Posts tagged ‘nonprofit’
We did it! (Thanks to donors like you)!
As you may remember from our February post featuring single mom Ruby, she only had two semesters left of her bachelor’s degree when her scholarship funding ran out. Ruby worked so hard to get to this point, studying and raising a child by herself after being diagnosed with cancer, and learning that her four-year-old son had autism.
We simply couldn’t let her dream of graduating college (and raising both herself and her child out of poverty) slip away. Thanks to your generosity, we don’t have to.
Over these past few weeks, your donations have helped us pay the minimum balance Ruby needed to register for her next semester— which was an incredible $11,098, and ensure that she’ll finally be able to finish school.
Despite every roadblock, Ruby is set to go back to school and finish those final two semesters of her bachelor’s degree, and it’s all thanks to you.
Here at HOPE, we’re a small team of only two full time employees, dedicated to helping single parents of Metro Atlanta through education. Our program plays a key role in social justice by ensuring that our participants, 95% of whom are African American, are able to obtain their college degrees and secure future wealth, opportunities, and privileges in our society.
H.O.P.E Founder: My Fight With Breast Cancer
In October I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.
Most of you were unaware, but not only was I striving to keep providing resources for our participants and to stay alive through a pandemic— but I was also fighting breast cancer.
If you know my story, you know that five years ago I lost my late husband to bladder cancer. It was the hardest time of my life fighting that battle with him. Many of you fought with me and my sons and helped us put the pieces back when he finally passed away.
With the grace of God, after a couple of years, it felt like we were being restored as a family. I’d remarried, had a beautiful baby boy, and H.O.P.E was growing more than ever. I had begun to gain excitement about the future, but that was all interrupted when I noticed some changes after I stopped breastfeeding my son.
I did my due diligence and went to a doctor to check it out (two to be exact), and was told each time that it was probably nothing serious— just me still producing milk. I felt I needed to schedule my annual mammogram to make sure. So, I did. Even the tech that day seemed unimpressed by what I showed her and my concerns. However, further testing and a biopsy would show that my concerns were valid.
On October 6, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of you participated in our virtual run around that time and watched me present an award video without any signs of struggle. But I was struggling. I’d come face-to-face with my most feared diagnosis. My grandmother died at 45 from this disease and my aunt passed in her early 50’s. All kinds of things went through my mind, as I kept wondering, how could I tell my boys that we were going through this again? I hurt for them, my husband, and my family. Yet, the show had to go on. We had families that needed us, and if you know me personally, you know that I didn’t waste time feeling sorry for myself.
After several consultations, I decided upon a double mastectomy. I had the surgery last month and just returned to work last week. I am proud to say that I am CANCER FREE and did not require any chemo or radiation. The prescription was a healthy lifestyle. So, some of you may be wondering why I would share something so personal with you?
H.O.P.E trumps HATE
Immediately following the elections, H.O.P.E received two of the most appalling and degrading letters in the history of our organization. In over 11 years of serving the greater Atlanta community, we’ve never received racially-driven hate mail of any kind, so imagine how shocked, hurt, and angry we were when we read what was written.
We wanted to share these letters with you, not to encourage division, but to let our H.O.P.E family know that your continued support ensures that our single parents, who are 95% African-American, can never be categorized as “lazy”, “unemployed”, or “uneducated”.
You have given us and our students the power to combat this ignorance— and the insight to be affected by these incidents only insofar as they fuel our mission and make us even more determined to succeed in this all-important work.
During President Joe Biden’s inauguration, we were reminded again of what it means to be fighting for the single parents raising the next generation of Americans— and no one can explain it better than poet laureate Amanda Gorman in her reading of ‘The Hill We Climb’:
“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves so while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be a country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.”
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all the ways you continue giving HOPE to our community.
“For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
– Amanda Gorman, January 20, 2021
Make A Difference, Get Outside: Join Us for Our First Ever Virtual 5k!
It’s been a tough year. But nothing gets our spirits up quite like getting outside and spending time with our favorite people. Even if you can’t physically get together with your family and friends right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something fun….like joining us for our first ever Virtual 5K!
