We exist because of a six-year-old girl in Kenya and a story in America.
Gift was six years old when her mother died from AIDS. She never knew her father and was left to raise her infant brother alone. While begging for food on the streets of Mombasa, her brother died as she carried him on her back. She didn’t know he was dead and continued begging for several hours until some street boys found her and told her.
Not knowing what to do, the boys contacted a journalist who had befriended and fed them on the dumpsites where they lived. He did something extraordinary: he took her into his house, hired a lady to look after her, and paid for her to attend school.
Thomas Keown visited Kenya in 2007, met Gift, learned that 2.6 million other children live in the streets, met some of them, returned to the US and wrote his weekly newspaper column about Gift and the journalist.
Readers responded with letters, wanting to do something to help. So Thomas gathered them together one night with the invitation, “You bring one person each and I’ll bring six,” and Many Hopes was established in Boston.
We grew into a global community of volunteers and fundraisers committed to rescuing and raising children like Gift from injustice to influence. In the beginning, we provided rescue homes for girls in Kenya.
Then a Cambridge/accredited elementary school where girls and boys from poverty and from privilege learn with and from each other, and all will lead differently as adults.
Then, as we saw transformation happen for child after child, the Arc to Influence model was born. Children are rescued, equipped, and travel their path to influential adulthood. Education inspires a vision of what’s possible, and then our global community of influencers supports them in pursuing justice for others.
Today, Gift is in college and Many Hopes is partnering with visionary local leaders in six countries in Africa and Latin America.
We believe there are hundreds of thousands more stories just like Gift’s and we invite you to help us find and write them.
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Senior Vice President Growth, Bionic Solution
A Silicon Valley native, Maxine Gisinger Friedman has over 20 years of leadership experience in strategic consulting, executive coaching, business development, and marketing at consulting, agency, startup, and Fortune 500 companies. Maxine is Principal and Founder of Maxine Ventures and plays an independent C-level growth and transformation partner role working with Chief Innovation, Strategy and R&D Officers of some of the world’s leading brands.
A sought-after thought leader on building growth capability strategies and systems at the enterprise level, Maxine also advises multiple startups and is an active angel investor. Prior, Maxine was on the co-founding leadership team of Bionic, an army of entrepreneurs that installs a Growth Operating System that creates a permanent, always-on capability for organic and inorganic growth. As SVP at Bionic, she built and led the Partner and Services team as well as led enterprise partnerships for brands including P&G, Nike, Anheuser-Busch and TD Ameritrade.
A seasoned entrepreneur, Maxine helped build multiple startups (Contently, Syncapse, Clickable, Brandimensions) and always played an early cofounding leadership team role. Maxine earned dual MBAs from Columbia University and London Business School and B.S. in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Maxine and her family are currently based in the Hamptons after 20 years in NYC.
Becky grew up in Texas and graduated from Baylor University with degrees in Economics and Finance in 1990. A former credit analyst and commercial lender at Bank of America, Becky stopped working in order to stay home with children, Richard and Layne. She met her husband, Rick, at Baylor and got married shortly after graduation. The Weldays have lived all over the world including periods in Switzerland, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Saint Louis, and all over Texas.
Her extra time is spent volunteering with churches and other organizations and she enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Liberty Mutual, Director of Financial Analysis
Sue joined the board as clerk after volunteering with the Boston Many Hopes chapter for several years. She studied Business Administration at the University of Vermont and has an MBA from Boston College. She works as a Director of Financial Analysis at Liberty Mutual in Boston. Sue visited Many Hopes in Kenya and was thrilled to meet the girls and see the impact in person.
President, John Hancock Financial Services
CEO, New York Life Retirement Plan Services
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Patrick has spent the past 25 years in the financial services industry helping companies and their employees achieve financial security. He is currently the President of John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. Pat has also spent significant personal time as a coach and mentor, helping young people realize their potential on and off the athletic fields.
He became a believer in the Many Hopes mission after meeting Thomas for lunch in 2012. He was a private donor and helped with fundraising before joining the board.
Global Staffing Lead, Google Search and Assistant
Daniel joined Google in 2015, after a career in recruiting across the non-profit and education industries. At Google, Daniel initially managed five teams of recruiters, primarily supporting Software Engineering hiring in the Bay Area. Daniel then spent a year leading Google Cloud’s Americas Sales recruiting teams in a hyper growth market. For the past two years, Daniel has been the Global Staffing Lead role for Google Search and Assistant, leading all staffing efforts for all global hiring of these technical businesses.
Before Google, Daniel was the Vice President of National Alliances at Teach For America, based in new York City. With his experience serving under-privileged children in South Africa and Namibia, Daniel launched our Many Hopes New York Chapter and served as Regional Director for our first year in NYC. Daniel first visited Mudzini Kwetu in 2009 and fell in love with our vision for long term, transformative change through the lives of the girls he met there.
Columbia Property Trust, President
Nelson has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate investment and financial services industries. He is responsible for overall strategy, operations, and financial performance of Columbia Property Trust, a $6 billion public real estate owner/operator. He also serves as a director on the Columbia Board. Prior to joining Columbia in 2010, he served for five years as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Williams Realty Advisors, LLC, managing and advising a series of real estate investment funds.
Previous roles included CFO of Lend Lease Real Estate Investments and Partner at KPMG LLP. He received a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and an M.B.A. from the University of Georgia. Nelson and his wife, Judy, live adjacent to Madison Square Park in New York City.
(X)form Coaching and Consulting, Founder
Joseph is an Elite-Performance Strategist dedicated to transforming professional lives of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity into realities of clarity, control, calm, and continuous improvement. He previously spent 20 years in the corporate realm, serving as an operating executive in both early-stage startups (including two successful exits) and large global enterprises.
He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his amazing wife and their two incredible children.
Blackstone Credit, Managing Director
Joseph McKnight focuses on mezzanine lending and private equity investments in the energy and power sectors.
Before joining Blackstone Credit, Mr. McKnight served as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, where he focused on private equity and proprietary direct investments in power generation and renewable energy within the firm’s J. Aron commodity division. He previously worked as an Associate in the Natural Resources private-equity vertical at Apollo Management.
Mr. McKnight received a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with academic honors