Humphrey School News

Affordable Housing Champion Honored With Fellowship and Lecture at Humphrey School

May 2, 2017
Richard Brustad

Friends and colleagues of the late Richard Brustad, a champion for housing access and equity in Minnesota, have come together to continue his legacy by establishing two funds in his honor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Brustad, who died in January at age 75, was an urban planner and real estate developer with a lifelong passion for building and renovating homes for homeless and low-income individuals and families. The many organizations and agencies he served include the U.S. Housing and Home Finance Agency, the Minneapolis Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities, and Nationwide Housing Corporation.

Brustad and two business partners—Linda Donaldson and Peggy Lucas—became developers in their own right when they founded Brighton Development Corporation in 1981. Together, the three spearheaded major urban redevelopment projects in Minneapolis, including the Mill City Museum, North Star Woolen Mills, and Lourdes Square along the Mississippi River.

“One of the privileges of having Dick as a long-term professional partner is that I witnessed his dedication to not only building quality housing for people of all incomes, but his commitment to respectfully listen and respond to the needs of those we served,” said Donaldson. “His legacy is that he mentored so many who can move forward with his vision of how best to carry out the work of providing affordable housing.”

Donaldson and Lucas are major donors to the effort, along with the Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC), which Brustad led beginning in 2000. More than $120,000 has been contributed so far to establish the two funds.

The Richard A. Brustad Fellowship will support students at the Humphrey School who have strong professional interests in issues of affordable housing, and the Richard A. Brustad Lecture will raise public awareness and understanding, and encourage dialogue concerning affordable housing issues. Fundraising totals are expected to rise as more learn of these unique opportunities.

“We are very excited about the Richard A. Brustad Lecture,” said Humphrey School Professor Ed Goetz, a leading expert in housing policy and planning. “We look forward to inviting innovators and thought leaders to the Humphrey School, to engage the public in robust discussion of critical housing issues.”

Brustad was a native Minnesotan and University of Minnesota alumnus, who truly loved the University, said Lucas.

“He often talked about how the world opened up when he came to the U from his home town of Bagley. This is a perfect way to remember him, and I know he would be pleased," she said.

“We are deeply honored to have the opportunity to help sustain Mr. Brustad’s legacy by developing leaders in affordable housing, and promoting public engagement with housing issues,” said Humphrey School Dean Eric Schwartz. “Generous contributions to these funds help make it possible for us to enact our mission to advance the common good in a diverse world.”

Individuals can contribute to both the fellowship fund and the lecture fund. For more information, contact Humphrey School Director of Development Gwendolyn Freed, at 612-625-9588.

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