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Voting in July and August was the closest ever, but a late surge made Delta Streets Academy (DSA) in Greenwood, Miss., the overall winner in 2017 Hope Awards for Effective Compassion. I’ve visited DSA twice and been hugely impressed by the way this Christian school educates African-American young men intellectually and spiritually. It’s our 100th national or regional winner over the past 12 years, so Christian compassion is alive and well.
Nearly 16,000 readers voted this year, almost twice as many as last year, and DSA received 40 percent of the vote. The other regional winners—Navajo Ministries in New Mexico, Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Montana, Village of Hope in Zambia, and New Life Home in New Hampshire—also garnered substantial support. By earning the most votes, DSA receives a grand prize of $15,000, while the regional winners receive $2,000 each, plus publicity for the good work they do their communities.
“The $15,000 is going to be super-helpful and the publicity has been amazing.” —T. Mac Howard
Five years ago, Thomas McMillin Howard, known as “T. Mac,” opened DSA with a plan “to equip the young men who walk through our doors daily with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the skills needed to live a life that honors God.” On Saturday Howard, who serves as DSA’s head of school and executive director, said, “The DSA family is very thankful for the recognition and support we have received during the last two months of voting for the Hope Awards. The $15,000 is going to be super-helpful and the publicity has been amazing. We want to thank WORLD for the opportunity and the readers for choosing our organization.”
This is the first time a school has won our top award. Four of our previous winners emphasized job training. Four focused on children. The other national winners were a homeless shelter, a legal program for the poor, and a ministry that rescues women from prostitution. The 12 top winners come from 11 states: Tennessee twice, plus Arkansas, North Carolina, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Washington, Michigan, Alaska, and Mississippi.