Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Incorporated

Since 1929, the Lighthouse of the Community

St Paul, MN   |  www.hallieqbrown.org


The mission of Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc is to improve the quality of life in our community by providing access to critical human services, fostering and promoting personal growth, and developing community leadership.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Jonathan Palmer

Main address

270 North Kent St

St Paul, MN 55102 USA

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NTEE code info

Neighborhood Center, Settlement House (P28)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Hallie Q. Brown Early Learning Center (ELC)

The Hallie Q. Brown Child Early Learning Center (ELC) is licensed for 42 infants, toddlers and preschoolers ages six weeks through five years old and provides safe, affordable childcare for working parents and community residents on a sliding fee scale.  Children are provided with skills and tools to prepare them effectively for Kindergarten and beyond. Children are exposed to a wide variety of additional learning activities through field trips and in classroom activities with special guests. We have received a Four Star rating from Parent Aware.  The ELC has a sliding fee scale as well as accepts all forms of public assistance for child care.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
People of African descent

The Hallie Q. Brown Youth Enrichment program provides out-of-school time programming and learning activities for school-aged students. The program:

-Is open both before and after school, along with full days during the summer and on school release days
-Is licensed through the state of Minnesota
-Is available for students ages 5 through 11
-Engages students in organized activities designed to enhance academic performance, strengthen leadership skills and build community pride
-Partners with a variety of local organizations to expose students to new experiences and educational opportunities.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People of African descent

The Hallie Q. Brown Food Shelf and Clothing Closet operate on a client-choice model and strive to assist families in achieving self-sufficiency and empowerment through providing basic needs of food and clothing.

-The Food Shelf Client Area serves residents from three zip codes, primarily in and around the Summit-University neighborhood.
-The Food Shelf Community Area serves residents from nineteen zip codes, primarily in and around the Twin Cities metro area.
-The Clothing Closet provides free clothing and small household items for families in the Twin Cities metro area.
-Both programs also administer a broad range of emergency, referral and other support services.

Services in 2017

Client area:
18,677 individuals served
8,102 households served
560,310 pounds of food served in the client area

Community area:
26,784 individuals served
10,893 households served
145,545 pounds of food served in the community area

Holiday baskets:
500 = (300 Thanksgiving / 200 Winter Holiday)
12,500 pounds of food given in holiday baskets

Total pounds of food served in food shelf = 718,355

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center serves as a gathering place for seniors to enhance their independence through connection to services and activities. Our most active programs are The Magnificent Golden Agers, Retired Men’s Club and OASIS. All groups meet at the center and are always welcoming new members.

The Golden Agers began in 1940 as the "Boys and Girls of Yesterday." They are a group of women who grew up at or were otherwise involved with Hallie Q. over the years. Membership starts at the Speed Limit (55), and they are always open for new members. Rechristened the Magnificent Golden Agers, the group meets twice a month on Tuesdays to socialize, share stories and information, discuss issues, play Bingo and much more.

The Retired Men's Club is a "Friendly Club" that meets twice a month on Thursdays to share stories and information, socialize and connect. Like the Golden Agers, the Club is comprised mostly, though not exclusively, of men who grew up or worked at Hallie Q or the surrounding Rondo community. Membership is for those who are retired.

OASIS (Older Adults Supporting Interacting Socialization) provides classes and activities for seniors looking to stay active and engaged.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent

The Martin Luther King Multi-Service Center provides a multi-faceted service delivery to the community. Programs, classes, cultural events and special projects originate from this facility. The agencies providing these services and programs recognize and work to meet the diverse social, cultural and educational needs of their constituents. In addition to the groups using the facility for various program needs, the Martin Luther King Center is the permanent home for additional agencies/organizations.  HQB provides coordination for these programs and organizations in regards to their offerings at the Martin Luther King Center ranging from simple space rental to fiscal agency and program coordination.  The overall impact is a greater amount of resources being available to the community at one location.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent

The Hallie Q. Brown Archive project is  a collaborative and impactful initiative that will serve as the hub of cultural and historical exchange for one of the Midwest’s most important facets of African American history.

The growing History Archive Project, which kicked off two years ago as a collaborative effort between HQB and the University of Minnesota. This project is informed by, in concert with and complementary to the efforts of numerous local stakeholders, most notably the Minnesota Historical Society, a source of guidance and collaborative resource development; Rondo Avenue Inc., whose work with the local history has done more than any other to revive the Rondo neighborhood; onsite seniors groups, who recognize the urgency of collecting their stories and honoring the Rondo neighborhood as it once was; and the University of Minnesota, whose expertise and sharing has made the renewed Archive possible. With these strong partners, among others from organizations and community, the Archive initiatives are poised to take off in a lasting, powerful way.

Although the destruction of the Rondo community effectively reset the clock on historic placemaking, the current incarnation of the 89 year old Center is itself worthy of historic designation and is a natural hub for historical archives. Its central location, extensive collections and trusted, welcoming hosting of many stakeholder groups mean that HQB can, with appropriate resources, preserve not only nearly 100 years of institutional history, but that of its families and constituents. There is the critical mass of partners: Macalester College, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, students from area high schools, and the Department of Heritage Studies among other University of Minnesota entities. Each partner brings invaluable in-kind resources, technical knowhow, and service hours to the table.

