The inspiration for the Hope Fund came from an article in the Washington Post by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Geraldine Brooks. The article, “Peace in His Time—A Young Man’s Desperate Dreaming in the Holy Land,” chronicled her 10-year relationship with Raed, a “child of the stones” whom she met while covering the violence of the first Intifada in Palestine and ended up supporting through his college education.
Soon after the article’s appearance in 1999, Dr. Fahim Qubain began exploring the possibility of establishing a mechanism to help educate other children who, like Raed, lived in the poorest and most desperate corners of the region’s refugee camps. In 2000, he and his wife Nancy established The Hope Fund Corporation as a charitable public organization under Section (501)( C )(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, enabling it to receive tax-deductible contributions from individuals and corporate bodies.
The Hope Fund then turned to AMIDEAST, a leading U.S. educational organization with longstanding ties to the Middle East and North Africa, to serve as its key in-region partner. The Washington, DC-based organization, with its extensive network of field offices across the region, was well-positioned to assist with the selection and preparation of prospective students — a service it provided free of charge.
In 2001, the Hope Fund welcomed its first two students, Khaled El-Nemr and Hanan Dahche. In what would become the Fund’s model, Roanoke College generously supplied full scholarships for the students, while the Hope Fund covered travel, insurance, incidental expenses such as books and laptops, and initial social support. Both students graduated cum laude in May 2005—Khaled in Physics and Math, Hanan in Biochemistry—with outstanding scholastic records that would encourage more colleges to support the Hope Fund’s mission.
To date, the Hope Fund has enabled nearly 80 talented young men and women to pursue their undergraduate studies in the United States. More than 30 colleges and universities have partnered with the Hope Fund to provide the scholarships that made it possible.
After 15 years as an independent nonprofit organization, the Hope Fund entered a new era in May 2015, when it became a part of AMIDEAST. By turning to an organization that shares the Hope Fund’s commitment to expanding opportunity for underserved youth, the Hope Fund will be able to continue to open doors to higher education for Palestinian youth for years to come.