This year we’ll be calling up our favorite people and inviting them to join us (anytime between September 21 and October 7) for a Virtual 5k. Not only will it allow you to get out (and chat with your family or friends on video), but the proceeds also go towards a great cause— helping single parents in Metro Atlanta get their college degrees, aka HOPE!
The best part? It’s only $10 to sign up!
How It Works:
Step 1: Register!
Step 2: Send a note to your friend or family members, like this one:
Hey, I miss you! Want to do a virtual 5K together sometime between Sept 21st and Oct 7th? It would be great to walk and talk, while also raising money for the single-parent families of HOPE Inc. Interested? Let’s try it! Here’s the link to sign up.
Step 3: Between Sept 21st and October 7th, complete your walking Virtual 5k while chatting on your favorite app (Zoom, What’s App, House Party, Skype…you name it)!
As you walk, you and your friends can also use our It’s Your Run app. From the app, you’ll be able to upload your pictures and videos, plus keep track of your time and distance!
Free, Fun Swag!
Once registered, you’ll get instructions for picking up your Swag Bag, which includes a customized face mask, hand sanitizer, and a wristband.
Want even more swag? You can also order one of our custom Virtual 5K T-Shirts for just $25. This year, they’ll be promoting our chosen theme:
“And the three of these remain, Faith, Hope, and Love.”
By joining our virtual event, you’ll also be eligible for these awesome prizes:
- $25 Amazon gift card to the first five people that set up a fundraising page and make their goal by October 5, 2020
- $100 Amazon gift card to the person who raises the most money for the event
We’ve lost a lot this year, but there’s still so much we can do. We hope you’ll join us and spend some time outside catching up with loved ones, and supporting the important work we’re doing for our single parent students.
Join us, get outside, and make a difference!
The HOPE Inc. Team
Here at HOPE, we’re dedicated to helping single parents of Metro Atlanta through education. Our program plays a key role in social justice by ensuring that our participants, 95% of whom are African American, are able to obtain their college degrees and secure future wealth, opportunities, and privileges in our society.
We’re hoping it does!
They say that April showers bring May flowers, but does it? Is there really hope on the other side of this pandemic? We certainly believe there is hope. We see it every week through the actions of our donors. Here’s a video telling you just how much they’ve supported single-parent families that need them right now! We also slid in a little update about how we’re doing as an organization overall. I hope you enjoy it!
Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO & Founder
P.S. Don’t forget about our Redirect HOPE giving campaign! The only way to keep helping the single-parent families in our program is through the donations you give. The SBA loans and other COVID19 relief efforts can’t be used to provide direct program services. We need you to keep HOPE going another ten years. Click here to donate the gas, restaurant, hair cut, coffee, or nail money you saved and make a difference.
Did you really help? Yes, you did!
We try to never leave you hanging when you support our single-parent families and our mission. It is my hope that you always feel informed and know where your dollars are going. Below, I have created a video (don’t worry it’s brief and fun) that will update you on how you have supported COVID19 victims and how we’re surviving.
I hope you enjoyed it!
Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO and Founder
Today is the Day!
It’s March 9th! Today is the day that we kick off our Global Giving Project that we told you about a couple of days ago.
The purpose of this project is to help seven single parents complete their college degrees this year and increase the number of single parents we assist. Now we know that sometimes you may feel like there’s always a need and you just can’t help everyone, but we would like to offer another perspective.
Yes, there is always a need, BUT you have single-handedly met the needs of 195 people SUCCESSFULLY! In Gwinnett County alone, less than 30% of single-parent students are graduating, but YOU have an 80% graduation rate! You aren’t making a small difference, you are making a HUGE difference!!
This project will give you the option to keep doing what you’ve been doing and impact more lives, but it will also open the opportunity to others that may want to help too!
What do we need you to do? (1) We need you to go to our Global Giving Project: Empower & Equip Single Parents Enrolled in College and commit to offering one of the following gifts to our single parents…
– $10 to help a single parent open a savings account
– $25 to provide financial training for a single parent
– $50 provides counseling for a single parent
– $100 provides a full weeks worth of childcare
– $250 shelters a single parent and their children for one month
– $1,000 secures childcare for a year!
REMEMBER YOU HAVE TO DONATE THROUGH OUR PROJECT SITE, NOT OUR WEBSITE FOR THE GIFT TO COUNT.
