What We Do

starting a God-centered school for at risk youth is crazy

We believe the nationwide education crisis in under resourced communities stems from a famine of imago Dei education. In 1999, God used a dear friend, and a timely sermon, to give Russ Gregg the courage to quit his job and do something crazy: start a school for his neighbors’ children. Over 20 years have learned from many people, and through trial and error.
If you are being called to start a new God-centered school in your home city, we are ready to partner with the Lord and you in this critical work. You only get one chance to start, and we want to help you start well.

The Problem

We believe the persistent achievement gap among at risk youth in our nation’s cities reflects a crisis of access: a famine of educational opportunity centered on God and His Word. Public and charter educational approaches aren’t able to address the heart of the issue.

Our Solution

Spreading Hope seeks to serve at risk youth in urban communities by serving Christian leaders called to start and lead schools inspired by Hope Academy’s model.

Join other leaders who are pursuing the remarkable!

Our Vision

Our vision is to aid in the planting and strengthening of locally run urban classical Christian schools who embrace our six school culture values, our five core distinctives, and our Grow Slow approach (see Russ Gregg’s “Dream Big, Start Small, Grow Slow” talk here).

Today, Hope Academy serves nearly 500 students k-12 in urban Minneapolis, with 75% of our student population meeting low income guidelines. Roughly 90% of funding ($4.5 million in 2016-2017) coming from private philanthropy, and ~10% coming through a “family share” tuition amount – with most families paying between $75-90/month total, regardless of the number students enrolled.

Spreading Hope was founded thanks to generous support of donors to the Growing Hope Campaign and in response to the outpouring of requests from groups to visit Hope Academy to learn how they can start a school in their city.


We select Founders from among our Fellows for a two-year school planting partnership through to launch.

1. Plan


14 months pre-launch
We facilitate an initial one, five and ten year strategic plan and help you outline a path to launch.

2. Inspire

11 months pre-launch
We help you inspire Partners with a case statement, a vision event with Russ Gregg, and careful follow-up.

3. Enroll

9 months pre-launch
We guide as you canvas your area to enroll target families and raise awareness.

4. Hire

3-5 months pre-launch
We help you hire teachers and staff, including a search for your director of development.

5. Train

Staff development week
We help you to train your staff on key processes (fundraising, family ministry, classical education and cultural competency).

6. Launch

September-July of launch year
We advise you in your launch year as you contextualize and adapt the model.

Helping Leaders Start Urban Christ Centered Schools

What We Offer You

Spreading Hope exists to ignite a movement of God-centered schools serving at-risk youth in our nation’s cities. We spread the model of Hope Academy in Minneapolis – a leading school in the classical, Christ-centered, urban schooling movement.

  • Initial $25K Seed Money 100% 100%
  • Hope Academy Proven Model 100% 100%
  • Ongoing Leadership Consulting 100% 100%
  • Nuts & Bolts How To Plan 100% 100%

Hope Academy is a flagship for our Christian schools. The development and growth of Christian schools like Hope Academy is so encouraging. CSI is excited by the school planting efforts of the Spreading Hope team.

Jeff Blamer

President, Christian Schools Intl. (Grand Rapids, MI)

I am so thankful for Hope Academy and the Spreading Hope team. We started our school for low income urban youth in 2014 and are now serving nearly 80 students in grades K-5. I simply can’t imagine where we would be without their support and direction. 

Doug Fern

Head of School, Faith Academy (Iowa City, IA)