Hope Starts Here

Industry Early Childhood Development
Communities Engaged Families, Caregivers, Childcare Professionals, Educators, Health Care Professionals, Community Advocates, Business Leaders, Policy Makers, Funders and Other Stakeholders

Community-informed communications as #HopeBuilds

EarlyWorks served as the community engagement and strategic communications partner for Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership, a city-wide alliance of advocates and partners for improved early childhood systems, centers and support in Detroit. Hope Starts Here was born of the belief that Detroit won’t reach its full potential until its children reach theirs. For more than a year, our team worked alongside community members and families to develop a vision for early childhood in Detroit that includes a roadmap for realizing that vision over the next 10 years. 

Hope Starts Here was created to build awareness for the urgency of a city-wide focus on early childhood as well as to have Detroiters be co-creators in providing solutions to this pressing issue. Throughout the community engagement and awareness-raising process, Hope Starts Here invited families and caregivers to make the case for a focus on early childhood and sought input for possible areas of focus. Through hundreds of meetings, community conversations and strategy sessions, more than 2 million individuals were engaged. This included direct input from 18,000 Detroiters, including: families and caregivers, childcare professionals, educators, health care professionals, community advocates, business leaders, policy makers, funders and a diverse range of other stakeholders.

From the listening sessions and information captured, EarlyWorks designed the Hope Starts Here (HSH) brand and campaign. The HSH campaign was created both visually and tactically to be anchored in community. With materials designed to be culturally relevant, inspirational and inviting, and messaging that includes a call to action for each Detroiter, Hope Starts Here created a platform to unite a city in possibility for the next generation. 

With a recognition that making the case for early childhood in Detroit would require communicating its current challenged reality, the brand was focused around the opposite — photos of thriving, happy children. Using these photos allowed the effort to tap into Detroiters’ deeply held beliefs that all children deserve a strong start. Finally, given literacy challenges in the city, continuous effort was made to share information using simple language and visuals designed to symbolize hope and possibility.



Winner, Excellence in Journalism Award for Photography/Graphics from the Society of Professional Journalists, Detroit Chapter for the Hope Starts Here Community Framework piece

Finalist, Clarence B. Jones for Impact Award from the Communications Network for the Hope Starts Here campaign.


"It's obvious a lot of time, thought, research and creativity went into developing these visuals. All through the graphics and photos, the message of the initiative is consistent and delivered in eye-catching fashion."

—SPJ Judge Notes