April Grants have been awarded!

Thanks to OYH board members and generous donors we were able to award over $60,000 in funds this month to Minnesota agencies in need!

Avenues for Homeless Youth for $4,100.00 to purchase an institutional cooler for the Minneapolis Avenues shelter.

Bridgepointe Community Church Food Pantry for $2,500.00 to purchase 3 freezers, one cooler and 2 refrigerators 1 microwave, which will store more fresh produce in our foodpantry/soup kitchen .

Care and Share of Crookston, Inc. for $13,768.00 to purchase seam-sealed mattresses for all our beds.

Cass Lake Area Food Shelf for $2,750.00 to purchase a 50 cu ft glass front refrigerator, used to store fresh food choices.

Merrick Community Services

HOPE Coalition for $2,159.00 to purchase two washing machines at our Haven of Hope domestic violence shelter, to replace one that has “died”, and another that is “dying.”

Life House, Inc. for $4,350.00 to purchase a washer/dryer and residential freezer for “The Loft” transitional shelter; a stackable washer/dryer and commercial freezer for the Drop-In Youth Center.

Merrick Community Services for $4,790.00 to provide capacity building funds for Merrick Community Services’ new location to purchase storage equipment.

Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless for $5,000.00 to support for the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless (MCH) 2017 Statewide Annual Conference on September 26 and 27 in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Pillager Area Food Shelf for $5,100.00 to increase service space and delivery. Funding to purchase commercial freezer and cooler.

Stepping Stone Emergency Housing for $6,703.00 to purchase commercial refrigerator and freezer.

Vineyard Community Services for $8,000.00 to purchase a new-used forklift to replace current forklift.

Willmar Area Food Shelf for $4,200.00 to purchase 1 commercial solid door self contained freezer with castors.

Grantee letter: Asian Women United of Minnesota (AWUM)

Thank you donors! More women and families will find comfort tonight because of you.

“I am happy to report that15896380_945378215494429_2564857688816398138_o-01 Asian Women
United of Minnesota (AWUM) has completed the use of the generous grant of $7,500 awarded by OYH. As proposed, AWUM staff purchased 24 new bed frames and mattresses for House of Peace Shelter…

Providing new beds to women and children coming to the House of Peace has been such a delight. The old beds were originals from when the shelter opened in 2001 and had suffered major wear and tear…We have gotten great feedback on the comfort of the new beds people are sleeping better and feeling honored that they are able to use brand new (for now!) furniture.

AWUM was pleased to share the news of OYH’s generous grant with our friends and donors. Upon hearing about the new beds, a couple of individual donors asked if they could provide brand new linens for the shelter. We were happy to accept the offer, and now have new sheet sets for each mattress…

It is wonderful to be able to show a woman her room with clean, new bedding. We thank OYH for helping us provide better amenities to women and families who are coming to House of Peace to find relief from harm and fear.” –Asian Women United of Minnesota (AWUM)

We are looking for a new Development Director!

Development Director

The Development Director is responsible for leading all fund development activities. The Development Director is a key member of the OYH team, reports to the Executive Director and works closely with staff and the Board of Directors.

Organizational Informationnow-hiring

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless is a 30-year-old nonprofit providing grants and other support to community agencies throughout Minnesota that serve hungry and homeless people. Our annual budget is approximately $1,000,000.  We have a staff of four and an active and engaged Board of Directors. Our office is in the Loring Park community of Minneapolis.


  • Establish development goals, strategies, and outcomes
  • Work with Executive Director and Board in developing annual marketing plan
  • Develop and implement strategies to enhance OYH marketing and branding
  • Identify prospective partners and strategies to reach them
  • Develop and nurture relationships with corporate marketing staff
  • Develop sponsorship and partnership opportunities
  • Engage in event planning and management
  • Staff liaison to OYH Fund Development Committee
  • Explore advertising opportunities
  • Develop and implement social media marketing strategies
  • Manage and develop donor database
  • Maximize database effectiveness
  • Develop and implement strategies to expand individual donor base
  • Network with corporate, family, and institutional foundations
  • Develop OYH speaking engagements and group presentations

Experience and Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree. Minimum of three years of professional experience working as development/marketing director in a nonprofit environment required. Proven ability to develop and engage donors. Proficiency in donor database management. Passion for mission of serving hungry and homeless Minnesotans. Event planning and management experience. Excellent communication skills and ability to articulate orally and in print, the mission and services of OYH.  Must exhibit creativity and the ability to work independently. Knowledge of social media and marketing strategies.  Team player with ability to work collaboratively with diverse people.

