At the 2015 Office of Refugee Resettlement conference our director, Greg Hope, was recognized for his dedication to assisting refugees. The Refugee Microenterprise Champion Award specifically acknowledged Greg’s contribution to providing business opportunities for refugees in the US. Through the RRO’s JumpStart Fund, over 375 refugees have started and grown their own businesses since 2003.
In 1985, Greg took over the helm as director of the Episcopal Church’s resettlement program in Western Washington. And except for a brief stint working in refugee processing at a camp in Thailand, Greg has spent his career in Seattle serving those who typically arrive on our shores with nothing but the clothes on their back and whatever they could pack into a box or suitcase. Greg recognized that among the many people who came to the US there were entrepreneurs who just needed a little help in the way of education, community and capital. This led to the creation of the JumpStart Fund, one of the first microfinance institutions in the Puget Sound region to provide microfinance loans to immigrants and refugees.
Over the years, even as director, he has continued to perform every task from midnight airport pickups, apartment set up, job placement, to cooking for the annual fundraising dinner and of course strategic planning, program development and grant writing. His continued commitment to all of the RRO’s programs ensure that each incoming family and individual has support to succeed in their new lives in the US.