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New Hope for Families receives $652k in grant money for children's programs

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New Hope for Families, an organization providing emergency shelter and focusing on creating a safe environment for families and children in need, received a grant Oct. 23 from Lilly Endowment Inc. for $652,757.  

The grant will help fund New Hope for Families’ goal to provide children with early childhood care and education programs. These education programs allow parents to work, while preparing children to succeed in school and life.  

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation dedicated to helping families flourish. Headquartered in Indianapolis, this organization is among one of the largest endowments in the United States.  

New Hope for Families is specifically funded by Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana, a Lilly Endowment Inc. initiative that aims to help youth-serving organizations to improve the academic, physical and social well-being of children ages five through 18 years old. 

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To receive a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., New Hope for Families had to apply on its website. Emily Pike, executive director of New Hope for Families, said Jim Olsen, New Hope for Families’ development director, played a vital part in earning the grant.  

Pike joined her first non-profit board when she was 15 years old through the Red Cross in Lawrence County. After that experience, she said she looked to combine community work and efforts catered primarily to children. 

New Hope for Families does just that. This organization focuses on whole-child care, emphasizing social and emotional development as much as physical and academic development. 

Pike has worked with New Hope for Families since 2012, a year after the organization was founded. At the time, she said New Hope for Families owned and operated a house that could only support three families at a time.  

Pike said New Hope for Families was established because there wasn’t a shelter in Bloomington for families with children.  

“Very few families opt to have their children enter foster care, so what happens instead is families try to fly under the radar,” Pike said. “Living in cars, a camper without running water or electricity — it just doesn’t work.”  

She said the Lily Endowment Inc. grant will help provide resources for families who need immediate attention and allows New Hope for Families to continue supporting families in the future.  

“We can follow those families for a period of time after they experience homelessness to make sure they can stay on their feet and don’t end up back in a period of homelessness,” Pike said. 

Neil Powell, a board member and the treasurer of New Hope for Families, said he was first interested in becoming part of the organization after he personally witnessed many failed policies to combat homelessness in the United States.  

“I don’t believe in ‘not in my backyard’ activism — writing a check from afar, behind gated communities and not getting personally involved," he said. 

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Powell described New Hope for Families as an organization that vigorously fights for people experiencing homelessness, ensuring stability while maintaining the dignity of the families they serve.  

“I was interested in New Hope for Families because they want to address the crisis of homelessness through individuals and private citizens who manage the process, not some city department,” he said. 

Powell praised the New Hope for Families team, sharing the diligent work they accomplish every day. Powell said he has witnessed Pike and the staff at New Hope for Families ensure 100% of the grant goes toward having a direct impact on the families and children. 

“We are doing something right when we are recognized like that, and it’s only possible because of our staff and the outstanding job they do,” he said.  

With the help of grants and the relationships the organization has with other foundations, the shelter has seen much growth, he said. New Hope for Families is now an emergency shelter for up to 12 families at a time.  

New Hope for Families is located at 1140 S. Morton St., Bloomington, IN. Families in need can apply directly on New Hope for Families website for shelter and childcare. Applications to volunteer and instructions on how to donate can also be found on the website.  

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