Hope Unlimited for Children

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 4/5/2022. To update the information in this column, please email: info@ministrywatch.com


The problem is millions of homeless children on Brazil's city streets-a killing field where a nation's youth survive as commodities for drugs, sex, and violent crime. In the late '80s, when Philip Smith and his father, Jack, first heard about the plight of Brazil's street children, off-duty police were becoming after-dark death squads, systematically exterminating thousands of the "public nuisances" for local business owners. Fortunately, the government was able get a handle on the situation. But for a child on the streets, the children's life expectancy still amounts to three to five years.

An estimated 7 to 8 million Brazilian children are on the streets-living, breathing refuse of desperately poor homes, where parents have turned to drugs, alcohol, and crime. And this is the world of Hope Unlimited-organized in 1991 to reclaim and parent the lost children of Brazil.

Over the past 30 years, reaching deeply into one life at a time, Hope Unlimited has embraced thousands of children-including their next generations. And when Hope succeeds, the cycle is broken: a child grows up to become a productive and contributing member of society. Even more importantly, they have become loving and Godly parents. Fully 92% of the boys and girls who completed the residential program at Hope Unlimited are employed today.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Hope Unlimited for Children
3130 Alpine Road
Ste 288-125
Portola Valley, CA 94028

Website: www.hopeunlimited.org

Phone: (888) 444-1344

Email: info@hopeunlimited.org

Organization details

EIN: 330480141

CEO/President: Mr. Philip Smith

Chairman: Mr. Paul Husby

Board size: 9

Founder: Rev. Jack Smith, Philip Smith, David Swoap

Ruling year: 1991

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1995


We Welcome: Children come to Hope Unlimited from the streets and slums of Brazil where they were abused, abandoned, and exploited in the worst circumstances imaginable. Before they arrive via court order or social worker recommendation, most have a life expectancy of three to five years. Once welcomed to Hope, each child becomes an irreplaceable member of our family. It is here, in serving the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable, that we transforms lives.

We Nurture: In the context of our loving homes and experienced staff, children receive the support they need to reclaim lost childhoods and find bright futures. Specifically, each child receives care in a family-style setting, award-winning educational and vocational programming, spiritual care, education, and recreation, not to mention new friends and role models. Slowly, we begin to see them transform from the inside out and build new lives.

They Transform: Unlike crisis-focused, transitional care programs, we become a "forever" part of our kids' lives. We don't consider our programs a success until graduates are positively impacting the next generation. Our Graduate Transition Program is uniquely created to raise the next generation of self-sufficient Christian leaders-children who will not only reach their own personal potential, but will work to renew their own communities, the very communities that once discarded them.

With our residential care model, we recognize that while food, clothing and shelter are important, they are not enough. Most care models fail to meet a child's greatest need of a stable, loving family and poorly serve children who have suffered trauma. We are not an institution. Instead, we are family. Therefore, in the context of our loving homes and experienced staff, children receive the support they need to reclaim lost childhoods and begin to build successful futures.

Through award-winning vocational training programs, our children gain confidence and skills to disrupt generational cycles of poverty. Hope Unlimited residents and day students from nearby slums master courses in human resources, culinary arts, auto body repair, computer technology, and cosmetology. They learn marketable skills, earn meaningful jobs upon graduation, and eventually change the course of their lives-and those of their future generations.

Graduate transition is the most critical time in our children's lives. We're devoted to guiding our kids through this transition-and it works. After completing our program, 92% of our residential graduates are employed and securely established. Through life skills classes, internships, job placement and mentoring, graduates become self-sufficient leaders, working to change their lives and communities.

Mission statement

Hope Unlimited uses the following to express its mission:

Hope Unlimited rescues and cares for children and teenagers living in the streets in situations of imminent risk. Hope's goal is for each one to become a fulfilled and contributing member of society, filled with unlimited hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Statement of faith

Donor confidence score

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Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Relief and Development

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating103 of 102219 of 85
Fund acquisition rating223 of 102424 of 85
Resource allocation rating227 of 102425 of 85
Asset utilization rating273 of 102226 of 85

