Posted by Lynne Beck on Aug 30, 2023

Rotary Club of Saint Paul

September 12, 2023

President Elect Shelly Rucks called the hybrid meeting to order at 12:15 pm. Lynne Beck was scribe. The greeters were Pat Brault and Joel Theisen. The A/V Tech Team was Matt Magers Noble Orji and Al Zdrazil.

Shelly Rucks led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Noble Orji read the words from the song It’s A Small World and led members in the 4-Way Test.

Linda Mulhern gave two things for What You Don’t Know About Me (WYDKAM). They were 1) She was a former 4-H’r who had her cross-stitch work displayed at the State Fair, and (2 Her 1925 Model T garage was recently demolished and replaced with a modern one.

Dave Dominick introduced a guest, a colleague of Pat Brault.

Beth Naughton introduced the speaker, Heather Britt, Executive Director of Wilder Research. Prior to joining Wilder in 2022, Heather served in leadership positions at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Minnesota Hospital Association, and Allina Health. She has her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, her master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina, and her bachelor’s in science from Cornell University. She lives in St. Paul, has two children, and a rescue dog and two rescue cats.

Wilder improves the lives of residents of St. Paul and the East Metro through direct services and research. Heather leads the research division of Wilder which includes three focus areas: understanding community programs, research library, and capacity building. Some research areas are arts and culture, young people, health care, public health, and criminal justice.

Wilder is conducting a Minnesota Homeless Study for the first time since 2018. They are recruiting around 1,000 volunteers to help interview more than 4,000 people experiencing homelessness around the state. Homelessness increased by 10% between 2015 and 2018. The proportion of people not staying in a shelter increased 62% from 2015 to 2018. 32% of respondents had been turned away from a shelter in the previous three months due to a lack of space.

Lack of affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness. Adults experiencing homelessness listed a low median income as the main factor for their situation and half of homeless adults are on a waiting list for subsidized housing; the average wait time is 12 months. Other risk factors are an adverse childhood, incarceration, substance abuse, and mental illness. Communities of color, women and LBGTQ individuals are more subject to violence which can lead to homelessness.

Heather asked Rotarians to volunteer to help with the Homeless Study for four hours on October 26, 2023. It can be a life changing-experience. You can also donate to the project.

Dave Dominick asked for Happy Dollars. In a week, there will be a 100 Holes youth golf event. Youth can play in various courses for under $5. Heidi Fisher gave $5 for the Packer’s win.


Shelly Rucks made the following club announcements:

501: September 19

University Club or online via zoom

5:01 – 6:15 pm


Service Project

September 20, 2023

Habitat for Humanity

8:30 am – 2:00 pm


Signature Lunch

September 26, 2023, 12 PM

InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront or online via zoom


Fellowship Reception: Minnesota Rotary – Let’s Shine for 2029

September 27, 6 – 8 pm

Nicollet Island Pavilion


All-Rotary Lunch: Minnesota Rotary – Let’s Shine for 2029

September 28, 11:30 – 12:30

Edina Country Club


The meeting adjourned at 1:15 pm.

Lynne Beck