Nonprofit founder helps families at Christmastime.
Ryan Muhlbauer is passionate about creating community and bringing people together. An entrepreneur, who founded Dogtopia of Bloomington, Muhlbauer’s connections to Edina residents in his Christian men’s group and Metro Men’s Club set him on a path to becoming one of the Edina Community Foundation’s Community Impact Partners in 2019.
Muhlbauer started a nonprofit called Sharing Christmas Shopping Spree in 2018 after several years organizing volunteers at People Serving People, Loaves & Fishes and Second Harvest Heartland. He wanted to create an opportunity for people to “put their hands and feet” into the work. Muhlbauer raised $5,000 and was able to serve 25 kids.
In 2019, Muhlbauer partnered with the Edina Target and branched out to serve younger kids, connecting with Kids ’n Kinship. Each family receives approximately $200, and volunteers shop with the kids and also help them wrap their gifts. In three years, Sharing Christmas Shopping Spree has taken 76 kids shopping, purchased gifts for 263 recipients and raised $17,000.
While Muhlbauer’s vision for Sharing Christmas Shopping Spree is to continue its growth, he hopes others will be inspired to found their own versions in their home communities. To donate or volunteer to share the joy of the Christmas season, visit scssmn.com.
Contributed by the Edina Community Foundation. edinacommunityfoundation.org