Position Details

Salary: $50’s DOQ. Position is 32-36 hours per week. Occasional evenings. Paid holidays. Generous Vacation/Sick (PTO). Employer contribution to HSA and 401B.

Please send resume and cover letter by 2/01/17 to [email protected]  Subject: Development. No calls please.


December Grants have been awarded!

Thanks to OYH board members and generous donors we were able to award $55,000 in funds this month to Minnesota agencies in need!

  • The Salvation Army (St. Cloud) for $9,950 to purchase 50 new mattresses for The Salvation Army’s Emergency Shelter in St. Cloud.
  • Aurora Food Shelf for $3,500 to purchase 2 commercial refrigeration units for use at the food distribution site in Aurora.
  • Passing the Bread (PTB) Food Distribution for $2,979 to purchase a new commercial freezer, cooler and 3 portable electric coolers to replace the old ones.
  • Casa de Esperanza for $8,728 to purchase gutters and carpeting to improve access to and better protect food storage areas in our shelter.
  • Breaking Free for $3,231 to purchase additional and upgraded security cameras for a housing program for formerly homeless and sexually trafficked women and girls.
  • Big Lake Community Food Shelf for $5,000 to purchase shelving, produce fixtures and lettering to reconfigure the service space in the food shelf and increase the amount of healthy foods that could be provided.
  • The Link13174194_708552879276870_5249301762089943434_n for $10,000 to purchase outreach program supplies that will be provided to homeless youth during the winter months.
  • Hospitality House of Owatonna for $4,086 to purchase flooring in the facility, replace a freezer and update bathroom vanities and faucets.
  • St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP) for $4,000 to purchase 2 glass door refrigerators, a commercial freezer, replacement castors for carts and some of the wiring involved to better offer healthy food options to client.
  • Loaves and Fishes for $3,300 to purchase 3 double glass door refrigerators which will store fresh produce in the new larger warehouse space.

Open Your Heart Grant Guideline Changes

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless has made some changes in our grantmaking. Changes will be reflected in our Grant Guidelines and Application on our website by January 1, 2017.

Open Your Heart is entering our 31st year and has provided over $20,000,000 in grants to hunger and homeless organizations throughout Minnesota. Every few years we engage in strategic planning to assess the needs of our stakeholders, review current data on hunger and homelessness, and assess our effectiveness in carrying out our mission. We also consider the overall funding landscape affecting agencies and the availability of funding for crisis needs.

In our recent Strategic Planning efforts, we looked at some clear trends that have evolved in the past few years that impact our grantmaking effectiveness. Most significantly has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of applications for funding that seem to correspond to a decline in the numbers of key funders willing to support emergency/basic needs. Whereas for most of our history, the number and amount of requests more or less matched our available funds, that changed beginning in 2011. Today we receive at least three times as many requests as in the past, thus requiring us to consistently turn down excellent applications. As a result of this analysis, we have established Grant Guiding Principles and have made changes in our Funding Priorities and application process to ensure funds are directed where they can have the most impact.


  • Give where need is greatest.
  • Serve front end of the continuum focusing on people who are currently homeless or hungry.
  • Preference for projects that either increase the numbers of people served or improve the quality of service to participants.


  • OYH is focusing grant making on the front end of the continuum. For agencies serving homeless people, preference is given to services for people who are currently homeless – on the street or in shelters. Transitional housing has lower priority than shelter. Permanent supportive housing programs are unlikely to receive funding.
  • Hunger programs must be open and free to all in need. Geographic service boundaries are acceptable, but agencies requiring program participation, membership, purchase of food, attendance/participation in religious service, etc., as a requirement to receive food are unlikely to be funded.
  • Infrastructure or equipment for shelters or food shelves must benefit the areas where clients are served. Administrative areas, parking lots, etc., are unlikely to be funded.
  • Preference is given to projects that increase the numbers of people served or improve the quality of services provided.


  • Agencies are eligible to apply for one Hunger and Homeless grant per year. This is a change from previous years when agencies could be awarded one regular grant, but could apply as often as they like. As in the past, Education or Special Project grant applicants can also apply for and receive Hunger and Homeless Grants within the same calendar year.
  • Umbrella organizations with multiple program sites, but a single EIN or fiscal agency, can submit a total of two grant requests per year per agency. Requests must be for different sites.
  • There is no minimum or maximum award. Average grant is less than $7,000.

