From the experience of a professional photo shoot to receiving their
own copy of the images, children and youth in foster care 
are able to picture a more hopeful future. 

Our Mission

The Minnesota Heart Gallery provides children and youth who await adoptive families the chance to see themselves as they never have before. Professional photographers volunteer to capture the unique spirit and personality of youth. Together, we create community awareness around adoption, foster care and permanency. 

Our Values

The Minnesota Heart Gallery values:

  • Honoring waiting youth by including them in decisions about their future
  • Working with the longest waiting youth, older youth, sibling groups and those with special needs
  • Inviting experienced parents and communities that reflect the population of waiting youth to the Heart Gallery, including families of color 
  • Respecting the time of adoption professionals, care providers and volunteers by making the process as efficient and productive as possible

Our History

In 2001, The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) opened the first annual Heart Gallery. 

This project brought together volunteer professional photographers and children in CYFD protective custody to create professional portraits of youth in need of permanent families. Run by volunteers and business donations, this project gained national attention and has created permanent homes for children around the country. 

In 2005, a group of energetic volunteers in Minnesota gathered around the idea. This small group of committed community members brought the Minnesota Heart Gallery to life. The gallery found a home with Ampersand Families, the only private adoption agency in Minnesota that works exclusively with older youth. 

In 2014, the Minnesota Department of Health & Human Services forged a partnership with the Heart Gallery to provide financial support and the creation of a full-time coordinator position. 

To date, the project has recruited and screened more than 200 volunteer professional photographers across the state of Minnesota. 

Additionally, these photographers have donated more than $80,000 in professional services to provide portraits to more than 300 youth. 

Working with the Minnesota Heart Gallery over the last few years has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as a photographer. It’s a great way to put your talents to work and help youth in your community find loving families!
— Adam Hommerding, Adam Hommerding Photography


Thank you!

The Minnesota Heart Gallery would not be possible without the support of our donors and supporters, especially those responsible for launching the project back in 2005. 

Unlike many states, Minnesota's Heart Gallery IS NOT the official photo listing of currently waiting children and youth.
Profiles of currently waiting Minnesota youth can be viewed and additional information can be requested at the button below: