An Oral History of the Founding of MN's PACER Center

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
PACER Center
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
December 2014
End Date
December 2015
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2011 Chapter 6, Article 4, Subdivision 5, Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants.
Appropriation Language

Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. $5,250,000 the first year and $5,250,000 the second year are for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional, or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Available upon request. Contact

Measurable Outcome(s)

All of the measurable outcomes were achieved or exceeded.
1) A consultant was hired within grant procedures and PACER hiring policies. Though an unexpected death in the PACER family created a delay in the start timeframe until July.

2) Permissions were obtained and interviews were successfully conducted. The eight founders each represented 20+ years of experience with PACER. And each represented a different aspect of PACER's founding, e.g. seven were parents of children with different disabilities and each told his/her personal story of challenges and joys in changing the educational system in MN.

One, male Hispanic, told about working with Latino families over the years as this population has increased in MN.
Another, an African American woman, told about raising a child with disabilities during the civil rights challenges of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Another African American woman talked about working regionally and nationally, often being the only black woman among many white males in power positions.
A father, now a District Court Judge, told about being board chair, working together at the state legislature and developing a strong infrastructure and a sustainable future for a successful nonprofit - PACER Center.
The original co-directors, shared how their vision evolved over the years from being inexperienced mothers to being successful entrepreneurs in a changing world and building a $10M endowment. One of the original co-directors is now the current director and she shared PACER's impact in MN, across the nation, and internationally.

Description of Funds
Available upon request. Contact
Source of Additional Funds

Available upon request. Contact

Recipient Board Members
Jeff Betchwars, Kate Bretscher-Salter, Paul Bridges, Jessica Broyles (Board Treasurer), Kofi Bruce, Chris Dall, Suzanne Downs, Jeanette Frederickson, Kathy Graves, Ginny Hopper, Gwen Hopper, Seamus Hyland, Dan Levinson (President), Paul Luehr, Jessica Mattson, Don McNeil, Jackie Olson, Paul Shannan, Tammy Pust (Vice President), Karen Reynolds, (Board Secretary), Ken Rosenblum, Dorothy Slegman, Sara Sagedahl, Mathew Woods,
Project Overview
To document in 8 oral history interviews the history of the founding of the PACER Center.
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
PACER Center
Street Address
8161 Normandale Blvd
Zip Code
Competitive Grant Making Body
Board Members and Qualifications
Minnesota Historical Society Governing Board: William R. Stoeri, President Missy S. Thompson, Vice President Ruth Huss, Vice President D. Stephen Elliott, Secretary Dean M. Nelson, Treasurer Suzanne Blue Brenda J. Child Robert Bruininks Judith S. Corson D. Stephen Elliott Phyllis Rawls Goff William D. Green David R. Hakensen Ruth S. Huss Martha Kaemmer Dennis L. Lamkin David M. Larson Charles Mahar Dean M. Nelson Elizabeth M. Nordlie Dennis Nguyen Peter R. Reis Hussein Samatar Simon Stevens Susan Kenny Stevens William R. Stoeri Karen Wilson Thissen Missy Staples Thompson Eleanor Winston Ex-Officio: Mark Dayton, Governor Yvonne Prattner Solon Lieutenant Governor Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State Lori Swanson, Attorney General Rebecca Otto, State Auditor