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Catholic Charities leader steps down after 35 years

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After dedicating the last three and a half decades of his life to helping lift people out of poverty, Paul Martodam, chief strategy officer of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has decided to end his tenure with the organization based on advice from his doctors.

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Martodam, a Perham native, has been with Catholic Charities since 1977 and with the Twin Cities agency since 2010, serving as chief executive officer before being named chief strategy officer. Martodam had his last day with Catholic Charities last week. 

"Paul embodies the passion and commitment by Catholic Charities to engage our community in doing everything possible to help lift people out of poverty," said Tim Marx, CEO, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. "We will miss his guidance and tenacity, but his legacy of service will continue to inspire our staff, volunteers and supporters to continue our mission. We will be forever grateful for all that Paul has given back to this community."

Martodam was the first layperson to serve as the CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis since 1977.

Prior to that, he spent time with Catholic Charities agencies in Crookston, Minn. and St. Cloud, Minn. before becoming the CEO of Catholic Charities of Phoenix, a position he held for 17 years. During his tenure in Phoenix, Martodam grew the organization's budget from $8 million to $35 million and headed nationally recognized programs in prostitution recovery and poverty reduction.

While his employment with Catholic Charities will end, he will continue to be involved with the organization as a donor and volunteer.

"Catholic Charities is where my soul lives," said Martodam. "What we do every day brings my faith to life and gives me hope that the agony of poverty and despair will be overcome by compassion and love. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to feed my passion for the last 35 years through my various positions held at Catholic Charities."

The second of 10 children, Martodam grew up on a dairy farm near Perham and attended classes at a one-room country school. 

He received his undergraduate degree from St. Louis University and his master's degree in public administration/nonprofit administration from St. Cloud State University.

Martodam and his wife Linda have five children and five grandchildren.

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