To ensure all student parents have the opportunities to succeed and experience economic mobility, Generation Hope engages education and policy partners to drive systemic change and provides direct support to teen parents in college as well as their children through holistic, two-generation programming.
More than half of parenting college students leave school without a degree. Our theory of change is that if student parents receive customized academic, career, financial, and personal development supports, they will thrive academically, graduate from college, and secure family-sustaining wages. Success depends on staff establishing trust with teen parents and student parents, institutional leaders seeing student parents as a resource and being willing to involve them in decision-making, and student parents having access to postsecondary opportunities at two and four-year institutions. Generation Hope intends to use a grant from Boulder Fund to support the direct costs associated with our expansion to a new site in 2023.
About the Founder
Nicole Lynn Lewis is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Hope, a nonprofit organization that surrounds motivated teen parents and their children with the mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive in college and kindergarten, thereby driving a two-generation solution to poverty.
A former teen mother who put herself through the College of William & Mary with her three-month-old daughter in tow, Nicole now works every day to change the statistic that less than 2% of teen mothers will earn their degrees before age 30. Generation Hope rallies around teen parents to help them earn college degrees and forge a path to economic opportunity and is now expanding its work nationally to help colleges and universities and policymakers across the country better meet the needs of the nearly 4 million parenting students who are working toward their degrees.
Nicole is a member of the board of trustees of Trinity Washington University and a National Advisory Board member of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Most recently, she was recognized as one of five “luminaries,” innovative Black education leaders from around the country, who each received a $1 million award from The 1954 Project, which invests in initiatives that “strengthen pathways from education to career in order to drive economic mobility in the Black community.” Nicole is also a recipient of the Black Voices for Black Justice Award, which “recognizes incredible leaders who have been on the frontlines working to dismantle the deep-rooted, racist systems that have plagued our country for centuries,” and the Boulder Fund award through Education Leaders of Color, which “supports the innovations of leaders of color in education.” She has received various awards, including being honored as a CNN Hero and the national grand prize winner of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award, and has been featured on major news outlets including “Good Morning America,” CNN, “NBC Nightly News,” and The Washington Post. She is also a nationally known author and speaker with her book, Pregnant Girl, released by Beacon Press in the spring of 2021, which was featured on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ and reviewed in The New York Times. Pregnant Girl was also named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2021.
Nicole holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Communication from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William & Mary. Nicole and her husband, Donté Lewis, live in Maryland with their five children.