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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Building Hope in the City

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Advance the good of the city. Magnify the mission of Jesus. Unleash the capability of underestimated people.

Results: Summary of 2019 Statistics: EQUIPPING CITY MINISTRY LEADERS BHITC cultivates new and expanded approaches to urban ministry by developing emerging and indigenous faith leaders. • 15 leaders from 3 new and emerging city churches attended our first ever T216 Urban Church Planting Bootcamp. • 92 new volunteers and 286 regular volunteers participated in efforts to witness to the city. • $434,090 in labor value invested by our volunteers. • 600 local Cleveland citizens received training in urban and cross-cultural ministry. STRENGTHENING NEIGHBORS AND NEIGHBORHOODS BHITC strives to restore blighted residential properties that support local families, grow local residents into community leaders and redevelop city neighborhoods. • Acquired 2 foreclosed homes, completed whole-house renovations on 3 such properties, restoring them to productive use as affordable rental housing or for resale. • Visited 500+ households to conduct resident interviews. • Launched Rally CLE to showcase and build capacity in Clark-Fulton/Stockyards residents. BHITC provided project funds and volunteer teams to 7 local leaders for neighborhood improvement projects. • Launched a new after-school education enrichment program, including a sports and fitness program, for 20+ students at Halle School of Inquiry, a Cleveland Metropolitan School District school. • Blessed 225 children and 75 families through the Christmas Store of Hope, where 2,000 new gift items were sold, bringing dignity to low-income families. ENGAGING THE MARKETPLACE Common Threads Thrift, BHITC’s first social enterprise, seeks to generate an excellent witness and common good for employees, shoppers and the environment, while also creating a new income stream for BHITC’s core mission. • A 15%+ year-over-year increase for every month of the year. • Opened a new furniture floor, adding 1,625 square feet of usable floor space. • Sold over 188,000 items across 40,000 individual transactions. • 100,000+ pounds of textiles responsibly recycled and kept from landfills. • On Black Friday, sold 2,455 items, breaking the record for number of items sold in a single day. PARTNERING WITH REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS The only ongoing community resource center for Cleveland’s refugee and immigrant community, the Hope Center for Refugees and Immigrants addresses early and long-term resettlement needs. • An average of 250 refugees and immigrants served every week. • Provided employment-related assistance to 70 adults. • 101 new adults registered in English as a Second Language classes. • Aided 237 migrants to become new American citizens, bringing the total to 518 over the last 5 years! • 375 people served through legal immigration services. BHITC serves as one of the few sources for low-cost, competent immigration services in Cleveland. • 55 students attended after-school and summer education enrichment sessions, with 76% of them improving their reading one grade level or more as a result

Geographic areas served: Cleveland

Programs: - Volunteer and leader development initiatives. - Urban church planting and the renewal of existing city congregations. - Community Development and neighborhood-based ministries that address the educational, social, cultural and spiritual needs of city residents. - Refugee and immigrant resettlement programs and community development. -Housing development and restoration.

Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the city is the hands and feet of Jesus in Cleveland.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope is effectively meeting the many needs Newcomers experience upon arrival in the U.S. particularly through their Hope Center on Cleveland's west side. Then they went and did something non-profits usually only dream of--they opened a profitable business to support their ministry efforts, the Common Threads Thrift Stores. A phenomenal achievement. Everything they endeavor to do is done well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the City is an exceptional non-profit that impacts the city of Cleveland in so many ways. They love and serve people well. I highly recommend partnering and serving with them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent outreach to our immigrant communities and social enterprise/Common Threads thrift as a way to provide jobs in a very positive, life-changing setting.

Donor

Rating: 5

BHITC is an awesome organization guided by Christian principles dedicated to helping improve the city and the lives of those in need. I highly recommend this organization

Donor

Rating: 5

BHITC focuses on improving people lives by helping refugees adjust to the US and become citizens, planting churches, providing thrift stores for people to work in, improving homes for that need help etc. What we like best is that they try to do work that allows those in need to improve and sustain their lives--not just provide funds. They have great classes as well that help donors and volunteers really understand the people in need.

