Watch this exciting clip of HOPE in the news: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Bronx-_Hope-Program_-Wins-_Project-Innovation_-Grant_New-York-509713512.html
“NBC 4 New York/WNBC and Telemundo 47/WNJU and the NBCUniversal Foundation announced Friday that three local nonprofit organizations have won $225,000 in Project Innovation grants.
The winning organizations were selected by the stations to help boost innovative programs that are addressing local community issues through innovative solutions in the areas of storytelling, culture of inclusion, youth education and community engagement. This is the second year in a row that NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47 have recognized local area nonprofit organizations with Project Innovation grants.
“Our 2019 Project Innovation winners have a proven track record of growth and success. Through innovative approaches and the use of the latest technology, they are training a new generation of leaders to succeed in the jobs and industries of tomorrow. We are thrilled to join the NBCUniversal Foundation and our partners at Telemundo 47 in recognizing these deserving non-profits,” said Eric Lerner, president and general Manager of NBC 4 New York.
Project Innovation is presented by the NBCUniversal Foundation and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal. NBC- and Telemundo-owned stations located in 11 markets, including New York, kicked off the challenge earlier this year to identify local organizations that are using innovation to develop real-life solutions for their communities.
The stations created and convened community panels to review the grant applications and select final grant recipients. This year, nearly $2.5 million in Project Innovation grants have been awarded to not-for-profit organizations in participating markets.
"Once again, Telemundo 47 is proud to join with WNBC and the NBCUniversal Foundation in recognizing innovative non-profits across the Tri-State. The resources awarded today will help expand their reach and deliver additional services to those who need them the most. We congratulate the winners and look forward to their continued success," said Cristina Schwarz, president and general manager of Telemundo 47 New York.
Tri-State Project Innovation 2019 grant recipients include:
Pursuit (Queens) - $100,000: Pursuit is a social impact organization which trains adults to get their first tech jobs, advance their careers and become next generation tech leaders. The program is designed to teach and learn coding practices and other professional tech skills with opportunities to network for career advancement in the industry.
The HOPE Program (Bronx/Brooklyn) - $100,000: HOPE provides low income New Yorkers with job training, supportive services, connections to employment and lifetime career support. Their programs assist individuals in several industries, including the food sector and the green construction field, which focuses on green infrastructure and maintenance.
Empirical Resolution/Quill.org (Manhattan) - $25,000: Empirical Resolution/Quill.org is an educational technology startup which helps low-income students enhance their writing skills. Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) software, students are provided with new tools to improve critical thinking and improve grammar, sentence construction their sentence construction skills and enhance their critical thinking.
Project Innovation 2019 grants were presented to eligible non-profit organizations located in select markets serviced by NBC and Telemundo owned stations, including New York (WNBC, WNJU), Southern California (KNBC, KVEA), Chicago (WMAQ, WSNS), Philadelphia (WCAU, WWSI), Dallas-Fort Worth (KXAS, KXTX), Boston (WBTS, WNEU, NECN), Hartford, CT (WVIT, WRDM), Washington, D.C. (WRC-TV, WZDC), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (WTVJ, WSCV), San Francisco Bay Area (KNTV, KSTS), and San Diego (KNSD, KUAN).
To see the list of all Project Innovation 2019 winners, visit nbcuniversal.com. “
The HOPE Program is thrilled to be named a finalist for Brooklyn Community Foundation's Spark Prize! We are particularly honored to share this award with our 19 co-finalists, all incredible organizations that lead the way in empowering our neighbors in Brooklyn and across New York City to build brighter futures. Read more about the Spark Prize and the finalists here.
Brooklyn Community Foundation works with nonprofits, investors and other partners to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. HOPE shares this mission, working each day to connect our jobseekers --regardless of backgrounds and barriers -- with jobs, advancement opportunities, and ultimately, sustainable careers.
Save the Date!
In recognition of this honor, Brooklyn Community Foundation has awarded HOPE a $5,000 matching grant for #BrooklynGives this #GivingTuesday. Check out our profile here and stay tuned for ways that you can double your impact on November 27!
Join the Fun!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 22, 2018
CITY SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE EXCEEDS ANNUAL GOAL MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
Over 1.5 Million Square Feet of Energy-Saving Reflective Rooftop Installations Tallied this Year
Over 9.2 Million Square Feet Installed Since 2009
New York – NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner (SBS) Gregg Bishop today announced that a City sustainability initiative has exceeded its annual goal months ahead of schedule. The initiative, called NYC °CoolRoofs, has tallied installation of 1.5 million square feet of energy-saving, reflective rooftops during calendar year 2018, exceeding its annual goal of 1 million square feet. By installing a white, reflective coating on buildings, NYC °CoolRoofs reduces building energy consumption and internal building temperatures during the hot summer months. The initiative also provides local jobseekers with training and paid work experience coating these rooftops. Since the initiative launched in 2009, over 9.2 million square feet of New York City rooftops have been coated.
NYC °CoolRoofs is a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, and Sustainable South Bronx, a division of The HOPE Program. It is a key component of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, the city’s strategy to help keep New Yorkers safe during extreme heat and protect against the worst impacts of rising temperatures from climate change. NYC °CoolRoofs also supports New York City’s goal to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050 (80 x 50), as outlined in Mayor de Blasio’s One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City.
“Mayor de Blasio has laid out ambitious plans to build both a greener city and a greener workforce,” said J. Phillip Thompson, NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. "The success of programs like NYC CoolRoofs shows that a green economy is an economy that lifts up New Yorkers."
“New York City leads the way as a national model in the fight against climate change and our program is proof that sustainability can benefit a city as a whole,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Surpassing our annual goal for the NYC °CoolRoofs program this far in advance is testament to the City’s commitment to building a more sustainable city for New Yorkers.”
“Reflective roofs keep buildings cooler and clusters of them help to reduce local temperatures in our neighborhoods,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “Improvements under the NYC °CoolRoofs program are already paying dividends to New Yorkers across the city, and especially families living in heat-vulnerable areas. We look forward to working with even more building owners and non-profit, affordable housing, and community partners to help keep our city cool and New Yorkers safe and healthy during the hot summer months.”
“The NYC °CoolRoofs program is hitting key goals in our climate fight ahead of schedule while creating jobs for New Yorkers” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. That’s what success looks like as we fight for a stronger, more sustainable New York City that reflects our values (and the sun) at the same time.”
“It is well documented that New York City's most vulnerable neighborhoods suffer from disproportionate environmental burdens and high unemployment rates. NYC °CoolRoofs addresses these challenges simultaneously,” said Toby Sheppard Bloch, Chief Venture Officer, The HOPE Program and Sustainable South Bronx. “We applaud the City's leadership on these issues and we are proud to work hand-in-hand with the Department of Small Business Services to make New York City more sustainable.”
