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Wilf Family Foundations Help Dorothy Day Center's Fundraising Progress


The Wilf Family Foundations' commitment of $250,000 to Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has helped an initiative reach more than 75 percent of the of the private fundraising component for the new Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul.

The milestone was announced by fundraising campaign leaders on Friday at the annual Dorothy Day Community Breakfast that was attended by Vikings Executive Vice President — Public Affairs and Stadium Development.

"This is a great example of a public–private partnership that will have a significant impact on a serious issue we face in our community," Bagley said.

The current location is scheduled for demolition so it can be replaced by one of two buildings to achieve the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center, designed to be an innovative model to prevent and end homelessness.


"For 35 years, the Dorothy Day Center has been a place of hope and refuge for those in need," said Tim Marx, President and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. "Thanks to this historic public-private partnership, we are making way for a new vision that will provide dignified shelter, permanent homes, and pathways out of poverty. The continued progress and success of this public-private partnership is vital to complete this transformational project."

About 400 business and community leaders attended the Community Breakfast where it was announced that more than $31 million been raised toward the $40 million private goal to fully fund the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center. The center first opened in 1981 as a facility to provide drop-in meals. Increasing homelessness, however, led to its use as an overnight shelter. It serves more than 6,000 people annually, which is well-beyond its designed function.

A task force convened by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman in 2012 led the following year to the recommendation for the new facility.

For more information, including how to get involved, visit

About the 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 – this 5-story building will provide dignified emergency shelter and a range of different permanent housing options, including 193 units of permanent housing. Higher Ground Saint Paul—located adjacent to the current Dorothy Day Center—is under construction and is scheduled to open later this year.

• Phase 2 – Opportunity Center and Housing – located just across the street from Higher Ground Saint Paul, the 6-story Opportunity 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 Opportunity Center will feature partner organizations in the community, including Catholic Charities, Ramsey County, the Veterans Administration, health care providers and many others. 171 units of permanent housing are planned above the Opportunity Center. Catholic Charities has the goal of completing construction by 2018.

About the Wilf Family Foundations

Since 1964, the Wilf Family Foundations have provided over $200 million in support for various educational, humanitarian, medical, religious and scientific institutions. The foundations also have provided support for organizations and causes that aim to ensure the safety and continuity of the Jewish people. Their philanthropic leadership has been the catalyst for the success of many projects. The Wilfs' philanthropy now comprises many major gifts to universities, schools, hospitals, social service and military veterans organizations that benefit society at large.

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