A Letter From Russ Gregg, Head of School

Dear Hope Academy Friends,

If you are reading this letter, you are a beloved member of the Hope Academy community. And whether you are a parent, a staff member, a student, volunteer, or a financial partner   in this pivotal moment in the life of our city, we are all in need of the healing power of God.

The last few weeks have been devastating, and I have grieved with the families of our city. My heart has been torn apart by the murder of George Floyd by officers sworn to protect and serve him. I will never forget watching George’s anguished plea for his life under the officer’s knee, and his repeated cry, “I can’t breathe.”

Most of all, I mourn my own sins of prejudice and racism, and my own contributions to George Floyd’s death. I lament my complicity of silence over previous unjust violence towards my neighbors of color, and my misplaced hope that things were improving. As Dr. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

As I’ve sat with our families in the ruins and grieved with them, and prayed and protested for life with them, I am determined to do four things:

    1. I’m Determined to Look.
      I’ve forced myself to watch the horrific 8 minutes and 46 seconds recording of George Floyd’s death, and I am devastated by the defacing of the image of God in a fellow human being. I have visited the 38th memorial site to look upon the pain and anguish of my brothers and sisters.
    2. I’m Determined to Listen.
      Scripture commands us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. I have listened to my fellow African-American spiritual leaders pour out the pain in their hearts over this tragedy. I’ve heard their anger over the silence and indifference of their white brothers. I’ve listened to our parents question the safety of their children. I’ve heard their cries for justice, and pleas for change. I’ve heard the dignifying request of a black man in our city: “I simply want to be able to walk outside my home and not be afraid that I’m going to be attacked by police or die.”
    3. I am Determined to Lament.
      Scripture calls us to mourn with those who mourn. I am on guard against the temptation to move on from this uncomfortable feeling too quickly. The Lord accused the false prophets, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace” (Jer. 8:11). Lament and grief are uncomfortable. Self-examination is painful. It takes time for lament to do its righteous work in the heart.
    4. I am Determined to Lead.
      I believe this is a pivotal moment in my life. In many ways, this is the moment of a lifetime. And what I must do in this defining moment is lead with grace, humility and courage.

Why is this a pivotal moment in the life of Hope Academy?

    1. Only those holding to the creation narrative will be able to see and treasure the image of God stamped on every human being. Seeing one another as highly evolved and sophisticated bags of chemicals will be woefully insufficient to change the prejudice of our hearts. What has outraged our city is the defacing of the image of God in the murder of George Floyd. We who are believers in the creation story must lead the way in hallowing the image of God in all people.
    2. Only those holding to the hope of forgiveness in Christ will also be able to lead in the confession and repentance that is necessary for true reconciliation. Repentance is our true hope. Sin will not win if we repent of it. Ultimately, justice and righteousness will triumph under the redemptive leadership of the Messiah through his followers.
    3. The followers of Jesus have the blood bought hope of reconciliation and the unifying Spirit of God within each of us. Jesus’ death has made us into one new humanity. We are, therefore, Christ’s ambassadors and are compelled to live as agents of biblical reconciliation.
    4. Our mission at Hope Academy is primarily a formational work—a work of forming youth into the character of Christ. We are preparing the next generation of future leaders for just such a time as this. And we, the ones training our students, must continually be re-formed into his image.

How will Hope Academy lead in these days?

    1. We will lead in repentance. We will examine our hearts regularly for the stain of prejudice and arrogance and the love of the approval of men.
    2. We will lead in practicing humility. We will spend more time listening to one aother so that we will not be held captive to the lie of a single story.
    3. We will lead in inviting more Christ-centered, culturally diverse voices into our planning and leadership work.
    4. We will lead by applying the Scriptures faithfully in doing the courageous, kingdom-building work of cultural harmony.
    5. We will lead in taking more risks. Our school is a laboratory of reconciliation and hope. We will experiment, sometimes fail, and then we will try and try and try again to live out the hope arising from the love of God and the reconciling work of Christ.
    6. We will lead by continuing the difficult and necessary work of closing the achievement gap for children of color—whatever the cost. Educational inequity in our city is biblical injustice and grieves the heart of our Lord.
    7. Most importantly, we will lead in demonstrating the forgiveness of Christ. Forgiveness will be the foundation of all the work we will do together to rebuild our community.

