Assemblywoman Joyner Announces $140,000 Grant for Key Bronx Economic Development Initiative

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. 



6th Annual A Taste of HOPE Exceeds Expectations!

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.

More information on HOPE, volunteer opportunities and on “A Taste of HOPE” can be found on its website, Facebook or Twitter.

Nearly 95 percent of event proceeds will be invested directly into The HOPE Program.

NYC Commission on Human Rights, Elected Officials, Clergy, and Advocates Met with HOPE About the Fair Chance Act

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


“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 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.  


For more information, visit and follow @NYCCHR on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

HOPE Expands to the Bronx!

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 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

HRA Commissioner, Brooklyn Borough President, and Councilman Attend HOPE's 30th Anniversary Graduation Ceremony!


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 HOPE Program Exceeds Goals at 2015 A Taste of HOPE


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.


The HOPE Program Awarded Prestigious Fellowship Opportunity from Macquarie

David Clarke Fellowship.jpg

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. 


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Congratulates HOPE Graduates!


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.

Read more:

HOPE Graduate, Abraham Padin, Wins Mayor's Dads Matter Award


“This day is a gift,” said Errol Greene, father of two.

He, and 400 other guests, came to Gracie Mansion Thursday to celebrate the 4th Annual NYC DADS Matter Awards, which honors ten men who have overcome obstacles and become outstanding fathers. Greene was an honoree in2011, the first year of the award. The Mayor’s Fatherhood Initiative launched in 2010 with four goals: to remove barriers that fathers may face in interacting with City agencies; to make all City agencies as “father friendly” as possible; to assist in the creation of memorable moments between fathers and their children; and to support fathers as they increase their capacity to be good dads.

“I am so happy for the fathers who are going to be honored today.  It’s going to make them feel great,” Greene said. “Coming to the Mayor’s house, be honored for being a dad and get a meal? Can’t beat that.”

This year’s event, hosted by Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, honored ten dads from across the city: Mohammed Akram, Barrington Barrett, Terrence Brummel, Robert Graham, Mynor Escobar, Jason Greene, Marco Martinez, Bruce Parker, Abraham Padin and Andre Harrison.

Mayor de Blasio spoke about the difficulties these men have risen above to be where they are now. Mr. Harrison, from Staten Island, has had to raise his three sons as a single father. He has made it his purpose, having written a book on the subject, and starting an organization that supports dads.  Mr. Escobar became a father when he was just 16-years-old. He has climbed up from being a dishwasher to a chef, and has overseen his children’s education and overall development.  All of the fathers honored have made incredible strides forward to make for better lives for their kids, which everyone under the tent could appreciate.

“The most profound thing I have ever done is to raise our children,” said Mayor De Blasio. “It has been a sacred calling.” The Mayor and First Lady both spoke about their own fathers as well as their experiences as parents. They emphasized the advantages of relying on each other through difficulties they faced as parents, as well as the joy of sharing important experiences together. Mayor de Blasio faced challenges of having an absent father while the First Lady praised her father for being there for her even if he was not outwardly affectionate.

The audience laughed knowingly when Mayor de Blasio joked that he and the First Lady were “recovering middle school parents.” He announced that he plans on guaranteeing free after school programs for middle school students in the next two years.

The crowd was treated to hot dogs, hamburgers and other picnic fare. Terrence Brummel, one of the 2014 honorees, seemed to be smiling the entire evening.  “This is great,” Mr. Brummel said.  “We’re mentoring other men to be better dads. That is what this is all about.”

HOPE selected as 2013 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder


The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has named The HOPE Program (HOPE) a 2013 Neighborhood Builders® award recipient. The Neighborhood Builders initiative is a strategic investment that couples leadership training with a $200,000 unrestricted grant for high-performing nonprofits that have made a significant impact addressing community development, critical needs or workforce development and education. Through the award, nonprofit leaders gain valuable skills and the freedom to apply funding where it is needed most.