About NYC °CoolRoofs
NYC °CoolRoofs treats roofs with a specialized coating material that allows the roofs to reflect sunlight which, in turn, reduces heat absorption. This leads to an overall cooler building during the summer months. Installations are provided at no-cost to nonprofits, affordable housing, select cooperatively-owned housing, and select organizations providing public, cultural, or community services. Privately-owned buildings can receive installations at minimal cost. By installing a cool roof, buildings can gain the following:
- Lower air conditioning costs by 10% to 30%;
- Up to 30% reduction in internal building temperatures during the summer; And
- Increased longevity of roof and building cooling equipment.
The initiative provides opportunity for jobseeking New Yorkers to gain experience. Through the ten-week initiative, participants will receive training, 300 hours of paid work experience, and the opportunity to obtain industry-relevant certifications, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 30-hour (OSHA 30) safety certification. Successful graduates will be connected to employment opportunities upon completion of the program.
More information on NYC °CoolRoofs can be found at nyc.gov/coolroofs.
About The HOPE Program and Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx)
HOPE and SSBx empower New Yorkers to build sustainable futures through comprehensive training, jobs, advancement and lifelong career support. Together, these two nonprofits five training tacks which prepare individuals for careers in green construction and maintenance, the food sector or general industries. HOPE and SSBx serve over 450 New Yorkers each year, with offices in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and have earned praise as one of the most effective workforce development providers in the field. To learn more, please visit www.thehopeprogram.org.
About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
BRONX, NY (July 19, 2018) – In an effort to expand green job training services in local communities, Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) announced the relocation of its green jobs training programs to Hunts Point. Sustainable South Bronx is a subsidiary of The HOPE Program (HOPE), a highly effective workforce development organization empowering New Yorkers to build brighter futures through training, jobs and career advancement.
Sustainable South Bronx was founded in Hunts Point in 2001 and played a vital role in community redevelopment projects, including the creation of the Hunts Point Riverside and Barretto Point Parks, as well as critical shoreline remediation and hazardous waste cleanup. With 41% of Hunts Point residents living below the poverty line due in large part to the negative environmental impacts of the neighborhood’s industrial and commercial facilities, SSBx is proud to return to its roots and continue to invest in a community in need.
“We are thrilled to return to Hunts Point where SSBx was founded and we are so appreciative of the warm welcome we have received from our neighbors and peer organizations working so creatively to provide more opportunities in this community,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of The HOPE Program and SSBx. “This is a particularly exciting time for us as we move to a new home and launch programs which will result in a 150% increase in services over just three years ago. We owe enormous gratitude to the Bronx partners who have made this possible.”
The site will host three distinct green jobs training programs. SSBx, the organization’s signature program, offers 12 weeks of full-time training and combines classroom learning with hands-on experience in the field. Graduates earn certifications in OSHA-30, flagging, scaffolding, CPR and others. The second program, NYC °CoolRoofs is a collaboration with the New York City Department of Small Business Services through which unemployed New Yorkers earn wages in transitional jobs coating rooftops to improve energy efficiency in heat vulnerable communities across New York City. In partnership with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Intervine, (the organization’s newest program launching in the second half of 2018) will provide 45 New Yorkers with paid training in solar installation and green infrastructure to help divert them from the criminal justice system.
Across all programs, participants receive mental health support, financial literacy, resume-writing and interviewing support, digital literacy, access to a broad network of employers and a lifetime of career support services to drive long-term retention and career advancement. As a result of this comprehensive approach, SSBx consistently places up to 80% of graduates in permanent employment at wages well above minimum wage.
SSBx welcomed many partners and supporters to the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of its new facility, notably New York State Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, New York City Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr., Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and the Office of New York State Senator Jeff Klein.
“I am thrilled to be welcoming back Sustainable South Bronx to Hunts Point, the community where it all began 17 years ago,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. “From being a leading environmental advocacy voice to providing green job training programs, Sustainable South Bronx is educating and preparing what we hope will be a greener, cleaner and safer future. I’m proud to support Sustainable South Bronx and The HOPE Program and commend them for returning to the South Bronx and investing in the local community.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said: "Poverty and unemployment are criminal justice issues. Through my Office's Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, I was honored to invest $1.9 million in the HOPE Program, which not only employs at-risk and reentering New Yorkers, but works toward an environmentally sustainable future for us all. Social enterprises like HOPE's Intervine program provide paths to opportunity and self-sufficiency for New Yorkers that face significant barriers to employment – particularly those returning to their communities from jail or prison. I am honored to support their work in this exciting and growing field."
Jose Roman, a recent graduate of the SSBx program, shared his journey: “When I got my fireguard certification, it was the first card I ever had in my wallet other than food stamps. I’m still beaming. Now I have OSHA-10, OSHA-30, CPR and a few others. This is going to open up a lot of doors for me. I recently finished the program, and now I have goals. I’m going to get a construction job, permanent housing, and finally be a role model to my son.”
In addition to its relocation, The HOPE Program and SSBx are celebrating many recent successes. In October 2017 the non-profit landed the largest contract in its history with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to expand an innovative green social enterprise model and provide training and work experience in green infrastructure and solar installation. In addition, the organization was most recently selected by the Citi Foundation as the recipient of a $500,000 grant as part of its 2018 Community Progress Makers Fund. The Fund is a $20 million, two-year initiative by the Citi Foundation to support high-impact community organizations that are driving economic opportunities in communities by bringing together residents, nonprofits, businesses and municipal agencies.
SSBx’s new facility is nearly 5,000 square feet, three times the size of its previous training site, that includes a classroom, student lounge, kitchen, workshop and hands-on learning space. The building is located at 1360 Garrison Avenue, accessible by the 6 train at the Hunts Point station, the 2/5 on Simpson Street, or the Bx6 SBS bus on Garrison Avenue.
You might remember that earlier this month, a monsoon-like storm shut down Grand Central Terminal. But despite sheets of rain and 70-mph winds, more than 300 guests descended on the Prince George Ballroom to celebrate HOPE.
“I can’t believe all that HOPE has done for me,” said HOPE graduate Terry Stanley. “[It] helped me learn new skills, come up from the lowest point in my life and get a job that I love.”
The HOPE Program provides comprehensive training, employment and career advancement services to unemployed, low-income New Yorkers. On Tuesday, May 15, HOPE’s students, graduates, staff, supporters and guests mingled over gazpacho shooters, freshly shucked oysters and specially branded cupcakes during A Taste of HOPE to celebrate the organization’s impact, and one individual in particular.
Carla Shen has served on HOPE’s Board of Directors for more than 10 years, and received the prestigious Founder’s Award for her support and dedication to the organization’s mission. Shen joined HOPE’s board after her mother Carol, who was also a HOPE board member and volunteer, died.
“My board service has kind of a double meaning for me because it's amazing to give back to an organization that has such a major impact in transforming lives, but I also feel a connection through my mother’s involvement,” Shen said.
Ninety-five percent of the proceeds from the event went directly to HOPE's programing; supporting classroom instruction, certifications, technology instruction, daily meals and MetroCards for students, and more. This support will enable HOPE to maintain and grow its services to over 450 New Yorkers across five highly effective programs.
"Our staff, students and graduates have the opportunity to be part of the event and represent HOPE in different ways," said Jennifer Mitchell, HOPE’s executive director. "One of the reasons we do that is because it puts HOPE's mission front and center. The other reason we do that is because it keeps the cost of the event down, so that the money raised goes right back into programs and operations.
