Meet the Team
Joe Selvaggio was born in 1937 and grew up in Chicago. He graduated from Fenwick High School, majored in math at Marquette University, and then devoted himself to eight years of seminary training, eventually earning a B.A. in Philosophy from Acquinas University. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Dominican Order in Dubuque, Iowa in 1965.
As a priest, Joe went to work in the civil rights movement. After making several stops in the South, he landed at Holy Rosary Church in the Phillips Community, where he served as parish priest. Joe left the priesthood in 1968 to work more directly on issues of peace and civil rights. During those years he also helped organize Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers.
He founded Project for Pride in Living (PPL) in 1972. PPL embodies Joe’s commitment to the values of a strong work ethic, personal accountability and responsibility, and the participation of the disenfranchised in their own growth toward self-sufficiency. PPL believes strongly in an asset-based approach: not focusing on problems, but identifying, developing and building from the strengths that exist in families and the neighborhood.
After retiring from PPL, Joe founded the One Percent Club in 1997. The One Percent Club was an organization that gathered a network of people who pledged to give back a percentage of their income annually to the communities and organizations they were passionate about.
Selvaggio then founded MicroGrants in 2005 after retiring from the One Percent Club to boost low-income individuals to become self-sufficiency.
Throughout his over forty-year career Selvaggio has received more honors than we can list here. Some highlights, however, are:
Honors and Awards
Doctorate of Human Letters, honoris causa (Macalester College) – 1991
Minnesotan of the Year (Minneapolis Monthly Magazine) – 1997
“Joe” – a play based on the life of Joe Selvaggio (Minnesota History Theater) – 2003-2004 season
Huffington Post’s Greatest Person of the Day (Huffington Post) – January 2011
Cathy Harris, Development Director
Cathy comes to MicroGrants following her service as an Americorps VISTA at the U of M’s UROC in North Minneapolis. She has a legal background as a certified attorney and is a William Mitchell College of Law graduate. She also studied International Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Cathy is excited to bring her passion for community and economic development work to MicroGrants.
Kristine Barstow, Communications & Administration
Kris brings a range of experience , including accounting, corporate pension, profit sharing and ranch/farm management as well as drug counseling thru African American Family Services. She recently completed 20 years at AAA Daily Labor working with the chemically dependent and homeless in dispatch, accounting, payroll.
Tricia Haynes, Projects & Office Manager
Tricia has enjoyed a full time career as a professional musician, actress, producer, writer & educator. Serving the Midwest since 1992, her educational theater, Tricia & The Toonies, has recently become part time. She is thrilled to be a member of the MicroGrants Team and brings her diverse skills in office & project management, public relations and event production.