Advocate inspires hope, progress

Dennis DegeneffeDennis Degeneffe has spent his professional career examining both numbers and public opinion. A research fellow, a marketing research consultant and a lecturer at Carlson School of Management, Degeneffe now is using his skills to advocate for those in poverty.

A member of the social justice team at Lumen Christi, his home parish, Degeneffe is encouraging others to take the leap from their comfort zone into a place where they truly can make a difference for those most in need.

“Poverty is all around us but we all have blinders on,” he said.

Degeneffe also is working with Catholic Charities’ Office for Social Justice, digging into numbers related to poverty.

“These people need some championing,” he said, adding that people need to realize even in prosperous neighborhoods, poverty often is just across the street.

Degeneffe said he respects, and heeds, Pope Francis’ call for taking action to serve the poor.

“We’ve got to realize that in a country and an affluent area of St. Paul that we’ve got to find a way of acting out in the direction we’re given,” he said.

The semi-retired advocate, who has volunteered at Catholic Charities’ Opportunity Center helping people register to vote, said he is strongly in favor of the Dorothy Day Center ReVision project.

“I think the (Dorothy Day Center) ReVision project is absolutely vital—vital to the community and vital to the community at risk.