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community Welcome!

Building stable homes, strong futures, and vibrant communities since 1971

New Headquarters for CommonBond

CommonBond is Enhancing Lives Through Fitness

Enhance Fitness is a low-cost, evidence-based group exercise program which aims to help older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. Christine is a resident at Shingle Creek Commons. She has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Due to her condition, Christine has to depend upon the assistance of a motorized wheel chair to get around. For over 40 years, CommonBond’s central office employees have resided in the basement of the Hayden building on Kellogg Blvd. But that will be changing in the coming months. A small portion of the capital campaign completed in 2013 was designated to finding suitable space for new headquarters. In December, CommonBond purchased an existing property and this summer CommonBond will move to 1080 Montreal in St. Paul. The new space reflects our commitment to good stewardship while offering warm

MARCH 2014

hospitality to all who pass through our doors. The new location also offers a convenient location for staff and guests. The property will allow for ongoing employee growth as well as improved meeting and green space. There is also great parking for our guests. The goal is to complete the move by mid-July. CommonBond is grateful to the funders and partners who made this possible. We will continue to provide updates on our move as we get closer to the big day.

Paul Fate to Retire

Over the past several years she had noticed her condition progressing, leaving her feeling weaker and more fatigued with each passing week. Then one day last summer, Christine decided to participate in Enhance Fitness, the evidence-based fitness class being held in the community room of Shingle Creek Commons. This is a low-cost group exercise program that helps older adults, at all levels of fitness, become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. The class is held for an hour twice weekly and focuses on cardiovascular exercise, strength training, balance, and flexibility - everything older adults need to maintain health and function as they age.

Hey Buddy! Wanna Study?

Picture yourself helping a young person living in a CommonBond community do better in school. Study Buddies is one of the cornerstones of the Advantage Centers found only at CommonBond Communities. Study Buddies exemplifies CommonBond’s commitment to the communities we serve to provide not only safe, clean, and affordable housing, but also supportive programs that improve the lives of our residents. You would be a great volunteer! Learn more at:

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BY THE NUMBERS 104 properties / 5,530 units / 8,758 residents 567 youth participated in the Homework Center 179 youth and volunteer mentors participated in Study Buddies 90% of teens in Advantage Services programs moved on to higher education 174 children were enrolled in the Early Childhood Literacy program

You have probably heard by now that after seven years as President and CEO, Paul Fate has decided to retire from CommonBond. Given recent successes and the overall strength of the organization, Paul feels that now is the right time for him to step down and bring in the next leader for CommonBond. During Paul’s tenure, revenues across the organization rose to over $62 million. Under his leadership, CommonBond successfully completed its first ever capital campaign raising more than $21 million and resulting in an endowment fund for CommonBond’s Advantage Services of nearly $7 million. During this seven year period, 2,328 dignified homes were stabilized, preserved or built new and CommonBond became a nationally recognized organization. While it is clear that CommonBond greatly prospered during Paul’s tenure, we are in a strong position for attracting CommonBond’s third CEO and we anticipate a smooth transition. The board of directors is in the process of selecting an executive recruiting firm to lead a search for Paul’s replacement. Paul will continue to lead the organization until his successor is named.

Before joining the Enhance Fitness program, Christine was sedentary and rarely exercised. But ever since joining the class, she has felt her ability level in class and in her everyday life improve, and the progression of her disease has slowed. After a couple of months, she even gained the energy and confidence to bring herself up to a standing position. The staff at Shingle Creek Commons have noticed quite an improvment in Christine’s mobility. Offering classes like Enhance Fitness sets CommonBond apart and, more importantly, improves the lives of CommonBond residents.

Homeless No More

The Tallcorn

CommonBond is engaged in a very important project to provide housing for homeless veterans and their families. Five buildings at historic Fort Snelling’s Upper Post, all of them in serious disrepair, will be rehabilitated to create 58 permanent supportive housing units. The $17.2 million project is part of the U.S. Veterans Administration’s Building Utilization and Repurposing initiative to reduce homelessness among veterans nationwide. The project is scheduled to break ground in May. If you want to learn more about how you can support this historic project, please contact Marilyn Peller Nelson at 651-290-6254.

The historic renovation of The Tallcorn in Marshalltown, Iowa is nearing completion with staff gearing up for a late March occupancy. Originally built as Hotel Tallcorn in 1928, CommonBond has gone to great lengths to preserve many of the architectural details. The 49-unit building will have commercial space on the first floor and house residents in fully-remodeled one and two-bedroom urban loft style apartments on floors two through eight. Residents will enjoy an amenity-rich environment including a computer lab, laundry room, arts and crafts room, and a library. Residents will also have access to Advantage Services programs.

Ft. Snelling Project Breaks Ground in May

79% of adults retained employment 117 residents completed Financial Literacy Seminars 32 residents became U.S. citizens 708 seniors were prevented from nursing home placement

Historic Property Takes on New Life

CommonBond is planning a Grand Opening event in May. In addition to The Tallcorn, CommonBond has exciting projects underway in Des Moines, North Minneapolis, Milwaukee, LaCrosse, and Rochester. To learn more about these and upcoming projects, please visit our web site at

community Quick News

MARCH 2014

Meet the Ringleader

Congressman Visits CommonBond On January 22nd, Congressman Keith Ellison visited with residents, CommonBond staff and partners at Riverview Apartments and Bii Di Gain Dash Anwebi, two senior housing communities in Minneapolis. During the tour, Congressman Ellison experienced the value of these remarkable resources not only in the quality of the buildings, but the stories residents shared about how having an affordable place to live gives them independence and stability.

