Beyond the Balance Sheet: The Unseen Successes of Home of Hope

By: Carlie McMann

Nonprofit work had always been in her genes – now more than ever. 

Teresa McHugh volunteered in the nonprofit world for around 28 years, seven of which she served on the board for the Ronald McDonald House in North Carolina. Mom to four, Teresa spent her free time directing 5ks, chairing committees, organizing auctions and whatever else needed to be done to support her community. She even went back to school for nonprofit management to better understand the governance of nonprofits. 

“I was already immersed in nonprofit work, but I wanted a certificate to know that I knew what I was talking about,” laughed Teresa. 

Teresa recognized the impact of Home of Hope from early on. She was drawn to their unique transformative model. 

“Maureen told me about their transitional program and that was very interesting to me. My first job out of college was working in the welfare department, and I couldn’t find a more broken system if I tried,” said Teresa.

“Home of Hope is the complete opposite of that. They hold their moms accountable and empower them to make real changes in their lives. It was the accountability that sold me on Home on Hope. I don’t believe in helping someone who can help themselves because then you’re not helping. You’re enabling.

“They are so diligent and help these moms succeed, not just in the program but in the world once they graduate. That really struck a chord with my husband and me.” 

It was a natural fit for Teresa and her family to start supporting Home of Hope. 

“Maureen is my sister, but that’s not why I support. I’ve been very close to Home of Hope since she came on board, but even though she’s running Home of Hope, if I didn’t believe in the work they do, I wouldn’t be a donor,” said Teresa. 

 The organization’s internal culture was also a selling point for Teresa. 

“There’s a lot of teaching going on within those walls that is unwritten. The moms are experiencing and learning soft skills that can be hard to include in an annual report but when you visit, you feel it. 

“These women not only want to be better for themselves, but they want to be better for the women that are in the room next door. It’s very supportive. It’s a very uplifting environment. If you truly want to change, Home of Hope offers you everything you need to do that. That’s the culture my sister’s created,” said Teresa.

Maureen and her team care about more than these women’s financial needs, they care about them as a whole person and want them to be well-rounded. 

“These soft skills that they’re learning are helping them become more professional. They’re starting to understand that if you speak nicely and calmly, they’ll be taken seriously – and if they come into the room yelling, then they’ll be dismissed. You’ll emulate behavior that will push you forward. So, when they are having a meltdown and are met with a staff member who speaks calmly and quietly, they see how that works and begin to make that transition themselves,” said Teresa. 

”It’s all these little nuances, and the women themselves don’t realize how much it’s changing their lives. That’s the kind of skills and progress you can’t put on a year-end spreadsheet, but it makes a huge difference in their success after the program.” 

Teresa’s favorite part of being a donor? Seeing the impact firsthand. 

“When I see the moms at the gala, and they’ve just graduated from the program, their shoulders are square, and their chins are high. They have a sense of accomplishment. They get to say to themselves, ‘I really did this.’ It’s heartwarming to see a woman go through the program and then get herself a full-time job, buy herself a car, and have her kids do well in school. She’s doing so well. That’s our real rate of return.”