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Successful Hope Program celebrates 30 years with gala featuring fare from top restaurants

May 6, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jennifer Mitchell, executive director of HOPE. Photos courtesy of The HOPE Program
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As a part of its 30th anniversary year celebrations, The HOPE Program (HOPE), a Brooklyn-based career development organization for disadvantaged New Yorkers, will host its annual “A Taste of HOPE” fundraiser on Tuesday, May 12 at 6 p.m. at the Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan.  The event is expected to attract upwards of 300 people, including local luminaries and politicians.

The HOPE Program’s signature evening of tastes, toasts and transformations brings guests a night of inspiration and fun while indulging in award-winning food and beverages provided by 38 local New York City businesses. This year’s restaurants and food vendor roster includes Neuman’s Kitchen, Shake Shack, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Jimmy’s No. 43, Financier and Chickpea & Olive, to name a few.

Many of these event participants also employ numerous HOPE students and graduates at their businesses after they complete HOPE’s innovative FOODworks program, launched in 2010.  FOODworks prepares jobseekers for careers in the growing food industry through a combination of classroom instruction and real-life application. The program has remained strong as indicated by a 77 percent placement rate and 91 percent 90-day retention for the 2013 cohort.

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“For 30 years now, The HOPE Program has been providing services to New Yorkers across the city, and we are thrilled to gather again this spring at ‘A Taste of HOPE’ to celebrate our students, staff, partners and volunteers,” said Jennifer Mitchell, HOPE’s executive director. “This annual event is one of the most exciting at HOPE as it brings together not only our HOPE family, but introduces many other New Yorkers to our program and incredible students.”

Attendees will hear from HOPE graduates to learn about how this initiative has directly impacted their own and their families’ lives. Additionally, Dr. Deborah MacFarlane-Antoine, HOPE founder and president and CEO of New York Junior Tennis and Learning, will receive the inaugural Founders Award. She launched HOPE 30 years ago and remains committed to its mission to this day. 

“The HOPE Program provides invaluable resources to people every day, and its impact can be felt around the city in the jobs it creates and lives it changes,” said Dr. MacFarlane-Antoine. “I continue to be inspired by the great work HOPE has done over the past 30 years and am humbled to be receiving such a prestigious honor at this year’s ‘A Taste of HOPE’ event.”

Former board members and active philanthropists Elizabeth Bailey and Richard W. Moore will also be honored at the event.  Bailey, who has volunteered in the community since the age of 15, has been dedicated to HOPE for over 20 years and helped shape the organization into a Class-A program.  Her passion for giving back led to a career change as a social worker in the late ’90s after working as a financial journalist for 25 years.  Similarly, Moore, a lawyer by trade, has an extensive resume of volunteering and philanthropic work with organizations like the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Historical Society.  He committed 15 years of service to HOPE with five of those years as board chair and has been an integral part of the organization’s 30 year track record.

HOPE’s work readiness training programs address the correlation between low literacy, unemployment and poverty.  HOPE’s strength lies in its comprehensive and innovative programming, its evidence-based and employer-driven approach, and the transformative learning environment it offers to every New Yorker who walks through HOPE’s 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. 

More than 90 percent of proceeds from the May 12 event will be re-invested directly in the HOPE Program.  For more information on “A Taste of HOPE,” including registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit


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