Open Arms of Minnesota


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion At Open Arms

DEI page graphic

Open Arms DEI Statement

The staff at Open Arms believes in our mission to nourish our clients and build community by providing food as medicine. Diversity, equity and inclusion are vital to achieving this mission, and help us create and nurture our relationship-based culture and maximize our impact in our community. Our purpose is to create a community that is joyful, diverse and inclusive of all people.

"At Open Arms, we stand firm in our belief that nourishing our clients and building community through food as medicine requires an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our commitment to DEI is not just a statement; it's a lived reality, and it's how we make a meaningful difference in the lives of our clients and the community we serve. Inclusion is at the heart of our efforts, as we strive to create an environment where differences are not just recognized but celebrated, respected, and supported.”
Leah Hebert Welles

How We Define Diversity, Equity & Inclusion



A dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one
another. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, cultural, racial, religious, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.


Practices that will produce the best outcomes for all.


Creating an environment in which differences are valued, respected and


The Open Arms of Minnesota Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council is made up of staff from different backgrounds and departments that meet regularly to recommend goals and objectives around DEI, identify opportunities, and promotes organization-wide communication on the progress of goals and objectives. The DEI Council also helps influence the Open Arms’ growth by helping ensure:

  • Alignment with the organization’s strategic plan and help institutionalize practices that support and accelerate DEI goals.
  • Continuing to build a more intentional community of kindness and inclusion for all people within our service area, including volunteers, clients, and other stakeholders.
  • The organization continues to create an inclusive environment that promotes equity in the workplace and promotes a culture that leverages diversity to its fullest potential so that every staff member can have a sense of belonging, regardless of their background.


  • Ensure all staff members receive a copy of the statement in a useable and approachable format.
  • Add to Open Arms orientation for staff members, board and volunteers.
  • Ensure Leadership Team is on board with this commitment by adding to the statement wherever it is written: APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY BY THE OPEN ARMS LEADERSHIP TEAM IN 2023
  • Ensure the Open Arms website reflects the organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • Add a DEI Page to the website that includes the DEI Statement and lists our current goal.
    • Ensure that the website is ADA Compliant.
    • Ensure the website is accessible and can be read at an 8th grade reading level.
    • Put a land acknowledgement on website.
    • Ensure there are diverse pictures, and that the language is gender neutral.
    • Ensure website is available in different languages or that there is translation service.
  • Include approved statement in our organizational branding, our buildings and all external outreach.
  • Create monthly celebration calendar related to DEI (Black history month, etc.) and advertise through internal communication tools like TV screens, buttons as well as external communication like social media, website and newsletters.
  • Add a DEI blurb in all staff news weekly – updating staff on what the DEI Council is working on and any other notes relating to DEI month or DEI Calendar.
  • Ensure we recruit staff members through diverse places and in diverse ways.
  • Work to hire diverse staff at every level of the organization.
  • Work for transparency by dispersing annual benefits summaries to staff members, and salaries on job descriptions.
  • Create a speaker’s series to educate staff on topics related to DEI, and make trainings mandatory for staff.
  • Ensure leadership (Managers, Directors, Sr. Directors, Chiefs) receive training on DEI.
  • Improve Volunteer Engagement practices by using a DEI lens in all area of engagement.
    • Add DEI talking points during Orientation process (DEI Statement, examples – pronouns – impact of misgendering)
    • Research and provide adequate and safe special accommodations for volunteers specifically with different abilities.
    • Intentionally recruit from diverse places by building relationships to diversify volunteer base.
  • Ask for feedback about what has been successful, what has been a challenge and ideas for improvement.
  • Collect ideas for future goals and action items.
  • Ensure menus and programming is grounded in the lived experiences of the served communities (Somali, Hmong and Latinx)
  • Complete first phase of program by December 2023 – at least one menu available to clients after testing, community feedback and recipe modification.
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Your Gift Will Help Us Serve More Clients!

Together we can continue to meet the increased demand for medically tailored meals with your support! We hope you think of us as you consider your year-end giving. Your donation is a gift of care, compassion, and encouragement!