Hope Woodhouse a Hometown Hero
Today’s Hometown Hero is Hope Woodhouse, past president of the John’s Island Community Service League, which both donated more than $1 million to 40 nonprofits in and, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, then raised an additional $250,000 for the United Way of Indian County’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
We received so many nominations for Hope Woodhouse as a Hometown Hero that we created this page to share what others have written about her. Here are some of the nominations:
As a fellow John’s Island Community Service League member, a neighbor and friend, I have witnessed firsthand how tirelessly Hope Woodhouse works to help our Vero Beach community and those in need. She is thoughtful, compassionate and determined to help others. She committed herself to learn of and address the specific areas in need in Vero Beach and then helped to raise significant funds to target and support those areas.
She has made a monumental impact on the VB community and also has strengthened our own John's Island community. She actively and naturally draws people together and is driven by her inherent understanding that we are all better and stronger working together. Because of her dedication, loyalty and endless energy, those around her are further inspired and have learned one can never say no to Hope!
I have much to learn from Hope and am always inspired. Her commitment and dedication stem from her profound concern for her community. There is no "i" in Hope Woodhouse. She's all about galvanizing and being part of a team. It would be very special to single her out for once to recognize her extraordinary commitment with this meaningful award.
— Betsy Prezioso, Vero Beach and Bethesda, Md.
Hope Woodhouse has dedicated herself wholeheartedly to the John's Island Community Service League. She has gone above and beyond, taking the lead of its Board of Directors with all of their volunteers and generous sponsors while restructuring services to focus on Indian River victims of the coronavirus pandemic — a truly selfless act of heroism.
— Susan Dallas, Vero Beach
Hope Woodhouse is one of the most focused, energetic and compassionate people I know. I worked intimately with her last year as I was gala co-chair for the John's Island Service League's major fundraiser. She is incredibly accomplished and worked with us tirelessly to meet our goal.
This year under Hope's direction, the JICSL donated a whopping $1,048,000 in April to 40 agencies serving Indian River Families in need.
Hope also asked our board to redirect $50,000 from the John’s Island Community Service League Hurricane Contingency Fund to provide local COVID-19 Relief in conjunction with the United Way. On April 15, Hope created a one-month JICSL $200,000 Matching Challenge Grant, matching dollar-for-dollar donations up to $200,000 until June 15. The goal of this Challenge Grant is to encourage other community funding groups to donate to COVID relief. Within two weeks, our $400,000 goal was met.
Hope is someone I highly admire and I think she is a true Hometown Hero of the Treasure Coast.
— Lynn Ingrassia, Vero Beach
Hope Woodhouse is the essence of a volunteer who goes above and beyond to help others and to involve people who can also help others. She is a fearless leader who believes in the power of strategic planning and working with community leaders, public leaders and other private philanthropies to improve the quality of life for women, children and families in need in Indian River County. Her leadership of the John's Island Community Service League as its 21st president has been marked by significant growth in numbers of members, in grants monies being awarded to local agencies, and notably, connecting with other local community agency leaders to collaborate together to help solve large local issues which reach across multiple agencies. Of note, Hope was an enthusiastic sponsor of the Community Needs Assessment in Indian River County, which provided rich data to better understand the social needs and the scale of poverty locally. Funders need that level of understanding to be incentivized to focus on the most important needs. With years of a successful career in financial services, Hope has pivoted her focus to philanthropic issues and IRC is the beneficiary of her talents. She is quick to note that her focus on community involvement has been influenced by her mother, Joan Woodhouse, who has also been a force in local Indian River County, particularly in Gifford. I can't think of a better local hero than Hope!
— Karen Rupert Keating, New York
Hope was already deeply involved helping others all over Indian River County. She has overseen the raising and distributing of over $1 million to non-profit agencies in the county just in 2019-2020. Just as that part of her work was ending, COVID-19 arrived, and once again she jumped in to help her neighbors. Working with United Way, hope served on a committee that has raised an additional million dollars specifically to address the needs in our community, and led the John's Island Community Service League in contributing $200,000 for a grant match to let other donors know that their contributions would be doubled. The funds are being used NOW by local agencies for food, baby formula, assistance for rent and utilities, meals and delivery services for seniors. Further, she is focused on an emergency housing initiative to work on the wide range of housing needs that our out-of-work community will need to survive this.
— Amy Conlee, Indian River Shores
If you want to know how Hope Woodhouse came to become one of the most vocal and effective voices for children and families in need in Indian River County, you need look no farther than her childhood. As the saying goes, “the apple does not fall far from the tree.” That “tree” is Hope’s mother, Joan Woodhouse, a long-time resident of Vero Beach and moving force for many local initiatives, including the building of the beautiful Gifford Aquatics Pool. As Hope says, “philanthropy and public service is part of my DNA – this is what I grew up doing.” After a career on Wall Street, Hope began directing her energies here in Indian River County, and children’s education is all the better for it. She created a program and funding for schools to add weeks of summer classroom time – this has helped prevent the “summer slide” kids had always suffered. When she learned that Indian River had been shortchanging education funding, she mobilized county residents to descend on the County Commissioner’s meeting – and demand that funding begin to be restored. It was. She has continued to lead many other efforts directed toward underserved people in our community and plans to keep doing so.
