The Open table Mission

The Open table Model 

Open Table is a licensed model based on fourteen years of implementation, a theory of change, research, replicable training and fidelity tools.  

Congregations and organizations use the Open Table model to create community and transformation through relationships with individuals and families who are homeless, experiencing poverty, or other life challenges.  Populations served by Table include young adults in transition, veterans, probation/re-entry, survivors of human trafficking, refugees, and others.

Organizations recruit volunteers who are trained to launch "Tables."  A Table is the platform through which individuals (referred to as Brothers and Sisters) and organization members enter into relationship.  Each Table is composed of a group of volunteers that make a year commitment to act as a team of life specialists, encouragers, and advocates.  The Table members, together with the individual or family being served, establish goals, accountability, and develop an overall implementation plan.  Table members network in their congregations/organizations and the community for resources to support the plan.

As Tables end, they transition into an After Plan, through which Table members and Brothers and Sisters are able to remain in supportive community together. 

The Open Table Model.

Each Table is hosted by a congregation or organization. The team of volunteers varies with 10-12 people serving a family and 6-8 serving a young adult. Tables meet once a week and socialize outside the meetings. A volunteer Mission Leader Team is trained in each faith community or community organization to lead the model and launch Tables.

The Open Table model trains community sectors including business, community organizations, education, faith communities, government, healthcare and legal to work together in a shared purpose to transform their relational and social capital into tools people experiencing poverty can use to have better lives. 


Through Open Table, communities move from transactional responses to poverty to transformational solutions. While people join Tables to help others, they soon realize their own individual purpose is transformed by the reciprocal relationships they create. Through the Open Table, relationship is mutual: friendship, healing, purpose, and transformation given by each other for each other.

From a chance encounter with a homeless man at a local church outreach, Jon Katov founded Open Table. Open Table has expanded to a movement in more than 26 states. The movement is demonstrating that the abundant, renewable resources of intellectual and social capital in people and their communities can be directly and effectively invested in the human potential of people experiencing poverty. 

Rapid expansion of the movement and the model

Components of the open table model 

Theory of Change

The Open Table organization and model operate on a theory of change:

Faith and a Shared Purpose
Safe Space
Transformation and Reconciliation
Local Determination and Ownership

Read the White Paper here.

Evidence Base

Findings show that Table members are embracing Brothers and Sisters as part of their family.

In a 2015 study of 2013 Open Table graduates, 95% remained in relationship with at least one Table member after two years. In one study, 85% of Open Table graduates are either in training or have better jobs two years after successfully participating in the Table process.

Read the Open Table Evidence Base Summary here.


Open Table training processes draw from the extensive research base of Wraparound, an established evidence-based practice method for assisting people in transition (Open Table was developed independently in the faith community without knowledge of wraparound). The Wraparound Process, which comes from 25 years of development and high levels of Federal funding for research, is directly applicable to Open Table.

Open Table’s online training system, Open Table University (OTU), is a resource center built for Mission Leaders. Through Open Table University, Mission Leaders can read about best practices and stay up-to-date on the most recent Open Table research and evaluation.

Visit Open Table University here.



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