Organization announces new leader, George DeGroat

George DeGroat hopes to change the world, one child at a time. The Portsmouth-native is one step closer to his goal as the new acting executive director of Hope U Foundation.

“The more we can do in the community, the larger impact we will make,” DeGroat said. “We want to give youth who have no role models someone to look up to, and be there when they need a hand.”

DeGroat is no stranger to helping troubled youth. He is a case manager at Skill Builders, a sister organization of Hope U. He also works closely with children coming out of the juvenile detention centers as well as those who are involved in gangs.

Nick Gabriel, founder and former executive Director of Hope U Foundation, started the non-profit organization with the goal of assisting the community’s disconnected youth between the ages of 16-24, which includes students, transitioning foster youth, homeless or underemployed youth.

“With George at the head of our organization, I expect we will be able to grow our programs and do even more in the community,” Gabriel said.

Hope U has already made an impact in the community. When COVID-19 hit for example, the organization donated 26 Chromebooks to Tidewater Community College, Norfolk campus. The organization provided internet services to those students in need, and they provided upward of $40,000 in cash donations to those needing help with rent and other living expenses.

DeGroat says he hopes to use his experience in gang prevention, his work in the Newport News detention centers and programs with at-risk youth to help expand on Gabriel’s efforts.

“We have a great foundation to build on,” he said. “I am excited to be here and see how our efforts can change our community.”

Currently, Hope U offers apprenticeship programs, the option to receive a high school diploma or GED as well as independent learning skills for children in foster care. There are also vocational training programs offered.

DeGroat says he hopes to build off programs like AMIKids, helping those youths who have just come out of detention centers. He calls this new program the Edward Brown Initiative, named after a friend who died in an auto accident, after turning his life around upon release from prison.

Hope U is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed for the sole purpose of helping youth in the Hampton Roads area. Interested in becoming a partner or sponsoring a program. Call 757-227-5444. For more information about Hope U Foundation visit

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