Noem Taps Catholic Diocese Chancellor As New Social Services Leader

     South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has appointed the chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls as the next Secretary of the Dept of Social Services. 

       Matt Althoff’s appointment will be effective January 23rd, the date current Secretary Laurie Gill is retiring.

      Noem says Althoff will bring empathy, humility, and a fresh perspective to Social Services because he recognizes that family is the foundational building block of our society and will keep that in mind every day. 

      Noem adds that Althoff “has big shoes to fill following Laurie Gill’s long career of public service, but I am confident he is up to the task.”

        Althoff says he’s “incredibly grateful” for the appointment, in part because his uncle and godfather, James Ellenbecker, filled the same post under 4 governors – Janklow, Mickelson, Miller, and Rounds. 

     He hopes to reflect some of the same attributes his “Uncle Jim” shared during his tenure in office.

     Althoff has been with the Sioux Falls Diocese for 15 years, the last 13 as chancellor, and helped develop the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, an outreach to the homeless in the Sioux Falls area. 

     He has also worked extensively with the several social ministries carried out by or sponsored by the Catholic Church, including ones involving education, healthcare, feeding, emergency shelter, and housing.

     Althoff says it will be his “honor to advocate for the most vulnerable in our midst, to ensure that protection and aid is delivered to them in an impactful way, and to exercise good stewardship with our precious taxpayer monies.” 

     He calls it “a privilege to join the dedicated staff within the Department who face challenges in the lives of those they serve but approach those challenges as opportunities to build stronger families.” Althoff lives in Sioux Falls with his wife Kate. They have 7 children.