February Grants Have Been Awarded!

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

Hunger and Homeless Grants

  • Willmar Area Food Shelf was granted $4,046 to purchase 2 wireless floor scales with ramps and 4 sections of shelving.
  • New Pathways was granted $10,000 to purchase the disposal and asbestos abatement of an old boiler and to purchase/install a new boiler system to heat Cambrige Site shelter for homeless families with children.
  • Hope Coalition was granted $10,000 to purchase 2 new agency minivans for client services to replace existing vehicles.
  • Chatfield Community Food Shelf was granted $6,000 to purchase a glass front double door refrigerator, a one door glass fronted freezer and a 21-foot chest freezer.
  • Churches United was granted $3,250 to purchase bus tokens and laundry vouchers for hungry and homeless clients.
  • Hill City Area Food Shelf was granted $1,500 to purchase two upright freezers to replace a chest freezer that is no longer in service.
  • The Open Door was granted $10,000 to purchase a new walk-in cooler/freezer for The Open Door’s Eagan Pantry program.
  • Hastings Family Service was granted $4,725 to purchase of a  chest freezer, upright freezer, double glass door refrigerator and a hand truck with stair climber.
  • Life House was granted $10,000 to purchase of  a refrigerator, a stainless workspace table, poly box truck, wire shelving, storage bins, cabinet storage, clothing storage system, lockers, and partial shipping costs of goods.

Magic with Eat for Equity

We had a magical evening with Eat for Equity last Saturday. The night was hosted by Ephraim and Rachel at Modus Locus, a neighborhood gathering space and art galley, and the place to be yourself.

The menu included the Longest Salad in the World,  fresh bread with seed pâté, house-made spaghetti with garlic lemon tomato sauce and meatballs and banana caramel cream pie (yes, by the end of the evening someone was hit in the face with one). There was also a visual spectacle by Becky Stella AND the meal was made entirely by volunteers. Eat for Equity’s next event in on March 19th.

They raised over $1,000 for Open Your Heart while raising awareness for hunger and homelessness in Minnesota.

Thank you, E4E, Modus Locus, and everyone who volunteered!

Share the Love!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

‘Share the Love’ by donating to Open Your Heart!

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless is a 30-year-old Minnesota nonprofit that exclusively supports hunger, homeless, and domestic violence agencies throughout the state. We find good programs that provide direct, front-line crisis services to our neighbors in need.

Some of our recent projects…

• A Minneapolis agency needed supplies to help homeless youth on the street who wouldn’t go to a shelter, so Open Your Heart provided funds for tents, sleeping bags, and warm clothes.

• In isolated communities in rural Minnesota, shelters are few and far between forcing too many homeless and domestic violence victims into dangerous situations. Open Your Heart purchased thousands of motel vouchers so they could have a safe and warm place to stay while they got the help they needed.

• A large suburban food shelf was overwhelmed by growing need. Open Your Heart helped them develop a community garden and expand their space to supply more nutritious food to those in need.

We are funded entirely by donations, primarily by individuals like yourself. We know you work hard for your money and want to be sure that your donations are truly helping those most in need. We thoroughly screen agencies not only to ensure that they are making an impact, but that they are spending your money wisely.

This Valentine’s Day please make a gift to Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless. Your gift truly makes a difference.

Want to Share the Love with a friend or family member by making the donation in their honor? Just give us their name and email address in the dedication box and we’ll send them a Valentine’s Day e-message this week letting them know!

Thank you and happy Valentine’s Day!

Ed Murphy

Executive Director

December Grants Have Been Awarded!

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

Hunger and Homeless Grants

Nameless Coalition is a nighttime shelter for chronic, homeless inebriates in Bemidji, MN.
  • The Salvation Army (Brainerd) was granted $2,750 to purchase a glass-door refrigerator for the food shelf during their transition to a client-choice model.
  • The Link was granted $10,000 to fund street outreach program supplies that would directly assist homeless youth during the winter months.
  • Great River Family Promise was granted $1,463 to purchase 4 additional rollaways for use by families as they are sheltered in a program for families experiencing homelessness.
  • Nameless Coalition was granted $7,740 to purchase shelter equipment and supplies.
  • Project for Pride in Living was granted $9,360 to support the purchase and installation of security cameras at PPL’s New Foundations Program, which provides supportive housing to formerly homeless families.
  • Ralph Reeder Food Shelf was granted $4,360 to purchase a refrigerator and freezer.
  • Loaves and Fishes was granted $10,000 to purchase and outfit a used van with air conditioning, dedicated to the safe transport of fresh produce from the farms to the warehouse.
  • Servants of Shelter of Koochiching County was granted $9,975 to assist with the two bedroom unit shelter, client supplies and overflow hotel stays.