Debra16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the City is an amazing organization. They address pressing needs of our communities with compassion, vision, and sound organization. Their programs and efforts are always of the highest quality. They also partner with others and foster partnerships - which is unusual in the non-profit space. They seek to shine God's love into the world and accomplish this goal in many practical ways.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've had the priviledge of serving with Building Hope In the City as a volunteer and as a Board member. Most people don't realize how unique Building Hope's vision is. This group is committed to seeing more churches that include those in poverty in their ministry. Many churches do outreach to the poor. Too few are committed to ministering, on an ongoing basis, with the poor. Ministry is built on relationships and the staff and volunteers of Building Hope work TIRELESSLY to create long-term relationships in the city that reflect God's love. I have never seen as group of people more committed to the future health of Cleveland and who know that the only way to turn Cleveland (and other cities) around is through God's redeeming grace. I want to put my support behind a group like this. Please join us.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I’ve been working with Building Hope in the City since their inception in one fashion or another and can honestly say this ministry has wonderful volunteers and a dedicated staff like no other. This ministry serves many, many families and individuals with a warm heart and meaningful programs. Building Hope in the City fills a need in Northeast Ohio.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Incredible organization that is true to its mission. The organization is led with a level of professionalism and talent well beyond its size.

David M.22

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a Board Member for 2 years and Building Hope changes lives - I've personally changed just by being a part of it. Building Hope has a huge heart for people in the city who are mostly overlooked or underestimated and I don't know many other organizations who are taking this stuff head on. The combination of love, creativity, innovation, persistence and humility shown by the volunteers, staff and leadership constantly amaze me!

Melissa G.7

Board Member

Rating: 5

BHITC is an amazing non profit working to advance the good in Cleveland, Ohio. BHITC is a partner ( not just a supporter) to the community and works side by side with residents to transform and renew our community. BHITC is innovative in its approach to engage in the marketplace with social enterprise, employing and serving the community it supports. The organization helps residents restore and renew their neighborhoods. BHITC provides connections, family mentor-ship and immigration consul to the immigrant and refugee population of Cleveland, serving over 250 people each week. All of these success are possible because of the organizations strong belief that God can do the impossible through people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BHITC continues to serve the marginalized in our society with everything from tutoring assistance to job counseling; from helping those from other cultures to resettle and acclimate into this new culture. The staff are always pleasant, smiling, and working hard to find new ways to meet the ever-evolving needs of those they serve - including recruiting and training volunteers. As a volunteer, I am blessed and honored to serve with such wonderful people who ALWAYS put others before themselves! Thank you BHITC for all the love you give and work that you do!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I continue to be amazed by Building Hope in the City's staff and dedicated volunteers. At the annual City Serve event, a number of teens and women made adorable dresses out of pillowcases, which were taken to Haiti by a mission trip group. Not only did we participate in a tremendously gratifying program, BHITC also provided speakers who had been to Haiti to inform us of the conditions there. BHITC is the best, hands down.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Praise God for BHITC! I am always in awe of the stories I hear, about the people they touch and the lives they change. BHITC is the hand of God moving through the city and I am privileged to be a tiny cell within that hand.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the City is an organization that serves many of our most vulnerable. They handle these most desperate of souls with a grace and respect that is amazing and awe-inspiring. I have worked personally with Brian Upton and Nadia Abu-Amsha and continue to be amazed by their ministry, dedication and passion for their jobs. I have been impressed by all of the individuals who work at and for Building Hope in the City and the quality of the organization is unsurpassed! Every summer, my school aged children and I purchase backpacks for refugees before we purchase our own new school supplies; this is one of the many, many ministries of BHITC. Keep up the amazing work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Building Hope in the City on several occasions. Most often I have been a part of a day of volunteering called CityServe, which has organized hundreds of local volunteers in a day of service to the community. Each event has been very well organized and the service has been meaningful work.

