The Wellstone Center is a living memorial to Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, who tragically died in a plane crash in the fall of 2002, along with their daughter, Marcia. Interim Senator Dean Barkley researched over eighty appropriations that Senator Wellstone had been working on prior to his death. Establishing a new facility for community building was one of them. Within one week of his initial inquiry to the non-profit organization, Neighborhood House, Congress authorized $10 million toward The Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building, which would become the new Neighborhood House headquarters, a $25 million project.
The Neighborhood House was founded in 1897 by the women of Mount Zion Temple to assist Russian Jewish immigrants fleeing their homeland as a result of mounting bigotry and discrimination. Over 110 years later, Neighborhood House is a vibrant, thriving organization serving immigrants, refugees and low-income populations in need of a helping hand. Multi-lingual and multi-cultural, the organization serves people from around the world, who relocate to Minnesota seeking a better life for themselves and their families. In a comprehensive effort to break the cycle of poverty, Neighborhood House operates diverse programs that work together to stabilize individuals and families. Programs include the largest single site food shelf in Ramsey County, distributing over 3,000 pounds of food daily to approximately 39,000 people annually, plus providing housing support. Neighborhood House also offers youth, adult, and family education and leadership programs that provide the skills needed to pursue higher education goals, gain employment, and become self-sufficient, thriving members of our community.