Rock Island, Ill. (Sept. 19, 2022) – Royal Neighbors of America, a fraternal benefit society located in Rock Island, Ill. has presented Lakeshia Gilbert, Founder and CEO at H.O.A.P., Inc. (Helping Our Adolescents Prosper), Grand Rapids, Mich., with a Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment award and $10,000 grant. The award and grant presented to Ms. Gilbert is one of ten Royal Neighbors will present nationwide this fall.
A membership organization with 250,000 members nationwide, Royal Neighbors of America offers life insurance and annuity products to its members and is driven by its mission of supporting women and serving communities. Nation of Neighbors is Royal Neighbors’ signature women’s empowerment program and recognizes and supports women who work to empower women and girls through a nonprofit, business, or program.
Lakeshia Gilbert founded H.O.A.P., Inc. in 2013 when she, once a teen mother, recognized a great need of women for support in all the areas related to unplanned pregnancies, parenting, and other life difficulties which often lead to homelessness.
H.O.A.P. offers a long-term, transitional home for young moms and their children who are at risk of homelessness and provides a safe, loving, and nurturing environment. The organization is seeking to make a long-term impact by empowering women to strive to achieve H.O.A.P.’s four goals for them: employment, education completion, parenting skills, and preparing for permanent housing. Last year H.O.A.P., served 292 youth, adolescents, and young mothers with housing support, transportation, basic essential needs, mentorship, and educational workshops.
Darcy Smith, Senior Member Engagement Specialist at Royal Neighbors of America, presented the award and grant to Lakeshia in Grand Rapids. “H.O.A.P.’s work is creating an amazing ripple effect by empowering women and young females to build their futures and communities, and that is in beautiful alignment with the mission of Royal Neighbors of America,” she said. “They are giving women the opportunity to keep their families united and they are preparing them to prosper in the long-run.”
Ms. Gilbert says H.O.A.P. will use the Nation of Neighbors grant funds to purchase a van to assist with providing safe and reliable non-emergency transportation to young mothers and their children. “Reliable and accessible transportation is essential to empower young mothers to break the cycle of poverty,” said Ms. Gilbert. “Reliable transportation greatly increases a young mom’s access to employment, health care, childcare and so much more.”
To date, Royal Neighbors has awarded more than $2.5 million in Nation of Neighbors grants nationwide.
Royal Neighbors of America is a unique provider of life insurance and annuities whose mission is to protect women financially and empower them to improve their lives, families, and communities. Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 as a membership organization by nine pioneering women who recognized the need to insure the lives of women and children. In 2020, Royal Neighbors was upgraded to “A Excellent” (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificate holders. The rating was affirmed as of November 30, 2021. Royal Neighbors is a five-time Great Place to Work-Certified™ organization. For more information about Royal Neighbors of America, go to royalneighbors.org.
Marie Young, Manager, Communications
Marie.Young@royalneighbors.org | (309) 732-8280