Founded by Eleanor Josaitis and the late Fr. William Cunningham, Focus: HOPE has been helping Detroiters for 41 years. Today, on a cool but sunny day, over a thousand took part in the 35th annual walk for the charity. The 4 mile event was expected to raise $100,000 to help with education and training programs, community development, and a food bank.
Today’s walk launched a new neighborhood initiative, as well. The HOPE Village Initiative aims to provide services to children and their families.
After the 1967 Detroit riots, Focus:HOPE looked into discriminatory pricing on food and prescription drugs between the city and its suburbs. The findings, published in a report, showed Detroiters paid more for these essential goods. In response, the charity designed a supplemental food program to offset the effects of malnutrition on childhood development.
Its Machinist Training Institute, launched in 1981, represents Focus:HOPE’s more profound impact on the community. With over 2,400 graduates, the Institute has allowed thousands to improve their lives and livelihoods. In light of the failure of Detroit Public Schools, Focus:HOPE has programs to help school kids with their reading and math skills. They’ve added the Center for Advanced Technologies, partnered with universities in engineering, and the Information Technologies Center, which provides networking training.
To me, Focus:HOPE is a Detroit gem. It’s mission is to break down racial barriers and help Detroiters improve their lives. It methodology is by lending a helping hand and developing skills. Handouts are the exception at Focus:HOPE.