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Our Story

"The citizen takes his city for granted far too often.
He forgets to marvel."

- Carlos Fuentes

Having grown up in Downs, a small rural community in Illinois, Tony Cook learned the beauty of neighbors helping neighbors. He experienced firsthand how each member of the community, regardless of background, had unique gifts to share. If you needed your car fixed, you took it to Chuck’s dad; if your wiring went bad, you called Russ. Tony saw the art of neighboring being practiced everywhere in his community - even in his own family the point was driven home as he watched his dad, better known as Fuzzy, put on his boots and Carhartt jacket time and again to come to the aid of a neighbor.


In 2017, Tony began to dream about neighborhoods in America. What would it be like if people across the country participated in their neighborhoods like his neighbors did, back in Downs? What would it be like if people pursued the common good with their neighbors right where they lived?

And so when Tony was designing a three-year national research project, he decided to explore these neighborhood-related questions. Tony assembled a team, and together they dove into the research and began exploring the implications of that research.


One key finding in the research was that people all across this country are hungry to make a difference in their neighborhoods. But they need help in figuring out how to join with others to do that. Out of this important finding, the Hopeful Neighborhood Project was born.

The Hopeful Neighborhood Project is a brand-new collaborative network of people who are committed to improving neighborhood well-being around the world. Our resources and online network equip and encourage neighbors to work together, using their gifts and the gifts of their community, to pursue the common good of their neighborhood. Our network is founded on not only the conviction that we are all created to pursue the common good, but also that we are all created to join with other like-minded people in this shared work. While creating this new collaborative network has required creative thinking, imagination, and hard work, we know that this is how the world changes.

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