Transforming the lives of children at mortal risk, providing them and their future generations a productive future and eternal hope.

Children Playing


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Children Dying in Street

Hope’s vision for Brazil was launched in 1991 when thousands of vulnerable street children were being systematically killed by gunmen largely hired by local business leaders. Their purpose for these killings was to eradicate a “public nuisance”— street children.


Hope Unlimited was founded by Rev. Jack Smith, son Philip Smith, and David Swoap, the former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Hope’s respected track record can be traced to 1971 when founders Jack and Evangel Smith established parent ministry Hope Enterprises in Ethiopia.  This ministry which began helping street children is today providing expanded assistance to nearly 10,000 children in 32 sites and is fully indigenous and self-sustaining.  This Ethiopian model became the conceptual framework upon which Hope Unlimited built and refined its program in Brazil.  Consistent with the ministry’s philosophy and tradition, Hope strives to achieve local ownership and sustainability.


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Senior Leadership


Philip Smith, Co-founder and CEO

Philip grew up in Ethiopia where his Presbyterian missionary parents, Rev. Jack and Evangel Smith, founded Hope Enterprises, which now cares for over 10,000 at-risk youth in 32 sites.

After attending Seattle Pacific University and Bethel Seminary West, Philip co-founded Hope Unlimited for Children with his father and close friend, David Swoap. Today, he is an internationally-recognized expert in orphan care.

Philip is married to Corenne Garrison, who, prior to moving to Brazil, served as the Director of the Communications Division for International Ministries/American Baptist Churches USA. They have son, Marc and daughter, Isabella.

Philip is actively involved in Rotary and their local church in Brazil. He is the recipient of many awards for his humanitarian work in Brazil.

Philip Smith


David Nowell, President

David is an ordained minister with a Ph.D. from Baylor University. He pastored several churches in Texas prior to spending most of his professional career as a senior administrator at several Christian colleges.

David and his wife, Susan, live in Jefferson City, TN and have two adult daughters.

He is the author of three books, Dirty Faith, Stepparent is not a Bad Word, and A Man’s Work Is Never Done, as well as numerous scholarly and popular articles.

David Nowell

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Children in Classroom

Currently, over 1019 children and hundreds more graduates and their families are served daily:

  • 255 children in residential programs
  • 35 children in graduate transition homes
  • 540 children in preschool program
  • 89 young adults in a church founded and led by Hope graduates
  • Over 100 graduates and children's family members are also served through graduate support programs, including CENE (a church founded and led by Hope graduates) employment placement services, counseling programs, and family-support programs


Our recipe for success has the right ingredients…

  • The right PERSPECTIVE: Christ-centered and biblically based
  • The right PROGRAM: Rescue, Transformation, Reintegration
  • The right PEOPLE: House Parents and Staff who are qualified, professional— and committed Christians
  • The right PLACE: Beautiful rural youth ranches— away from the streets
  • Plus PERSEVERANCE to keep fighting until each lonely and desperate child is rescued!

In the rescue phase, children are referred to Hope by the Brazilian courts, who have determined that these children are at mortal risk. Hope staff provides immediate emotional support, psychological and medical care, and spiritual healing. In the transformation phase (four to eight years), the child is guided through educational programs, and vocational coursework, within the context of family life. In the re-entry phase, Hope’s young men and women intern with local businesses for a year and live at a transition home for six months. Upon graduation (around the age of 18) each Hope student is guaranteed a job and is given ongoing support through the Graduate Center. Each graduate receives basic household furnishings and a complete set of tools for the trade he or she has learned.

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Since Hope was founded in 1991, thousands of children have gone through our residential programs. Hope Unlimited currently cares for children at four primary locations and serves graduates and family members through various outreach programs. Most important, 85% of our graduates are in stable living situations, meaningfully employed and active in a local church.

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  • Two residential campuses in Brazil
    • City of Youth, a 35-acre campus near Campinas, with cottages, classrooms, vocational training facilities, a working farm, recreational facilities, offices, and a chapel
    • Hope Mountain, a 100-acre, full-service campus near Vitória
  • Graduate Transition Homes in both Campinas and Vitória
  • Community-based homes for sibling groups in Campinas
  • A Graduate Center in Campinas with support, counseling, and job placement services
  • A preschool located in the Rosalina Slum serving 450 children and their families
  • The Net Fellowship, a growing church comprised primarily of graduates and their families



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Hope Unlimited raises funds from both U.S. and Brazilian sources. Annual budgeted income is approximately $4 million from Brazil and $1.5 million from U.S.

Hope meets all the audit and reporting standards of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

The program cost per child is less than $3,000 per year.

Find the Hope Unlimited 2014 990 form here: Download the 990 form.

Find the Hope Unlimited 2013 990 form here: Download the 990 form.

Find the Hope Unlimited 2014 Audited Financial Statements here: Download the statements.

Privacy Policy

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Find more information on the Hope Unlimited Board of Directors here: Board of Directors


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In 2006, Hope Unlimited received the prestigious Kanitz Award as one of Brazil’s top 50 charities (of 150,000) for the decade.

In 2014, Hope Unlimited received the Award for Social Innovation from the city of São Paulo. The award particularly recognized Hope for “restoring the family with substitute mothers and fathers” among high-complexity youth dealing with abandonment or abuse.

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Besides ECFA, Hope is a member of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, Viva Network, and the Combined Federal Campaign.

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