As one of our Hope Academy Board Members, Dr. Donna Harris recently said, “We cannot distance ourselves from the battle. Our Christian identity does not provide immunity from the layers of race-related trauma, institutionalized racism, and its effects. Our work is not done! We cannot be silent as silence often signals consent. We must courageously call out our own prejudice, arrogance, and pride, take them to the feet of Jesus, then work diligently toward harmony and peace in the space we own.”

A week ago, our teachers prayed a blessing from our Vision Statement over every one of our Hope Academy graduates. It is a vision that has served us well for 20 years. Over each of them we prayed: “Hope Academy has covenanted with your family to prepare you as a kingdom citizen. Now is your time to work for justice, economic opportunity, racial harmony, hope for the family, and joy in the community. And remember, Jesus came to serve and not be served.”

Now, more than ever, I call on the entire Hope Academy community to let Hope arise!

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90-Second Stories | This Neighbor Became a Supporter

Raised in Guatemala and Miami and having lived in the neighborhood around Hope Academy, watch as one of our Partners provides a unique perspective on how we can help Minneapolis change for the better:

I’m so encouraged by the army of people I see investing in the youth of our city, and pray hundreds more like you will be inspired to join this work.

7 simple ways you can help this Christmas!

Dear Hope,

December is a joyful month at Hope Academy. And now that joy is doubled!

To help meet the very real needs of children and families in our community, anonymous donors have stepped up to provide a dollar-for-dollar match of any new or additional giving to Hope Academy this school year, up to $225,000.

So, if you’re looking for ways to be blessed and be a blessing this Christmas, here are 7 simple options:

1. Support a student

Almost every child at Hope Academy needs a financial Partner to be here — someone who will make a generous gift to help offset the cost per student.

28 students still need a Partner this school year ($3,650/half, $7,500/full).

Learn what it means to be a Partner.

2. Give a day

Each year, we trust the Lord to provide for the financial needs of our students — including someone to sponsor each day of Kindergarten!

$650 sponsors one day. 180 need sponsors! 

Learn more here.

3. Give a book

Help us give each child at Hope Academy a gift-wrapped set of books to take home and enjoy, to encourage literacy and foster a love of learning.

$25/book, $500/class.

Click to learn more.

4. Join our Christmas Book Giveaway

Come to our Christmas Book Giveaway Tuesday, December 17th to enjoy a brief program, then deliver and read books with students. It’s one of the most joyful events of the year!

Click to RSVP.

5. Pray for Hope

Please pray with us.

So often, we are reminded that only God can heal wounds, change hearts, unite families, strengthen the weary, heal the sick, open the floodgates of provision, and provide divine wisdom. We are daily in need of God’s grace.

6. Invite a friend

Spread the word!

If you’re like most of our supporters, you found out about Hope Academy through a friend. Share your favorite video on Facebook, invite a friend to a monthly tour, or contact us to set up a visit.

7. Double Your Gift!

It’s hard not to mention it twice!

If you sponsor a book, day, or student for the first time this school year – or give beyond what you gave last year – your gift can be doubled.

Click for details, or to make a gift!

May the Lord bless you with a double portion of joy this Christmas.

With great joy,

Russ Gregg
Co-Founder & Head of School


Giving Stock? Get Double Benefits.

Did you know that giving appreciated stock can save you money on taxes, and allow you to give more? Click to learn how.

If you’d like to give a gift through a stock transfer, contact Jim Stigman at 612-540-2016 or jimstigman@hopeschool.org.