Alex Gomberg is the vice president of Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, a seltzer company that has bottled its product in the borough for four generations. His business has been partnered with the organization for five years, allowing Seltzer Boys to provide internship hours to HOPE students looking to build a career.
"It's rewarding to give [HOPE students] an opportunity and it's great to have people come to work," he said. Gomberg also said the workers he's dealt with are reliable, so much so that he's created part-time work to keep them employed after their internships.
Many of the food and beverage partners in the room that night were also in fact employer partners, providing job opportunities to HOPE graduates. These include Neuman’s Kitchen, Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, Butter Beans, Blue Smoke, Indiana Market and Catering, Murray’s Cheese and Zaro’s Bakery.
HOPE has an excellent reputation with their partners and an outstanding success rate, touting 78 percent first-year job retention. Maybe it was these impressive stats, or the emotional speeches given by graduates of the program Terry Stanley and Helena DeRamus, that helped the organization exceed its goal and raise over $375,000 through A Taste of HOPE.
At its heart, the event "is really a big celebration about opportunity, transformation, growth — all the things that HOPE stands for," Mitchell said.
Read this article was published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Link here.
THE HOPE PROGRAM Selected by Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers Fund to Accelerate Economic Opportunity in NEW YORK CITY
$500,000 Investment in core operating support will enable The HOPE Program to help New Yorkers build sustainable futures through comprehensive training, jobs, advancement and lifelong career support.
April 26 2018, New York City - The Citi Foundation announced that The HOPE Program was selected as the recipient of a $500,000 grant as part of the 2018 Community Progress Makers Fund. The Fund is a $20 million, two-year initiative by the Citi Foundation to support high-impact community organizations that are driving economic opportunities in our communities by bringing together residents, nonprofits, businesses, and municipal agencies. HOPE joins a group of 40 change agents who are playing a key role in coordinating the efforts of multiple partners toward common goals and working in new ways to address urban challenges in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington D.C.
Through the fund, HOPE will implement a new five-year strategic plan, which builds on its 30+ year track record as a leading job training nonprofit to further develop best-in-class soft skill training, re-define employer engagement to drive strong outcomes for jobseekers, and ensure the viability of local hiring networks. All of this will lead to a significant increase in HOPE’s impact and new opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment.
“We launched this program in 2015 as our version of ‘venture philanthropy’ – a chance to invest in the vision and mission of these organizations who are helping positively transform their communities,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “We’re pleased with the results from our inaugural Community Progress Makers and are looking forward to implementing the lessons we’ve learned with this next, impressive group of community leaders as they scale, innovate and drive impact.”
“We are honored to be named a Citi Community Progress Maker alongside so many notable nonprofits, many of which are our partners here in New York City. This unrestricted investment – nearly unprecedented in corporate philanthropy – will be a game changer for HOPE, and most importantly, the individual jobseekers who transform their lives through our comprehensive training, job placement and advancement support. Thank you Citi!” – Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director, The HOPE Program
In 2016-2017, the inaugural cohort of Community Progress Makers helped more than 14,700 low-income people secure financial assets; built over 10,500 affordable housing units; strengthened more than 1,100 small businesses; and connected 1,800 young people to jobs in their communities.
Below is a full list of 2018 New York City Community Progress Makers:
Brooklyn Workforce Innovations
Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
Green City Force
Hot Bread Kitchen
Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)
Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners
Start Small Think Big
The HOPE Program
The POINT Community Development Corporation
About The HOPE Program
The HOPE Program was founded in 1984 by a soup kitchen volunteer and PhD student who believed that with the right support and resources, the clients she served in the soup line could succeed in the workforce and build bright futures. HOPE empowers New Yorkers to build sustainable careers through comprehensive training, jobs, advancement and lifelong career support.
In 2015, HOPE underwent the boldest phase of growth in its history with the acquisition of Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx). Today, HOPE, with SSBx as its subsidiary, operates rigorous and effective job training programs for low-income New Yorkers in both Brooklyn and the Bronx – the counties with highest unemployment rates in the city and among the most impacted by unemployment statewide. They offer training for diverse careers as well as sector-specific training in the food and green collar industries, with outcomes among the strongest in the field, notably: 73% job placement and over 75% one-year job retention. Since joining forces, HOPE and SSBx have embedded cutting-edge mental health support across all of their programs, strengthened their green jobs training programs, expanded NYC °CoolRoofs, and earned a historic grant to launch solar installation and green infrastructure. To learn more, visit www.thehopeprogram.org.
About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the investment of $7.1 million in three social enterprises – run by Drive Change, Sweet Generation Bakery, and The HOPE Program – creating employment opportunities and career training for at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is providing these grants through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which District Attorney Vance created using criminal forfeiture funds obtained through the Office’s settlements with international banks for violating U.S. sanctions.
“Poverty and unemployment are criminal justice issues,” said District Attorney Vance. “Social enterprises offer a positive economic impact in communities with few job opportunities, and a means of advancement for individuals who may not have job skills, training, or access to employment. In particular, New Yorkers reentering their communities after periods of incarceration face significant barriers to finding the jobs and housing they need to rebuild their lives. We are excited to provide New York City’s social enterprise sector with a $7 million boost.”
City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance (“CUNY ISLG”) Executive Director Michael P. Jacobson said: “With today’s investment, DA Vance is taking a forward-thinking approach to improving public safety. With these CJII funds, three innovative social enterprise models will be enhancing and expanding their services, providing meaningful employment opportunities for people leaving incarceration and young people at risk. This is a key component for individual’s long-term success and, also, for public safety.”
Jordyn Lexton, Founder and CEO of Drive Change, said: “Young New Yorkers returning home from jail possess immense talent that must be tapped into. With the right investment, young returning citizens can be assets to our communities. Drive Change is proud to receive a grant from CJII to scale our already successful work with these young adults. We will use these important dollars to build a shared food truck space called the Commissary for Social Justice, thereby increasing the number of young people served citywide. While crime is at an all-time low, this investment demonstrates a commitment to reimagine public safety; a commitment we believe is necessary for both safety and justice. Our years of experience have taught Drive Change that utilizing food/hospitality business as a tool for employing and teaching young adults returning home from jail is a key component of the puzzle. We look forward to the day in New York City where the phrase ‘Social Enterprise’ is obsolete because every business is developed with sincere social return in mind.”
Amy Chasan, Executive Director and Founder of Sweet Generation Bakery, said: “Sweet Generation Bakery is thrilled and deeply honored to be a recipient of the Manhattan DA’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative grant. This funding is critical to fulfilling the mission of Sweet Generation’s nonprofit youth program, RISE, making a tangible impact on at-risk and disconnected young people from low-income communities; employing, empowering and preparing them to access quality employment. This funding will enable us to expand our operation and reach, creating the teaching kitchen, program classrooms, counseling space, and production facility we urgently need. By providing meaningful training in job-readiness, entrepreneurship, and social-emotional development, Sweet Generation supports the growth of our participants; in turn reducing the risk of negative life outcomes and having a tremendous positive economic impact on under-resourced NYC communities.”
Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of The HOPE Program, said: “HOPE has a 34-year track record of empowering New Yorkers, including many with criminal justice histories, to transform their lives through training, jobs and career advancement. CJII Social Enterprise funding will expand our impact, enable our trainees to earn a paycheck, and with a focus on the green jobs sector, build a more sustainable city. We applaud District Attorney Vance for investing in cutting-edge strategies and we are honored to partner with CJII on this initiative.”
Eleni Janis, Vice President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, said: “We need new ways of solving persistent problems and creating full and equal opportunity. Government has an important role in promoting such innovation. The social enterprises celebrated today use smart and sustainable solutions to skills training and employment for at-risk-youth, ensuring long-term positive life outcomes. I congratulate District Attorney Vance on his bold vision, leadership and execution, and thank him and his team for the opportunity to see this innovation come to fruition here in New York.”
Suzi Epstein, Managing Director of Jobs and & Economic Security at the Robin Hood Foundation, said: “As a reviewer of proposals under the Manhattan DA’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative I was honored and humbled to read a wealth of thoughtful and creative concepts. As a member of Robin Hood, a large poverty-fighting organization in New York City, I’m filled with admiration for the many community groups engaged in social enterprise activities focused on individuals at risk of or in the midst of involvement in the criminal justice system.”
Investing in Social Enterprises
Social enterprises are non-profit organizations (or non-profit divisions of for-profit entities) which blend the social welfare mission of a non-profit organization with the market-driven approach of a business. Social enterprises offer positive economic impact within communities that offer fewer job opportunities, helping to curb the cycle of poverty and unemployment that often correlates with justice-system involvement. Additionally, social enterprises offer job opportunities for individuals reentering communities following incarceration, who typically face significant barriers to employment, including deterioration of job-related skills, and employer attitudes and policies.
District Attorney Vance awarded 3 ½-year grants totaling $7.1 million to help three organizations enhance and develop social enterprises that employ young people at risk of becoming involved in the justice system, or New Yorkers reentering their communities after a period of incarceration.
- Drive Change
- Award: $3,070,475
- Primary Demographic: Formerly incarcerated young adults (18-25)
- Services and Programming: Drive Change’s Commissary for Social Justice will create a mobile food vendor commissary where formerly incarcerated individuals will be trained in culinary arts and business skills related to the needs of mobile vendors.
- Sweet Generation Bakery
- Award: $2,179,168
- Primary Demographic: At-risk and justice involved youth and young adults (ages 16-24)
- Services and Programming: Sweet Generation Bakery’s Sweet Generation RISE will train youth and young adults in artisanal baking and handcrafted pastries, while also teaching job-readiness, entrepreneurship skills, and fostering social-emotional development.
Primary Demographic: At-risk young adults (18-24) and formerly incarcerated individuals
Services and Programming: HOPE’s Intervine program will provide soft and hard-skills training and transitional paid job opportunities to participants focused on horticultural, green infrastructure installation and maintenance, and solar photovoltaic installation services.
CJII Research and Consultation Process
Today’s awards follow an open-solicitation, Request for Proposals and review process led by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and facilitated by the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), CJII’s technical assistance provider. Representatives from New York City agencies and organizations, including the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Robin Hood Foundation, ExpandED Schools, and Echoing Green, participated in the review committee and provided expert feedback.
The CJII plan and investments are the result of an extensive process incorporating research, data analysis, and outreach to community leaders and stakeholders conducted by CUNY ISLG. As the technical assistance provider, ISLG analyzed research in areas affecting public safety in New York City, including systemic factors at the neighborhood level that have an impact on crime, and data from a number of agencies involved in the criminal justice system. In addition, ISLG conducted extensive interviews with more than 250 experts in the criminal justice community and related fields, including clinical practitioners; leaders from philanthropic, non-profit, and grassroots organizations; representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies; academics; and elected officials. Following this process, ISLG worked with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to develop a comprehensive set of investments that, together, will have a significant, lasting impact on public safety and justice reform in New York City. ISLG will provide program oversight and performance measurement to grantees selected under CJII.
Investments in Pre-Arraignment Diversion, Alternatives to Incarceration, and Reentry Programming
In June, District Attorney Vance awarded $6.5 million in grants to divert first time, low-level offenders from the justice system. He previously invested $7.3 million to pay for college programming at New York State prisons; and $600,000 to fund “Project Reset,” a county-wide pre-arraignment diversion program for 16- and 17-year-olds arrested for low-level crimes.
In March, District Attorney Vance announced funding to create innovative programming and support existing services for New Yorkers reentering communities after periods of incarceration ($15 million), and to create a blueprint for a new Manhattan Criminal Court Resource Center to offer services and alternatives to jail for low-level offenders, ranging from meaningful community service to mental health programming. Last fall, District Attorney Vance announced funding to develop an abusive partner intervention program ($1.4 million).
Investments in Access to Victims Services and Youth and Family Programming
Earlier this month, District Attorney Vance invested $3.75 million in innovative programs for youth transitioning out of the foster care system. In April, District Attorney Vance announced the investment of $11.8 million in services for historically underserved victims of crime, including: people of color; immigrants and non-native English speakers; LGBTQ individuals; and individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. In February, he invested $45.9 million to create and construct “Youth Opportunity Hubs” to knit together community-based providers and build new spaces for young people; as well as $12 million to enhance family and youth development programming. This funding followed earlier investments of $1.5 million for a pilot network of community navigators to guide at-risk individuals to appropriate services and programs; and $7.5 million to expand Saturday Night Lights, the District Attorney’s Office’s signature youth violence prevention initiative operating in 14 locations across Manhattan.
Earlier Transformative Investments
Other transformative investments previously announced by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office include: $90 million to equip the NYPD with tablets, handheld devices, and mobile databases for every police officer and patrol car; $101 million for critical NYCHA security upgrades, including cameras, lighting, and keyless access; $38 million to help end the national backlog of untested rape kits; $40 million towards the City’s comprehensive mental health initiatives, including $14 million for supervised release for eligible defendants pre-trial; and $25 million to form the cross-border, cross-sector, not-for-profit Global Cyber Alliance.
Supporting the dual purposes of enhancing environmental quality and expanding economic opportunities for local Bronx residents, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Bronx, 77th AD) has successfully secured $140,000 for a community-based program known as Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx).
SSBx operates hands-on strategies and programs designed to meet the needs of New Yorkers seeking employment and striving to achieve economic self-sufficiency while enhancing the local environment. Through a combination of green job training programs including Best Academy and Smart Roofs – participants are able to open doors and access opportunities that were not previously available to them.
“Creating employment opportunities and investing in environmental sustainability, Sustainable South Bronx is proving that together we can revitalize our community and make a real difference in the quality of life for those who live, work and do business in the Bronx,” Assemblywoman Joyner said. “Their focus connects the restoration of our environment with strategies and programs designed to meet the needs of New Yorkers seeking employment and striving to achieve economic self-sufficiency.”
