Amber Ostrup is an experienced Program Manager with the Office of International Patent Cooperation, a unit of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where she has been a dedicated civil servant for more than a decade. Growing up in Utah as the youngest of three children, she developed a strong bond with her mother Vickie, her best friend and inspiration. With her mother’s encouragement, Ms. Ostrup headed to Washington, D.C., in 1994. By the age of 21 she was managing a services contract with a $100M budget, more than 100 employees, and a subcontractor. Her options seemed limitless.
But tragedy struck in 2003 when Ms. Ostrup and her family learned that Vickie had terminal cancer. Those difficult times spent with her mother at Georgetown Hospital put her faith to the test, and as she reflected on that time, Ms. Ostrup recalled the depressing nature of the sterile hospital environment with its white walls, floors and bedding. Inspired by a suggestion from her brother, Clint, to contribute something more lasting than flowers, Ms. Ostrup combined her desire to introduce cheer and comfort to those in need with an idea she had seen that inspired her. In 2008, with the help of her mother’s best friend, Ms. Ostrup created her first no-sew blanket and delivered it to the hospital unit where she had spent so many days with her mother.
After delivering that first blanket nearly a decade ago, Ms. Ostrup realized it was a way she could positively impact the lives of people experiencing some of the most difficult days imaginable. Hoping to address their needs, Ms. Ostrup started Blanket Hearts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. Since its inception, the Blanket Hearts family of volunteers has provided no-sew blankets to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, INOVA Children’s Hospital in Fairfax, as well as numerous deserving individuals in the D.C. metropolitan area. In 2015 Blanket Hearts volunteered to make and deliver 1,500 no-sew blankets to Snowball Express, a Texas-based charity dedicated to assisting the children of fallen military members.
When not working at the USPTO or making blankets, Ms. Ostrup is a devoted mother to her young son, Joseph, serves as a community member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety at MedStar Georgetown Hospital, and is an active member of her local church, where she volunteers in the children’s ministry.