Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Mary Jo Copeland to receive Citizens Medal from Obama

WASHINGTON — Mary Jo Copeland, the founder of Minneapolis' Sharing and Caring Hands, will receive the Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House next week.

Copeland is one of 13 Citizens Metal recipients, chosen from a pool of more than 6,000, according to the White House. The award, established in 1969, is the second-highest civilian honor given out by the White House, after the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Here's the White House's description of Copeland's work:

Copeland founded Sharing and Caring Hands in 1985, which has served as a safety net to those in the Minneapolis area through the provision of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical and dental assistance.  Sharing and Caring Hands assists thousands of people a month, and is staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Copeland, who currently receives no salary for her work, has served as its director since its opening and still greets every client entering the center and conducts intake interviews.

More info on this year's other recipients can be found here.

Devin Henry can be reached at

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Related Tags:

About the Author:

Comments (1)

Holier than thou?

Good for S & CH and Ms. Copeland. Great organization; great work. And yet... I worked for a fabulous nonprofit organization in the late 1990s called "Charities Review Council." We reviewed charities under "standards of accountability" and provided reports to donors and funders. It's a marvelous service, and it's free and online ( Being reviewed was voluntary for the charities, but most agreed to be reviewed and nearly all of the reputable ones did, especially the local ones. It didn't take a lot of time and effort from the charities to submit to a review -- most were done on paper, through the mail, with no meetings required. But not S & CH, at least not at that time. Consistently refused to be reviewed: "We do God's work, not paperwork" was the reason given by Ms. Copeland. Somehow, Second Harvest, Feed My Starving Children, and countless other local charities that do great work for the hungry and homeless found the time to "do the paperwork" and meet all of the council's standards. But not S & CH. Regrettable.