our story

In 1998, two men, Russ Gregg and Jeff Bird, did not know one another. That year, Jeff was in a Bible study when he felt a calling to start a school.
Having worked as an insurance lawyer and never as an educator, he spent a year praying, to discern if it was from the Lord.

That same year, Russ Gregg worked as an administrator for a Christian school in Edina. He lived in the Philips neighborhood with his family and dreamed of one day
 starting a Christian school for his inner city neighbors. However, he thought God would use someone else to complete such a task.
In 1999, Russ and Jeff had a divine appointment, and shared their mutual call. They met for six weeks to discuss the vision for the school,
but a friend warned Jeff that “an administrator would never take the risk.”

That same Sunday, September 13, 1999, Russ was in church. At the conclusion of a sermon on Romans 4:13-15, the pastor challenged the congregation to
 “venture something for God that is a little bit crazy.” Russ felt it was God’s word for him, and that to not take this step of faith would be disobedient. 
The next day, Russ called Jeff and said, “I quit my job. Let’s start this school.”  The next fall, Hope Academy began with just 35 students in grades K-2. 


1991 – Greggs Move to Minneapolis

1999 – Mr. Bird & Mr. Gregg Called to Start Hope Academy

2000 – Hope Academy opens its doors to 35 students in grades K-2 the education wing of Christ Church International at 3015 13th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN  55407.

2006 – Now with 115 students in grades K-7, Hope Academy moves to 2300 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN  55404

2007 – A class of 11 8th graders graduate from Hope Academy’s only 8th grade graduating class.

2008 – Hope Academy adds a 9th grade, beginning the process of growing Hope Academy High School.

2012 – Hope Academy graduates its first ever senior class, with 100% being accepted into a 2- or 4-year college.

2015 – Double the Kindergarten

2016 – Growing Hope Campaign Kickoff

2019 – Spreading Hope to Houston

2019 – Growing Hope Expansion Complete!


Our prayer is that God would have us serve more than 520 inner city students in grades K-12 by 2020. Our vision is to unleash kingdom citizens who work for justice, economic opportunity, racial harmony, hope for the family, and joy in the community. God sustains this vision through our Partners, who sponsor 90% of the cost to educate a student here at Hope. These individuals, businesses, churches and foundations share our vision of transforming our city one inner city student at a time. Will you help provide hope for the future?