I think of Hometown Heroes as little treasures on our Treasure Coast – and I nominate Hope Woodhouse for this honor.
— Anne Melanson, Vero Beach
Hope led the charge for raising significant funds and donating matching funds to the United Way for emergency relief to citizens during the COVID-19 crisis. She also ensured that grant funds from JICSL were disbursed to funded partners despite the crisis and with consistency.
— Cathy De Schouwer, Vero Beach
Hope has served on the JICSL in various positions for eight years and I have had the pleasure of working alongside of her. She currently serves as president of the league and was past chairman of the Grants Committee. She has a particular interest in the educational needs of children and has promoted this cause above all else. She personally spearheaded an initiative at the county level to increase the amount of funding to education in IRC. Hope was a founding member of the Kindergarten Readiness Program, is a member of the Moonshot Moment Academy, was part of the 2019-2020 Indian River Needs Assessment team, is currently on the United Way Community Response COVID-19 Response Fund and is a member of the Children's Services Advisory Council. She is a tireless champion of the neediest members of our community. She follows in the footsteps of her mother, Joan Woodhouse who was a driving force behind the Gifford Youth Activity Center.
— Colleen Bonner, Vero Beach
I would like to nominate Hope Woodhouse because for two years she has been president of the John's Island Community Service League and has overseen the raising and distributing to over a million dollars this year and close to that last year to non profit organizations in Vero Beach that are dedicated to aiding children and families in need.
— Nancy Brewer, Vero Beach
Hope never stops. She is propelled to do more and do better for our community. She has a big heart and a big brain full of data. She has helped countless organizations with mentorship, strategic planning and connections throughout the community. Her name is perfect for her as she gives hope to many and inspires change for the better.
— Andrea Berry, Vero Beach
Hope Woodhouse has worked tirelessly as the president of the JICSL to ensure that the unmet needs of Seniors, Children and the Homeless in Indian River County are addressed. She has always been a passionate advocate for these individuals but during this epidemic she has been even more so. As a member of the United Way’s “Unmet Needs Committee” she will assess the needs and distribute funds raised. Under Hope’s leadership rent assistance, utilities assistance, food and infant formula have been provided to members of the community in need. She is working closely with Senior Resources, VNA, Treasure Coast Food Bank and the School District Her concern for this community is genuinely sincere and I truly don’t think their is anyone more deserving of this award.
— Eileen Furino, Vero Beach
In addition to her recent term as president of the John's Island Community Service League, Hope has made a full time job of embracing and helping those in need in her community. She has become a steadfast leader in fund raising through her energy, intelligence and empathy for others. She is deserving of recognition for all she has done (and will continue doing) in Vero Beach and Indian River County.
— Kate Thornton, Vero Beach
Hope throws pure passion on top of her boundless energy and intellect to advocate for those most in need in our community. She is tremendously effective in mobilizing people and resources to solve problems others might not see. Her greatest work is in giving of herself, thoughtfully and thanklessly, and inspiring others to engage. Thank you Hope.
— Kate Freeman, Vero Beach
Hope has worked tirelessly to forge collaborations with many large community organizations over many years:, thereby making the grant-making effort in Indian River County more impactful and efficient.
— Barbara Hauptfuhrer, past president of the John’s Island Community Service League, Vero Beach and Wayne, Pa.
Hope is a tireless advocate for children and families living in Indian River County. She was a founding member of the Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative and in this capacity sought to raise awareness about the urgent need to prepare little ones for kindergarten. She spearheaded a community needs assessment effort that revealed that close to 50% of local children were unprepared for kindergarten. Through her work, she has raised not only awareness about early literacy efforts but also funding to develop innovative community programs that meet families where they are and provide on the ground assistance to social services and parent training sessions.
We consider Hope and integral and valuable member of our community and are forever grateful for her voice.
— Dr. Nivea L. Torres, Indian River County
Hope Woodhouse works effectively and tirelessly for the needs and support of the Women, Children, and Families of IRC. Under her leadership, the JICSL supports 40 Non-Profits in the area of Health/Wellness and Education, including College Scholarships for John’s Island Employees and their Children.
Recently, she issued a successful $200,000 Challenge Grant to funding organizations to help build the UW of IRC's Covid-19 Community Response Fund.
A highlight I'd like to mention is her leadership in an all-out effort to raise the county millage rate in support of our children. She’s an inspiration for all of us.
Hope is a friend to all of us on the Service League. She gives credit where credit is due. We all admire her accomplishments and creative thinking --- always with an eye on the next worthy project.
— Lynne Whipple, Meadowbrook, Pa.
