Philanthropy Program

 Our Philanthropic Mission

  • To encourage servant leadership,
  • To provide talent and manpower to help non-profit organizations achieve their missions, and
  • To improve the health and well-being of others.

Our Philanthropic Pillars

  • Housing
  • Education/Mentorship
  • Environment
  • Hunger

Our Participation

Upton Hill is invested in the #futureofhealthcare, as a community partner committed to key social determinants of health. We recognize the importance of meeting the needs of today while planning for the successes of tomorrow, and are honoring this commitment by partnering with:

ZOOM House

Zoom House serves families transitioning out of homelessness at its 22-unit apartment building in South Minneapolis. It is a small organization working to address a large need, and takes tremendous pride in its philosophy of resident self-determination and trauma-informed care practices. ZOOM House provides so much more than affordable shelter, including family advocacy, connections to mental health services, health and well-being services through its relationship with the Blaisdell YMCA, and career development assistance.

Upton Hill has been proud to support ZOOM House through its sponsorship of the annual ZOOM House Gala, which went off as (re)planned on March 21, 2020.  Re-planned because like all public gatherings this spring, COVID-related shelter at home orders, were either rescheduled or held online.  The Gala Planning Committee were faced with a decision to cancel, postpone, or quickly pivot and reorient toward a virtual event. ZOOM House decided to go virtual and asked its supporters to show up in varied, impactful ways. As a corporate sponsor of the event, Upton Hill decided to use the budget initially dedicated for the night’s desserts and repurposed it for a matching program.

Upton Hill was able to encourage individual donations and this strategy was a big part of how ZOOM House raised over $15,000 in support of their mission to help families coming out of homelessness.

For more information, visit: The ZOOM House.

College Scholarships

Upton Hill partners with Minneapolis HOPE on the Upton Hill College Scholarship program which awards up to $2000 per year (renewable) to graduating high-school seniors pursuing a two to four year degree in a health care, business or technology field.  Applications are considered based on a combination of financial need, academic performance and a short essay.

In conjunction with the financial assistance, Upton Hill builds relationships with scholarship recipients and assists them through mentorship, making personal connections and job-seeking support.

Where are they now?

Asma, 2019 recipient of Upton’s four-year scholarship was selected from Minneapolis Washburn High School. She’s currently attending St. Catherine’s University and is pursuing a career in Nursing/Midwifery. Like students everywhere, COVID-19 has impacted her freshman year and she is currently finishing her first-year studies virtually. She looks forward to being able to see her friends and professors again soon.

The Nature Conservancy

Upton Hill’s intentions goes beyond volunteering as evidenced in its support of property buy-back programs important for watershed and wildlife. In 2020, Upton Hill established a partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s local chapter servicing Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Our long-term goal is to be able to fully fund the purchase of critical land from private owners, then work to restore the land to reduce sedimentation, nutrient runoff and flooding.

“If everyone works to contribute small pieces of land to the greater good, we can greatly enhance our natural surroundings” – J. Murphey, Founder and CEO of Upton Hill

Check out more information at The Nature Conservancy and personal interview below from Upton Hill’s CEO about why he feels The Nature Conservancy is an important cause.

Interview with John Murphey, Founder and CEO of Upton Hill

How did you discover The Nature Conservancy (TNC)?

I’ve always liked environmental groups that try to preserve vulnerable and ecologically valuable land. I feel like unconstrained development is creating long-term problems, and the most effective response is to buy key land parcels and preserve them. In essence, groups like TNC are working within our capitalist system and focusing the money where it’s needed the most.

Where do you think your passion of the environment stems from?

My dad is a biologist and he took us to a lot of places in nature, when we were kids. He also taught us a lot about how animals and nature interact. As a result, I’ve always loved camping, hiking and the outdoors in general. My favorite family trips have always been road trips out West that incorporated some amount of hiking.

What was your craziest or most memorable outdoor adventure?

The craziest memory was rafting on the Arkansas River in Colorado, and our guide fell out of the raft in big and dangerous rapids.

On a relatively recent trip, Randy (friend and Upton Leader) and I went to British Columbia with a few others and climbed 7,000 vertical feet with heavy packs in 80-degree heat. Then it proceeded to snow on us the next morning! It was a bit of a whipsaw, but the views were pretty awesome, and I always like the feeling of achievement from getting to the top of a trail. This photo is from that trip!

Breathtaking view in British Columbia

If TNC could look back in two and then again in five years, what would you hope they say about Upton Hill?

Within two years, I’d like to help TNC purchase a parcel of land.  If we do well enough in five years we could actually contribute enough funding to preserve a parcel entirely on our own.

My goal with TNC would be to contribute to our natural environment in Minnesota. We’ve talked to them about helping to purchase a piece of land in central Minnesota that has been degraded by a former cattle ranch.  They think they can restore the forest and the trout stream that winds through the land.  I think they and others would say great things about anyone who can make financial contributions to the goal of enhancing our natural surroundings.

All of us here at Upton Hill thank you for the opportunities and building a work environment filled with energy and genuine compassion. What are some ways we and others can give back to show appreciation supporting your passion?

We are talking to the TNC about developing an outing to plant trees and/or restore riverbanks on some of their existing land. Doing that together might be a really good way for everyone to contribute and have fun outdoors!

Upcoming event:  Fall 2020. Upton Hill is working with The Nature Conservancy while practicing social distancing. We will be honoring John’s request by planting trees and restoring riverbanks.  Email us at if you are interested in learning more and/or joining us.

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC)

On Friday, March 13th, some of the Upton Hill ventured out during the first few days of COVID-19 warnings about social distancing and uncertain times headed our way. We remained certain in our mission to help those in need by volunteering at Feed My Starving Children. A group of 20 helped pack a total of 21,504 meals which will feed 59 children for one year.

Upton Hill team packs a whopping number of meals

Feeding the Frontlines

Feeding the Frontline MN believes that as a community we can come together to keep our doctors and nurses well nourished on the job, and can support our local businesses while doing so. Feeding the Frontline MN is partnering with Minnesota owned restaurants and cafes to have nutrient-dense food delivered to Twin Cities hospitals who are affected by COVID-19.

Upton Hill’s team has jumped into action to support this great cause, banding together to provide over 100 meals to our cherished frontline workers. THANK YOU to the frontline for ALL you do!

Learn more about how you can join us this effort at Feeding the Frontline MN.


MATTER is a global nonprofit on a mission to move people forward by eliminating barriers to a healthier life. As part of their You Matter program, MATTER is organizing a snack-packing assembly activity for volunteers aged 12 and up. These snacks will be distributed to area health care workers, Boys & Girls Club in the Twin Cities and other local area organizations. If interested in participating, sign up here.

Upton Hill families have stepped up to help, and were impressed with such a well-organized opportunity to help.

Upton Hill families in action