One third of the people who live in the city of Duluth are living in poverty or are considered to be working poor. Community Action Duluth is doing whatever it takes to help people who are struggling to cover basic needs.

Our Staff

Angie Miller, Executive Director, has been with Community Action Duluth since December 2003. She has led Community Action Duluth through a time of growth and transformation including the creation of Financial Opportunity Center Integrated employment and financial services, the development of several green jobs initiatives, and the implementation of strategic priorities of public policy, anti-racism work and community engagement across the agency. More recently, under her leadership Community Action Duluth has taken a lead role in Duluth to enroll hundreds of uninsured people into health coverage, created a Farmers Market in a food desert neighborhood, initiated an evening GED completion program and added health and wellness coaching to the broad array of options available to low income people at Community Action Duluth.

Angie serves on the board of Center City Housing, and the MN Council of Nonprofits, she is a trustee of the Northland Foundation and is on the Local Advisory Board of Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation. She has a master's degree in social work from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

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Xavier BellXavier Bell, Director of Community Engagement, has 15 years experience working with diverse communities to strengthen and develop social assets through positions held in community and faith-based organizations across the country. Under his management, Circles of Support has blossomed from a pilot into one of the most effective community social asset development programs in Minnesota (as recognized by the Legislative Commission to End Poverty). Xavier also oversees and guides strategies that include Community Engagement, Circles of Support Match program, and Race Awareness Workshops (RAW). He provides organizational leadership for the Citizens for Improved Community and Police Relationships and recently served on the Duluth Human Rights Commission.

Prior to his present position, Xavier served as volunteer coordinator and community liaison for Circles of Support programming at Community Action Duluth. During this time, he worked as a community organizer and implemented Anti-Racism Study Dialogue Circles and numerous complementary community outreach programs.

Previously, Xavier served as director of youth guidance and chaplain for Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall with Stanislaus County Youth for Christ. He worked with community volunteers, churches, and the Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall to develop a family-like support system for youth exiting the county's juvenile detention center to lower recidivism rates of juvenile offenders.

Xavier is an ordained minister, motivational speaker, and workshop facilitator. He is a graduate of the Blandin Foundation Leadership Program and Blandin Leaders Partnering to End Poverty.

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Chanti CalabriaChanti Calabria, Seeds of Success Manager, joined Community Action Duluth in January 2015. She is passionate about participatory community development, especially arts-based community development and sustainable community food systems. As a food producer and organizer, she believes that food justice is both social and environmental, and is committed to building a food landscape that is equitable, sustainable, and creative.

She is an alumna of Intermedia Arts' Creative Community Leadership Institute, the Voices for Racial Justice organizing fellowship, and the Land Stewardship Project's Farm Beginnings institute. She has a Bachelor's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the College of St. Benedict.

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Julia ChengJulia Cheng, Tax Site Manager, earned a bachelor of arts degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University. She joined the staff in 2011 after two years of LISC AmeriCorps service here as a tax preparer and financial counselor. Julia was a newspaper photojournalist in the Boston area before moving to Duluth in 2004. An amateur cellist and Community Action's past resident filmmaker, Julia strongly believes in the role of the arts in building a vibrant community. She is an alumna of Duluth's first round of Anti-Racism Study Dialogue Circles, Leadership Duluth and the Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute. Julia strives to foster racial equity through economic empowerment and regards taxes as a social justice issue. She is dedicated to the Free Tax Site as a means of engaging our entire community in breaking the cycle of poverty.

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Porsha ClinePorsha Cline, Connect Forward Coach, joined Community Action Duluth in March 2016. She studied psychology and sociology at University of Minnesota Duluth, and has spent 10 years at various non-profits in the area helping at-risk youth to develop their talents and find meaning in their lives. She is also a certified trainer in non-violent communication and crisis intervention. She is passionate about helping others find inner strength, identify their passions, and make progress towards their dreams. As a Connect Forward Coach, Porsha empowers others by providing financial, employment, and education coaching. She believes that all people deserve a path to reach their full potential, and is committed to increasing equity throughout the community. Porsha is also a certified ropes course instructor, an avid hiker of the North Shore, and loves a good debate.