2014-2016 Strategic Plan Completed The board of directors recently completed a strategic planning process that concluded with a three-year plan. The priorities of the plan are: Grow and Diversify Our Housing Portfolio: We are challenged to find new and creative ways to diversify our financing and real estate development models and to grow beyond our current geography. Maximize our Resident Services: CommonBond is poised to enhance its industry-leading Advantage Services with a focus on maximizing impact, assuring sustainability by leveraging partnerships and demonstrating clear outcomes. Build our Platform for Success: Delivery on these goals and a longer-term vision will require investment in people, infrastructure and systems. It will also require greater focus on public policy and a stronger CommonBond brand and culture. Some key metrics of the plan include: 2,000 housing units stabilized, preserved or built new; $25 million in social innovation funds raised; a program for homeless veterans developed; $4 million raised in annual contributions; $10 million Advantage Services endowment achieved; Inclusivity and diversity plan implemented; NeighborWorks America Green Certification achieved.

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 671 Twin Cities, MN

CommonBond has positioned itself as a respected leader and innovator in the affordable housing industry and will continue to fulfill our mission to meet the ever-increasing need. For a full copy of the strategic plan visit or call 651.290.6226.

Just try to keep up with this 86-year-old! Wally Kammeier has been a resident of a CommonBond community senior housing complex in Fridley, MN since 2005. At Norwood Square, Wally is not only a resident, but an event organizer, computer technician, the keeper of the building calendar and movie night administrator just to name a few. He is a verifiable ringleader, who keeps the energy level, spirits and engagement high among staff and fellow residents. His schedule and daily activities would wear most people out, let alone other 86-year-old peers!

When complimented for all of his work, he just giggles and states, “It doesn’t matter what age you are. . .you just have to remain active. I do all of this at Norwood for me!”

Wally has been a resident at Norwood Square since 2005.

convenient to several businesses including a drug store, a bank and a health clinic.

Becaue of his engineering background, Wally is uncommonly skilled with computers and the internet. Over the years, he has donated countless hours assisting residents with their computer questions. In addition, he installed the movie projection screen in the community room, creates and prints the monthly calendar of events and organizes a spring cleaning event. If there is a job or an idea that needs attention, Wally either makes a suggestion or receives the first call for assistance. When complimented for all of his work, he just giggles and states, “It doesn’t matter what age you are. . .you just have to remain active. I do all of this at Norwood for me!” Norwood Square consists of 50 senior housing units with an onsite property manager, a caretaker, an Advantage Services coordinator, and a maintenance technician. Wally said that the four of them “work like a team to make the building and its programs an exceptional place to live. The building itself is fantastic. The security is great, everything works and it’s spotless.” He said if anything breaks and he calls about it, it’s fixed immediately. As with all of the CommonBond housing communities, it is

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There are many ways to support CommonBond as we strive to provide a stable platform for people in 104 communities and growing. Whether you donate, participate, or advocate, we ask that you continue to lend your support, share the good news, and join our movement! More at

Be Inspiring!



Wally is more than an ideal resident of CommonBond Communities, he represents the values and the mission of our work and we are honored to have him call Norwood Square his home.



An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Organization 328 Kellogg Blvd. West, St. Paul, MN 55102-1900

Due to Wally’s energy and time commitment, programs and activities have been substantially augmented for residents at Norwood Square. The staff work closely (with Wally’s input) to create and deliver meaningful programs to help keep seniors in their homes. Wally believes it’s crucial to not only remain physically active, but to keep a focus on mental health in order to remain independent. As Wally stated, “We can all get in a rut, but especially for seniors who may have limited mobility or chronic health issues. I believe that Advantage Services has helped to promote mental wellness with the residents of this building.” He cited the four week Inner Peace seminar that is being held on Monday mornings in the community room, fitness classes on Tuesdays and Fridays, and bingo on Wednesdays as just a few examples of how the residents can get involved to remain physically and mentally fit with never having to leave the building.

328 KELLOGG BLVD W ST. PAUL, MN 55102 651.291.1750

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“Fun” Raising for CommonBond Residents CommonBond Communities’ GrandeGala is a highlight of the spring social calendar in the Twin Cites. This annual event raises money to support CommonBond's award-winning Advantage Services. The theme of this year's event is UNCOMMON HEROES. Please join us Friday, April 11 at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis as we celebrate our heroes - the residents, funders, partners, and volunteers who help us create vibrant communities every day. We want to thank our Title Sponsors for the event: TCF Bank & Wells Fargo. Their generosity is overwhelming and the commitment of these two institutions has changed the lives of hundreds of adults and youth over the past few years. For individual ticket purchases or to sponsor this year’s event, please contact Julia at or call 651.288.8693.

March 2014 newsletter  

CommonBond Communities builds stable homes, strong futures, and vibrant communities.