In 1987 at the Wayne County Schools Career Center, Jill Phipps, a GED and Adult Education graduate, saw a need and created a solution. She made the first donation to a self-sustaining fund for adult students. It helped with tuition, fees, gas, professional image, work clothing and tools. Students repaid in cash or service. Because most repaid in cash, this fund always remained self-sustaining.
In 2000, the Wayne County Common Good embraced this idea. They established the HOPE Fund (Helping Others Prepare for Employment) at the Wayne County Community Foundation. Common Good volunteers worked to build the Fund and it has grown over the years.
In 2008, Common Good members laid the foundation to operate the Fund and increase its value through community work projects. They moved the leadership to a HOPE Fund Steering Committee of community volunteers.
In 2009, the Common Good selected community volunteers to serve on the HOPE Fund Steering Committee and act as liaisons for member organizations. These dedicated volunteers work:
• To increase community awareness of the HOPE Fund.
• To identify and meet employment and education needs.
• With Pay It Forward Projects in support of the HOPE Fund. These projects provide important ways for recipients to give back in service and connect with community members.
• In support of other community groups, who sponsor projects to support the HOPE Fund.