 411 Main Street, adjacent to the current Dorothy Day Center. • Phase 2 – Connection Center and Housing – located just across the street from Higher Ground Saint Paul, the Connection Center will be an integrated one-stop location connecting people to critical services to improve their health, income, housing stability and well-being. Service delivery at the Connection Center will feature partner organizations in the community, including Catholic Charities, Ramsey County, the Veterans Administration, health care providers and many others. Four floors of permanent housing are planned above the Connection Center. Catholic Charities has the goal of completing construction by 2018. “The Dorothy Day Center is a community emergency center that is falling apart, unable to meet the needs of the people who use its services and support,” said Mary Brainerd. “As in health care, we need better emergency centers and sustainable community solutions that truly meet the needs of people in our community.” History and Project Timeline In 1981, Catholic Charities opened the Dorothy Day Center as a drop-in center for meals, serving approximately 30-50 people per day. Over time, due to increasing homelessness, it was forced to become a 24 / 7 / 365 overnight shelter—something it was never designed or intended to do. It is overcrowded, overwhelmed, and deteriorating. Today, more than 6,000 people rely on the Dorothy Day Center each year, including hundreds of people who sleep on thin mats on the floor every night. In 2011, for the first time in its history, Catholic Charities was forced to turn people away from the Dorothy Day Center, leading people to camp in the surrounding area – it was a breaking point that launched a community response. In 2012, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman convened a diverse Task Force of community leaders to assess the urgent situation at the Dorothy Day Center and in 2013 the Task Force issued its recommendation for an innovative new vision to prevent and end homelessness. “A community that cares doesn’t leave people to the streets,” said Andy Cecere. “I believe we care. We will build the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center.” For more information, including how to get involved, visit