(2) Become our ambassador and share your donation on your social media sites, encouraging others to join you. They say child-rearing takes a village, well I’m convinced that fundraising does too. The great thing about our village is that you’re always there!
We have two weeks to reach our goal of $5,000 from 40 different donors! Will you make it happen? I’m confident that you will.
Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MBA
President/CEO and Founder
P.S. It’s kick-off day! We need 40 donors to go to our Global Giving Project: Empower & Equip Single Parents Enrolled in College and help us reach our project goal of $5,000!
What would you do?
What would you do with a 121% increase in salary? I would imagine that things would look quite different financially for you. You would be in a new tax bracket, economic class,
could possibly afford to purchase things you’ve dreamt about, and would certainly improve your quality of life, right?
Well, that’s what 42% of our graduates are experiencing right now. With less than one year in their new careers, many of them have increased their annual income by 121%! Most went from making under $20,000 to over $50,000 because YOU believed in them!
I’m writing today to tell you about an exciting opportunity that we have this month, and we need your help to achieve our goal.
It’s no secret, that we have been on a mission to grow, and we have done so gradually and gracefully over the past ten years, especially in the last three years. This month we have an opportunity to become members of the Global Giving Network, but in order to do so, we need to raise a total of $5,000 from 40 individual donors to help increase the number of single parents we can serve this year.
The name of our project is Empower & Equip Single Parents Enrolled in College, and we need all of our supporters to go to our project and give between the dates of March 9th and March 25th. Now, the KEY is you MUST give on our Global Giving site within these dates for the gift to count. You can give…
$10 to help a single parent open a savings account
$25 to provide financial training for a single parent
$50 provides counseling for a single parent
$100 provides a full weeks worth of childcare
$250 shelters a single parent and their children for one month
$1,000 secures childcare for a year!
Why is this important? We want to see our seven upcoming graduates increase their incomes by 121% too, and we want to empower more single parents to complete their college education. What you all have done is nothing short of AMAZING through our HOPE program, and we want to keep up the good work we are both doing in the community.
Let’s keep changing lives together and exceed our project goal to reach more single parents!
Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO & Founder
P.S. it all kicks off March 9th! We just need 40 individual donors to help us raise $5,000 to change more lives!
In less than 30 days…
In less than 30 days, my world as I know it will change. You’ve heard stories about how I became a single mom at age 21, and have raised my two biological sons, and stepson, Deon Jr., to beat the odds. Well, within 4 weeks there will be a new addition to my family, and yes, it is another BOY!
We wait with anticipation because Ronald Jr. (RJ) has been longed for with faithful prayers for 25 years by my husband, Ron. RJ will be his very first biological child and the very first grandson on his side of the family! It’s no wonder that our families and friends are so excited for us, as evident by the 100 people in attendance for our baby shower last weekend (and that was a reduced list).
I feel privileged and honored to give my husband this great gift, and in thinking about what it means to have a dream fulfilled, I thought about the great gift you and I give to the single parents we serve every day. Of course, being a conduit of something so special changes one’s life and perspective.
I think about how you helped give Dominique (pictured on the left) her long term dream of becoming a Dental Hygienist. After twelve years of hoping to achieve this goal, she graduated in December 2019, along with nine other graduates! Not only that, she was THE FIRST MEMBER IN HER FAMILY TO GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE! Of course, as a teen mom, she wasn’t expected to accomplish much. The odds were stacked against her, and society stipulated her abilities and worth. Yet, she graduated with a high G.P.A, had job offers in hand before walking the stage, passed her state boards, and increased her salary from $18,000 to $35,000! She took advantage of our financial training programs, increased her credit score by 32 points, and established an emergency fund of $600.
In the months to come, we’ll be sharing your impact in 2019. Life change, like what you just accomplished through your work with H.O.P.E, Inc., is not something to take lightly. Ten lives were changed just last year because of you, and in 2020 seven more graduates will walk across the stage due to your continued support!
So, as I wait for my bundle of joy, I hope that you are filled with joy. The joy of knowing that you not only changed one life last year but ten and you have seven more to impact this year!
Kenita Smith, BBA, MBA, MA
President/CEO & Founder