We recognize that on occasion, a natural disaster or other unforeseen events might result in a shutdown of services. We may be able to fund quickly in those circumstances. Please call our office at 612-338-5577 if that situation arises. Please note, emergency grants will only be available to agencies that have no other resources available and will require suspending services without immediate assistance.

Occasionally, OYH will issue RFP’s for Special Projects. Grant applications and/or awards will not affect the eligibility of agencies for Hunger and Homeless or Education Grants. These initiatives will be announced on our website, you can also sign up to receive grant announcements by email by clicking “Get Updates” on the upper right-hand side of our website (www.oyh.org) or by emailing us ([email protected]). Sponsorship of Community Events is only for pre-selected charities.

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this change. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 612-338-5577.

October Grants have been awarded!

Thanks to OYH board members and generous donors we were able to award $60,000 in funds this month to Minnesota agencies in need!

  • Clearwater County Food Shelf for $1,498 to purchase two chest-type freezers to replace freezers with bad seals.
  • New Salem Missionary Baptist Church for $4,530 to purchase a refrigerator, freezer, shelving, bags and gloves for the food shelf to help keep food longer and give clients more time to pick up food.hope-4-youth-anoka-slide1-5-1500x630
  • People Incorporated for $9,920 to purchase survival gear and supplies for Street Outreach in Dakota, Hennepin, and Ramsey Counties.
  • HOPE 4 Youth for $10,000 to purchase the kitchen appliances for the 12 studio apartments at the new Transitional Living Program, HOPE Place.
  • Ruth’s House of Hope for $1,125 to purchase two security cameras for the emergency and transitional shelter.
  • Hubbard County Food Shelf for $5,000 to purchase a new and larger capacity walk-in freezer to replace the old one which does not work well and constantly needs repair.
  • St. Charles Resource Center for $5,616 to purchase a 51 cubic ft. glass front freezer for the food shelf, including freight, delivery and installation charges.
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Shelf for $3,238 to purchase a reach-in refrigerator and a reach-in freezer.
  • Indian Neighborhood Club on Alcohol and Drugs for $10,000 to purchase refrigerators and other furnishings for the expansion.
  • Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul for $9,044 to purchase much needed mattresses, rollaway beds, portable cribs, and bedding for the homeless families served.

August Grants have been awarded!

Thanks to OYH board members and generous donors we were able to award $69,000 in funds this month to Minnesota agencies in need!

  • Asian Women United Of Minnesota, Inc. for $7,560 to purchase new bed frames and mattresses for battered women’s shelter to replace 15+ year old beds.
  • Barnesville Area Food Pantry for $2,230 to purchase a freezer with delivery to increase the frozen food capacity.
  • Chisholm Food Shelf for $4,350 to purchase a new commercial refrigerator and freezer and installation.
  • Our Saviour’s Housing for $5,075 to fund the air conditioning system replacement at the emergency shelter.
  • Pine Island Sharing Shelves for $4,450 to purchase a freezer, refrigerator, and adjustable shelving units.
  • Quad City Food Shelf for $1,782 to purchase a compressor for the freezer.
  • Safe Avenues for $10,000 to replace the fire/smoke alarm system at our domestic violence shelter.
  • The Salvation Army (Virginia) for $10,000 to purchase a walk-in freezer for The Salvation Army of Virginia’s food shelf.
  • Small Sums for $5,100 to purchase 120 rush hour monthly bus passes for the Twin Cities homeless clients who have just found jobs but need a reliable way to get to work in the first months back to work.
  • St. John’s Food Shelf for $1,000 to purchase a new refrigerator to assist in fresh produce offering for the food shelf patrons.
  • Stepping Stone Emergency Housing for $6,066 to purchase shelter bunk beds and wardrobes.
  • The Brainerd Baxter Youth Center for $6,042 to fund a commercial fridge unit repair and to purchase a commercial freezer and a stainless/metal shelving for food shelf donations.
  • White Earth Tribal Council for $5,500 to purchase beds, pots and pans, utensils, bath and hand towels, and washcloths for Native American families coming to the homeless shelter.

7th Annual Open Your Heart Summer Challenge began July 1st!

