The Hope Is Foundation Seeks to Empower Courageous Scholars at Northeastern Illinois University

NEIU Alumni Association welcomes David D. Robertson for NEIU Alumni All Access event to spread message of hope, empower underrepresented students through mentorship

May 14, 2021

CHICAGO — David D. Robertson, founder of Hope Is Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that promotes volunteerism, mentorship, access to health and wellness services, and strategic community partnerships to combat hopelessness in Chicago and beyond, is partnering with Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) to break the economic barrier of receiving a college education and spread a message of hope.

Robertson will virtually return to his alma mater and join the NEIU Alumni Association for a free NEIU Alumni All Access event Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 6 p.m. where he will discuss innovative ways to build community and what it means to be engaged as a member of the alumni community.

In 2020, Robertson established The Robertson Family Education Enrichment Award to offset expenses of tuition, books, fees, or personal expenses, and includes mentorship opportunities for the recipients and NEIU alumni. It was awarded for the first time in 2021. Robertson is now seeking to raise $25,000 to establish Hope Is Foundation Courageous Scholars Scholarship, an endowed scholarship that will propel students from underrepresented groups, such as first-generation Black and Latinx college students, and invest in their personal growth. The Hope Is Foundation Courageous Scholars Scholarship will be Northeastern’s first endowed scholarship by a Black alumnus in its history. Both scholarships aim to assist students in earning a college degree, not just through financial support, but also through mentorship opportunities.

“The goal of both scholarships is to allow students to take away a stronger sense of community, the power of communication and the courageous voice of vulnerability that fosters a sense of belonging to a network of support,” Robertson said. “These scholarships are a tool for student success, creating unique opportunities where Northeastern students and alumni can engage and enrich their lives both on and off campus.”

The organization is also donating a portion of the sales of its H.O.P.E. Is… Combo Kits to help raise funds for the Hope Is Foundation Courageous Scholars Scholarship.

Robertson started Hope Is Foundation as an undergraduate student at NEIU as he was personally struggling with the effects of medical issues and stress. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies/University Without Walls in 2016 and a Master of Arts in Teachers and Community Leadership in 2018. He is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree at Columbia University.

Northeastern Illinois University’s Director of Alumni Relations, Damaris Tapia, is thankful Robertson wanted to return to the University and create opportunities for current and future students.

“I am always thrilled when alumni return to Northeastern Illinois University,” Tapia said. “It’s even more wonderful when alumni continue to be inspired by their alma mater years after their graduation and feel compelled to support other scholars in whatever ways they are able. David was a 2020 recipient of our NEIU GOLD Alumni Award because of the work he currently does with Hope Is Foundation and his consistent desire to help others. I am extremely excited to partner with him and Hope Is Foundation to create more opportunities to further the success of Northeastern Illinois University students through The Robertson Family Education Enrichment Award and Hope Is Foundation Courageous Scholars Scholarship.”


Northeastern Illinois University’s Main Campus is located on 67 acres in an attractive residential area on the Northwest Side of Chicago. The University offers more than 40 undergraduate degree and certificate programs and more than 50 graduate degree, certificate, licensure and endorsement programs. The University has additional locations in the metropolitan area, including the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, El Centro, Center for College Access and Success, and the University Center of Lake County.


H.O.P.E. Is… Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that expands local communities’ capacity to respond to the health, educational, and economic needs of the community. Founded in 2010 by self-care advocate David D. Robertson, Hope Is Foundation grounds itself to an inter-generational movement around the advocacy of a healthy and hopeful life within urban communities, globally using the platforms of art, philanthropy and technology.


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