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Deb EagleDeb Eagle, Bridge to Employment Manager, joined the agency in July 2012. She manages the Bridge to Employment program at Community Action. The Bridge to Employment program, offers Employment Services specifically for African American and American Indian families on MFIP. The Bridge program helps participants navigate individual and system wide barriers to finding work in Duluth. Deb earned her Bachelor's degree in Fine Art at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus and earned a Master's Degree in Education at University of Minnesota Duluth. Deb has a broad range of experience working with American Indian Families, in both the fields of Education and Mental Health Services. In her spare time Deb enjoys bicycling and all kinds of creative projects, such as, painting, drawing and photography.

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Teresa GeorgeTeresa George, Office Manager, brings a variety of great skills to Community Action Duluth. She was an administrative assistant for 15 years at KDLH TV in Duluth. Before that she was part owner and manager of St. Louis Billiards and Eating Emporium, a family-owned business and home of the area's famous seafood bisque.

In addition to the daily management of the office, she coordinates more than 90 tax site volunteers. From the end of January through mid-April, Teresa spends her Tuesday evenings and Saturdays volunteering at CAD's Free Tax Site.

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Susie Green, Transportation Coach, came to Community Action Duluth in the spring of 2013. Her work began with an internship in the Bridge to Employment program. This opportunity led to a volunteer coordinator position through L.I.S.C. AmeriCorps as well as a becoming a course facilitator for Getting Ahead with Community Engagement. Susie also served on the board of the Lincoln Park Family Collaborative in 2014.

Susie has been active with the community-led organization, The Table, and has co-facilitated the Employment Table, the Criminal Justice & Safety Table, served on the M.L.K. Day committee and  with the Family Freedom School as the event coordinator. Most recently, Susie worked on engaging folks to get involved in the local union trades with Community Action Duluth as the Employment and Training Specialist.

Currently, Susie is our Transportation Coach for the newly launched D.R.I.V.E Program (Driver’s Licenses, Insurance, Vehicle Education,) she is passionate about connecting with individuals, and learning what their need is to help them become self-sufficient. Susie believes that all people deserve a path to reach their full potential, and is committed to increasing equity in the lives of others.

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Katie LaPlantKatie LaPlant, Connect Forward Coach, joined Community Action Duluth in 2015. She started as an intern while earning her Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth and graduated in May, 2016. Previously, Katie worked with high school-aged, first-generation college students aiding them in applications, scholarships, and overall college readiness. Alongside her work at CAD, Katie works part-time at a small group home for adults with developmental and physical disabilities where she gets to utilize her skills in American Sign Language. Her work with CAD involves engaging folks in the community with education, career, and/or financial coaching. Katie's passion lies in guiding people to reach their potential and working towards creating a more equitable community. In her free time, she likes to go kayaking with her sister and her friends, hiking, going to live music shows, and doing nature photography.

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Cole MakiCole Maki, MFIP Job Counselor, began working for Community Action Duluth in February 2015. Prior to joining Community Action Duluth, Cole worked for more than 9 years in Duluth empowering and advocating for people with disabilities and those living with persistent mental illness. Most recently, she spent two years working for United Health Care as a Health Advisor.

Desiring to be a voice and advocating force for her community, Cole graduated from the University of WI-Superior in 2006 with a Bachelors in International Peace Studies and degrees in Anthropology and Communications. She went on to earn a Master's in Advocacy and Political Leadership, graduating from the University of MN-Duluth in 2010.

Working as part of the Bridge to Employment Team, Cole hopes to increase prosperity for People of Color who are experiencing disproportionate barriers to employment in the Twin Ports. She brings determination and an enthusiastic belief that working together, we can revitalize and strengthen the livelihood of our community.

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Noland Makowsky, Bookkeeper, transitioned to the finance department in February 2016 after initially being hired in January 2015 as a Benefits Outreach Specialist where he was a MNsure Navigator, assisted with SNAP food assistance enrollments, and provided outreach work for the agency. Noland has a driving passion to learn new subjects and to impart what he's learned to those around him in order to help people live healthier and happier lives. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology and, someday, would like to obtain a Ph.D. and study aging as a biogerontologist. Noland and his wife had a Halloween wedding on October 31, 2014 on the William A. Irvin Haunted Ship. The couple have lived in the Duluth/Superior area for most of their lives and really enjoy getting outside during the beautiful Duluth Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons.