Hope Woodhouse has worked tirelessly to help those in need in Indian River County since she moved to Vero Beach in 2007. She has served on the board of the John's Island Community Service League for the past eight years. The last two years she served as president. Prior to that she served on the Grants Committee and headed strategic planning. When the COVID-19 virus struck, Hope immediately contacted the board of the JICSl via a zoom meeting to vote to donate $50,000 to the United Way's COVID Crisis Fund. With her guidance, the vote was unanimous. Immediately after that, Hope strategized with the Board and developed a $200,000 Matching Challenge Grant for the same United Way Fund. When the United Way announced the Challenge, it was met within a few days and through Hope's initiative, $400,000 has been raised almost single handedly for the United Way's Covid19 Crisis Fund. Simultaneously, she has been working on a plan to help Indian River County residents who can't pay their mortgages or rent right now, with a program which will help them renegotiate their leases and refinance their mortgages when the forgiveness period is over. She has two volunteers working exclusively on this and is looking for attorneys to volunteer and help with this effort pro bono.
I could go on for pages with the wonderful things Hope has done in our community. It started long before this virus. I strongly recommend Hope Woodhouse as our HOMETOWN HERO!!!!
— Betsy Fox, Vero Beach
The knowledge and research skills Hope brings to each issue in which she gets involved is invaluable.
— Sandy Rolf, Indian River Shores
Hope Woodhouse will step down next week after serving two years as President of the John's Island Community Service League. But you ain’t seen the last of her. Hope is a whirlwind of energy, intelligence and compassion for those in need in Indian River County.
Under Hope's direction, the JICSL donated a whopping $1,048,000 in April to 40 agencies serving Indian River Families in need.
Hope also asked our board to redirect $50,000 from the John’s Island Community Service League Hurricane Contingency Fund to provide local COVID-19 Relief in conjunction with the United Way. On April 15th, Hope created a one month JICSL $200,000 Matching Challenge Grant — matching dollar-for-dollar donations up to $200,000 until June 15. The goal of this Challenge Grant is to encourage other community funding groups to donate to local Covid relief. Within two weeks, our $400,000 goal was met!
The attached 2017 photo of Hope [lobbying]the County Commissioners with her mother, Joan Woodhouse, (with Anne Melanson, Louie and Alan Hoblitzell) is quintessential Hope. As Anne Melanson said, “The County Commissioners’ decision to increase the millage rate for children's programs was almost solely because of Hope's efforts to organize the community to come out in force and make their views known to the County Commissioners. It really demonstrates the power that leaders can bring to effect change — and Hope did it.”
Thank you for celebrating all the heroes in our community. Hope Woodhouse is mine! Stay safe.
— Patricia Thompson, immediate past president of JICSL, Vero Beach
Hope is a Hometown Hero for her leadership on the John's Island Community Service League, CSAC, the United Way Covid-19 Fund ,and dedication to improving early childhood education in Indian River County.
— Sarah Jane Moore, Vero Beach
Hope is extremely involved in community outreach, overseeing allocations of funds from the league to social service organizations and serving on the United Way COVID-19 task force, among many other activities. She is an energetic and inspiring leader, both within and outside our residential community.
— Ashby Longwell, Indian River Shores
I have worked with Hope for the past 5 years serving on the JICSL Board under her leadership. Her hard work, commitment to the Community and leadership ability combine to make a person who clearly can be considered a Hometown Hero. The increase in the millage rate for children's programs was almost solely because of Hope's efforts to organize the community to come out in force and make their views known to the County Commissioners. It really demonstrates the power that leaders can bring to effect change — and Hope did it.
The photo I am submitting shows Hope at the County Commissioners fighting for the increase in the millage rate for children's programs. With her (left to right) are Louie Hoblitzell, Anne Melanson, Hope, Joan Woodhouse (her mother) and Hobb Hoblitzell. In a VB article a few years ago Hope said that her mother was the inspiration for her getting involved in philanthropy.
— Celie Tamoney, Vero Beach
For the COVID relief effort, Hope initiated the $200,000 Challenge Grant for United Way in which John’s Island Community Service League would match one for one, every dollar donated to the United Way up to $200,000. Hope genuinely puts those in need within the community first. I have never seen anyone in the community more dedicated and willing to go to any lengths to raise money and help individuals in need.
— Sallyan Pelletier, Vero Beach
I cannot think of anyone better to nominate other than Hope Woodhouse. Hope is someone who has inspired me since the day I met her. She is selfless in giving back to the community she loves. She has worked endless hours to ensure the community of the less fortunate have the basic needs during the year and especially now with the COVID-19 disaster. For two years, Hope has managed a board of 12 women in the John’s Island community that have taken on several fundraisers to be able to raise over $1.2 million. This money is allocated to over 40 agencies designated to help women, children and families and those in need in Vero Beach.
In addition to donating more than a million dollars to 40 nonprofit agencies in this year’s philanthropy program, the John’s Island Community Service League (JICSL) donated $50,000 in March and added an additional $200,000 in April to the United Way of Indian River County’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The amount of $200,000 was matched in less than 3 weeks for a grand total of $450,000, all of which will be donated to areas that are in need. This has all happened under the direction of Hope Woodhouse.
Hope certainly knows her strengths and goes “all in” to help the less fortunate in Indian River County. Her passion shows in every conversation. With all that she has accomplished in her 2 short years of being the President of the Johns Island Community Service League, I can hardly wait to see how many other lives will be touched by her in the future.
Vero Beach is a better place because of Hope and she is everyone's HERO.
— Terry Osteen, Vero Beach