About Boys Hope Girls Hope

Boys Hope Girls Hope is an international organization centered on cultivating youth empowerment through the foundation of education and holistic support. Operating across 15 U.S. and 3 Latin American affiliates, BHGH utilizes structured programming adapted to the needs of each community, unique curriculum, and partnerships with local schools and universities. Service pathways include residential environments and community-based after school programming, and though different in format and location, all programs build on consistent core elements:
  • Academic excellence
  • Service and community engagement
  • Family-like settings to cultivate youth empowerment
  • Long-term and comprehensive programming
  • Faith-based values
  • Voluntary participant commitment
Boys Hope Girls Hope firmly believes that children have the power to overcome adversity, realize their potential, and help transform our world. Children create these successes when we remove obstacles, support and believe in them, and provide environments and opportunities that build on their strengths.

“I do not aim for success merely because of what it will bring me, but because of what it empowers me to do and the effect it has on others.”

Brijhette Farmer, 2007 Girls Hope St. Louis Alum

Our Mission

Boys Hope Girls Hope helps academically capable and motivated children-in-need to meet their full potential and become men and women for others by providing value-centered, family-like homes, opportunities and education through college.

Our Vision

We believe in opportunity, education and inclusion for every motivated young person.

We are:

Our History

Founded in 1977 by Jesuit priest Fr. Paul Sheridan, Boys Hope Girls Hope began with one goal: to help children break the cycle of poverty by offering them a stable and loving home, guidance, and access to quality education. The program set high expectations for participating scholars, and then provided the resources and opportunities necessary to meet those expecations. While living in the family-like home, scholars enrolled in college preparatory schools, participated in extracurricular activities, and engaged in volunteer work in their communities.

Since then Boys Hope Girls Hope has grown, rising to serve the needs of motivated and deserving scholars in fifteen U.S. cities and three Latin American locations. We continue to offer residential programs that include the family-like environment essential to the healthy development of our scholars, and we have expanded to include non-residential programs and after-school initiatives based on offering that same inclusive environment.

Boys Hope Girls Hope alumni have gone on to become healthcare professionals, attorneys, police officers, moms, dads, educators, and clergy. Our program gives scholars the tools they need to build their own success stories.



BHGH Founded

Fr. Paul Sheridan, SJ and the first board of directors welcome the inaugural class of scholars into their new organization known as “The Jesuit Program for Living and Learning.” This is the first residential site, located in St. Louis.


Replication Begins

Replication residential sites are established in New York City and Chicago, starting the growth that has culminated into 15 U.S. affiliate sites.


First College Graduate

The program celebrates its first college graduate.


Going International

The program takes root abroad, eventually expanding into three Latin American sites: Ser Y Crecer in Monterrey, Mexico; Casa Javier in Lima, Peru; and Esperanza Juvenil, in Guatemala City, Guatemala.


Began Serving Girls

The Pittsburgh affiliate opens the first home for girls, and the program is renamed Boys Hope Girls Hope. Additionally, this year BHGH reaches the milestone of 100 scholar participants in college.


Non-Residential Programs Launched

The Arizona affiliate launches the first community-based program known as Academy programming, an expansion of the Boys Hope Girls Hope residential continuum of care. Since then, this model has grown and been implemented in affiliates across the United States.


40 Years!

Boys Hope Girls Hope celebrates its 40th anniversary!


The BHGH Board of Directors and staff leadership collaborate to ensure mission fidelity, financial stewardship and transparency. This team of professionals is committed to continuous learning, effective programming and improvement through impact evaluation and innovation.


John C. Vatterott, Chair
Founder and former President
Vatterott Educational Centers

Joseph G. Koenig, Vice Chair
World Wide Technology

John Wunderlich, Treasurer
Business Consultant

David O. Danis, Esq., Secretary
The David Danis Law Firm, P.C.

Gregg Kirchhoefer, Counsel
Kirkland & Ellis

Kristin Ostby de Barillas
President and CEO
Boys Hope Girls Hope

Dr. Edward Anderson

Jorge Arce
Director General
Santander Mexico

Louis Carr
President, Broadcast Media Sales
BET Holdings, Inc.

Chris Collins, S.J.
Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity
Saint Louis University

Joseph P. Conran
Husch & Blackwell

Mike de Graffenried

Moir Donelson
Teinnovations, Inc.

Christopher Growe
Managing Director
Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc.

Lisa Flavin
VP, Audit & Chief Compliance Office

Jerry M. Hunter
Bryan Cave

Robert Lloyd
Hyperloop One

Mark Mantovani
Chairman of the Board,
Ansira Engagement Marketing

Paul Minorini
Boys Hope Girls Hope

Suzanne Mondello
Business Consultant

Brian Moore
Vice President
PJM Advisors, LLC

Jeanne C. Olivier
Shearman & Sterling

Dave Schmitt
The Armor Group, Inc.

Greg Scruggs, Alumni
Celebrity Spokesperson
National Football League

Paul G. Sheridan, S.J.
Boys Hope Girls Hope

Patrick Sly
Executive Vice President

Michele Thornton
Vice President, TV Ad Sales

Nick Varuso, Alumni
Performance & Capability Team Lead
Shell Oil

Jim Whims
Alsop Louie Partners

Mark Wilhelm
Chief Executive Officer
Safety National Casualty Corporation

The Need We Address

Prior to joining our program, our scholars’ circumstances include environmental barriers that make it difficult to concentrate on achieving their goals. In the United States, 72% of our scholars come from families whose household income is less than $30,000 (compared to the 2016 federal poverty level of $24,300 for a family of four). The dividing line for the lower 25th percentile of family income in the United Sates is approximately $30,000.

The relationship between educational failure and poverty creates a vicious cycle that affects too many children in our communities and negatively impacts our entire society.

  • Twenty-one percent of children in the US live in poverty (Census Bureau, 2014)
  • Children born into poverty are six times more likely to drop out of school (Cities in Crisis, 2008).
  • The longer a child lives in poverty, the lower their overall level of academic achievement (Guo and Harris, 2000).
  • Children from families in the highest income quartile are 8 times as likely to earn a college degree that those from the lowest income quartile (Pell Institute and Penn Ahead, 2015).
  • In 1980, college graduates earned 29% more than those without. By 2007, that gap grew to 66% (Baum & Ma, 2007).
  • The costs to United States society are significant in terms of economic productivity, tax revenue, health care over-utilization, parental attention to children’s educational development, civic engagement, and volunteerism (Baum & Ma, 2007).
  • According to CEOs for Cities, every one percentage point increase in adult four-year college degree attainment adds an additional $763 to per capita income per year (One Student at a Time, 2013).
  • Cohen and Piquero (2009) monetized the cost to society over the course of a “negative outcome” child’s lifetime as follows: High School Dropout = $390,000 - $580,000, Plus Heavy Drug User = $846,000 – $1.1 Million, Plus Career Criminal = $3.2 - $5.8 Million.

Invest in the success of our scholars!