TOLEDO, March 2, 2022: HOPE Toledo announced today its first official postsecondary graduate through the HOPE Toledo Promise program, Abena Rowland. She graduated from Stautzenberger College with a certificate in addiction counseling and recently started her career as a case manager at Empowered for Excellence. 

HOPE Toledo is a local organization established to help children obtain high-quality early childhood education through HOPE Toledo Pre-K and postsecondary training in college or trade schools through HOPE Toledo Promise. 

HOPE Toledo Promise is a program to help students bridge the gap from high school to postsecondary education, including community college, university or trade schools. It is the first Promise program of its kind to offer a two-generational approach with families intended to create lasting economic change. 

It was first announced in January of 2020 that all graduates of Toledo Jesup W. Scott High School are eligible for the program along with one parent or guardian. 

“HOPE Toledo means a second chance for me,” said Rowland. She, along with over 130 other parents or guardians who are HOPE Toledo Scholars, chose to go back to school to further her education and expand her opportunities. “I’ve gone through a dark period of tragedy the past couple years, but I feel blessed to start a new chapter where I can directly help people through a career in counseling.”

Currently, there are more than 65 graduates of the Toledo Scott High School, Class of 2020, and 57 graduates of Toledo Scott High School, Class of 2021, who are pursuing their dreams. These HOPE Toledo Scholars are attending approximately 153 educational institutions around Ohio (primarily in the Toledo region). Additionally, approximately 25% of those Scholars have a parent pursuing their dream as well.

“Since the announcement in 2020, HOPE Toledo has continued to grow and evolve. With the strong pilot program at Scott High School, we have been able to witness true transformation and look forward to all the ways we can join forces in the community to change lives,” said Rev. John C. Jones, president and CEO of HOPE Toledo.

Last November, HOPE Toledo moved into the national spotlight when it was announced that the Kresge Foundation’s CoPro2.0 program would help fund equitable and sustainable College Promise programs, including HOPE Toledo Promise. 

“HOPE Toledo is making a name for itself nationally as it is being noticed by large education institutions for the significant impact it is having for families and the future of Toledo,” said Jones. “In fact, HOPE Chicago has now launched as the second program in the country to implement our two-generational approach.”

For more information, contact John C. Jones at: or 419-509-4057. For more information or to donate, visit