Oct 16, 2023 | Grants

Open Your Heart is excited to announce our fall grantees! Thanks to our generous supporters, Open Your Heart awarded nearly $80,000 in funding this quarter to Minnesota crisis service agencies in need! None of this would be possible without you. Thank you!

360 Communities

$5,398 | Burnsville

Funding to purchase two, two-door upright solid steel door freezers to replace two warehouse freezers that are at the end of their lifespans, having difficulty maintaining temperature, and breaking seals. These two freezers will provide more storage of frozen items than our current freezer can store. Additionally, with new seals, the temperature will be better controlled, thereby reducing the ice buildup and necessary weekly defrosting. Frozen proteins can be ordered as needed and not dictated by freezer capacity and defrosting schedules. These two new freezers will provide additional food storage and support the increased capacity of individuals served.

Anoka County Brotherhood Council (ACBC Food Shelf)

$3,759 | Anoka

Funding to purchase one 2-door, glass front, reach in cooler for food shelf market, allowing ACBC to serve families quicker and easier, while increasing the cubic feet. This will create a safer and more efficient shopping experience, increase shop times resulting in the addition of more appointments, and provide families with more food.

Avenues for Youth 

$1,800 | Minneapolis

Funding to support the purchase of replacement washer and dryers at the facility. This support will improve energy efficiency, provide cost savings to the organization, and improve usability for staff and residents. Upon arrival at Minneapolis Avenues, staff address immediate and crisis needs by providing a clean bedroom and bathroom, laundry facilities, three nutritious meals per day, clothing, personal hygiene supplies and bus tokens. These new washers will result in operational cost savings for Avenues due to increased energy efficiency. They will also improve ease of use for youth and staff, as wi-fi enabled washing will allow users to monitor their washing from other floors of the facility. 

Breaking Free

$5,000 | St. Paul

Funding to support Breaking Free’s Street Outreach program in providing hotel vouchers, transportation assistance, street outreach supplies, and assisting individuals to obtain vital documents. Funding will help Breaking Free to provide essential services and ensure the safety of their most vulnerable clients on the streets. When shelters are at capacity or their clients do not qualify for Domestic Violence shelters, they struggle to find safe and suitable shelter options for them while they work alongside them to obtain housing. This funding will provide a safe place for them to wait. One less night on the streets can mean experiencing one less act of violence. On average, each person served by Breaking Free reports an average of 7 forms of victimization, and they strive to be an intervention point to that victimization.

Division of Indian Work 

$5,000 | Minneapolis

Funding to replace appliances in Division of Indian Work’s (DIW) Healing Spirit House which supports up to five American Indian long-term foster care males ages 16-21. Funding will ensure that the supportive “home” that DIW has set up for their American Indian foster care boys takes care of their basic needs. Staff works to provide young men with the support they need to stay in school and graduate and learn the skills they will need to transition to successful, independent living. But they also need to consider their basic needs. One of the ways they do this is to make sure they have appliances that are in working order, e.g., a washer and dryer for clean clothes, a refrigerator that keeps food cold and/or frozen, a safely operating stove to prepare meals, a microwave for heating snacks, a dishwasher to make sure dishes are clean etc. This kind of investment shows their boys that they do care about giving them a space that really feels like a stable home and that they will make sure their needs are met. This can go a long way toward helping them feel like they are cared for and that they do matter.

East African Dream, Inc

$4,031 | St. Cloud

Partial funding toward a commercial reach-in refrigerator, enabling the provision of free and culturally appropriate food to refugees and immigrants across central Minnesota. The impact of this funding is two-fold. Firstly, it will significantly improve the quality of the food provided. With proper refrigeration and freezing capabilities, East African Dream, Inc. can ensure that the food items remain safe, nutritious, and of high quality, aligning with their commitment to addressing the nutritional needs of their beneficiaries. Secondly, the acquisition of cooling equipment will enable them to expand their offerings and reach a larger number of individuals within the East African communities. The capacity to store perishable items will allow them to provide a wider variety of fresh produce, dairy products, and protein sources. This not only improves the nutritional value of the food distributed but also empowers their beneficiaries to make healthier dietary choices.

HOPE Coalition 

$10,000 | Red Wing

Toward motel vouchers to unhoused families and individuals in Goodhue and Wabasha Counties.  HOPE will be able to provide approximately 150 motel nights with this funding. Assistance provided through the program improves client’s lives by addressing the immediate need, increasing overall self-sufficiency and empowerment, and reducing the amount of safety net support needed in the future. 95% of clients who completed surveys last year reported that services from HOPE Coalition solved their immediate problem and the same percentage reported that it would prevent further crises. 89% of people reported increasing their knowledge on available resources in our community.

Hospitality House of Owatonna, Inc.

