We welcome your nominations of those who have served and contributed to the success of Saint Paul College and our students. We are accepting nominations for this award for 2023, and will recognize the recipients at our Friends on the Lawn event on May 18, 2023. Further details about the nomination process are outlined below and can also be found by viewing the Community Partner of the Year Award Nomination form.
View the Community Partner of the Year Award Nomination form
- The Friends of the College Award honors individuals and community partner organizations for outstanding service and dedication to Saint Paul College.
- Candidate must have demonstrated significant service to the College in at least two of the following areas:
- Member of a Program Advisory Committee
- Member of the President’s Advisory Council
- Member of the Friends of Saint Paul College Board of Directors
- Strong record of hiring Saint Paul College students and alumni
- Contributed to Saint Paul College financially or through in-kind donations
- Served as a mentor for Saint Paul College students
- Partnership with Saint Paul College on grants or other programs to advance the College’s mission
- Community, state or federal leadership
- A committee appointed by the President of Saint Paul College will review the nominations and make the final selection of the recipient.
Each year the Community Partner of the Year award honors an individual or an organization for their role in helping Saint Paul College students succeed. Our 2022 Community Partner of the Year is
Erica Schumacher has been the director of strategic initiatives and community relations for Ramsey County Attorney John Choi for the past nine years, where she leads efforts to systemically transform policies and practices to advance equity, wellness, safety, and justice for all. Previously, she served as the director of neighborhood initiatives for the city of Saint Paul under Mayor Chris Coleman, where she co-led the early development of Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. During her tenure in city and county leadership, Erica has been a consistent advocate for young people and for public systems to eliminate racially disparate outcomes by improving collaboration to better identify and meet the needs of young people so they can succeed in school and in life.
Erica is an active member of the President’s Advisory Council and has been since 2012. She is a Saint Paul resident with her partner Andrew Collins, who shares her passion for investing in young people. They have been regular donors of the Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation as well as many other youth-serving nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities.
Erica attended St. Paul Central High School and the University of Minnesota where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Law and Criminal Deviance. Shortly thereafter, Erica began volunteering in local political campaigns and party organizing which led to a term as chair of her senate district for the DFL party. For nearly 20 years, Erica has worked to get women and people of color elected to office, managing campaigns, knocking on doors, advising and providing strategic communications. In addition, Erica has served on the boards of multiple local non-profits, including St. Paul Youth Services, the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation, and is currently a board member for the Saint Paul Police Foundation. Erica also invested in our youth directly as volunteer athletic coach for Saint Paul Parks & Recreation for 15 years.
Why does she like Saint Paul College?
Investing in the success of Saint Paul College is both personally and professionally rewarding. Unfortunately, the gap between people who are financially comfortable and those who are living paycheck-to-paycheck is growing. Saint Paul College fills that gap by providing people opportunities and support to advance their skills and their ability to earn a living wage to provide for themselves and their families.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role at Saint Paul College is participating in reviewing scholarship applications. Learning students’ stories and their journeys to SPC is so inspiring. Among the students applications I’ve reviewed are: a single father of 8 children from Somalia trying to gain an education to better provide for his family; a young woman from China, here all alone, working at Whole Foods and trying to make a life for herself after having to leave her country and family behind because of their restrictive one-child policy; a young married Hmong couple who both graduated from Saint Paul Public Schools and are now at SPC studying to become a social worker and school counselor to better serve their community, all while raising a two-year old (and twin one-year-olds!) at home; and an African American single mother of 4 boys, who taught herself to read in her mid-30s by reading books to her child, who has been able to graduate from SPC and is now at Metro State, determined to become a lawyer or social worker. These students are the reason I invest in SPC. Their life stories, motivation and determination to make our world a better place should inspire us all. As Paul Wellstone said, we all do better when we all do better.
Past Community Partner of the Year Recipients
We are grateful to these exemplary individuals and institutions for their unwavering support, contributions and service to our programs and students. Here are our past recipients:
Community Partner of the Year Recipients
- James Staloch, 2007
- Howard Guthmann, 2008
- David Berg, 2009
- Councilmember Daniel Bostrom, 2010
- President Emeritus Donovan Schwichtenberg, 2011
- International Institute of Minnesota, 2014
- Mayor Chris Coleman, 2015
- Karin McCabe, 2016
- Representative Alice Hausman, 2017
- Laura Beeth, 2018
- Greg Buck, 2019
- Ujamaa Place, 2021