Jeremiah Program Doubles Down on Its Commitment to Racial and Social Justice for Families in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Jeremiah Program Doubles Down on Its Commitment to Racial and Social Justice for Families in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Media contact: Ilaria Lampson,, 917-863-7949

ST. PAUL, MN (May 24, 2021)—Jeremiah Program (JP), a national nonprofit with one of the most successful strategies for disrupting generational poverty among single mothers and their children, has committed to expanding its Twin Cities programs in the wake of George Floyd’s murder last May. The organization’s reimagined investment in both Minneapolis and St. Paul will serve over 50% more families, and allow each campus to make its most significant impact since Jeremiah Program’s establishment in Minnesota 21 years ago. Jeremiah Program began in Minneapolis in 1998 and expanded to St. Paul in 2007 to form a dual-campus model.

“This week will mark the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis,” said Chastity Lord, President and CEO, Jeremiah Program. “We have done much deep reflection as an organization, resulting in a commitment to providing community-centered programming through a social justice lens. This includes doubling our investment in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, in order to better meet the unique needs of families in our communities.”

In support of this effort, Jeremiah Program will name two Executive Directors to its Twin Cities operations: Patty Healy Janssen as the Director of the Minneapolis campus, and new-hire, Karla Benson Rutten, as Director of the St. Paul campus, beginning May 24.

“We are thrilled to have two incredibly strong leaders at the helm of our Twin Cities programs during this critical time,” said Trenda Boyum-Breen, Chair of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Community board of trustees. “Patty’s deep historical knowledge of Jeremiah Program and Karla’s equity-driven leadership will center our moms as solution architects, while also engaging the surrounding community in greater support of our mission.”

Healy Janssen has served at Jeremiah Program for seven years, starting as its Director of Development. Prior to that she worked at Visitation School for almost two-decades, working in admissions, marketing and enrollment capacities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from College of St. Thomas and a Master’s of Business Administration from University of St. Thomas.

Benson Rutten has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit organizations, higher education, and DEI strategic organizational change. She joins Jeremiah Program after serving for almost three years as the Vice President of Community Engagement at Girl Scouts River Valleys, where she fostered relationships between communities of color and community-based organizations throughout Minnesota, and created new and innovative pathways to Girl Scouting for girls of color. Benson Rutten also previously worked at Macalester College as the founding director of Macalester’s Lealtad-Suzuki center and as the Title IX Coordinator & Director of Equity. She holds a Master’s in Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Maryland, College Park and a Bachelor’s in Psychology at Iowa State University.

The organization will maintain one community board of trustees for the Twin Cities campuses, and will continue to operate a unified fundraising model to leverage funding opportunities that are laser-focused on the revitalization of both cities. While the two campuses will maintain strong ties with one another, the increased commitment to each city will enhance professional development service offerings, deepen relationships with local leaders, strengthen programmatic quality and impact, and expand Jeremiah Program’s reach to over 50% more mothers and children.

About Jeremiah Program: Jeremiah Program is a nonprofit organization that offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies to help families disrupt the cycle of poverty two generations at a time. Using a combination of quality early childhood education, childcare, a safe and affordable place to live, and empowerment and life skills training for single mothers attending college, the program has impacted the lives of more than 4,000+ single mothers and their children since it was founded 20 years ago. The organization currently serves over 600 single mothers and their young children at seven campuses across the country in Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Rochester, MN; and St. Paul, MN.