Community honors Bridging founder, Fran Heitzman, a life well-lived

03/06/2020 by Rebecca Toews

Lifelong Minnesota resident Francis “Fran” Heitzman founded Bridging, a local nonprofit that provides quality furniture and household goods to people as they pursue stable housing, in 1987. Since then, Bridging has served more than 95,000 families and provided them with a basic home setup to get a fresh start.

Heitzman passed away peacefully surrounded by family on January 11, 2020, at 94 years old. In honor of what would have been his 95th birthday, the city of Bloomington issued a Proclamation, declaring March 6 to be “Fran Heitzman Day.” Read the full text of the proclamation, below.

Each day we encourage people to live Fran’s mantra: “When good people get together to do good things, then good things happen.” To celebrate his life, Bridging invites people touched by Founder Fran’s vision to donate quality household goods and furniture to help Bridging continue his legacy.

“You’re working so hard to try to put your life back together,” says Nicole B. a Bridging client. “It can be really defeating and chips away at your self-esteem and hard work. Now I come home and I’m happy and although my son doesn’t know the difference, I do and he can feel the happiness and joy. It’s a gift.”

The impact Bridging has made in the lives of local people in need, the environment, and its volunteers is monumental. Through support from individuals and businesses throughout the community, Bridging will continue to FURNISH HOMES WITH HOPE.

Look How Far We’ve Come:

  • Nonprofit formed – July 1987
  • Client # 1,000 served on November 15, 1992
  • Client #60,000 served October 16, 1995 (25th year of service)
  • Opened a 2nd Twin Cities location, Roseville, in fall of 2006.
  • Over 300,000 people served since 1987 by the end of 2019 – an average of 4,500 Households served each year
  • In 2020 we are on pace to serve our 100,000th household!

Please visit bridging.org/founderfran/ to learn more about Fran’s life and legacy.

Bloomington “Fran Heitzman Day” Proclamation:

WHEREAS, Fran Heitzman, born on March 6, 1925, and went on to become a lifelong Bloomington resident and graduate of Bloomington High School; and

WHEREAS, Fran’s entrepreneurial drive led him to establish Oxboro Cleaners and Heitzman Landscaping in Bloomington; and

WHEREAS, Fran was head of maintenance at an Eden Prairie church in the 1980’s when the donation of a used crib led him to develop a “bridge” between those in need and those in excess; and

WHEREAS, Fran founded Bridging, a Bloomington-based non-profit dedicated to providing household furnishing and home goods to families in need in 1987; and

WHEREAS, Bridging has reused donated items to change the lives of 95,000 families transitioning out of homelessness and poverty from its warehouses in Bloomington and Roseville during the last 33 years; and

WHEREAS, Fran worked tirelessly to serve families in need until he passed away on January 11, 2020 at the age of 94.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that I, Tim Busse, Mayor of the City of Bloomington, Minnesota do hereby proclaim March 6, 2020 as

FRANCIS “FRAN” HEITZMAN DAY

BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and City Council of the City of Bloomington call up on the residents of Bloomington to celebrate Fran Heitzman’s birthday on March 6, 2020, by donating gently used furniture and household items to Bridging in honor of Fran’s dedication to serving families in need in Bloomington and throughout the Twin Cities Metropolitan region.

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