Nonprofit Tale: The HOPE Program

Lois Wingerson Lois Wingerson is Editorial Director for Digital Biomedical Content, UBM Medica. She manages editorial content in biomedical sciences.
About Lois Wingerson (1 Posts)

A partnership between corporate benevolence and nonprofit action, The HOPE Program, based in Brooklyn NY, has one of the best records in the industry for transforming unemployed and under-skilled individuals with difficult socioeconomic histories into successful long-term employees.

With a founding philosophy that stresses collecting, analyzing and reporting outcomes and then applying the findings to enhance future programming, HOPE reports achieving the following track record even in the current difficult economy:

  • job placement:  72%
  • 90-day job retention:  92%
  • one-year job retention:  75%
  • 250 impoverished men and women in work readiness training each year

HOPE primarily relies on private contributions and grants, and on building partnerships with employers in the community.

The organization works carefully to build strong relationships with these employers to achieve an understanding of their corporate culture to best match graduates to jobs. The Economist has long been a HOPE partner, and so are FLIK International, Prosek Partners, Agata & Valentina, Macquarie Group and Neuman’s.

HOPE graduates are likely to fill positions such as receptionists, janitors, back-office employees, maintenance and food service workers.

When it was founded in 1984, the Program’s initial goal was to provide impoverished and homeless New Yorkers with a way out of poverty, rather than merely offering an emergency handout.

Insight from its early experience demonstrated that, however determined they may be, individuals with a history of incarceration,  addiction, or single parenthood are unlikely to succeed at job training unless the issues underlying their poverty are addressed alongside job skills training.

Besides providing training in basic career skills such as resume writing and computers (in classes that meet from 9 AM to 5 PM to mirror the workplace), HOPE also offers mental health services, daily meals, and legal assistance. All graduates have also completed internships at partner companies that provide work experience during the training process.

In 2012, HOPE received an award for Outstanding Direct Services from the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. It was also awarded a four-star rating by Charity Navigator in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and is a winner of the Robin Hood Foundation’s Hero Award.

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