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Inge MaskumInge Maskun, Health Coach, joined Community Action Duluth in the spring of 2016. Born and raised in Indonesia, Inge's grandmother relied on folk medicine: spices, and herbs because modern medicine was expensive and doctors were hard to get to. Consequently, food became the source of healing. In 2002, Inge moved to Duluth and in May 2014, she took an intensive 40–week course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Since then, Inge has been guiding, supporting, and empowering participants to reduce stress, increase energy, lose weight, and improve total well-being. In March 2016, Inge completed a Tobacco Treatment Specialist Certification from the Mayo Clinic. Rooted in a positive coaching model, Inge is ready and eager to help participants heal and thrive through food and lifestyle choices.

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Madison OhmMadison Ohm, Connect Forward Coach, joined Community Action Duluth in 2015 as an intern for the GED Program. In her current role as a Connect Forward Coach, she continues to support folks in their educational goals as well as working with them to develop and achieve their financial and employment goals. Madison earned her Bachelor's degree in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and an Associate's degree in Human Services at WITC. She loves learning new things and spending time with friends and family. She is an ardent supporter of economic, racial, gender, and educational equity and is dedicated to working for positive social change in our community. Madison enjoys helping people plan their futures, do the work of moving forward, and watching them reap the benefits of their hard work.

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Charlietta BarnesCharlietta Owens, MFIP Job Counselor, began working with Community Action Duluth in 2013. Her experience navigating government programs; as well as her ongoing formal education make her a powerful advocate in the Bridge to Employment Program. Her work as a Health Care Promotor and GED Program Advocate at Community Action Duluth has strengthened the fabric of the Duluth community. She is also a Co-Facilitator of the Circles of Support program, and enjoys assisting build a strong support system through the members of the community. Her education goal includes a Masters of Social Work Degree. She is dedicated to volunteering at Community Action during tax season by serving as a tax site assistant. Connecting with individuals, and learning what their need is to help them become self-sufficient has always been her passion.

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Sarah PriestSarah Priest, Director of Outreach, Communications and Development, has been in the Community Action world since 2005. She first worked as a program coordinator for Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) in Virginia, MN and started with Community Action Duluth as a Housing Counselor in July 2007. After a couple years Sarah began managing the program and she grew the program into the department of Asset Development and Financial Services holding the Director position for 6+ years, launching several programs and achieving outcomes that received national attention. Under a recent restructure, Sarah has now taken a new role as the agency lead for outreach, marketing, communications and fundraising/development. She is very excited to help raise the visibility of Community Action Duluth, sharing the many great opportunities for growth and advancement offered within the supportive staff and innovative programs. She's also excited for the challenge to increase our donors and donor support! Sarah graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., with degrees in political science and sociology/anthropology. Seriously enjoying people and cultures, her travels have taken her to Guatemala, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, the Bahamas, and India. She also spent time living with a Hmong immigrant family in West St. Paul. Sarah is the Past President of the YWCA of Duluth, the Chair of the Duluth Affordable Housing Coalition and a member of the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee. She enjoys sailing, biking, alpine skiing, skijoring, swimming and hikes with her dogs Max and Mikku.

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Karen St. GeorgeKaren St. George, Connect Forward Manager, joined Community Action Duluth in March 2014. Karen comes to us with years of experience working in government programs as well as private financial institutions helping people improve their financial standing.

Originally from Minneapolis, Karen moved to Duluth to be closer to aging family members. Karen has her BS in Business Management. Previous community involvement includes founding a non-profit childcare center, community organizing, and helping to create a community clinic. Karen's passion is to help people identify their talents and to encourage them to act for the good of the community as a whole.

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Renee Van NettRenee Van Nett, Employment Navigator, joined Community Action Duluth in February 2015. Her family is a traditional family from The Red Lake band of Chippewa Ojibway. Renee has 3 kids, and is a native foster home located in the beautiful Lincoln Park area. She has worked with several nonprofit organizations in the Duluth area, and has experience with At Risk youth, battered women programming, human trafficking, and health and wellness. Renee is a member of the Duluth Citizen Review board, and on the board of Damiano Center and the Lincoln Park Children's and Family Collaborative. She worked very hard on her education from Concordia University St. Paul MN. Her BA is in Organizational Management and communications. She believes education is the path to freedom so she will continue her journey of higher education. She is thankful for the opportunity to work with Community Action Duluth.

