A St. Nick gift of thanks for longtime Catholic Charities supporter Welsh

| December 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

Tim Welsh accepted the Lifetime Achievement award with Catholic Charities at the St. Nicholas Dinner Dec. 1. Courtesy Catholic Charities

When Tim Welsh received the Catholic Charities Life of Distinction award, he considered the moment undeserved because of his humble beginnings with the organization.

I found it totally ironic that I’m getting this award when all I can feel is gratitude to people of Catholic Charities for all they’ve done for me,” Welsh said.

The Life Distinction Award goes a person or family who furthers the work of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis through volunteering. Welsh received the award Dec. 1 at the annual St. Nicholas Dinner, an event that brings Catholic Charities supporters together to celebrate the organization’s work. Welsh has served as a board member, helped in fundraising and volunteered over the past two decades, but his experience with the Catholic organization goes back much further than that.

Catholic Charities touched Welsh’s life early when he was adopted as a baby by a Washington, D.C.-area family through the organization’s infant home in 1966. He reconnected with Catholic Charities years later from a phone call he received in the late 1990s while working in the Twin Cities with McKinsey and Company, a business consulting firm.

Welsh said he tends “to think of it as grace” that he received the call. It moved him “to start giving back in some way,” he said.

He first volunteered as a consultant for Catholic Charities and helped with the organization’s strategic plan.

That helped set the direction for several years of growth in the organization,” Welsh said.

Welsh more recently contributed support for the new Higher Ground St. Paul building and upcoming Opportunity Center, the organization’s new vision for its long-established Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul. He also has volunteered at the Dorothy Day Center.

That clearly is just a hugely important new asset for our community,” Welsh said.

Welsh developed close ties over the years with Catholic Charities leaders such as former board chairwoman Karen Rauenhorst and Father Larry Snyder, who has led both the Twin Cities’ Catholic Charities and Catholic Charities USA.  

Father Larry has become such a good friend that he in fact celebrated the wedding for me and my wife [Liz], and he’s baptized all three of our children,” Welsh said.

Welsh is a member of Lumen Christi in St. Paul, but he said also regularly attends St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul where his wife is a member.

He also takes his family to volunteer with Catholic Charities. Welsh said he wants his children to “come to appreciate the broader importance of giving back in some way.”

Beyond his commitment to Catholic Charities,Welsh also serves on the board for Rauenhorst’s family foundation, the GHR Foundation, which works to further education, health and global development in light of Catholic values. Such service has become natural for Welsh, has worked in consulting with McKinsey for his entire career.

That’s really what the consulting profession is about,” Welsh said. “I have spent a huge amount of my life helping clients and then also helping people in the community.”

Welsh’s faith roots started in his adoptive family in the Washington suburb of Wheaton, Maryland. The only adopted member of the family of five children, Welsh said he “began to appreciate” what Catholic Charities did for him as he grew up.

Faith was always very important to me,” Welsh said.

It carried over to college at Harvard University where he volunteered with the Catholic Student Center. A life of service in the Church looked like a possible direction.

When I was in college, I thought — and many of my friends thought — there was a very good chance I was going to be a Catholic priest,” Welsh said.

Welsh ultimately chose another direction but stayed involved in the Church after graduation while working in New York as a business consultant. He returned to Harvard three years later for business school and them came to Minnesota for McKinsey and Company.

After more than 20 years in the Twin Cities, he hopes to keep improving the community through Catholic Charities.

I hope that not only Catholic Charities’ work is vibrant, but that our community continues to thrive and create opportunities for everybody and that this is a place where hopefully everybody can prosper,” Welsh said.

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