October Grants Have Been Awarded!

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

Hunger and Homeless Grants

  • Channel One, Inc. was granted $8,000 to purchase a new lift table for the food repack room.
  • Bemidji Community Food Shelf was granted $10,000 to purchase a pallet sized door walk-in produce cooler for FARM to Food Shelf produce in large totes and BCFS FARM produce.
  • The Salvation Army (Albert Lea) was granted $7,205 to purchase a commercial refrigerator and freezer to be used in the food pantry.
  • People Incorporated
    People Incorporated provides desperately needed food and supplies to individuals living outdoors.
  • People Incorporated was granted $9,800 to fund street outreach activities in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington Counties, providing desperately needed food and supplies to individuals living outdoors.
  • Volunteers of America of Minnesota was granted $9,951 to replace 27 old and unsanitary mattresses in all eight of their apartments that provide housing and stabilization for homeless families in Mille Lacs County.
  • Community Café Inc was granted $699 to purchase much needed freezer for feeding the hungry.
  • Peoples Lutheran Chapel, dba Peoples Church, ELCA was granted $4,200 to replace the main sewer line (which is currently at great risk for freezing shut) from the building to the street.

Community Event Sponsorship Grant

  • The Evergreen House was granted $5,000 to support speaker, meal, and venue costs for Evergreen’s March 2016 Strengthening Youth & Families Conference.

Executive Director’s Report – Fall 2015

Open Your Heart was awarded the 2015 Responsive Philanthropy Award from the Minnesota Council on Non-Profits.  

As we enter our 30th year we are proud and honored to receive this award. Thanks goes out not only to our hard working board and staff, but to our founders who made this great organization possible.

Times were tough in the 1980’s. There was an alarming increase in homelessness and hunger throughout the country. People MCN Award Logowere looking for ways to help. Shelters were opening up in church basements. Food shelves were popping up in community centers, even garages. It was a time for bold ideas and forward thinking leaders. It was then that a few employees of the State of Minnesota had an idea: Find a way to direct their workplace giving dollars in such a way to exclusively help Minnesotans who were hungry and homeless. In 1986, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless was created for just that purpose. Soon, many other workplaces, public and private sector, joined in.

The prevalent thinking at the time was that hunger and homelessness was the result of the recession of the mid-1980’s and that once the economy improved, shelters and food shelves would no longer be needed. But many who either worked in shelters and food shelves or used their services saw instead a deeper problem, one that was less a temporary phenomenon and more a reflection of a shift in an economy that made it much harder for people to escape a homeless or hungry life.

Open Your Heart founders decided to invest resources in infrastructure to ensure that shelters and food shelves had the facilities and equipment to carry out their work. Now, 29 years later, Open Your Heart has invested tens of millions of dollars ensuring that food shelves have cooling, storage, and transportation capacity to distribute healthy food; shelters have dignified space for homeless people to heal and begin to address the many issues that led them to the streets; domestic violence shelters have a safe and supportive place for those fleeing abusers.

It is because of the vision of the founders, 29 years of hard work from so many dedicated board members, volunteers, and staff, and of course all our donors, that Open Your Heart has received this honor.

Thanks to all who have made it possible.

Ed Murphy
Executive Director

Otto Bremer Grant Announcement

Open Your Heart is happy to announce that we have received a $75,000 grant award from the Otto Bremer Foundation. This grant will be used to strengthen our efforts to bring much needed grants to homeless shelters in Greater Minnesota.

Open Your Heart makes a special effort to ensure that small, largely volunteer runBremer Logo organizations can access the resources they need. Often located in areas of great need, but few resources, homeless shelters are a lifesaver for those displaced or fleeing from domestic violence. Many agencies have no professional fundraising staff and funding opportunities for basic needs services in rural communities is sorely lacking.

The Otto Bremer Foundation and Open Your Heart share a commitment to ensuring that homelessness in urban and rural areas across the state have access to safe and supportive shelter and services, knowing that without it, escaping a homeless life is much harder. We greatly value our partnership with the great people at the Otto Bremer Foundation!

Open Your Heart is Hiring!

