Executive Director’s Report – Fall 2015

Oct 1, 2015 | At Open Your Heart

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