Hallie Q. Brown Community Center
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center's (HQB) mission 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.
Who are we?
Founded in 1929, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center had its origins as a settlement house for African Americans denied services by other agencies, welcoming the entire population of St. Paul’s Summit-University neighborhood. It has grown and adapted with the community around it. Pre-pandemic, HQB offered six main program areas: Basic Needs, Early Childhood Education, Youth Enrichment, Senior Programming, Historical Archives, and Administration of the Martin Luther King Center. Due to the impact of the pandemic, we have had to shift our programming to ensure that safety protocols are met while still supporting our community.
Basic Needs: Our Food Shelf operates from a Client Choice model and includes a Community Area which is open to anyone in need and includes specialty items such as pet food, feminine hygiene products, baby food and fresh produce from Trader Joes, Mississippi Market and Whole Foods. The Clothing Closet provides free clothing and small household items for families in need. The goal is to assist families in achieving self-sufficiency and self-empowerment, thus reducing their dependency on the food shelf and other services for their health and well-being.
Early Childhood Education: A recurrent challenge for lifelong success is whether or not a child has access to pre-kindergarten educational opportunities. Hallie Q. Brown Child Early Learning Center (ELC) provides preschool education and childcare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and is licensed for 42 children ages 6 weeks through 5 years old. We provide safe, affordable childcare for working parents and community residents on a sliding fee scale. Over 90% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunches.
Youth Enrichment: The Youth Enrichment program provides youth ages 5 to 14 with the resources and opportunities to develop and expand cooperative and interdependent relationships through organized activities. The program is designed to improve academic performance, enhance leadership and communication skills, increase awareness of other cultures, inspire a sense of community pride, and teach the importance of volunteerism and philanthropy to build strong and healthy communities.
Senior Programming: Hallie Q. Brown Community Center serves as a gathering place for seniors to enhance their independence through connection to services and activities. Groups meet at the center and participate in a variety of activities. Our Senior Programming consists of two groups, the Retired Men’s Club and the Magnificent Golden Agers, two groups of men and women (respectively) who for the most part were involved with HQB earlier in their lives. These groups provide social opportunities for their members, story and information sharing, public outings, and, recently, have helped further develop and contextualize HQB’s archival holdings. These groups address the issue of social isolation amongst seniors, while also ensuring that our elders are provided with a space where their voices can be heard by their community.
Historical Archives: The Community Archive at HQB is a project of remembering Rondo, HQB’s place in Rondo’s legacy, and providing community members space to recall their shared past while looking forward to a more equitable future. Through the preservation and digitization of historical documents and photos related to HQB and the old Rondo Community, the creation of a searchable database of the materials, and community workshops and events the Community Archive provides social space, services, and educational/support for the Summit-University community.
Administration of Multi-service Hub: 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, including: Project Cheer - music lessons for low-income children, Prepare and Prosper - tax preparation, and Saint Paul NAACP - advocacy services.