Not only will future generations gain a hand in its preservation, learning technical skills along the way, but will derive a unique sense of power and ownership through this Archive project that can only be attained through direct contact with HQB history.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Basic Needs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Pounds of food distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Basic Needs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Goal 1-1: Offer variety of classes and programs to meet the diverse interests of the community.
Goal 1-2: preserve and enhance existing programs.
Goal 1-3: Develop active public policy advocacy processes and strategies for the community.
Goal 1-4: Raise community consciousness about HQB's resources.
Goal 1-5: Promote internal and external stakeholder involvement.
Goal 1-6: Conduct a community service assessment.
Goal 1-7: Meet and respond to community needs.
Goal 2-1: Continue to optimize operational and capital programs.
Goal 2-2: Ensure fair and equitable program rates.
Goal 2-3: Create and implement a Fund Development Plan.
Goal 2-4: Explore additional revenue sources.
Goal 2-5: Maintain a category for marketing/advertising expenses in annual budget.
Goal 3-1: Maximize strategic partnerships.
Goal 3-2: Carry out effective city/county relations.
Goal 3-3: Raise awareness of HQB/MLK and the cultural presence it celebrates.
Goal 3-4: Improve security measures in and around building.
Goal 3-5: Make full use of the Center's facilities.
Goal 3-6: Ensure a skilled, safe, and competent workforce.
Goal 3-7: Govern and manage the HQB Center in an effective, efficient, and fiscally responsible manner.

1-1: Develop innovative programming that is responsibly planned for the highest and best use by community based upon community needs assessments.
1-2: Continue to maintain a balance of programs geared to the African American community and the general public.
1-3: Explore what areas of involvement and activity are appropriate for HQB, and implement advocacy programs.
1-4: Continue to organize and facilitate community information forums.
1-5: Annually establish and execute a comprehensive communications plan.
1-6: Retain outside consultant assistance.
1-7: Formalize and maintain transparent and reliable avenues for community input, including bi-annual focus groups and a community survey to measure needs and expectations. Based on the outcomes, establish a plan to address issues.
2-1: Continue to ensure financial stability so that operational and capital programs can be cost effective and easily financed.
2-2: Annually review program rates to ensure that they are no higher than necessary.
2-3: Continue to increase contacts with individual donor base
2-4: Continue to identify at least two specific activities annually that will generate additional resources.
2-5: Improve the onsite signs/advertising of special events and ongoing programming, such as electronic signage.
3-1: Continue to develop and expand partnerships with outside agencies and the faith community to provide increased community services.
3-2: Continue to identify and address city and county issues in a timely and effective manner.
3-3: Maintain a range of communication and marketing channels to ensure effective reach of services.
3-4: Maintain an effective building security system
3-5: Maintain rented vacant space for groups or agencies in the community
3-6: Formalize the staffing plan for each program and define successive tiers of capacity to be targeted over a certain time period. Review this plan annually.
3-7: Continue to strengthen the board infrastructure, moving from a “working board" to a policy board.

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center currently operates five core program areas along with a number of additional service activities. The five core program areas are: Early Childhood Education, Youth Enrichment, Basic Needs, Seniors, and Multi-Service Center Administration. HQB's Administration and Staff are the core of the Center. Management Staff coordinate the day-to-day operations and implement the directives of HQB's Strategic Plan and Board of Directors. Front line staff do our most important work, connecting to and helping our clients and patrons. Staff work well together to achieve a level of excellence in customer service with the Center. From working hard to playing hard, HQB has the best staff to meet its and the community's needs.

In 2017, we had 26,000 unique visitors to our food shelf, distributing over 718,000 pounds of food, distributed 24,000 articles of clothing and small household items, and over 90% of students in our program achieved developmental appropriate benchmarks.

In 2019, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center will mark 90 years of service to St. Paul's Summit-University Community. We're celebrating this milestone by looking ahead to how Hallie Q. will continue to serve and shape this community in the next 90 years. Our $1.5 million campaign will honor the history of Hallie Q. while ensuring a thriving future for this neighborhood community center. There is more work to be done as we close out our first 90 years of service to St. Paul and look ahead to what the next 90 hold. Community members with transportation barriers need a means to travel to the Food Shelf. The Hallie Q. senior groups need a forum for engaging more often with other active senior groups in the area. The Early Learning Center needs a new classroom to accommodate students currently on the waiting list.


Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Incorporated

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Incorporated

Board of directors
as of 06/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Anne Dresen

Saint Paul College

Jonathan Palmer (ex officio)

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center

Rebecca Bernhard

Dorsey and Whitney, LLP

Annsara Lovejoy Elasky

Hennepin County Attorney's Office

O'Disha Fields

Xcel Energy

Briana K. Joyner

Minnesota Historical Society

Barry Kempton

Schubert Club

Kevin Rush

American Registry of Radiologic Technologies

Colleen Swope

St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church

Lanny Taylor

Newark & Allied Electronics (Retired)

Genelle Monger

Minnesota Department of Health

Eric Levinson


Taffy Jones

Hennepin County

Scott Flaherty

Briggs & Morgan, LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/28/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data