Driven by the Biblical mandate to serve “the least of these” we strengthen Hispanic communities. For more than 30 years, Esperanza has been empowering those on a pathway out of poverty in the Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia by offering programs that cultivate self-belief, grit, and knowledge acquisition, allowing clients and students to develop agency, voice, and influence over their own lives.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Since our founding in 1986, we have provided housing counseling services because stable housing is a key part of community transformation. In 2008, we became a certified national intermediary by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as one of only three Hispanic agencies nationwide to support housing counseling organizations from other cities through sub-grants, training, and technical assistance.
Esperanza Housing and Economic Development
Our shared vision for Hunting Park is for a community where people want to live and raise their families, where businesses desire to locate, and where customers come to find a variety of retail offerings. Three core strategies support these efforts: economic development, community education, and real estate development.
A key part of our mission is to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency, which is challenging where 26% of the local population is unemployed. Our Pennsylvania CareerLink ® Center helps Philadelphia residents explore career options, learn about job openings, access job training programs, and understand career trends to prepare them to thrive as members of the workforce.
Esperanza Academy Charter Schools (EACS)
EACS, which started in a converted warehouse in 2000, has grown into a multi-school campus and one of the best neighborhood schools in Philadelphia. Middle and high school enrollments compose a student body of 1,450 in grades 6 through 12.
Esperanza College of Eastern University (ECEU)
ECEU is a branch campus of Eastern University and the only Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Esperanza College was recognized for excellence in Hispanic higher education as Education Champion of the Year (Hispanic Choice Awards, 2010), as an Example of Excelencia (Excelencia in Education, 2013).
Political Advocacy and Civic Engagement
The local grassroots work is closely related to the regional and national work advocating for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, which is an institutional priority. We also host the biennial National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC. Past speakers have included George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Ben Carson, and Chuck Schumer. Esperanza’s other activities include advocating for religious freedom for minority congregations, matters relating to children and families, and the promotion of charter school education.
Over the past 15 years, Esperanza has worked to strengthen nearly 500 Latino faith and community groups around the country through the delivery of training, technical assistance, and management of sub-awards. As a national intermediary, Esperanza has received and successfully managed more than $48 million in government and corporate grants for a variety of purposes, including mentoring at-risk/incarcerated youth, leadership training, and health promotion.
Since 2006, Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA) has annually educated hundreds of our neighborhood’s youth. In addition to instrumental learning, AMLA also teaches Latino cultural heritage, music theory, and audio engineering. Our Latin Jazz Ensembles perform throughout the city, including at the Kimmel Center and Philadelphia Museum of Art. AMLA graduates have gained entrance into Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music and other performing arts institutions.
Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS)
EILS was formed in 2009 with the mission to provide low-cost, non-litigation direct legal aid and citizenship education for underserved immigrants and their families so they can contribute to and participate in American society.
Esperanza Cyber Charter School (ECCS)
In 2012, Esperanza opened a virtual K-12 institution to provide an alternative for young people who would benefit from studying outside traditional settings.
Esperanza Arts Center (EAC)
In December 2018, Esperanza dramatically expanded its commitment to community arts with the opening of Teatro Esperanza, a high quality theater for music, dance, drama, and film celebrating Latino arts.