"We are grateful to Assemblymember Latoya Joyner for making a critical investment in both the economic and environmental sustainability of the Bronx community. Her support is helping to transform the lives of hundreds of men and women who are living in poverty and has a direct impact on making our city greener,” said Jennifer Mitchell, the Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx.
Celebrating this major investment in the local economy, Assemblywoman Joyner presented a ceremonial check for $140,000 to Sustainable South Bronx on Friday, July 28th, during a 1:00pm ceremony held at Hayden Lord Park - 1661 Andrews Avenue South in the Bronx.
About SSBx: Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) is a non-profit that works to address economic and environmental issues in the South Bronx -- and throughout New York City -- through a combination of green job training, community greening programs, and social enterprise.
Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner represents the 77th Assembly District, which includes the Claremont, Concourse, Highbridge, Mount Eden and Morris Heights sections of The Bronx.
New York, NY (May 17, 2017) – The HOPE Program (HOPE), a highly effective nonprofit which empowers New Yorkers to build brighter futures through training, jobs and career advancement, hosted its 6th annual “A Taste of HOPE” fundraiser on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 6:00pm at The Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan. This sold-out event raised nearly $450,000 in support for HOPE's programs and attracted upwards of 400 people from food purveyors to HOPE corporate supporters and non-profit partners. Billed as an evening of “Tastes, Toasts and Transformations,” this event is the organization’s signature fundraiser.
This year’s event honored Macquarie Group and its Head of Asset Management, Shemara Wikramanayake, who also serves as Chair of Macquarie Group Foundation, for the firm’s longstanding and strong partnership with HOPE. Ms. Wikramanayke, who has been with Macquarie Group for 30 years, has been a champion for the organization through her leadership of the Macquarie Group Foundation.
“We are grateful for our partnership with Macquarie Group and the Foundation. Their efforts have been far and wide, and always impactful. From mock interviews to internships to providing professional clothing for our students attending job interviews, Macquarie’s support has contributed to HOPE’s strong job placement and retention results,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of The HOPE Program. “A Taste of HOPE” gives us an opportunity to celebrate our success and share stories from students, graduates, partners and staff that embody our mission and impact our community.”
Macquarie Group and Ms. Wikramanayke added, “The Macquarie Group Foundation is proud to be a long standing supporter of The HOPE Program and their work to empower New Yorkers living in poverty to achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and career advancement.”
Barbara Lupo was also honored with HOPE’s prestigious Founder’s Award for her 20 years of service.
This year’s Hero for HOPE sponsors include Sidley Austin LLP, Stradley Ronon, financial communications firm Prosek Partners, and many others. The Sustainable Supporter sponsors this year include Nancy & Anthony Bowe, Kirk Palmer Associates, Gabrielle Levin & Keith Gross, Tactix Real Estate Advisors, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and additional partners.
The evening promises delectable tastes and toasts from 20-plus local bakeries, caterers, restaurants and other food and beverage companies. All of these partners are dedicated to HOPE’s mission of providing hardworking New Yorkers with opportunities to secure meaningful work. This year’s vendor roster includes Bonbite, Bronx Beer Hall, Brooklyn Bangers, Brooklyn Brine, Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, Butterbeans, Catskill Provisions, Chelsea Market Baskets, Empanology, Evelyn’s Kitchen, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, GuS, Il Forno Bakery, Indiana Market & Catering, Lavo, Li-Lac Chocolates, Magnolia Bakery, Melt, Mike’s Deli, Neuman’s Kitchen, Russ & Daughters, The Vine Collective and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Many of these event participants, such as Neuman’s Kitchen, also employ numerous HOPE students and graduates after they complete HOPE’s innovative FOODworks program, launched in 2010, which prepares jobseekers with skills needed for careers in the burgeoning food industry. In addition, The HOPE Program offers curriculum to prepare New Yorkers for various industries from green construction and maintenance to office/clerical, retail and others.
The organization will also be celebrating its first full successful year of its integration as the parent organization of Sustainable South Bronx, which has expanded HOPE’s impact by 50% to 450 individuals served, and has enabled HOPE’s expansion to the green jobs sector.
HOPE continues to be recognized, both locally and nationally, for its distinguished work in the New York City community. HOPE maintains some of the strongest job placement and job retention results in the field at 73% and 75%, respectively. In 2016, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC selected HOPE to join the Connections to Care Partnership, one of only 15 nonprofits citywide. Also in 2016, HOPE was selected as a semifinalist for the prestigious New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
Nearly 95 percent of event proceeds will be invested directly into The HOPE Program.
HOPE is very proud to be one of only eleven organizations selected as a 2016 semifinalist for the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York's prestigious Nonprofit Excellence Awards! Read the full press release here.
NEW YORK, January 25, 2016 – Today, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis, Council Member Jumaane Williams, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, The HOPE Program Executive Director Jennifer Mitchell, National Employment Law Project Program Director Paul Sonn, Community Service Society of New York President and Chief Executive Officer David Jones, VOCAL-NY member Andre Centeno, and Riverside Church Senior Minister Emeritus Rev. Dr. James Forbes met with job seekers with criminal histories at The HOPE Program in Brooklyn to inform them of their rights under the New York City Human Rights Law, including recently added criminal and credit history protections.
Commissioner Malalis announced that investigations into criminal history discrimination quadrupled in 2015, with 77 new investigations compared to 12 in 2014. Overall, employment discrimination-related investigations accounted for more than half of all new investigations opened at the Commission (or 53 percent) in 2015. The Commission also demonstrated its continued commitment to educating businesses and workers about their rights under the law. In 2015, the Commission educated millions of New Yorkers, including businesses, about their rights and obligations. The Commission also announced partnerships with city businesses associations to encourage business owners to develop equitable employment practices.
“Every New Yorker deserves a fair chance at employment, regardless of their background,” said Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The job seekers we met today prove that those with barriers to employment deserve an opportunity at an economic future. The Commission aggressively investigate and prosecute all employment discrimination complaints and work with employers to ensure that everyone in New York City enjoys the same rights and opportunities under the Law.”
The Fair Chance Act, which makes it illegal for both public and private employers in New York City to inquire about a job applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made, was added to the Law in June and went into effect in October 2015. The previous month, the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of credit history went into effect. Together, these laws make New York City’s Human Rights Law one of the strongest in the nation in protecting workers against discrimination.
Two graduates of The HOPE Program — a group that empowers New Yorkers facing employment challenges through job training, placement and career advancement — spoke about how the Fair Chance Act helped them overcome barriers to employment. Alysha Lopac, 44 of Brooklyn, served three years in prison for a marijuana felony. Today, she is employed at a pet daycare.
“I’ve made some mistakes — haven’t we all — but I have so much to offer as an employee and a member of this community,” said HOPE graduate Alysha Lopac. “Now, there’s one less barrier to me proving it. I’d like to thank HOPE for their help and the City for the Fair Chance Act.”