The Open Your Heart Summer Challenge began on July 1st.

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless will give a proportional match for donations to participating food shelves during the month of July, up to $5,000. The more funds a food shelve raises in July, the larger the matching grant from Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless will be. Minnesota food shelves raised over $1.5 million last year with this grant and hope to outdo that this year!

Falls Hunger Coalition
Falls Hunger Coalition

Click here to see a list of participating food shelves.

Check out the buzz:

Food Shelf Challenge begins, International Falls Journal

“The need continues to grow,” she said. “So as we bring in more clientele, we need to plan for more food, as well. We really count on our grant funding and donations to help pull us through, because we just keep adding new people every week. This really is a lot of people.”

Minnesota food shelves raised nearly $1.6 million in 2015 according to Open Your Heart, which has targeted donations to help hungry and homeless Minnesotans since 1986.

Now’s the time to fill food shelves, SCTimes

“Until school starts in September, many families can struggle to have enough food at home.

That’s evident by July and August being the highest use months for area food shelves — and it’s why we write today to urge you to donate whatever you can to your local food shelf these next few months.”

Open Your Heart summer challenge helps Minnesota food shelves, Hastings Star Gazette

At Hastings Family Service, children make up 45 percent of the hungry who visit the food shelf.

Elks donate, Bemidji Pioneer

The Bemidji Elks No. 1052 recently took the Open Your Heart July Challenge, boosting its $500 donation to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf with a matching grant from the Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless Campaign.

The more money raised, higher matching dollars, Wahpeton and Breckenridge Daily News

Donations and receiving grants are especially necessary in the summer, Fenske continued, because youth are out of school and unable to benefit from such programs as the Food Backpack program.

“That’s why they have these grants available in the summer, to provide for our shelves, to help out,” she said.

Donations to PROP are matched in July, Chanhassen Villager

PROP Executive Director Janet Palmer said, “Our belief is that access to nutritious foods transforms lives and creates opportunities for people. Local community support this July will provide fresh produce, meat, dairy products and other non-perishable food items for our neighbors in need. This level of support would not be possible without the continued generous support of our community and partners.” said Janet Palmer, PROP Executive Director.


We are looking for a Marketing Intern!

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless is a 30 year old non-profit foundation that provides grants to food shelves, and to homeless and domestic violence shelters in Minnesota. With a budget of approximately $1,000,000 annually, we raise funds primarily from workplace giving campaigns at public and private sector employers throughout the Greater Twin Cities area. We are a small staff of three with a very active Board of Directors.

In a friendly, supportive environment, this is a great opportunity for an intern to develop and improve marketing and communication skills in the non-profit sector.

Application Closing Date: Aug 1, 2016
Dates: Aug 22nd, 2016 through Thanksgiving, flexible
Job Type: Intern Salary: $12 per hour
Hours: 15-20 per week, flexible (outside of events) daytime m-f


Marketing/Workplace giving support (60%): Open Your Heart works in 35 different workplaces, providing employees with materials and other information about our work supporting hunger and homeless organizations. This intern will table for and represent Open Your Heart at various employee giving events around the Greater Twin Cities Area where they will be expected to communicate the mission of Open Your Heart and answer a set of frequently asked questions about how we operate. They will also be expected to do a limited amount of public speaking about Open Your Heart and be able to answer basic questions about hunger and homeless in Minnesota. Hours on this task will vary, but are heaviest late September-November.

Communications (25%): Intern will work closely with the Open Your Heart Communications Manager to design ways to reach out to employees, including the development of engagement activities such as speed volunteering. They will also assist in the development of a social media plan and work on a bi-monthly newsletter.

Administration (15%): We may also need assistance in changing databases and other administrative tasks as assigned.


Intern should have interest and experience in marketing and communications, particularly in a non-profit environment. Must be a team player and be comfortable engaging in public speaking and events. Interest and/or understanding of hunger, homeless, and domestic violence issues is helpful. Reliable transportation and ability to lift 10 pounds is essential as intern will frequently travel to workplaces across the Greater Twin Cities area with marketing materials.

If interested in this position, please send resume and cover letter to: [email protected] Subject line: Intern

June Grants have been awarded!

Thanks to OYH board members and generous donors we were able to award almost $135,000 in funds this month to Minnesota agencies in need!

