What we do


The families who walk through Common Hope’s doors often live in one-room houses made of cornstalk and scrap metal, with little or no access to education, medical care, clean water, or jobs with livable wages. These families have the ability and desire to improve their lives if given the chance. We simply provide the opportunities and tools for them to do so.

The heart of our work: Education

At Common Hope we believe that education is the key to unwinding the cycle of poverty, so we provide the necessary resources for thousands of impoverished children to attend school each year. We understand, however, that education is about more than books and uniforms – a child’s success in school depends on the quality of the education he or she receives. For this reason, we partner with local schools to support and enhance the education they provide. We help teachers implement more interactive, engaging curriculum, and we foster more individualized support for students at-risk of dropping out of school.

A 360° approach: Nurturing students at home

A child’s success in school also depends on his or her family’s health, safety, and stability. If 11-year-old Ana is distracted by hunger pains, or if she needs to leave school to pick coffee to pay for her mother’s medical bills, she is not going to reach her full potential. For this reason, we also provide integrated services in health care, housing, and family development to provide the stability children need to succeed.

It all starts with partnership

Our work centers on a relationship with a student and involves that student’s entire family. When a family forms a partnership with us, they agree to keep their child in school and actively participate in the partnership.

With help from a Common Hope social worker, the family identifies the challenges they want to address and sets goals for themselves. These might include building a new house, getting family dental check-ups, or looking for a new job. The social worker helps connect family members with the right program so they can begin achieving those goals.

We believe a family’s participation in the process preserves dignity and builds ownership. Families pay small co-pays for medical care and work sweat-equity hours to earn housing materials.

Distinguishing elements

Below are the major elements that make Common Hope’s work distinct.

We have personal contact with our families and supporters.

A social worker is closely involved with each family to develop a plan tailored to their needs and goals. We build and deepen personal relationships with individuals and groups who want to support our work.

We require participation.

Those receiving help through Common Hope must participate in their own development process.

Our programs are comprehensive and integrated.

Staff in the areas of education, health care, housing, and family development all collaborate to provide opportunities to families to address each family’s unique needs and goals.

We use funds responsibly and efficiently.

On average, 83% of funds go directly to programs and the people we serve.

We work with whole families.

When a family commits to keeping their child in school, we support the entire family to help make that happen. A child’s success in school depends greatly on his or her family’s health, safety, and stability.

We are committed to the people we serve.

Our emphasis on long-term relationships and consistent support allows affiliated families to move beyond the day-to-day struggle to invest in their long-term development.