About Us

HopeWell is a nonprofit social services agency headquartered in metro Boston with regional offices across Massachusetts.

What We Do

Each year, we provide a range of critical services to children, families, and individuals across Massachusetts.

We are the largest nonprofit provider of comprehensive foster care in Massachusetts. We also support children experiencing foster care as they grow their early literacy skills; youth who are “aging out” of foster care and transitioning into adulthood; families involved with the child welfare system; and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

HopeWell has been supporting, empowering, and uplifting those in our care for six decades.

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A Mission That Matters

Our mission is the driving force behind everything we do:
We enrich the lives and expand the opportunities of children, adults, and families in need of love, support, and safe places to grow and thrive.

Our History

HopeWell’s roots go back to 1964, when founder Gerry Wright saw an urgent need for an alternative to teens who were involved in the juvenile justice system being warehoused in detention centers. Determined to find a better, more human alternative, Wright launched the state’s first community-based residential program for boys. He named the new nonprofit DARE: Dynamic Action Residence Enterprise.

This pioneering program evolved into DARE Family Services. By the 1970s, the organization had grown significantly and become a state leader in providing intensive foster care services to children and teens with a history of serious challenges and family trauma.

As the concept of deinstitutionalization took root, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health sought out DARE’s help to find better alternatives for adults with developmental disabilities. Dedicated to the idea that all individuals deserve security, stability, and opportunities to grow, DARE began to provide staffed apartments for adults with developmental disabilities who had spent years in state hospitals with little hope for any other future. DARE also became one of the first providers in the state to offer a residential program for pregnant and parenting mothers with mild to moderate developmental disabilities.

In 2016, the organization began to re-envision itself for the 21st century. Building on an impressive record of high-quality care for children, families, and adults, we began evaluating the current state of care, including gaps in social services and promising new approaches to helping people heal and thrive. We also began navigating how to address fluctuating levels of state support and finding sources to fund acute unmet needs.

In 2017, we took the name HopeWell — two positive words joined together — as a symbol of our renewed commitment to positive, innovative models of care.

In recent years, we have added new programs and priorities to advance our central mission of enriching lives and expanding opportunities: a program specialized to meet the distinct needs of young people “aging out” of foster care and transitioning into adulthood; education support for elementary school children involved in the foster care system; a greater emphasis on data and analysis as part of our toolkit for change; and expanded efforts to positively impact policy and systemic change at the local, state, and national levels.

Our Annual Report

Learn about our programs, our impact, and our supporters.