Education Grants2015 Simpson Housing Backpack

  • The Evergreen House for $4,000 to purchase school supplies, backpacks, gym shoes, activity costs and transportation.
  • Safe Haven Shelter For Battered Women for $4,000 to purchase backpacks, school supplies, clothing/shoes required by the school, program fees, and tutoring materials.
  • St. Paul Public Schools District #625 for $4,000 to purchase school supplies including backpacks, markers, pencils, notebooks, glue and uniforms.
  • YWCA of St. Paul for $4,000 to purchase urgently needed school supplies for school-age children (5-18) in YWCA Housing & Supportive Services Programs.
  • YWCA of Duluth for $4,000 to purchase clothing, supplies, tutoring, technology, etc. for The Young Mothers Housing Program that will promote academic achievement and sense of community for participants in transitional housing program.
  • Bridge for Youth for $4,000 to purchase school supplies, tutoring, transportation and educational expenses for youth residents in The Bridge’s emergency and supportive housing programs.
  • Emerge Community Development for $4,000 to purchase summer learning (tutoring and learning experiences) and school year support (supplies, clothing/uniforms and school fees) for youth in EMERGE Villages transitional housing.
  • Bluff Country Family Resources for $4,000 to purchase school supplies and activity fees.
  • Minneapolis Public Schools / Special School District #1 for $4,000 to purchase backpacks with school supplies and bus passes for homeless students in Minneapolis Public Schools.
  • Solid Ground for $4,000 to purchase after school tutoring program and provide school supplies for the children in the supportive housing programs.
  • The Salvation Army St. Cloud for $4,000 to purchase school supplies, transportation and activity assistance to children and youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Tubman for $4,000 to purchase school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, reading level books, school-related transportation, GED costs and other educational needs for homeless youth in grades K-12.
  • Simpson Housing Services for $4,000 to purchase school supplies, fees, curriculum and technology to support the academic success of homeless children.
  • Women of Nations for $4,000 to purchase school supplies for children who are residing in emergency shelter.
  • Life House for $4,000 to purchase GED preparation software and testing fees for homeless youth.
  • Alliance Housing for $3,072 to purchase backpacks filled with school supplies.
  • Cornerstone Advocacy Service for $2,810 to purchase school supplies, tutoring materials, bus cards, school-related fees and other educational necessities.
  • Perspectives Inc for $2,450 to purchase school supplies for the middle school students.
  • Ascension Place for $2,000 to purchase uniforms and athletic shoes, tutoring supplies, school photos, backpacks, field trip fees and school supplies.
  • Sojourner Project for $1,550 to purchase basic school supplies and clothing to children that arrive at the emergency shelter with virtually nothing.
  • YouthLink for $1,500 to purchase bus passes and tokens for GED program participant.
  • Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative for $1,488 to purchase gas cards, mileage and other transportation for students to participate in summer academic programs.
  • Dakota Woodlands for $875 to provide funding for materials, supplies, fees and other educational related expenses for homeless school age children K-12.

Hunger and Homeless Grants

  • Open Doors for Youth for $957 to purchase three chromebooks and three coiled cable security locks.
  • Care N Share Café for $4,000 to help purchase a new well.
  • Women of Nations for $8,512 to purchase a washer and dryer for the 44-bed domestic violence and sexual assault shelter.y.
  • Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities for $10,000 to purchase two commercial dryers as part of the Mission’s laundry room renovation project.
  • F.A.S.T. Jackson Food Shelf/Assembly of God Church for $9,000 to build a front entrance ramp for handicapped accessibility.
  • YWCA Cass Clay for $1,000 to purchase one new washer and dryer set to update the 13-year old Emergency Shelter resident laundry room.
  • Alexandra House for $10,000 to replace 20+ year old fire monitoring system that is no longer in working condition.
  • Prairie Five Community Action and Swift County Food shelf for $2,494 to purchase a new freezer to replace one that quit working for the Swift County Food Shelf.
  • Churches United for the Homeless for $9,386 to purchase and install durable flooring in the dormitory spaces in our shelter to meet health department regulations.

Community Event Sponsorship Grants

  • Homeless Community Network (HCN) for $1,920 to provide a meal for the approximate 300 participants at the January 27, 2017 Project Community Connect event.
  • United Way of Carlton County for $1,500 to fund the annual Operation Community Connect event to help people experiencing homelessness and other challenges of poverty get access to community resources.