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Annual Meeting Features Deputy Gov. Sol Flores, New Board Leadership Announced

Illinois Deputy Governor Sol Flores (pictured above) offered high praise to One Hope United during the Annual Meeting of the 124-year-old social service organization. Speaking to more than 60 staff, board members, donors and community supporters at the yearly event held at The University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall, Flores provided an inspiring message of hope.

“While I’ve only been on the job for 4 ½ months,” Flores said, “I’m absolutely certain the state needs leaders and organizations like One Hope United to continue and expand your work on strengthening children, families and communities.”

One Hope United’s Annual Meeting was also streamed to hundreds of viewers on Facebook Live for the first time as the organization continues to provide more opportunities to communicate and engage with stakeholders and the public.

Flores recounted lessons from her hard-working single mother, who taught Flores the meaning of responsibility. Flores said despite her mother working two jobs, she still needed assistance from numerous social service programs, such as those provided by One Hope United.

As Deputy Governor, Flores oversees the $35 billion portfolio of health and human services in Illinois where she says, “Twelve million Illinoisians are touched by the delivery of our Health and Human Services system either through direct assistance or the benefit of that investment in our neighbors, our workplaces, communities and families.”

“When we stop criminalizing and judging people and families for circumstances like poverty and homelessness, we can instead begin to focus on uplifting and investing in their maximum human potential and dignity,” Flores said.

One Hope United’s President & CEO, Dr. Charles Montorio-Archer outlined his vision, building upon the organization’s expertise, solidarity, distinguished service and support in areas of social service, early learning, foster care and adoption.

“Together we must all understand what we do – and equally what we do not do – changes the trajectory of the lives of children and families,” he said.

In her last official address, One Hope United Board Chairwoman Theresa Dear proudly shared the board’s many accomplishments, including its diverse makeup of 50% women and 45% people of color. From the hiring of President & CEO Dr. Charles Montorio-Archer, to the establishment of the One Hope United Future Scholars Scholarship, Dear is confident the organization is poised to continue living its mission.

“One Hope United aspires to be a premier thought leader and service provider where every child and family regardless of zip code, skin color, religion, socioeconomic status, pronoun, can indeed experience a life without limits,” Dear said as she thanked everyone for the opportunity to serve.

Also during the annual meeting, Chairwoman Dear announced the new leadership team taking the helm of One Hope United as it begins its new fiscal year. Beginning July 1, long-time board member RJ Young, Retired Chairman, Allstate Canada, is Board Chairman; Anthony Austin, VP, Human Resources of Portillo’s Hot Dogs, is Vice Chairman; Cindy Lusignan, Senior Vice President at Marsh, is Treasurer; and Kate Shaffer, Risk Management Officer for Yargus Manufacturing, Inc. is Secretary.

Chairwoman Dear also detailed the numerous agency accomplishments in the past year.

  • While many non-profit and for profit boards struggle with diversity, the One Hope United board composition is 50% female and 45% people of color.
  • Established the One Hope United Future Scholars Scholarship.
  • Named a wing of the Edgewater Center as the Toni Sandor Smith Future Scholars Learning Lab, after one of the longest serving board members.
  • Named the organization’s Lake Villa Campus after the first client who ascended to the position of board member, Ermit L. Finch.
  • Established the M&A committee to posture One Hope United for potential growth.
  • Created a model for stakeholder, community and leadership engagement in the President’s Circle and Friends of One Hope United.
  • Established Life Director and Emeritus status for exemplary, extraordinary and distinctive leadership on the board. Life Director and Chair Emeritus – Toni Smith. Ermit Finch – Life Director.
  • Hired Dr. Charles Montorio-Archer.
  • Completed election of new and incoming officers.

Ten-year-old got $200 to use at Walmart and spent it all on One Hope United kids

The heroes referred to in the Twin Lakes, WI–area “Shop with a Hero” event are local members of the police and fire departments.

But for the youth served by One Hope United’s offices in Kenosha, WI, and Gurnee, IL, the real hero was fifth grader Kaiden Rivera.

Rivera, 10, was one of 26 students chosen by their schools to receive $200 to spend at Walmart. Most of the students spent the money on items for themselves and on gifts for their friends and family. But Rivera chose to spend the entire $200 on items for One Hope United youth.

“I’m buying for charity,” Rivera told the Kenosha News. “My grandpa gave me the idea.”

“Every year we try to donate,” explained Rivera’s mom, Kayla Blank. In addition to Rivera’s donation, Blank bought an additional $100 worth of toys with money donated by her stepfather.

The students were free to use the money how they wished. The money is donated by local individuals, businesses, and members of the Twin Lakes Professional Police Association. The event promotes a sense of community and trust between the youth and their public safety officials.

Rivera and his family remind us that anyone, no matter their age or position, can make a positive impact on another person’s life.

One Hope United serves over 9,000 children and families each year through a variety of programs including early education, foster care, counseling, and more.

If you would like to make a gift that benefits a One Hope United child or family this holiday season—or any season—visit our Wishbook, where you can purchase goods and experiences that have a direct benefit on people’s lives, including education opportunities, clothing, therapies, and more.

