Tim Marx, a former Minnesota Housing Commissioner, deputy mayor and city attorney for the City of St. Paul and attorney for Catholic Charities and other non-profits and foundations, was named CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt announced the appointment Jan. 19, to be effective April 4.
Marx replaces Paul Martodam, who became Catholic Charities CEO in January 2010. In August 2010, Martodam learned he had cancer and asked the board for a co-CEO. Robert Spinner, who previously served as chair of Catholic Charities board of directors and as an interim CEO, was appointed co-CEO in September 2010. Before his retirement, Spinner was president of Allina Hospital and Clinics.
A native of Minnesota, Marx was born in Detroit Lakes and grew up in Rochester. Except for the past few years, he lived in St. Paul and attended St. Cecilia parish. After leaving his current position at the end of January as executive director for New York City Common Ground, a nonprofit housing, community development and social services agency, Marx said he will spend time with the Catholic Charities staff and board until he begins working full time.
“I know Charities pretty well from my previous background, both in working with them, when I was at the state, on homelessness efforts and, when I was at the City of St. Paul, on Dorothy Day-related matters,” he said.
“It is super-critical for Minnesota and for the Twin Cities that we maintain and try to enhance that basic safety net, because across the country, across Minnesota and across the Twin Cities, poverty has increased during this great recession,” Marx said. “It’s just very important that we all step up to serve those most in need with their basic needs, but also begin the process of not just managing poverty but looking at strategies to bring people out of poverty.”
As the state tries to grow jobs and manage the deficit, he said that it needs to address persistent poverty, which is “very expensive.”
“Catholic Charities, I think, can be a leader on a strong team that should include businesses, philanthropic, corporate and faith-based organizations — all who recognize that poverty is bad for the state, it’s bad for business, it’s bad for the economy and obviously it’s bad for the poor,” Marx said.
Prior to his tenure as state housing commissioner, from 2003 to 2008, Marx was a shareholder at the law firm of Briggs and Morgan. He holds a JD from the University of Minnesota, a master’s in public affairs from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from St. John’s University in Collegeville.
Martodam and Spinner will continue to serve as co-CEOs until Marx is fully on board. At that time, Martodam will become chief strategy officer for the agency and Spinner will again retire.
“The combination of Mr. Marx and Mr. Martodam gives Catholic Charities an incredible depth of leadership and strategic thinking as it delivers on its mission in these unmatched challenging economic and public policy times,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “As the largest nongovernmental provider of human services in our region, Catholic Charities is more crucial to those in need and thus to our communities than ever before.”
Catholic Charities is a critical part of the social infrastructure of the Twin Cities, Marx said, adding that he knows that impact firsthand from his work in state government and as a volunteer as well as from his tenure serving as Catholic Charities legal counsel.
“Catholic Social Teaching defines, in large part, who I am and my beliefs: the dignity of every person, the value of community, the pursuit of the common good and the principle of the preferential option for the poor,” he said.