Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New changes at Open Arms

It is with a sense of sadness that I announce that Taya Kaufenberg has resigned as Food Services Director at Open Arms. Although her resignation may come as a surprise, Taya and I have discussed this possibility for some time. Although there is never a good time to leave a job, personal considerations make this an appropriate time for Taya’s departure. Her last day at Open Arms will be on May 2.

In the two years that Taya has been with us we have seen extraordinary growth in the number of clients and meals served. Taya has worked diligently to improve the nutritional quality of the meals served. She created and introduced new menus to keep pace with the specific needs of our clients. Perhaps most importantly, Taya advocated for Open Arms incorporating organic ingredients into our cooking and baking. She identified and created relationships with the sustainable agriculture movement, community supported agriculture and local farmers. She leaves our program strong and well positioned to continue towards our goal of being the source of nutritious meals for people who are ill in this community.

Open Arms has a long history of our staff remaining involved with our work even when they move on with their careers. Taya has told us that will be the same with her. We are grateful for all Taya has done for Open Arms. We know she will have a bright future.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Open Arms Receives Largest Grant in Our History

Open Arms has received an $800,000 Challenge Grant from The Kresge Foundation to be used towards our capital campaign to construct a new building and expand our program to serve more people living with chronic and progressive diseases. This represents the largest donation Open Arms has received from a foundation in our 23-year history.


“This contribution is a significant endorsement of the work that Open Arms does to ensure that no one who is living with a potentially life-threatening illness will have to go hungry in our community” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. “Open Arms’ capital campaign is one of the most positive projects underway in Minneapolis today.”


Open Arms launched an $8.1 million capital campaign in May of 2007. The campaign will allow us to construct a 21,000 square foot facility in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis and expand programming to more than double the number of clients served.


The Kresge gift brings the total amount of funds secured in the capital campaign to $6.9 million. The remaining $1.2 million must be raised by December 31, 2009 if we are to receive this Challenge Grant from The Kresge Foundation. Although raising over one million dollars won’t be easy in this economic climate, we are convinced that this community will continue to support the work of Open Arms, and that we will successfully complete this campaign by year-end.


Construction on Open Arms’ new facility is scheduled to begin this spring. The new building will be operational in early 2010.