Open Your Heart is happy to announce that we have received 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 were 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.
Executive Director 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 run 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!