“When I was younger, I thought that criminal behavior was the way to live,” said HOPE graduate Clyde Williams, 59 of Brooklyn. “I was into guns and drugs. I’m not proud of any of it. I’m standing here today celebrating nearly a year of full-time employment with benefits at a leading food establishment. I’m excited about the Fair Chance Act. My felonies don’t hold me back in the workplace. I put everything I have into the job as though the restaurant were my own.”
The Commission has educated millions of New Yorkers on their rights and obligations under the Fair Chance Act through an aggressive public outreach campaign that includes multilingual ads in subways, newspapers, and on ethnic and community radio stations. The Commission is also working with business communities through workshops and one-on-one trainings to ensure that employers understand their obligations under the law. The Commission has an ongoing collaboration with business associations like the Partnership for New York City, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and other stakeholders to ensure widespread compliance. In 2015, the Commission held more than 300 in-person workshops for employees and business owners to learn about new protections under the Law. For more information on how to sign up for trainings, visit nyc.gov/humanrights.
“The Fair Chance Act is one of the strongest Ban the Box laws in the nation,” said Council Member and Council Deputy Leader Jumaane D. Williams. “It ensures that all New Yorkers, including those with convictions for previous mistakes, have an equal opportunity to compete for jobs they qualify for. I applaud the Commission’s effort in aggressively enforcing this law and look forward to strengthening other employment protections.”
“We’re all better off when every New Yorker is free to build a better future,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The Fair Chance Act ensures that qualified workers get their foot in the door and are considered for their skills, not their past. I was proud to have sponsored this bill in partnership with Council Member Williams, and am thrilled to see that it’s being properly enforced.”
Under the Fair Chance Act, if the employer does not wish to hire a candidate based on criminal history after a conditional offer of employment has been made, the employer is required to provide the person with an analysis of the relationship between the person’s conviction record and the job, as well as a copy of the person’s criminal history considered by the employer. Employers are also required to keep the job open for three days to provide the candidate with an opportunity to respond to such information. To help businesses comply with the law, the Commission developed legal guidance, fact sheets, and a Fair Chance Notice Form on which employers can perform the required analysis.
“The HOPE Program was founded over 30 years ago with a firm belief in second chances,” said HOPE Program Executive Director Jennifer Mitchell, “We empower New Yorkers facing multiple challenges through job training, placement and career advancement. When our graduates, particularly those who have been involved with the criminal justice system, secure meaningful employment, they build brighter futures for themselves and contribute to stronger communities. We are so appreciative of the City's increased commitment to empowering all New Yorkers, regardless of their backgrounds, to get back to work."
“A criminal record should not mean a lifetime of unemployment and no chance at a decent job,” said VOCAL-NY Political Director Alyssa Aguilera. “The Fair Chance Act gives job seekers an opportunity to be evaluated on their qualifications first, and their criminal records later - providing people with records an opportunity to compete for jobs without being unfairly discriminated against. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for championing this important issue that will help millions of New Yorkers find work.”
“The new law is helping ensure that every qualified job applicant has a fair chance at a job, and help mitigate the stigma of a record,” said National Employment Law Project Executive Director Christine Owens. “Now that the Fair Chance Act is the law, we are pleased to see that the Commission is both enforcing aggressively and making sure that workers and employers are aware of their rights and responsibilities under it,”
“The Community Service Society applauds the Commission for its uncompromising enforcement of the Fair Chance Act,” said Community Service Society President and Chief Executive Officer David R. Jones. “The Act has only been effective for three months, but it has literally changed the conversation: when the criminal record question is removed from the initial stages of the process, employers evaluate applicants on their merits, and we are seeing results. We thank the Mayor and the City Council for their support of this groundbreaking law.”
Exempted from the law are positions with public and private employers that require criminal background checks by law, along with several City positions, including those at the Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Corrections, and Department of Probation and certain tittles identified by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
Employers, job applicants, and employees can visit the Commission’s website at www.nyc.gov/fairchancenyc to download a copy of the Fair Chance Notice Form, the Legal Enforcement Guidance, and fact sheets for employers and potential or current employees. Also available is information about weekly events and instructions on how to file a complaint at the Commission. Informational brochures are available in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Haitian Creole, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, Korean, and Arabic.
If members of the public believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of a criminal history or credit, or are being asked for criminal or consumer credit history during the application process, they can call 311 and ask for the Commission on Human Rights to discuss their situation and set up a meeting with a Law Enforcement Bureau attorney.
The HOPE Program and Sustainable South Bronx Partner to Empower More Low-Income New Yorkers Striving for Self-Sufficiency
NEW YORK, October 13, 2015 - The HOPE Program (HOPE), a workforce development organization providing training, jobs and career advancement to New York City residents, and Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), also a workforce nonprofit, have announced a formal strategic partnership strongly supported by both organizations’ Boards of Directors. The Bronx and Brooklyn – where SSBx and HOPE are based – are the boroughs with the highest unemployment rates in the City, each with hundreds of thousands of low-income residents seeking employment.
The partnership, which has received support from organizations like Robin Hood, New York City’s largest poverty-fighting organization and a significant funder of both organizations, represents the efforts of two of the City’s leading workforce development organizations to expand geographically and to share best practices in order to train more New Yorkers for career pathways in high-demand sectors, while simultaneously contributing to a greener New York.
“We are thrilled that HOPE and Sustainable South Bronx, both innovative workforce programs with complementary strengths and geographic footprints, are joining forces,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of HOPE. “Our collective efforts will result in more robust training and career opportunities for our city’s residents actively seeking meaningful employment.”
Citing the importance of generating employment opportunities for low-income communities in the City, Ira W. De Camp Foundation, Macquarie Group, the New York Merger, Acquisition, and Collaboration Fund, Bronx Pro Real Estate, Goldman Sachs, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Seward & Kissel LLP and generous individual supporters were instrumental in the development of the partnership.
HOPE, which is celebrating its 30th year of empowering New Yorkers from across the City to overcome acute employment challenges, has long-term job retention rates among the highest in the field, as reported by a recent national Workforce Benchmarking Network survey.
Founded in 2001, SSBx empowers residents of the South Bronx and other neighborhoods through job training with a focus on green construction and building operations/maintenance, social enterprise, and environmental stewardship. SSBx won a New York City Department of Small Business Services’ Workforce Innovation Award, which honors organizations that are “pioneering a creative and effective approach to workforce development.”
Mitchell will serve as the Executive Director of the combined entity. She has over 15 years’ experience leading highly effective workforce development programming and a background in environmental policy. She currently serves on the Board Executive Committee of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition.
“HOPE’s track record with long-term job retention for New Yorkers across the five boroughs, a true indicator of lasting change for trainees, coupled with SSBx’s deep-rooted knowledge in a growing high-wage sector, will ensure that the individuals we serve will receive the support and resources they need. At the same time, we are helping to address the City’s critical environmental needs,” shared Michael Brotchner, Executive Director of SSBx, who has transitioned to an advisory role.
The combined entity will fuel the further growth of SmartRoofs, LLC, the social enterprise of SSBx. SmartRoofs enables graduates of SSBx’s job training program to earn income through the business’s contracts to maintain green roofs, perform landscaping services, and conduct other environmental projects throughout the city. The combined entity will also work closely with New York City’s Department of Small Business Services to implement the NYC CoolRoofs program, which provides transitional employment opportunities to Workforce1 clients who apply reflective coatings that increase building energy efficiency to rooftops across the city.