Headquartered in Brooklyn, HOPE helps New Yorkers prepare to find, keep and grow their careers. The organization blends vocational, educational and social services with a lifetime commitment to success. HOPE provides training in literacy, math, computer skills, workplace communications, stress management, customer service and other essential skills for job development.

HOPE will be dedicating funds from the grant to the evaluation and potential growth of a pilot program, Retail and Beyond, which will extend the reach of their job preparedness courses into the booming retail industry. The program will leverage the success of their first sector-specific program in the food industry, GROCERYworks, and industry trends of stability and growth in the retail sector. The grant will also allow HOPE to grow its team of employment specialists who assist program members in finding and retaining employment.

“HOPE has some of the highest job placement and retention rates in the industry,” said Jeff Barker, New York City president, Bank of America. “This award will allow them to have an even greater impact, which will benefit communities throughout the city.”

“As Bank of America is a known leader in corporate philanthropy and strategic investments, we are honored to be a partner and a Neighborhood Builder. At HOPE, we pride ourselves on our legacy of data to drive personal transformations. Bank of America’s significant resources and training opportunities will build on this history and move HOPE forward as an organization, enabling us to have an even deeper and longer-lasting impact on New Yorkers living in poverty,” said HOPE’s Executive Director, Jennifer Mitchell.

According to the Bridgespan Group, Neighborhood Builders is the largest investment in nonprofit leadership development, 2.5 times the next largest program in spending and the third largest in number of leaders served. Through the program, now in its tenth year, Bank of America has invested $160 million in 800 nonprofit organizations and provided training to 1,600 nonprofit leaders. Neighborhood Builders furthers the company’s broader philanthropic commitment to addressing core issues that are critical to the economic vitality of local economies, with a particular focus on low- and moderate-income communities.

HOPE Wins 2013 New York Association of Employment and Training Professionals Award


The New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals Honors Two Exceptional Workforce Professionals, One Results-Driven Training Program, and Launches their Youth Success Website Focused on Youth Employment in NYS.

Today, the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP) honored three exceptional leaders in the field of workforce development. The awards luncheon was held in conjunction with NYATEP’s annual fall conference, at the Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs November 18-20, 2013, for workforce development professionals from across the Northeast.

This year’s conference includes workshops on exceptional programs and ideas that address the urgent need for quality education and job training, and providing responsive services to New York’s employers.

"We are delighted to honor today three incredibly deserving workforce leaders for their dedication to all New Yorkers," said Laura Quigley, NYATEP Board President, and Director of the Workforce Development Board of Sullivan County. "Each honoree has shown their commitment to the field countless times, and in a time of dwindling resources these innovators deserve to be lauded by their peers for their continued accomplishments."

Ms. Tara Colton, Associate Vice President for Policy and Planning at FEGS was awarded the Statewide Workforce Leadership Award; Mr. David Mathis, Oneida County Workforce Development was awarded the Workforce Leadership Award and The Hope Program, received the Workforce Program Award. The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Jeff Lawrence, Executive Vice President at the Center for Economic Growth.

"I am deeply honored to receive the NYATEP 2013 Statewide Leadership Award for developing the Know Before You Enroll campaign, which sounded the alarm about predatory training providers taking advantage of New Yorkers who are nothing more than genuinely eager to improve their skills," said Tara Colton, "Too many New Yorkers have spent time, money, energy, and most importantly hope on useless degrees that plunged them into debt and did little to improve their job prospects. I am proud that our campaign’s core messages – to do your research, trust your gut, and know your rights – helped many New Yorkers avoid the same fate.

2013 Workforce Program Award Honoree
The HOPE Program empowers New Yorkers living in poverty to achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and advancement, in Brooklyn, NY. HOPE enrolls 250 new students each year and serves hundreds of additional graduates in its job retention and career advancement services. HOPE works primarily with individuals facing significant barriers to employment yet, still have achieved the following results: 72% job placement among graduates (76% full-time & 60% jobs-with-benefits rate); 89% 90-day retention; and 74% one-year job retention.