Generations of Hope is a non-profit consulting and technical services organization that serves people and organizations with a desire to create intergenerational intentional communities.
We help people with little or no experience as well as those non-profit organizations that bring tons of experience to a project. We partner a full range of nationally known experts to put together a team making us uniquely equipped to help turn a passion into a real working purposeful community.
Your project will depend on a local team and a national team. Over the years we have served a broad mix of private-, public-, and social-sector organizations.
Generations of Hope services are designed to meet specific missions in developing neighborhoods as solutions to specific challenges. While each project is unique, we take a consistent approach to assure that the mission and values of the Generations of Hope philosophy are met.
Grounded in research
Brenda Krause Eheart, a University of Illinois professor of sociology, together with her colleague Martha Bauman Power, spent much of the 1980s researching what happened to “unadoptable” children and adolescents who spend their entire youth being bounced from one foster home to another.
Eheart and Power found that adopting parents were often not equipped to deal with such deeply troubled or chronically ill young people. It wasn’t because these families didn’t want to do the right thing, but they lacked the necessary knowledge and support to succeed.
A different angle
For nearly two years, Eheart and a group of like-minded friends developed a vision for an entire community built around these children. Their dream was to create a place where ‘unadoptable’ children would be adopted by caring parents who would themselves be supported by a small staff, as well as backup adult guardians to provide relief from the stress of dealing with extremely troubled or ill children.
Their research was the driving force behind Generations of Hope (a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation) and Hope Meadows, its first program site, which opened in 1994. Hope’s mission is deceptively simple: to create a diverse intergenerational neighborhood to support families of adopted foster children.
In direct contrast with traditional foster-care programs, Generations of Hope through its work, demonstrated that through community a village becomes a place where adoptive families can get the support and information they need, children can finally find a place to call home, and elders find real purpose and meaning in their everyday lives.
A new departure for social services
Hope Meadows was the first example of what we now refer to as an “intentional neighboring” initiative. This approach puts into action the belief that ordinary people of all ages and abilities can be assets in addressing the difficult challenges facing various vulnerable groups. It is specifically designed to bring people together to form bonds of friendship and, over time, a culture of neighborliness — of kindness, helpfulness, generosity, and consideration.
In 2006, with support from The W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Generations of Hope began working to accelerate the nationwide development of neighborhoods based on the intentional neighboring concept. In addition to the challenge of supporting families who adopt children from the foster care system, the model is being adapted to other groups such as Wounded Warriors, vulnerable young mothers and their children, and adults with developmental disabilities.
Our vision is to enhance the lives of vulnerable populations by tapping the transformative power of intergenerational community living. We do not fund or build new communities. Instead, we encourage the widespread adoption of innovative models of intergenerational living through an open exchange of ideas, and the adaptation and replication of intentional neighboring.
Generations of Hope has been recognized by several national organizations for our work. Learn more here.
We are always looking for people with expertise and ready to meet challenges to be board members. Our board has three broad areas of responsibility: planning and policy development, community and firm development, and, development of fundraising strategies and implementation.
In planning and policy development the Board is constantly testing the mission and vision that charts the future of Generations of Hope. New growth ideas are tested and implementation timelines set in the strategic planning process.
The second area community and firm development drives the board to interact with seniors, susceptible populations and experts to bring new issues, opportunities and needs to the attention of Generations of Hope as an organization. The Board works with the Chief Executive Officer to assure the administrative details are functioning correctly and assisting in the training and development of new board members and staff.
The third area, fund raising and support strategies. Unless otherwise identified by the Board, a Board member is not expected to give money or more than a modicum of time to the implementation of the mission.