Our History


St. HOPE began in 1989 in a portable classroom at Sacramento High School as an after school program named St. HOPE Academy. Founded by NBA All-Star and Oak Park native Kevin Johnson, St. HOPE is a nonprofit community development corporation whose mission is to revitalize the Oak Park community through public education, and economic development.

St. HOPE has dramatically improved Oak Park through its holistic community development approach, and has made a major economic impact and contribution in the community.  St. HOPE has started, attracted or catalyzed the creation of 20 businesses throughout the community resulting in nearly 300 jobs. These efforts have generated a significant infusion of capital in the community, including more than $43 million in economic and real estate development investments.

St. HOPE has birthed two major revitalization projects that combined have initiated an education and economic resurgence in the underserved, inner-city community of Oak Park, California. In May 2003, St. HOPE opened the 40 Acres Art and Cultural Center, a 25,000 square foot mixed-use facility located in the heart of Oak Park’s commercial district which today houses Old Soul, Underground Books, The Guild Theater, and 12 loft-style apartments. The goal of 40 Acres has always been to create a destination locale serving as a catalyst for economic and cultural renewal.

The goal of St. HOPE Public Schools is to provide Oak Park youth (as well as young people living in similar communities across the country) with a continuum of high quality education from preschool through high school; an education that prepares students for success in a four-year college as well as instills within them a commitment to serving others.

What began as an after-school program for 12 young men, has become St. HOPE Public Schools comprised of several schools serving nearly 1,500 students in grades TK through high school.

While St. HOPE’s primary focus remains on leveling the educational playing field for all students, we also strive to revitalize Oak Park through economic development.  A drive down Broadway will immediately show the Oak Park of today is vastly different from the Oak Park we knew several years ago. What was once a blighted intersection at 35th & Broadway is now home to a thriving community to include new homes, apartments, restaurants and small businesses.