Click here to read Hope Unlimited for Children's response to our ratings

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$94,969$35,478$6,619$19,310$17,894
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$437,154$215,678$181,361$223,687$162,539
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$4,685$5,916$337$692$1,886
Other long-term assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term assets$4,685$5,916$337$692$1,886
Total assets$441,839$221,594$181,698$224,379$164,425
Payables and accrued expenses$2,023$64,656$34,633$28,882$56,056
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$2,023$64,656$34,633$28,882$56,056
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total liabilities$2,023$64,656$34,633$28,882$56,056
Net assets20202019201820172016
Without donor restrictions$211,855$120,724$147,065$115,497$108,369
With donor restrictions$227,961$36,214$0$80,000$0
Net assets$439,816$156,938$147,065$195,497$108,369
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$1,445,510$1,578,140$1,522,502$1,481,945$1,398,055
Program service revenue$0$0$0$0$0
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$1,044($805)$0$0($518)
Other revenue$0$0$0$0$0
Total other revenue$1,044($805)$0$0($518)
Total revenue$1,446,554$1,577,335$1,522,502$1,481,945$1,397,537
Program services$1,051,165$1,296,341$1,289,193$931,221$1,184,797
Management and general$57,026$125,915$159,126$231,131$120,690
Total expenses$1,153,672$1,567,337$1,570,790$1,393,809$1,426,881
Change in net assets20202019201820172016
Surplus (deficit)$292,882$9,998($48,288)$88,136($29,344)
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$292,882$9,998($48,288)$88,136($29,344)


Philip SmithCEO Hope Unlimited For Chi$160,311
David NowellExecutive Director Hope In$151,847
Laura Becker-LewkeEmployee$120,498

Compensation data as of: 12/31/2019

Response from ministry


Hope Unlimited International's mission is to provide residential and vocational training to street children in Brazil. To carry out this mission, we need physical facilities in which to house and train the children. These long-term assets currently represent 86% of our total assets. This asset mix, and the accumulation of annual surpluses necessary to build up and expand our facilities, penalizes HUI on the efficiency measures selected by Wall Watchers. HUI values these ratings as useful tools, and hopes that Wall Watchers would consider developing a more relevant "peer" subset against which to measure the effectiveness of organizations like HUI that do not simply channel funds received out to their programs in the current accounting period.

Another aspect not dealt with in these standards of efficiency is HUI's long standing policy that Board members and friends cover all the administrative costs in the US, thereby allowing all funds received from donors to be passed straight through to the Brazilian programs.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 4/5/2022. To update the information below, please email: info@ministrywatch.com


Hope Unlimited for Children was founded in 1991 by Jack Smith, a Presbyterian missionary, and his son Philip. Responding to the horrific news reports of street children being massacred by vigilantes in Brazil, Jack and Philip boarded a plane with no plans, no contacts, no Portuguese and no money; but God affirmed His plan. On the flight to Brazil, Philip was seated with a young man whose father was on the board of an abandoned orphanage. He offered to make the introduction and the board agreed to gift this 35-acre parcel of land with several buildings to the fledgling Hope Unlimited for Children. It was the first miracle.

After visiting the facility which was in considerable disrepair, Jack flew back to the U.S. to raise funds and Philip stayed behind to work with an engineering firm to determine what it would take to make the buildings habitable. The sum was staggering: almost $120,000!-the equivalent of almost $1mm in today's dollars! When Philip called his father to tell him that the estimate was so high as to make the project impossible, Jack told Philip that Menlo Park Presbyterian Church had just received a one-time gift for a global organization in the amount of $120,000. Although 50 organizations applied, Hope was selected to receive the grant!-the second miracle and evidence that God's hand was on this ministry.

The initial "City of Youth" project near Sao Paulo consisted of a boy's facility with 125 resident children. It provided long-term residential care with a focus on vocational training for boys who were formerly street children. In 1997, additional facilities were constructed to accommodate 85 girls from the streets. In 2012, five additional community-based homes were established.

Meanwhile, in 1999, a second residential facility was established in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil. "Hope Mountain" provides residential care for boys age 12 and above who are at extreme risk. The majority used drugs on a regular basis, and many are in state-sanctioned protective custody because of death threats from their involvement with trafficking.

For a timeline, visit: hopeunlimited.org/about/history/

Program accomplishments

30 Years of Service

22 Programs

92% Graduate Success


Our most critical activities, such as evangelism, job training, and graduate transition, are paid for exclusively with your gifts. A significant portion of our entire annual budget comes through end-of-the year contributions. The amount we receive each year determines how many lives we can touch. Please pray about what you may be able to do.