Darlene6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for years with the Arabic Women's Ministry and with the tutoring ministry as well as working with the "Work Day" held every May. What an excellant chance to show Christ's Love to others. It is also an excellant chance to work with fellow Christians.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a blessing of God Building Hope in the City has been to Bethlehem Community Church and what a joy and privilege it has been for me as its Pastor and our people to partner with them in our common mission of demonstrating the presence and power of God to restore and maintain the well-being of our city. Building Hope in the City excels at linking volunteers to churches and communities to bring about mutually fulfilling events. Over the past several years their regular CitySERVE outreach has repeatedly brought together skilled and hard-working volunteers to complete much-needed projects at Bethlehem Church that would not otherwise have been be accomplished. As a church facing the challenges of serving Christ in an urban setting Bethlehem deeply appreciates and needs the support and service of organizations like Building Hope in the City, who exhibit the innovative commitment and enterprising initiative that brings hope and unity to the churches and people of our city. Our thanks to them and their faithful volunteers!

Claus M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with BHTC for the last several years as a volunteer for the Jobs Advantage program. I am very impressed with the leadership of BHTC and the goals of the organization. They make a strong impact in the community by the helping the people in many areas of their lives and at the same time demonstrate what Christainity is all about. I am proud to be affiliated with this ministryl

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for Building Hope in the City for many years. I led a Saturday morning kids ministry program with them for four years. I've worked multiple CityServe events (a day long event where 500 people from the suburbs come into the city to do various service projects). I have served on numerous committees, participated in many of their programs, provided financial support and most recently joined their board to provide support in furthering the wonderful things that BHITC is doing in Cleveland & beyond. Building Hope continues to bless so many by its various efforts to truly build HOPE in the city. And I can honestly say that God has blessed me richly from my involvement with Building Hope in the City.

Julie45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the City is comprised of honest, good, passionate people looking to make a real difference in a variety of ways. I have volunteered tutoring refugees--helping with homework, like reading and math, and playing games that help build confidence and social skills. I also helped with City Serve--a day of spreading good deeds around the city, from building gardens and playgrounds to hosting an indoor festival. BHITC's creativity. reach and mission is truly limitless.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to work with Building Hope's leadership as the congregation I serve has looked for ways to support ministry in the W25th/Clark neighborhood. BHITC's expertise in strategizing for effective ministry with a variety of people groups is a big blessing for those of us with a "heart for the city." Many volunteers have had marvelous volunteer experiences at Iglesia Hispana Cristiana at 30th and Walton, because Building Hope helped us get involved in Kids Church about 7 years ago.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Building Hope in the city close to four years ago and was a regular volunteer with the organization's African Youth Ministry program for a little over a year. Due to life circumstances I had to scale back my volunteering but I continue to stay in close contact with some of the African refugee families that I met through volunteering. The relationships that I have developed with these families are priceless to me. I spend time at their homes, I go to their kids' soccer games and music concerts, and I try to help out however and whenever I can. Building Hope in the City introduced me to these families and I am forever grateful to them for that. Throughout my time volunteering with Building Hope, all the staff and volunteers that I encountered were passionate, welcoming, and serious about getting things done. This was a great organization to work with, and I continue to support the work they do. I would recommend this organization to anyone passionate about urban ministry and/or working with people from different cultures.

Ilona T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family became involved with Building Hope in the City four years ago when my son was invited to play in a band at an event site. Since then, we've been blessed to work alongside other believers on several different projects. We continue to be drawn to the diverse opportunities that this organization offers. I think some of the appeal comes from the huge variety of ways to connect with people outside our regular sphere of life. Also, it's an obviously Christian organization and makes no apology for working for Jesus. I've been given great opportunities to put my faith to work. Our family has gained much more than we have given!