Office Manager Position at Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless

Closing Date: Sep 14, 2015OYH-logo
Job Type: Full Time
Salary: DOE
Hours: 32-40 hours. Usually M-F, occasional evenings.

Job Summary: Manage all office and administrative functions of a 3 person non-profit foundation supporting hunger and homeless agencies

Job Responsibilities

  • Manage and maintain database
  • Donor acknowledgement
  • Manage grant administrative process
  • Maintain files and records
  • Grantee correspondence
  • Book keeping
  • Financial reporting
  • Bank deposits
  • Manage board correspondence
  • Take meeting minutes
  • Liaison with tech & finance contractors
  • Administer employee benefits
  • Manage office equipment and supplies


  • Technology proficient
  • Experience in managing all aspects of office functions
  • Experience in Non-profit and/or Foundation environment preferred
  • Organizational and administrative skills
  • Self-motivated
  • Ability to work independently
  • Experience with Access database preferred
  • Basic accounting and book keeping skills
  • Degree preferred, but not required
  • Comfortable working with people from variety of backgrounds

Flexible Schedule • Benefits • Downtown Minneapolis near transit • Free Parking

Send resume and cover letter as attachments to [email protected]. Please include Office Manager in subject line.

August Grants Have Been Awarded!

Thanks to OYH board members and generous donors we were able to award over $70,000 in funds this month to Minnesota agencies in need!

Hunger and Homeless Grants

  • The Emergency Food Shelf Network was granted $8,823 to purchase a Narrow Aisle Reach Truck, which will support the food bank warehouse operations as food is distributed to Minnesotans experiencing hunger.
  • Guardian Angels Catholic Church of Oakdale was granted $7,034 to install heavy duty carpet throughout Hope for the Journey Home, an emergency shelter for families.
  • Community Action Center of Northfield was granted $2,350 to pay for new beds for the homeless shelter.
  • Ascension Place was granted $4,800 to replace the original outdoor steps (installed 90 years ago) and landing at St. Anne’s Place emergency family shelter which are deteriorating with age.
  • Division of Indian Works was granted $1,000 to purchase a new washer/dryer for DIW’s Anpa Waste supportive housing program for young, single American Indian moms.
  • Hospitality House of Owatonna was granted $10,000 to update a kitchen in the existing shelter, including cupboards, countertops and flooring.
  • Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center was granted $5,000 to increase the health & safety, privacy, and security of the residents of the Women’s Shelter in Brainerd, MN.
  • The Salvation Army (Duluth) was granted $10,000 to assist in updating the windows in six of the Family Transitional Housing units.
  • Hallie Q. Brown Community Center was granted $6,860 to purchase a refrigerator, two freezers and 17 sets of casters for open wire shelving units.
  • Damiano of Duluth was granted $10,000 to replace a portion of the roof of the Damiano of Duluth building, and purchase replacement rafter tails and deck boards.

Community Event Sponsorship Grant

  • Hunger Solutions Minnesota / Food Access Summit was granted $5,000.00 to provide scholarship funds to those who have financial difficulty in attending the Food Access Summit.
  • Christians Reaching Out In Social Service was granted $2,500.00 to sponsor a conference made up of suburban Hennepin food shelf executive directors, key staff, and their board members to share best practices and gain a better understanding of the people they serve.

June 2015 Grants Have Been Awarded!

Thanks to OYH board members and generous donors we were able to award over $150,000 in funds this month to Minnesota agencies in need!

Hunger and Homeless Grants

  • Safe Avenues was granted $10,000 to purchase an upgraded security system and new intercom system for the emergency safe shelter for domestic violence victims.
  • Women of Nations was granted $5,183 to purchase new wardrobes and bed and bath linens for the 44-bed domestic violence and sexual assault shelter.
  • Committee Against Domestic Abuse.Inc was granted $10,000 to replace furnaces in the shelter, an air conditioning unit for the shelter, and provide required NSF shelving for the food pantry.
  • Keystone Community Services was granted $10,000 to purchase a three door refrigerator and a three door freezer.
  • Western Communities Action Network, Inc. was granted $4,274 to expand the capacity of the Heron Lake/Okabena Food Shelf by purchasing additional shelving, racking, a table, and a new large refrigerator.
  • YWCA Cass Clay was granted $1,250 to complete an update of the 11 year old Emergency Shelter Resident Kitchen by providing two new ranges for homeless women to use during their stay.
  • Hastings Family Service, Inc. was granted $5,000 to help fund increased accessibility to the HFS Food Shelf and emergency services.
  • Casa Guadalupana was granted $8,725 to purchase six high-efficiency toilets, a dishwasher, microwave, three dehumidifiers, two washer/dryer sets, and outdoor seating.
  • Small Sums was granted $1,912 to purchase 44 Rush Hour bus passes for the twin cities homeless clients who have just found jobs but need a reliable way to get to their jobs until their first paycheck.
  • American Indian Community Housing Organization was granted $10,000 to meet St. Louis County Health Department regulations for a commercial kitchen.
  • Minneapolis Recreation Development Inc/363 days was granted $7,500 to help fund the purchase of a replacement for the 2012 Minneapolis Recreation Development Van at the end of 2015.