In the short term, both organizations will operate under their current names.
Please contact Jennifer Mitchell at email@example.com for more information.
About The HOPE Program and SSBx
HOPE empowers New Yorkers living to lift themselves out of poverty through training, jobs and career advancement. HOPE’s strength lies in our comprehensive and innovative programming, our evidence-based and employer-driven approach, and the transformative learning environment we offer to every New Yorker who walks through our doors.
HOPE offers two programs that provide a similar range of services and are tailored for different career trajectories. HOPEworks prepares students for diverse positions such as clerical, animal care, maintenance, social services and others, giving students the ability to explore career paths and develop a variety of job skills. FOODworks provides contextualized training for the growing food industry.
Sustainable South Bronx addresses economic and environmental issues in the South Bronx – and throughout New York City – through a combination of green job training and social enterprise.
Each academic year, SSBx offers two 14-week sessions of full-time training, serving approximately 60 men and women. Students first complete a series of core courses, including techniques to increase energy efficiency in homes, building maintenance, green technologies (e.g., solar power), retrofitting, lighting efficiency, insulation, and air sealing. Then students choose one of two tracks on which to focus the remainder of their studies: construction or building systems.
SSBx also operates SmartRoofs, LLC, an environmental social enterprise that creates transitional green jobs to training graduates, who gain valuable job experience while simultaneously earning income.
“Combining the strengths of the two organizations will directly help more New Yorkers get into good jobs and move up career pathways. Adding the green jobs sector training to the HOPE portfolio of programs offers an additional career pathway for HOPE participants, and those in the Sustainable South Bronx green jobs program will have the opportunity to take advantage of the comprehensive services that HOPE offers.” - Mary Ellen Clark, Executive Director, New York City Employment and Training Coalition
"The partnership between The HOPE Program (HOPE) and Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) will help individuals build the skills they need for their careers and help them secure meaningful employment. This partnership will focus on improving our environment through job training programs on maintaining green roofs, landscaping services, and environmental projects throughout the city. The programs will help create new green jobs and stimulate our economy. I thank HOPE and SSBx and look forward to seeing this partnership implemented." - Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council Environmental Protection Committee
“New York City’s Office of Workforce Development is deeply invested in expanding access to quality jobs in high-demand sectors, and we are excited to see new strategic partnerships to support Career Pathways.” - Katy Gaul-Stigge, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development
“Too many communities across our City are still struggling with stubbornly high unemployment rates. This new partnership will go a long way to help connect New Yorkers in Brooklyn and the Bronx to the good jobs they need to get out of poverty. Our City only grows strong when we grow together, and I commend the HOPE Program and Sustainable South Bronx for their important work.” - Letitia James, New York City Public Advocate
“Job training and educational support are key to helping low-income New Yorkers build the skills they need to start fulfilling careers and support their families. I have seen the lasting positive impact that The HOPE Program has had on the lives of participants from my district year after year. The partnership between The HOPE Program and SSBx promises to bring together these proven strategies forworkforce development and a deep knowledge of the growing environmental sector. Training New Yorkers in valuable employment skills and connecting them to sought-after green jobs that make our city more resilient and sustainable is a win all around and I look forward to this partnership’s success.” – Stephen Levin, New York City Council, 33rd District
"We are pleased to have played a small part in making this transaction happen. By coming together HOPE and SSBx will help more people than they could have alone." – John MacIntosh, Partner, SeaChange Capital Partners
“The partnership formed by The HOPE Program (HOPE) and Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), will have considerable benefits for our residents, especially Bronxites. Together, via this concerted effort, these organizations will be able to enhance the work they already do—bridging the skills gap for New Yorkers. As a representative of a county (Bronx) with the highest unemployment rate in the state of New York, I am encouraged that this joint venture that will help our residents prepare for gainful employment, which will stimulate local economic development.” – Annabel Palma, New York City Council, 18th District
“Robin Hood is proud to be a 20-year partner of The HOPE Program, one of the most dynamic and effective workforce organizations in the city. We are excited to be part of the organization’s expansion to the Bronx and this opportunity for HOPE to lift many more New Yorkers out of poverty. “ – Eric Weingartner, Managing Director, Survival, Robin Hood Foundation
HOPE students and graduates celebrated successful completion of training and internships, new jobs, career advancement and brighter futures
On Tuesday, June 23, The HOPE Program was joined by hundreds of HOPE students, graduates and community members for their 30th Anniversary Graduation Ceremony. Steven Banks, Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration gave the keynote address. Special guests included Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams and New York City Councilmember for the 33rd District, Stephen Levin.
The HOPE Program is a leading workforce development organization serving men and women facing significant challenges throughout New York City. HOPE ranks in the top 20 percent of organizations nationwide with regard to long-term job retention. The organization has recently received the Macquarie Group Foundation’s inaugural David Clarke Fellowship in the United States, Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder Award and the New York Association for Training and Employment Professionals Workforce Program Award.
“Graduation is my favorite night of the year. Our students and graduates have faced so many roadblocks – cycles of poverty, histories of incarceration, substance abuse and homelessness, including long gaps in employment, but tonight, we celebrate their persistence, their grit, and their determination to set a new course for their lives,” said Jennifer Mitchell, HOPE’s Executive Director. “We are celebrating their futures. The presence of our government officials on this occasion reflects the importance of this success not only to our graduates and their families, but to our entire community.”
Keynote speaker, Human Resources Administration commissioner, Steven Banks said, “The HOPE Program provides knowledge and experience through skills training to empower individuals to obtain employment and build sustainable careers leading to financial independence. I am proud to join HOPE graduates as they embark on bright futures and continued success.”
Steve Levin echoed these remarks. “The HOPE Program proves that with support and access to training and education, New Yorkers can overcome the most trying of circumstances to achieve fulfilling careers and stability for their families. I applaud this year’s graduates for their inspiring success and courage in the face of adversity.”
HOPE graduates were awarded for completing internships, securing jobs and reaching job retention milestones of 90 days, one year and three years. Special awards included: HOPE’s Referral Partner Award to Odyssey House; Award for Advancement in Computer Skills to Christopher Guevara; the Carol Shen Award for Academic Excellence to Anderson Tavares; and the Board of Directors’ Award for Career Advancement to Tiffany Womber.
Roger Duran, a 26 year-old man who was once facing up to five years in prison, received an award for one year of job retention. “HOPE taught me how to use the skills I learned on the street positively. I learned how to sell my strengths instead of selling drugs,” said Duran.
The stage was set even before we arrived at the lavish Prince George Ballroom situated between the wast and west sides of town. Awaiting us inside, was a 4th Annual extravaganza of eats that would also commemorate thirty years of success for a local nonprofit organization. Just outside the glamorous venue’s front doors though, would sit Snowday, a food truck handing out richly prepared “Maple Glazed Grilled Cheese Sandwiches,” serving as a delicious preamble to the mouthwatering menu of dishes being doled out inside as The HOPE Program would host the 2015 ‘A Taste of HOPE.’