Christa2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Building Hope in the City on several blitz type projects such as City Serve days as well as volunteering for a time with the African Youth program. Working with the refugee kids was an educational and growing experience. Learning about some of the experiences of these young people educated me on how difficult life is for a 21st century refugee. They also do a good job with the training of their volunteers for the various programs. BHITC is an outstanding asset to the City, and I think they really do bring and build hope.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a pastor in the same general neighborhood as Building Hope, and my wife & I have been able to share in a few planning sessions with their Executive Director, Pastor, and Tutoring Leaders. I have great respect for Building Hope, for the particular ministries that they do, and the great joy with which they do them. They are leaders in our community, setting a great example of diligent, patient faithfulness in quality, ever-evolving urban ministry.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had many volunteer experiences with Building Hope in the City... every one of them has been fantastic. They are well prepared. The work is always for a good cause. They do a great job of mixing in the religious experience as well. The City Serve day of service projects is my personal favorite. My wife and I and our 3 kids (ages 11, 13, & 15) all participate and while we work hard, we feel like we get more than we give! Finally, the people that work for BHITC are incredible - so nice & helpful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Human Resources professional, I had the privilege of working with BHITC on their Jobs Advantage program. The class was geared for people who were out of work and looking to develop job skills. I had the opportunity to coach the participants on job searching techniques, interviewing skills, developing a resume, etc. I found that they were engaged and eager to learn and also very appreciative of the help. Overall, BHITC came off as very well organized group with a warm, friendly atmosphere. I would highly recommend working with them and would definitely volunteer again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with BHITC when I heard that one of their street ministry volunteers had given the socks off of his feet to a homeless person in need of socks. A few months later, I helped out at one of the street ministries. I was struck by the caring nature of the volunteers who always treat the homeless people with dignity and respect. Every interaction I've had with BHITC has been positive. I helped out with a tutoring program over the summer and learned so much from the immigrant children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved as a volunteer with Building Hope in the City for 3 years, in different capacities and for different levels of participation as time has allowed. From the start I was very impressed with their volunteer training programs. They offer a variety of different types and they offer them frequently. This organization goes out of its way to make sure the volunteers feel valued….can't say enough about that. Helping refugees and other inner city folks is a rewarding experience. There are so many ways to be involved with that. Strengthening people from the ground up and offering them the love of Christ is an awesome experience and very humbling.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the director of another local non-profit organization with similar goals, we have interfaced with BHITC for the excellent training they provide for our staff, students, and associates. BHITC offers training in Refugee Mentoring, ESL, Tutoring Children, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Ministry to the Poor. The workshops are among the best that we have encouraged our staff and students to take to prepare and equip them for ministry in our urban centers. BHITC's awareness events have been eye--opening as we have participated in the Voices exhibit (with award-winning documentary) and Welcome to Shelbyville community movie night. Both have served to give us a heart for our refugee neighbors. One of the most exciting opportunities in our partnership with BHITC was to have our students volunteer as refugee mentors with Burmese refugees, specifically the Karen people group. One of our students is now ministering long term on the Thai-Burma border with the Karen refugees! BHITC encourages us to love our neighbors in practical ways in Jesus' name whether in our local community or overseas!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the City continues to grow in its impact in the Cleveland area as it shares the love of Christ with everyone they touch. I have been blessed to be involved in several ways: as a ministry partner in my staff position at Bay Presbyterian Church I have been involved in numerous outreaches over the past several years, served as a hostess at the annual Advent Tea, which brings together women of many cultural backgrounds to share what Christmas is about and most recently I have been part of Sisters of the Heart -a ministry with Eileen Wilson(Refugee Resettlement Ministries) and Nadia Abuamsha(Arabic Community Worker) that brings together American and Middle Eastern Women and stresses the importance of building relationships. I love working with these very dedicated women and meeting women who have recently moved to the area from other countries!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

It was a pleasure working for Building Hope! Working with our immigrants, helping them with their ESL was pure joy. The ladies were so appreciative and they seemed to like the interaction that volunteers offered them. What a terrific ministry to be involved in, serving the Cleveland area!