Growing Hope Campaign Complete!

Dear Hope,

It began as a question four years ago: “How could we provide a remarkable, God-centered education to even more urban youth?

Our enrollment had topped 400, but we were running out of space. Many questions remained. Would financial Partners who already give so much give even more to make room for more students? Could we navigate the nuances of our old building, and build a new gym, even though we were land-locked?

Today we are celebrating the answer to all of those questions. It is a resounding “Yes, and amen!”

Through the joy-filled, above & beyond support of so many, God has provided 16 new classrooms, added student support spaces, an expanded cafeteria, and a new gymnasium.

We’ve also celebrated the launch of the Spreading Hope Network, a nationwide initiative to create 10 more Hope Academy-style schools around the country. The first school in Houston opened in 2018, and three more have opened now near Raleigh, Cleveland, and Oklahoma City.

What does this mean for urban youth?

  • Our enrollment has already grown by 125 students, and we’ll be able to serve an additional 150 students in the coming years.
  • Students are receiving more robust training in the sciences due to expanded science facilities.
  • We’ll be able to grow our students’ appreciation for beauty, music, and art with the addition of designated art and music rooms for both our upper and lower schools.
  • Students struggling academically and emotionally can receive one-on-one tutoring and support to help them be successful in the classroom.
  • We’ll be able to deepen the sense of community among student and families through sufficient gym seating for basketball games.
  • Expanded recess and physical education space will ensure that our urban students are exercising both their minds and bodies, and developing critical team-building skills.
  • Lunch time will be more efficient and organized with the addition of a second serving line and added seating capacity.
  • And thousands more inner city children will have access to a Christ-centered education around the country.

Praise God for each prayer warrior, student, and the 141 donors who together contributed $9.4 million to make hope in God come to life for more children in our city, and beyond.

With great joy,

Russ Gregg
Co-Founder & Head of School

Why Parents Matter

Dear Hope,

Simply put, parents are the most important teachers in a child’s life. But not every parent has had healthy role models of their own.

That’s why we go to great lengths to equip, encourage, and build true friendships with our parents–from home visits, to parenting workshops, to teacher/parent communication and more.

Click below to hear why one of our parents loves this.

With joy,

Russ Gregg
Co-Founder & Head of School

I Didn’t Think They’d Accept Me Back

Dear Hope,

Have you ever been humbled by a second chance?

Andrew was on a path to destruction–until God’s grace intercepted him. Click below to hear Andrew share how his teachers’ love and grace changed his life.

With joy,

 

 

Russ Gregg
Co-Founder & Head of School

90 Second Stories: Where’s Hope When Life’s Hard?

Life is hard for our students. Sometimes unimaginably so. The stress of fatherlessness, homelessness, poverty and trauma mounts quickly for some.
That’s why the best thing we can do is to be present, and to teach our students how to grapple with life when it’s tough.
Click below to hear how “Mr. G” helps our students find strength in pain, and how they’ve helped him do the same:
The more hardship I see, the more grateful I become that God truly is a refuge for our staff and the families we serve, even in the most excruciating of times.
Thank you for praying for us, and providing an extra layer of support when times are tough.
In hope,
Russ Gregg
Co-Founder & Head of School

7 simple ways you can help this Christmas!

Dear Hope,

Each December, I’m overwhelmed by the kindness that pours into our Hope Academy community: presents for families, winter wear for students, generous year-end gifts. Proof that it’s more blessed to give than receive!

If you’re looking for ways to be blessed, and be a blessing this Christmas, here are 7 simple options:

1. Give a book

Each Christmas, every child at Hope receives a gift-wrapped set of books to take home and enjoy, to encourage literacy and foster a love of learning.

$25/book, $500/class.

2. Read a book

Come to our Christmas Book Giveaway Tuesday, December 18th to enjoy a brief program, then deliver and read books with students. One of the most joyful events of the year!