$9,503 | Owatonna

Toward two commercial washers and dryers. Upgrading their laundry facilities will improve the quality of Hospitality House of Owatonna’s (HHO) emergency shelter and services providing. Upgrading to commercial grade appliances will save their organization money by minimizing maintenance costs as well as service costs. On many occasions, individuals come to HHO with just the clothes on their back. The act of bathing and putting on fresh clean clothes can ease emotional and mental distress. Having access to clean clothes also helps with physical health. Washing one’s clothes can prevent certain illnesses, viruses, and parasites such as bed bugs, lice, etc. On an annual average HHO provides over 2700 loads of laundry for our guests and over 500 loads of laundry for household needs.

Life House, Inc.

$5,500 | Duluth

Partial funding to refurbish the Drop-in Youth Center at Life House’s discretion. Given an average of at least 8,000 youth visits per year, the furniture has endured an immense amount of wear and tear over the last 9 years. With over 32 years of service, Life House has learned that clean, calm and therapeutic spaces matter when welcoming unstably housed youth to supportive services over the year. It is their goal that when youth arrive, they immediately feel safe, welcomed, and valued – along with staff, Life House, Inc.’s spaces are a critical part of assisting young people and young families to navigate their circumstances that include a multitude of uncertainties.

Neighborhood House

$3,898 | St. Paul

Funding for a refrigerator and freezer for Neighborhood House’s expanded and relocated Francis Basket Food Market, which is moving from Sibley Manor Apartments complex to a much larger space at 1080 Montreal Avenue. Neighborhood House distributed 69,980 pounds of food to 595 participants at the Francis Basket location in Fiscal Year 2023 and expect the participant number to rise dramatically in the larger space for the new fiscal year they’ve just begun. The new refrigerator and freezer will improve their food program’s ability to provide a broad range of fresh and healthy food items to low-income people of color.

Open Hands Midway, Inc.

$7,000 | St. Paul

Toward a new upgraded kitchen range which in turn will allow Open Hands Midway to have food prepared properly and ready for their meal programs. Open Hands Midway, Inc. provides meal and food programs to economically challenged individuals and families by making the basic human need of food available free of charge. This allows their guests to use their limited financial resources to meet other basic needs and make a significant difference in their life circumstances. The impact of new equipment will have a direct effect on guests as food will be safely prepared for being served at Open Hands Midway, Inc.’s weekly meal programs.

The Link 

$7,000 | Minneapolis

Partial funding toward supplies for youth experiencing homelessness served by The Link’s Street Outreach Program, C.O.R.E. Drop-In Center, and Hotel Emergency Shelter. Funding from Open Your Heart will enable The Link’s Street Outreach team to purchase both ongoing and seasonal items for youth that can be difficult to obtain through donation drives. These include bus and gas cards, food gift cards, and culturally specific hygiene supplies. As many youth live in their vehicles due to a lack of shelter, auto supply store gift cards are critical to ensuring youth can make needed repairs to their cars. Additionally, as the cold winter months approach, The Link’s Street Outreach team will provide sub-zero degree sleeping bags, four-season tents, and hotel vouchers to help youth stay as safe and warm as possible until they can access appropriate housing.

White Bear Area Food Shelf

$7,000 | White Bear Lake

Grant support to help White Bear Area Food Shelf (WBAFS) rebuild its Emergency Fund. With this discretionary fund, households can request up to $500 every 18 months to cover expenses like car repair, rental assistance, tools for work, Bridging.org registration fees, beds, etc. This fund helps WBAFS to fill the gap between other social service and assistance program. There is often rental assistance available, but sometimes people need help with a rental deposit, cleaning fess associated with moving, or furnishings. WBAFS can respond nimbly with its assistance, without delays. WBAFS’ Emergency Fund helps fill financial gaps and stabilize individuals and families in need.

Winona Volunteer Services 

$5,000 | Winona

Partial funding toward a new commercial walk-in cooler and freezer for the food shelf.  These units will provide the most wanted food items desired by the 800+ households that visit the food shelf each month. Frozen and fresh foods are essential for a healthy diet and give families a choice over processed foods. Unfortunately, many shoppers suffer from chronic conditions and lack the financial resources to purchase healthy items from the grocery store. Without enough nutritious food, seniors, adults, and children may be at risk for malnutrition and increased levels of stress in their homes. These new units will enable Winona Volunteer Services to offer their seniors, low-income workers, and government beneficiaries a variety of fresh produce and frozen items which are critical for their health. This project is a major step towards making sure everyone has access to the nutritious foods they need to thrive.

Women of Nations

$7,000 | St. Paul

Funding toward school supplies for children experiencing homelessness as a result of domestic violence and sexual assault. years. Following the pandemic, Women of Nations (WON) is now back to its full capacity and rebuilding its service capabilities and with that, more students are in the program, and school supplies have run out. Post-pandemic, the economic uncertainty, inflation, and stagnant government funding support have caused WON’s budget to become tighter and tighter. WON is simply having difficulty finding the funds necessary to provide these essential supplies to the students it serves.

Right Choice Backpack Buddies

$1,300 | Buffalo

Funding toward a large multi-tiered cart to transport backpacks. This grant will help reduce the effects of childhood hunger by providing nutritious, easy-to-prepare food over the holidays/breaks to children residing in food-insecure homes in the Buffalo Hanover Montrose School District.