Our Story

Founded in 1976, Perspectives, Inc. is entering our 41st year of providing award-winning human service programs. As a multi-service agency, Perspectives addresses our society’s most pressing issues: homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental illness, poor nutrition, and lack of access to services. Though these issues can have tremendous impact on both genders, Perspectives’ specific target population is mothers and their children.

Located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota (a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis), Perspectives’ mission for our first ten years was increasing community awareness around the issues of addiction and its systemic effects on the family and community. However, early in 1987, we shifted our focus to providing direct services. Our major interest was to identify what services were needed to support a recovering mother with limited resources in her desire to break the cycle for her children.

At the end of two years of study, we concluded that for women with few resources, the largest barrier to maintaining sobriety, staying out of the court system, and regaining custody of their children was a lack of sober and safe housing. But, even then, we found that a supportive housing program needed to have services to address both the mother and child(ren)’s numerous traumas in order to be effective.

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In 1991, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Perspectives with a startup grant of $1.8M to develop a therapeutic supportive housing program for mothers and children. These dollars allowed us to hire program staff, purchase our first two apartment buildings, complete relocation, and open our doors to a new sober housing community for mothers and their children. Within months, we had a waiting list of 50 families. During the next five years, we more than doubled our capacity by purchasing three more apartment buildings to complete our current campus of five buildings (53 units). Then, realizing that we needed space for programming, particularly children’s development programs, in 1997 we purchased a 22,000 square foot office building one mile down the road from our housing campus. We renovated this building into our current Family Center, where we provide life-changing programs addressing healthy lifestyles, children’s academic and social skills, nutrition, treatment, and recovery.

In 2009, another significant change occurred. Perspectives’ trauma-informed mental health programming was launched by a five-year, $1.8 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program is designed to provide intensive, evidence-based, trauma-informed chemical and mental health services to the mothers and the children living in our supportive housing program. Working with the mothers on their mental health issues dramatically improved their outcomes, a result that continues to this day.

Today: Perspectives is the largest therapeutic supportive housing program for women and children in Minnesota, housing over 75 women and over 130 children annually. Our services are extensive and span from recovery and mental health programs for both women and children, to job readiness and parenting education. Perspectives is distinctive in that few, if any, other supportive housing programs provide in-house, 12-month, comprehensive out-of-school academic, social, and nutritional enrichment for the children living in the program.

Number of Board Members, Staff, and Volunteers: Perspectives has 20 active board members, 28 full-time and 13 part-time paid staff, and a volunteer pool of over 100 active volunteers at any given time. In 2016, over 8,100 volunteer hours were provided to the agency through the involvement of over 500 volunteers.

Mission and Goals: Empowering Mothers and Rebuilding Families


Perspectives’ Mission: Breaking Cycles for At-Risk Families and Children for Total Family Recovery.

Goals:

  1. To provide trauma-informed supportive housing for homeless, recovering mothers and their children.
  2. To improve the mental health and sobriety outcomes for homeless, dual-diagnosed mothers and their child(ren).
  3. To improve the nutritional health of homeless and at-risk families and children living within the City of St. Louis Park
    and Perspectives’ Supportive Housing community.
  4. To improve the academic and social adjustment skills of homeless and at-risk children grades K-8.
  5. To ensure healthy births for babies born while their mothers are living in Perspectives’ Supportive Housing Program.
  6. To ensure that infants and toddlers living in Perspectives Supportive Housing community have healthy environments
    in which to thrive.

Our Team

Executive Team
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Board of Directors
OFFICERS
James D. Kremer, Board Chair
Attorney DeWitt Mackall Crounse & Moore S.C.
Rae Lesmeister, Vice Chair
VP Organizational Effectiveness (Retired) Cargill
Dawn Courrier-Cable, Treasurer
Partner, Tax KPMG LLP
Sue Zelickson, Secretary
Nutrition Consultant/Reporter WCCO Radio/MN Monthly Magazine Founder, Perspectives Kids Cafe
Jeannie Seeley-Smith
President/CEO Perspectives, Inc.
Cheryl Cochrane
CFO (non-voting member) Perspectives, Inc.
MEMBERS
Marne Brooks
Community Volunteer
Lisa Denzer
MA, LPC Counseling Services Catholic Charities
Susan Grafton
SVP, Finance & Chief Accounting Officer Supervalu
Peter Hayden, Ph.D
Principal & President Turning Point, Inc.
Karen Heithoff
Former Business Owner (Retired), Intoto
Sarena Lin
President Cargill Feed & Nutrition
Michael Maeser
SVP, Regional Managing Director Wells Fargo
Kelly Merriman
Owner & President The Lice Lounge Hair Care Center
Pamela Miller
SVP, Integrated Supply Chain 
Management (Retired)
Beckman Coulter
Jim Murphy
SVP; President, Meals & Baking Division General Mills
Jill Sando
SVP; Home Merchandising Target
Ellen Schmidt
Community Volunteer
Karl Schmidt
Owner/Chief Executive Officer Morrie’s Automotive Group
Ruth Usem
Civic Leader
EMERITUS
David  McNally (Emeritus)
President TransForm Corporation
Vicki Wyard
Financial Planner (Retired)
Support Team
  • Kids Connection Department
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  • Supportive Housing Department
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  • Clinical Services Department
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  • Employment Program Department
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  • Support Service Department
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  • Finance Department
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  • Community Engagement Department
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Our Friends

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Contact Us

hotspotCome See Perspectives

Perspectives, Inc

3381 Gorham Ave

St Louis Park,MN 55426

Get Direction via Google Maps

phoneCall

952.926.2600

Fax

952.926.9395

emailEmail

info@perspectives-family.org