Read the full story on LocalBozo.
Fellowship Allows for Global-Scale Research on Best Practices in Social Innovation
New York, NY, November, 20, 2014– The HOPE Program (HOPE) has been awarded the first-ever David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship bestowed by The Macquarie Group Foundation in the United States, the organizations announced today. Valued at $20,000, the Fellowship encourages CEOs/Executive Directors of not-for-profit organizations to visit and research best-practice social innovation around the world.
Through the David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship, HOPE will research innovative and successful global social enterprises focused on environmental workforce development, which strongly aligns with HOPE’s current mission and future plans here in New York City. Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of HOPE, who has been involved in the workforce development field for more than 15 years, will be representing the organization.
“The David Clarke Fellowship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the world and figure out how best practices abroad can impact HOPE, the people we serve and the greater New York City community. I am so thrilled and I look forward to sharing my learning when I return,” says Mitchell, who holds an MPA in Social Welfare Policy from Columbia University and a BA in Sociology and Environmental Policy from SUNY Binghamton.
Michael McLaughlin, US Country Head for Macquarie, said, “On behalf of the Macquarie Group Foundation, I’d like to congratulate Fellowship winner Jennifer Mitchell of HOPE and commend her for her long-standing commitment to delivering innovative programming to address poverty in New York City. We look forward to hearing about her research upon her return.”
The Macquarie Group Foundation established the Fellowship in 2012 as a tribute to its former chairman, the late David Clarke, AO, who was one of the pioneers of corporate philanthropy in Australia. The Macquarie David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship builds on Macquarie Group Foundation’s long-standing commitment to social innovation.
HOPE's Fellowship application was informed by:
- Revegetate, an emerging organization founded through a social enterprise competition through leading Australian nonprofit, The Big Issue to develop a business model to train out-of-work Australians to build vertical gardens;
- Partners of Resource Recovery who have successfully established waste recycling operations while simultaneously generating training and job opportunities;
- JobsFutures LTD, a membership organization with significant insights on workforce development across Australia and winner of a federal Green Army grant to partner on hundreds of greening projects across the country.
- Futures Housing Group, a supportive housing organization in the UK that operates Futures Greenscape to provide six-month job placements to unemployed individuals, helping them develop new skills and re-enter the job market; and
- Bryson Charitable Group, Northern Ireland's largest social enterprise with a recycling program which provides jobs to low-skilled men and women as curbside recyclers.
Holder Endorses Eastern District Alternatives to Prison
New York Law Journal, October 31st, 2014
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said Thursday that alternative-to-incarceration programs taking root in the Eastern District of New York are "emblematic" of the sort of specialized programs that the nation needs in order to address overincarceration within the federal criminal justice system.
Addressing participants of the Pretrial Opportunity Program and Special Options Services program—as well as prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges—Holder said, "We will never as a nation be able to incarcerate ourselves to better outcomes, a stronger nation or brighter futures. Instead we need to make smart choices and smart investments that will help individuals get on the right path and stay out of the criminal justice system."
Speaking in the Eastern District's packed ceremonial courtroom during a special recognition of the programs, Holder, the outgoing attorney general, also mentioned the Department of Justice's Smart on Crime Initiative, an effort announced in 2013.
Holder said the Eastern District's Pretrial Opportunity Program, a drug court launched in 2012, and the Special Options Services Program for young offenders, in its current form since 2013, were "emblematic of the innovative, data-driven approach that lies at the heart of the Smart On Crime initiative."
Both programs are the first of their kind in the federal system to offer defendants presentence supervision that includes direct and repeated judicial involvement.
Meanwhile, all four New York federal districts have run re-entry programs where judges are involved in the post-sentence monitoring of defendants.
Such "problem-solving" courts have been a feature of the New York state criminal justice system for years. The first drug court was established in 1995 in Rochester City Court. The state has launched similar courts, including mental health courts, community courts, veterans courts and human trafficking courts.
The Pretrial Opportunity Program was established in January 2012. Participants must be non-violent offenders with documented substance abuse problems whose charges appear to have arisen from their addictions. They cannot have played some sort of managerial or leadership role in drug operations.
Judge John Gleeson (See Profile) and Chief Magistrate Judge Steven Gold (See Profile) preside over the program in Brooklyn. Judge Joanna Seybert (See Profile) and Magistrate Judge Gary Brown (See Profile) preside in Central Islip.
So far, the program has had about two dozen participants with 12 graduates. Five got probation with a felony on their records, three were allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanors, and three ended up with deferred prosecutions. One ran afoul of requirements and ended up with a prison sentence.
In the Special Options Services program, participants have to be age 25 or below and have been charged with low-level nonviolent offenses, though they don't have to be first-time offenders. Judge Jack Weinstein (See Profile) thought up the program in 2000. For years, the program operated solely under the Pretrial Services Department. In 2013, it was overhauled to inject judicial involvement into the program.
Magistrate Judges Joan Azrack (See Profile) and Cheryl Pollak (See Profile) meet monthly with participants. Since they became involved, the program has had 31 participants. Three have been sentenced to probation and several others are coming up for disposition.
Since January, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has provided pro bono civil legal services to participants in the Eastern District's alternative to incarceration and re-entry program. Youth Represent, an advocacy and defense nonprofit organization, also provides legal services to Special Options Services participants.
During Thursday's ceremony, Gleeson—who has been vocal about flaws in the nation's sentencing laws—called the programs a "small but very important part of the answer" to overincarceration, noting that federal courts have been "woefully late to the table."
Gleeson acknowledged a difference in federal and state criminal caseloads, noting a smaller proportion of lower-level federal cases that could be eligible for diversion. Still, he added, "Make no mistake about it, it's significant."
An Eastern District report in April said that "even at this early juncture, we are confident that our presentence alternative to incarceration courts—–the POP and SOS programs—have been successful," as well as the Eastern District's re-entry court.
Before Holder spoke, the audience heard stories from participants on how the programs changed their lives.
One, named Jasmine, said when she was arrested in June 2012, she thought her life "stopped before it started." With the Special Options Services Program, Jasmine said she had "gone from being a dreamer to being a doer."
David Rottman, principal court research consultant at the National Center for State Courts, said federal courts have "lagged behind" in diversion programs and that state courts were "more able organizationally to create these courts."
Compared to three or four years ago, Rottman said,"we now have a good idea with research on what makes it possible" for programs to decrease recidivism and combat substance abuse. "In large part, it's due to the quality of interactions between judges and defendants or between offenders and people they work with in diversion programs."
The event occurred as speculation mounts on who will be tapped as Holder's successor.
According to media reports, Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, is one of the candidates in the running.
She attended the event, wearing a blazer with some orange accents.
When Eastern District Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon (See Profile) introduced Holder, she noted he was serving as the nation's 82nd attorney general.
"We all hope the eighty third attorney general is also in this room. Someone who may be wearing a little orange," she said, prompting laughs.
Among other attendees were Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bahrara, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.