Education Grants

  • Sojourner Project, Inc. was granted $800 to help Sojourner provide basic school supplies and clothing to children that arrive at the emergency shelter with virtually nothing.
  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota – Minneapolis was granted $600 to purchase school clothing and uniforms for the children residing in the supportive housing programs.
  • Perspectives Inc was granted $3,850 to purchase school supplies, home literacy, and family engagement kits, activity supplies, as well as a health education unit for the middle school students.
  • Ascension Place, Inc. was granted $1,928 to purchase pre-school touch tablets, educational computer programs and school clothes and supplies for 100 children living at St. Anne’s Place emergency family shelter.
  • Solid Ground was granted $2,260 to provide school supplies, activity fees and other academic supports that students need.
  • The Dwelling Place was granted $5,625 to provide equipment and supplies that help children in the shelter program stay engaged and better participate in school.
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was granted $750 to provide education-related needs (i.e. backpacks, school supplies and clothing) to homeless youth at the Family Service Center in Maplewood.
  • Emerge Community Development was granted $3,750 to provide school supplies, backpacks, school photos, school uniforms, tutoring materials, and school activity fees for formerly homeless youth.
  • People Serving People was granted $1,483 to purchase supplies for the Tutoring and Evening Activities program which exclusively serves homeless children ages 6 to 17.
  • Women of Nations was granted $3,000 to purchase school supplies for children who are residing in the emergency shelter as a result of experiencing domestic abuse.
  • Bridge for Youth was granted $5,000 to purchase school supplies and cover educational expenses for youth residents in The Bridge’s on‐site transitional
    living program, Transitions.
  • Bluff Country Family Resources was granted $5,625 to purchases school supplies, activities, clothing and opportunities for children to succeed and achieve.
  • The Evergreen House, Inc. was granted $1,500 to provide school supplies, backpacks, gym shoes, and clothing as well as monies for GED testing and Project Graduate Curricula.
  • Hope Coalition was granted $1,487 to buy important tools/means (technology, school supplies/clothing, activity fees) to help overcome barriers to full/successful participation in education experienced by homeless students.
  • Minneapolis Public Schools was granted $5,623 to purchase of combination locks, academic student workbooks, and backpacks for homeless/highly mobile students in Minneapolis Public Schools.
  • Minnesota Internship Center Charter School was granted $3,779 to provide the homeless/highly mobile (HHM) students with hygiene products, vital documents, clothing, winter items, etc to incentivize attendance, academics, and retention.
  • Simpson Housing Services was granted $5,374 to purchase of school supplies, fees, curriculum, and technology to support the academic success of homeless children.
  • Tubman was granted $5,625 to provide school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, reading level books, and other educational needs for homeless youth in grades K through 12 .
  • Dakota Woodlands was granted $1,556 to provide funding for materials, supplies, fees and other educational related expenses for school age children K-12.
  • Project for Pride in Living was granted $2,625 to purchase essential educational supplies, educational games, and Afrocentric books.
  • YWCA of St. Paul was granted $5,250 to purchase urgently needed school supplies for school-age children (5 – 18) in YWCA Housing & Supportive Services Programs.
  • Union Gospel Mission (Duluth) was granted $400 to purchase backpacks and school supplies.
  • Cornerstone Advocacy Service was granted $3,233 to purchase school supplies, backpacks, clothing (including shoes and boots) and other educational necessities that they would otherwise not be able to provide.
  • St. Paul Public Schools District #625 was granted $3,750.00 to purchase school supplies including markers, crayons, notebooks, pencils, glue, uniforms and children’s books.

Community Event Sponsorship Grant

  • Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless was granted $5,000.00 to support the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless 2015 Annual Conference “Strength in Difference: Innovation, Inclusion, and Individuality” on September 10 & 11, 2015 to be held in Duluth, Minnesota.