Jim_9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BHITC is a wonderful way to make a difference in the inner city, where hope is sometimes scarce. I chose to get involved with the tutoring and recall helping several young students who were struggling with schoolwork. One girl with a troubled history found herself in an advanced math class, even though she lacked basic math skills. I remember apologizing for my rusty geometry knowledge, but she said, "That doesn't matter. What matters is that we are working this out together." I read that as meaning "What counts is that someone cares enough to help." Thousands of people and dozens of churches could say that about all the programs of Building Hope In the City. I have chosen to make substantial donations on a regular basis to the mission this group offers to Cleveland and now other cities as well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

"Oh, the places you will go, the people you will meet, the work you will do..." All blessings from Building Hope in the City. I've been a volunteer for about 10 years, starting with Children's Church on Saturday mornings once a month, working on CityServe with other Ernst & Young people who helped paint some of the BHITC buldings, then onto the Development Committee to raise funds for the wonderful ministry that is "Buiilding Hope in the City." I love, love, love all of it. Building Hope is a true blessing to me. God Bless us one an all.

Ed__3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best way to get involved in a non-profit is to find one that matches your ideals and goals. For me, a lifelong resident of the Cleveland area (with most of that time spent in the urban core), Building Hope in the City completely matches my interests. BHITC offers a diverse core of volunteering opportunities, ranging from literacy and immigrant services to fund raising to community service and more. Whatever one's talents or interests, BHITC has an opportunity for you. Best of all, however, is the camaraderie found among the full-time staff and the volunteer corps. BHITC does great work for the city I love and serves as a wonderful model for other urban ministries looking to make the difference in the lives of citizens.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a mother to a 7-year-old boy from the suburbs, I want my son to realize that not all people are as fortunate as he and that one component of being a Christian is to give back to others in love. We have participated in Building Hope in the City's backpack and Christmas gift box programs. Both of these events gave my son the opportunity to shop for children in need in Cleveland's inner city. My goal in these shopping trips is to get him to understand that there are others right in our area who cannot just go to Target and afford all new school supplies or head to the mall at Christmas and pick up the latest toys. I feel fortunate that we have been able to partner with Building Hope in the City -- it is a win-win for all. For my son, who is learning life lessons and also for the children who receive needed items for heading back to school or some new books, toys and other essentials to make their Christmas season a litte brighter.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

A great organization that gives true Hope to those in cities that have been forgotten. Refugee ministries, feeding the hungry, warming the cold and planting the true Hope of Jesus Christ to all brands of people. If you volunteer with Building Hope, your life will probably be changed also.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this charity for about four years. They do so much to help the needy with in our city. At Christmas we provide gift bags with toys, books, shoe gift cards and candy to about 250 children. It really brings a smile to their face.

Marc C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful experience with Building Hope in the City. Over time I worked with refugees from many areas of the world through mentoring programs and ESL classes. Their support of their volunteers is top notch and their training is wonderful.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Volunteering to teach and mentor in the Jobs Advantage program I have enjoyed teaming with members of other churches -- urban and suburban -- to help people discover themselves, their gifts, and their place in society. The participants and volunteers form a community that thrills to each success made along the way. "What would success mean to you?" we asked a recent class. One woman's reply: "Not having to depend on another government check!"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the City is aptly named. Not only do they work with city residents who need encouragement, jobs, training, clothing and food, but they are active in aiding immigrants and refugees. They offer mentoring, tutoring, English and citizenship classes, and health clinics. Building Hope has an extensive volunteer roster. The volunteers are all great to work with. It is easy to volunteer because there is structure to their programs. A volunteer knows what he is being asked to do. Builidng Hope offers training for their volunteers as well. Training may be specific to their job, or it may be general training about refugees or poverty. I volunteer in the English as a Second Language area. One of my students wanted to be able to speak enough English to be able to shop for groceries in an American store. One needed to know how to read a bus schedule. Building Hope helps these people and gives them hope for their future in America.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Building Hope in the City does a great job of helping a wide range of people in the greater Cleveland area and beyond. In my volunteer experience with the organization, I have helped with projects to clean and improve urban schools and a care facility for adults with disabilities. Also, we made approximately 50,000 meals that were donated to local food banks and sent to Haiti after earthquake there. The organization is very inclusive and strives to help anyone they can who is in need.