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Jenny Van SickleJenny Van Sickle, Transportation Manager, came to the Duluth area after graduating from the University of Maine-Augusta with her A.S. Mental Health & Human Service. Her next educational endeavor brought her to the University of Wisconsin-Superior where she graduated in May of 2016 with a B.S. Social Work.
During her time at UWS Jenny was nominated to serve as a peer mentor, she lobbied for policy change in Madison with the Superior Days organization and co-organized the first Superior Citizens in Action event. Jenny came to Community Action Duluth as an intern in the spring of 2016 where she co-facilitated the Employment Table, worked on the Fair Food Access and Earned Sick & Safe Time campaigns, and Community Action's Family Freedom School where she continues to plan and co-facilitate classes. Jenny is passionate about connecting and engaging people towards securing equitable transportation policies because access to transportation is the critical link to people's success, self-determination and the ability to fully participate in their communities.

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Brandon Van Tassel, Stream Corps Project Manager

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Karen WalterKaren Walter, Benefits Outreach Manager, has a passion for the people she serves. Karen began her career in nursing in Minnesota and Iowa. Her medical knowledge gave her a great foundation to build upon. She moved from nursing into the insurance industry, underwriting health and life insurance policies. Oh my, how far the Affordable Care Act has come in giving us the right to have coverage even with pre-existing conditions, and not to have a cap on how much an insurance company will pay out on our behalf. Following her underwriting experience, Karen worked in Social Services. Karen enjoys processes. She has ability to learn where you are at, where you need to go, and will help you achieve your goal(s). Karen takes great care to make sure certain participants are able to understand health and food support eligibility and assists in navigating the application process through to completion, complete with advocacy, and ongoing assistance with your questions, concerns, verifications, and renewals. Karen realizes how valuable Community Action Duluth is to the community of Duluth. CAD represents a group of caring individuals with the experience and tools to support others walking through the complexities of life. Karen was one of 11 children and was raised in west central Minnesota, near the North Dakota border. Karen and her husband have 4 children and two beautiful grandchildren. Time spent with her family re-energizes her. She couldn't be more pleased to live near such a majestic body of water.

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Christine WhitcombChristine Whitcomb, Finance Director, started with Community Action Duluth November 2013. In recent years, Christine has spent summers working at Good Earth Village, a camp in Spring Valley, MN and working for her cousin's computer business doing various types of work. She received her bachelor's degree in Accounting from Minnesota State University Mankato, MN in 2013 and her bachelor's degree in Social Work from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA in 2007. Christine finds one of the most exciting parts about working for Community Action Duluth is her ability to utilize both of her degrees and the skills she has learned from them.

Originally from Freeborn, a small farming town in Southern Minnesota, Christine moved to Duluth to enjoy the landscape and all the area has to offer an outdoor enthusiast. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, hiking, camping, reading and spending time with her family. 

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Kate WigrenKate Wigren, Director of Grants, Contracts and Partnerships, has worked with Circles of Support since February 2007. She initially came on staff as an intern through the Masters of Social Work program at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Kate currently coordinates the advocacy components of Circles of Support. Within Circles of Support, she oversees the Duluth at Work employment program and the Education that Works! programs. Kate additionally coordinates and provides advocacy for the Duluth at Work Green Jobs program. She has been active professionally and personally in addressing issues of poverty and discrimination in the Duluth community.

Before pursuing her master's degree in social work, Kate worked as a housing advocate, assisting people experiencing homelessness in Duluth. She has also been active locally as a volunteer board member and has served on the board of directors for the Housing Access Center and Women's Community Development Organization. A native Minnesotan, she has lived in Duluth for nine years and currently lives in West Duluth with her husband and two young daughters.

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Agency Calendar

FREE TAX SITE Open Jan 27-April 17 Mon/Tue/Sat and May 1-Jun 28 Tue/Wed. We prepare 2017 federal and state returns for households and individuals with annual income up to $54,000