About Us

© Ann-Marie VanTassell Photography

© Ann-Marie VanTassell Photography

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide high quality education and services that change lives and improve our communities.

Academy of Hope was founded in 1985 by two teachers who believed that education could empower those most marginalized in Washington, D.C. It was clear that people trapped in the cycle of poverty lacked basic reading, writing and math skills, and they needed to acquire jobs that paid living wages.

Today, one in five adults in the district lacks a high school diploma, and one in three adults cannot read a newspaper or a map, much less complete a job application. The need for adult education programs is still great.

Click here for a video introduction to Academy of Hope 

The Academy of Hope Difference

At Academy of Hope, students become part of a learning community where everyone is valued, adds value and is both a teacher and a learner. Our curriculum is experiential and focuses on life skills, which means that students can immediately begin applying what they’re learning to their own lives—and reap the benefits.

Our students and our broader impact

We serve highly motivated adults who:

As our adult learners improve their skills, the benefits reach beyond each individual to their families, employers and the larger community.  Studies show that children of parents who have not completed high school are much more likely to drop out of high school themselves. As parents increase their literacy, they are much more likely to become involved in their children’s education and are better equipped to provide financial stability for their families. Meet some of our graduates here!

Download our one-page informational overview here.


Georgetown University’s Legacy of a Dream Award, 2014

Each Year, Georgetown awards the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award to emerging local leaders. For 2014, Academy of Hope’s Executive Director, Lecester Johnson has been selected as the honoree of the award, which will be confered during MLK day at a free concert event at the Kennedy Center.

The Meyer Foundation’s Exponent Award, 2011

Academy of Hope’s Executive Director, Lecester Johnson, is the recipient of the 2011 Exponent Award, which recognizes visionary and talented nonprofit leaders in the Washington region. Learn more here.