3. Give a day

Each year, we trust the Lord to provide for the financial needs of our students — including someone to sponsor each day of Kindergarten!

$625 sponsors one day for one class.
119 days left!

4. Pray for Hope

Please pray with us.

So often, we are reminded that only God can heal wounds, change hearts, unite families, strengthen the weary, heal the sick, open the floodgates of provision, and provide divine wisdom. We are daily in need of God’s grace.

5. Give a year

Almost every child at Hope Academy needs a financial Partner to be here — someone who will make a generous gift to help offset the cost per student.

19 students still need a Partner this school year ($3,625/half, $7,250/full).

6. Tell a friend

Spread the word!

If you’re like most of our supporters, you found out about Hope Academy through a friend. Share your favorite video on Facebook, invite a friend to a tour, or contact us to set up a visit.

7. Bless a teacher

Our teachers are the most selfless people I know, pouring themselves out on behalf of their students.

This Christmas, send a note of encouragement to a teacher, or email us about other ways to bless.

In a season that can so easily by dominated by consumerism, may you experience the deep and lasting joy of giving this Christmas.

Thank you to everyone who is making hope happen!

With a grateful heart,

Russ Gregg
Co-Founder & Head of School

Giving Stock? Get Double Benefits.

Did you know that giving appreciated stock can save you money on taxes, and allow you to give more? Click to learn how.

If you’d like to give a gift through a stock transfer, contact Jim Stigman at 612-540-2016 or jimstigman@hopeschool.org.

A good time for good news.

Do you ever feel like bad news is increasing at an exponential rate?

Today, I want to share 7 happy headlines from Hope Academy that I think we can all celebrate (click here for the full report):

1. Breaking down barriers

Regardless of income, family composition, ethnicity, or zip code, Hope Academy is increasing access for low-income, urban youth to a remarkable, Christ-centered education.

2. Addressing the heart of the matter

At Hope Academy, we teach to the heart, as well as the head. “The thing I like best about Hope Academy is our teachers and how much they care about us,” said one student.

3. Transforming lives

“I”m not the same person I was two or three years ago, and that’s all because of God and because of my teachers,” shared Andrew (far right).

4. Strengthening urban families

“Coming from a Hispanic background with a single-parent home and a low-income family, there’s a lot of challenges that we face. I believe that God has totally flipped the story around; both my sister and I were awarded full-ride scholarships,” said Jose, Class of 2018.

5. Beating the odds

By God’s grace, we are seeing incredible results. In 2018, our students scored higher than ever on standardized tests in math and reading. 95% of seniors graduated on time, and 94% of all graduates have been accepted to 2- and 4-year colleges–many on full scholarships.

6. Grads giving back

One of our greatest joys is to see our graduates working for justice, economic opportunity, hope for the family, and joy in the community. Graduates are already leading and serving their communities, at Hope and abroad.

Praise God for his incredible faithfulness, and for each teacher, donor, volunteer, and prayer warrior who has made these things possible.

We are still trusting the Lord to provide supporters for 26 of our students this school year. Click to see how you can get in on the joy!

With a grateful heart,

Russ Gregg

Co-Founder & Head of School

We’re Growing!

Hard hats are back at Hope–an exciting reminder that, “We’re growing!”

Click below for a brief Growing Hope update:

With 500 students this year, there are many ways to get in on the joy! Learn more about the Growing Hope Campaign, and how you can give, serve, or spread the word.

With great anticipation,

Russ Gregg
Co-Founder & Head of School

Join Us for a Growing Hope Tour!

Each month, we invite people in for a glimpse of the remarkable things God’s doing in our community, through Hope.

The number one response from visitors? “I wish I would have known about this sooner!” That’s why we invite you to invite your friends, and help us to get the word out.

Click to see our 18-19 Growing Hope Tour dates, and RSVP for you and a friend. We look forward to welcoming you!