In 1968, Father William Cunningham (1930–1997) and Eleanor Josaitis (1931-2011) co-founded Focus: HOPE, an organization dedicated to intelligent and practical solutions to the problems of hunger, economic disparity, inadequate education, and racial divisiveness. Together, they adopted the following mission:
Recognizing the dignity and beauty of every person, we pledge intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty and injustice. And to build a metropolitan community where all people may live in freedom, harmony, trust and affection. Black and white, yellow, brown and red from Detroit and its suburbs of every economic status, national origin and religious persuasion we join in this covenant. —Adopted March 8, 1968
Since their modest beginning 45 years ago, Focus: HOPE has grown to become a nationally renowned civil and human rights organization diligently working to bridge the racial divide in southeast Michigan through their food program,career training programs, and the HOPE Village Initiative.
Through Focus: HOPE’s career training programs,nearly 12,000 talented men and women have established careers that pay sustainable wages. The graduates broke the race and gender barriers in the machinist trades and have helped diversify the workforce in the information technology and engineering areas.
Since the mid-1990s, Focus: HOPE’s community development and community arts programs have improved the quality of life for residents in its surrounding neighborhood. These efforts were expanded in 2009 with the launch of the new HOPE Village Initiative which is committed to supporting academic achievement of children living in the neighborhoods around the campus. Inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone, the HOPE Village Initiative aims to make this area of the city a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.
Focus: HOPE's holistic approach has garnered them numerous citations and awards from federal and state governments, national corporations and private institutions. Since our inception, we have touched the lives of thousands of people and today, we remain committed to our initial mission to pledge intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty and injustice.