The American Bear Association

A nonprofit organization

$5,675 raised by 64 donors

6% complete

$100,000 Goal

WILD Black Bear's need YOUR help!

Who we are: Many years ago a Minnesota logger made a decision that would affect the black bear and the attitudes that people have of this often misunderstood animal. Vince Shute chose to stop shooting the bears that broke into his cabins and found a way to peacefully coexist with them. In his own words he claimed, "The bears weren't mean, just hungry!"  So he tried a more peaceful approach, feeding the bears that broke into his cabin, the strategy worked - no more break-ins.  Thus began Vince's celebrated life with the black bears in the north woods near Orr, Minnesota.

Generations of black bears still visit The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary. The non-profit organization, The American Bear Association, was formed to manage the Sanctuary and to promote a better understanding of the black bear through education, observation, and experience. The organization's ultimate goal has been peaceful coexistence between humans and bears.  All of the sanctuary bears are wild and free-roaming. We are only able to run our bear sanctuary and continue our important work through the generosity of people like you. 

Our Dream: Many Years ago, it was our founder's dream to see our organization reach more people than ever before about the myths surrounding American Black Bears. Seeing these bears in their natural habitat and performing natural behaviors helps show people who the bears really are: Gentle Giants! Caring for the bears and reaching as many people as possible takes a strong team that is dedicated to the bears and our mission of coexistence. In building such a team and growing a business, it is not just important to take care of the bears but it is just as important to take care of the team that dedicates their lives to caring for them and being an advocate on their behalf as they cannot speak for themselves. This team may be small, but they are mighty and love the bears more than anything! We want this team to stay for thirty years as our founders did and we want to take the best care of them so they can continue to take the best care of the bears that call the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary home.

With that being said, staff accommodations are still in need of significant upgrades. Currently, ABA staff live onsite in cabins from May through October. Staff cabins do not have running water, electricity or indoor plumbing! Mid summer, staff cabins get very hot and humid with only mild nighttime relief from the heat. A shared porta-john functions as the only lavatory. One shower serves a long line of hard working staff members hoping to clean off from long sweaty days keeping up with bears, visitors and the rigors of living primitively
How can YOU help? Donate and Share with your Friends!

This year it is our dream to provide our team with a facility that has running water for showers, a bathroom, and a laundry facility. This is going to be a HUGE project! A project that we do not expect to complete right away. Since it is such a big project to take on, we plan on doing things in phases.


Phase 2: Build a facility that has showers, bathrooms, and laundry for our team

Phase 3: Build a new kitchen for our ever-growing team

We’ve completed Phase 1 thanks to everyone who donated last year! The next step to make this BIG dream happen is to start building the shower, bathroom, and laundry facility, and we expect this to cost $100,000, so this is our goal for this year's Give MN! Help us reach our goal!

Your generous donation to The American Bear Association will ensure that we can continue to promote peaceful coexistence through education and provide a safe place for adult bears and their cubs.

Organization Data


Organization name

The American Bear Association

Tax id (EIN)



Education Environment Animals


ORR, MN 55771



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