HOPE International Receives Nonprofit Excellence Award

The Center selected HOPE International to receive the Nonprofit Excellence Award for their HOPE Poverty Simulation, a 2.5-hour, immersive learning experience designed to help participants glimpse the realities of a lifetime in extreme poverty.

Launching in 2017, the HOPE Poverty Simulation is an ideal entry point for Millennials and Post-Millennials to encounter philanthropy through experiential learning. However, given the heavy nature of the injustices explored in the simulation, children younger than 14 years of age are not permitted to attend.

Over the course of the simulation, participants are confronted with a series of challenges that mimic the complex, circadian obstacles that billions of men and women are forced to grapple with daily. The simulation helps build empathy for families living in extreme poverty and prompts strategic thinking about effective responses.

About HOPE International

Following the fall of the Soviet Union in Ukraine in the early 1990s, Jeff Rutt, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based homebuilder, traveled to Ukraine numerous times with his church, transporting containers of food, clothing, and medical supplies to the city of Zaporozhye.

After several of these visits, a local pastor pulled Jeff aside and told him honestly that the shipments were not helping. Instead of handouts, the pastor felt that his community needed a hand up.

Though people were accessing needed supplies, they had become dependent on American charity. In addition, local businesses could not compete with the free handouts. The well-intentioned aid shipments were actually doing more harm than good by depressing local industry and initiative

Jeff returned from the trip with a strong drive to find a solution. He plunged into research and eventually discovered the concept of economic development, then a little-known poverty alleviation strategy.

Economic development is a broad term for providing financial services to people living in poverty.

These services can include loans, financial management training, insurance, and a place to deposit savings. Though often overlooked by those with easy access to banks and other financial services, these services can make the difference between economic opportunity and poverty.

Peter Greer, HOPE International’s current president, joined in 2004, ushering in a period of strategic growth, thought leadership and increased public awareness through his books and experiential learning like HOPE Poverty Simulation. Under Peter’s leadership, HOPE International has grown to serve in 16 countries around the world.

Hope International’s desire is that the HOPE Poverty Simulation would not be a one-time experience, but a catalyst to work together to make the issues surrounding global poverty an ongoing conversation.

To request a simulation for your church or organization, please fill out the simulation request form at hopeinternational.org/simulationrequest. HOPE International will respond within one business week. Note: HOPE International has a strong preference for midweek simulations. 

About The Nonprofit Excellence Award

The Nonprofit Excellence Award was created by The Center to celebrate the nonprofits, funders, and industry experts who inspire us and change the world. Recipients are automatically entered into an exclusive lottery for a complete suite of OpX360® Smart Tools to use themselves or to donate to the nonprofit of their choice.  

Co-Founder Bob Lipps says, “We are committed to nonprofit excellence and celebrating the bright spots is one way we can help develop a thriving nonprofit community. HOPE International  continues to innovate new ways of addressing global poverty and an example worth following. Kudos to Peter Greer and HOPE International!”

Do you know a nonprofit, funder, or industry expert deserving of the Nonprofit Excellence Award? 

If you do, please leave a comment or message me. Recipients of the Nonprofit Excellence Award must demonstrate excellence in nonprofit breakthrough, boldness or benevolence and preferably all three.



Marc is Co-Founder and Principal Advisor of The Center. For the previous 12 years, Marc served full-time as executive and practitioner in three significant yet very different nonprofits, overseeing extensive domestic and international operations.