Sonja Crum Knight Named Executive Director for Early Childhood Programs

Sonja Crum Knight

Sonja Crum Knight, an early childhood leader committed to realizing high quality outcomes for children and families through education, practice, and advocacy, will join One Hope United as Executive Director of Early Learning and Child Development, beginning April 10, 2018.

In this executive leadership role, Knight will oversee One Hope United’s 12 child care and early education centers, which provide high quality early care and education to over 2,200 children each year, as well as our home visiting programs, which help young and first-time parents navigate their new responsibilities and support their children’s development. All of these programs serve children and families living in northern Illinois and Chicago.

“I am humbled and honored to join an organization with such a rich legacy of service to children and families,” said Knight.

Knight comes to One Hope United from YMCA of the USA, where she served as technical advisor for early childhood equity improvement, leading a cohort of eight YMCA associations across the country to discover and improve strategies for improving access to high quality early care and education. She also has worked extensively with the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University as a quality assessor and trainer. She holds a PhD in education from Capella University and a master of education in early childhood administration from National Louis University.

“I am thrilled to welcome Sonja Crum Knight to One Hope United,” said COO Margaret Vimont. “She brings a wealth of experience as a child care provider, quality assessor, and educator to early childhood professionals, along with a passion for equal access to early education and a highly inclusive management style. Together, these make her an excellent fit to lead our early learning and child development programs, which lay the foundation for our vision – For every child and family, life without limits.”

Chance the Rapper’s SocialWorks Donates Toys to One Hope United Youth

One Hope United is honored to announce that youth served in Chicago and throughout Illinois will benefit from the generosity of Chance the Rapper’s youth empowerment charity, SocialWorks, and WGN TV Morning News viewers.

One Hope United was hand-picked by SocialWorks to receive a gigantic shipment of toys to its Lake Villa offices following the December 8, 2017 WGN Drive-Thru Toy Drive. The donations collected during the WGN TV Morning News will spread holiday joy to children in One Hope United’s residential homes, early learning centers, foster care, counseling and family services programs in the Chicago metropolitan area and downstate Illinois.

“We’re blessed to have the opportunity to contribute to One Hope United,” said Justin Cunningham, Executive Director of SocialWorks. “Creating loving environments where youth can reach their full potential is at the heart of SocialWorks and I hope these toys bring smiles and hope to every child and family served,” he added.

“One Hope United would like to thank SocialWorks, Chance the Rapper, and WGN TV for their generosity and hard work to enhance the lives and communities we serve,” said Scott Humphrey, President and CEO, One Hope United. “You’re showing the children and families in our programs that with dedication, friendship, and love, one can make a difference in people’s lives. We are grateful to SocialWorks help in spreading joy to thousands throughout Illinois,” he added.

Senior Supervisor Corey Dickson works directly with some of the youth who will receive toys from the donation. “This is going to help so much,” he said. “They’re going to appreciate it a whole lot – especially coming from Chance the Rapper.”

About SocialWorks
SocialWorks aims to empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement while fostering leadership, accessibility, and positivity within the youth throughout Chicago. Using this framework for our interactive spaces and experiences, SocialWorks hopes to nurture local talent and open new doors much like what their founder, Chance the Rapper, has done in the music industry. Our initiatives, OpenMike, Warmest Winter, Parade to the Polls, and our New Chance: Arts & Literature Fund, were created to advocate for youth and the fulfillment of individual achievement and success in all its forms. We’re excited to continue to bring impact to the nation and we hope that you tag along for the ride. socialworkschi.org

About One Hope United
One Hope United is a private human service organization that offers a diverse array of early childhood education, prevention, intervention and community-based programs. The non-profit began over 120 years ago with the same vision it holds today: for every child and family, life without limits. One Hope United’s team of  800 talented professionals serves thousands of children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida. onehopeunited.wpengine.com

Introducing Our Updated Values

One Hope United has been helping children and families reach their full potential for over 120 years. While our dedication to this goal has never wavered, the way we express it has evolved along with our methods for reaching it.

Last year, we updated our mission and vision:

MISSION
One Hope United increases opportunities for children and families by providing quality solutions that enhance lives, communities and futures.

VISION
For every child and family, life without limits.

Building on the mission and vision, this year we took on updating our values. We wanted these to be more than just words on a page – they needed to reflect who we are today and help guide our decisions, big and small, about how we do our work.

For that, the values had to feel authentic, honor our history, and guide us toward realizing our ambitious vision. To that end, we sought broad input from our staff and board, and shared these for feedback both virtually and through in-person discussions at 10 different locations.

We’re enthusiastic about the positive response we’ve had and excited to now share our updated values with the world!

VALUES

  • Do the Right Thing. We serve the best interests of our clients and staff. We act mindfully and responsibly, honoring our commitments. We’re willing to challenge the status quo.
  • Fully Contribute. We bring our presence, passion, and ideas to every interaction, and we respect differing views and backgrounds so that others can do the same.
  • Empower One Another. We collaborate with, care for, and encourage each other toward greater impact, treating everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Turn Hope into Action. We believe in the resiliency of the human spirit. We advocate for those in need and do what it takes to build a better future for all.
  • Seek Impact Every Day. We make things happen, and make them count. We leverage all our resources and make data-informed decisions for maximum, sustainable results.
  • Always Keep Improving. We pursue excellence in an atmosphere of innovation. We embrace change, take prudent risks, learn from failure, and recognize success.