About Us

About Lynchburg Beacon of Hope

The future of Lynchburg and our region’s economic core depends on our collective ability to maximize the potential of our young people now. Beacon of Hope exists to give Lynchburg’s young people fair and equitable access to higher education and technical certification training programs after high school. This kind of proactive investment in Lynchburg’s youth ensures a secure economic future—not just for our young workers and their families—but for this region as a whole.

Through Beacon of Hope’s innovative High School Future Centers, middle and elementary school college access programming that is flourishing in our City Schools, bridge programs connecting our LCS graduates to college and careers, college success programs ensuring that students make a successful transition into college and university, and financial aid navigation available to families across the community—Lynchburg Beacon of Hope is working to change the workforce development landscape in Lynchburg.  

Our Mission is..

“To inspire Lynchburg’s youth to pursue post-secondary education or training, invest in their potential, and equip them to become contributing individuals to the betterment of our community.”  

We believe that Lynchburg’s young people must have fair and equitable access to quality education, make financially literate decisions, and have opportunities to access higher education in order to ensure a secure future. Through Beacon of Hope’s innovative High School Future Centers and the middle and elementary school college access programming that are flourishing in our City Schools, including Kids to College, we hope to help light the way to higher education and a secure future for the region’s workforce.

Why We Exist

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope exists to prepare every Lynchburg City School student for a postsecondary education. Whether it is two-year college, four-year college, or technical school, the Beacon of Hope helps every student build a bridge to college. Beacon of Hope’s ultimate goal is to provide college opportunities for those who would not be able to attend college otherwise, including economically disadvantaged students and first-generation students – the first in their family to attend college.  

The Beacon of Hope was born from the Lynchburg Community Dialogue on Race and Racism. Students, families, and community members expressed the need for equal opportunity in education for all students, regardless of race or level of income. In 2012, just a year after forming, the Beacon of Hope opened two Future Centers inside of E.C. Glass and Heritage High Schools. Beacon of Hope’s future centers are physical spaces that serve as hubs for all college and career readiness programming.

Our History

January 2018

Board prepared to launch Lynchburg’s Promise

LBoH’s Board prepares to launch Lynchburg’s Promise. This grassroots initiative, funded completely by community resources, will give last-dollar scholarships to hundreds of LCS graduates pursuing their education or technical certification at one of our accredited colleges, universities, technical programs in and around Lynchburg. STAY CLOSE, GO FAR.  

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope became tightly woven into the fabric of the LCS community. In just 4 years, our Future Centers, together with guidance, increased the percentage of seniors graduating with a post-secondary plan by 25%. Scores of students were pursuing college with Beacon of Hope’s assistance and more scholarships were given to first-generation students pursuing college and technical school than ever before.  

Our Board and development team recognized that a level of fiscal stability was necessary to allow the Future Centers and other programs long-term sustainability. In 2017, LBoH began work on a $5 million HUMAN CAPITAL CAMPAIGN which would help to expand the Future Centers and launch the PROMISE. That campaign was later expanded to $7 million to include more classes.

June 2017

Work began on a $5 million HUMAN CAPITAL CAMPAIGN

September 2016

LBoH partnered with Central Virginia Community College to launch the HOPE SCHOLARS PROGRAM

As the LBoH Future Centers worked to successfully launch more and more LCS grads into college and technical school, we recognized more and more that the social, academic, and financial barriers our students faced in high school were even more pronounced in college.  LBoH partnered with Central Virginia Community College to launch the HOPE SCHOLARS PROGRAM. This initiative created a bridge for LCS graduates between high school and community college the following fall, filling financial holes and introducing students to the study skills, on campus resources and tools they have at CVCC to successfully complete college.

Early in our Future Center operations, our staff realized that it is much more effective to create HOPE in a child’s early years and create interventions that foster that hope all the way through school than to try to create hope once a student is already in high school and has made decisions that limit the post-secondary opportunities available to him and/or her.   As such, we piloted a program called Kids to College (K2C) in partnership with The LEADERSHIP LYNCHBURG Program at Wm Marvin Bass Elementary. K2C was so successful that we expanded the program within 2 years to all 11 LCS elementary schools and brought on Rachel Madigan, an LCS elementary teacher stand-out who developed the K2C curriculum and implementation plan.

August 2015

Piloted the program Kids to College (K2C) in partnership with The LEADERSHIP LYNCHBURG Program

January 2014

Joan Foster, Mayor, comes aboard organization as Development Director

Joan Foster, who at the time was mayor of Lynchburg, believed so deeply in the mission of Beacon of Hope and in the need for this program to truly transform the community that she came aboard as the organization’s Development Director.

Within the Future Centers’ first year of operation it was clear that many Lynchburg students had lost (or never had) the hope of going to college/technical school before they ever got to high school. LBoH worked with the three LCS Middle Schools to launch college and career initiatives in the middle schools, including the 2-day 8th Grade College-Readiness Symposium held on one of the region’s college campuses, Future Fridays speakers series, and STEM programming from Virginia Tech during Middle School intercession weeks.

April 2013

LCS Middle Schools launch college and career initiatives

October 2012

Future Centers launched at E.C. Glass and Heritage

Recognizing that a PROMISE constitutes more than just financial assistance, LBoH launched its high-school based Future Centers at E.C. Glass and Heritage in October of 2012.  These home-grown programs were created to address the many barriers we found were keeping our students from pursuing education after high school. Former NFL Coaches in the Classroom Academic Advisors, Maggie Davis and Heidi Vandehoef, took on the challenge of being LBoH’s early Future Center Directors.

Members of the Education Subcommittee of the Dialogue created a working Board of Directors and Lynchburg Beacon of Hope is born.  Founding members of this small but mighty band included then LCS School Board Chair Mary Ann Hoss, then Director of Juvenile Probation Services Bob Wade, retired physician Paul Fitzgerald, retired LCS Student Advocate Gloria Preston, and philanthropist Rosel Schewel. Laura Hamilton, policy advisor, was brought aboard to help build the model.  She remains as Executive Director of Lynchburg Beacon of Hope.

January 2011

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope is born

June 2010

Education Subcommittee of the Dialogue recommendation

Education Subcommittee of the Dialogue recommends that Lynchburg address its workforce development needs, changing public school population, and achievement gap by creating a PROMISE to Lynchburg’s students that their zip code or financial circumstances should not dictate how far they can go in life.

Joan Foster, Mayor of Lynchburg, engaged thousands of individuals from diverse backgrounds to participate in the Community Dialogue on Race and Racism.

June 2008

Community Dialogue on Race and Racism