Hopetown: A Hallmark of Social Impact Entertainment

By Frank Connelly
Mar 24, 2020 • 14 min read

A joint venture partnership between Brave Road and Village Creed aims to connect the trend of Social Impact Entertainment to real-world action in communities. 

In today’s world of digital streaming services and over the top (OTT) providers like Netflix, Hulu and others, it is possible like never before to bring “binge worthy” episodic content to the small screens. This content is viewed by millions every day on-demand and across all devices. This new media capability enables stories of positive social impact to reach further than ever before. The intersection of social impact entertainment (SIE) and positive social activation requires media that provides both broad appeal and mass inspiration. 

A great example of this SIE media approach is Hopetown, a book-to-series story of a town for foster youth and their new families, written by celebrated author Beverly Jenkins. This series was Produced by Brave Road Entertainment (BRE). This apex content serves as the “back porch light” that drives public awareness and participation toward Brave Road’s partnership with Village Creed. Together these companies deploy software resources to serve 30,000 foster youth and their supporting mentor organizations in Los Angeles County.

Through an exclusive collaborative partnership with L.A.'s foster care one-stop-shop, the Violence Intervention Program, Hopetown has the ability to not only shine a bright light on the very real and pressing issues of foster in America, but also to present it in a way which will capture audiences far and wide. With both riveting drama and comedic yet complex characters, we can engage viewers to become involved as mentors in their own communities.

Here is a little bit about each of the critical components that make up Hopetown and its overarching mission as groundbreaking Social Impact Entertainment:

The Driving Inspiration: Author Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins is a USA Today Best-Selling author, four time Emma Award winner and has been named as one the top 50 African American authors of the 20th century. Her nine volume (maybe more!) Blessing Series makes up the underpinning of Hopetown to her fans, and provides a mass appeal through a multi-ethnic and gender-diverse cast.

Since publishing Night Song in 1994, Beverly has been leading the charge for multicultural romance and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and peers alike. She has garnered numerous accolades for her work not only in publishing circles but from the likes of The Wall Street JournalPeople Magazine, and NPRBeverly is a recipient of RWA’s prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award and was featured both in the documentary “Love Between the Covers” and on CBS Sunday Morning. One of her other best-selling books, Forbidden, just recently sold to Sony Pictures TV.

The Real-World Inspiration: Hope Meadows

Hope Meadows, Illinois is an intentional, inter-generational neighborhood. It was established in 1994 using housing on a converted military base in central Illinois. Hope Meadows was designed to provide community support to Foster Families as well as to provide an opportunity for retirees looking for meaning and purpose as neighbors, mentors, and “grandparents”.  

Hope Meadows has become a shining model for many other communities like it around the country – and served as the inspiration for Beverly Jenkins book series. For Brave Road Entertainment, Hope Meadows serves as the inspiration for the series, an adaptation of real-life stories of struggles and successes that inspire the story lines and provide real world context for viewers explore. 

The Hopetown Social Impact Entertainment Goal: To connect with a broad audience, to entertain and to be relevant in never losing sight of our purpose.

HOPETOWN is a one-hour INSPIRATIONAL DRAMA with a healthy dose of romance, humor, and wish-fulfillment, shown through a MULTI-ETHNIC and MULTI-GENERATIONAL lens, the likes of which is rarely seen on television. 

HOPETOWN is set in present day, in the small fictional town of Henry Adams, Kansas, USA. Author Beverly Jenkins’ main character is a wealthy African-American divorcee who is inspired to follow the maxim that “to whom much has been given, much is expected” prompting her to purchase a failing, childless town and turn it into a thriving foster-family community. Using real world experts and legal scholars to play out this hypothetical, our main character must overcome resistance from the locals, unwilling to support her outside-the-box ideas. 

In the classic vein of Touched by an Angel, but with an all-ages cast and an African-American twist, HOPETOWN is a groundbreaking series with a timely narrative that will have strong appeal to a VERY wide audience. 

HOPETOWN is about more than saving one foster child; it’s about the dream of helping all fosters thrive in a world where the odds are against them. 

To learn how this turns into a positive social movement read our blog post about Connecting Social Impact Entertainment to Communities.

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2020-03-24_9-11-58About the Author

Frank Connelly is a CSR technology specialist with several award winning designs and work force development programs. His efforts now focuses on using digital media to tell the story of the "how" and "why" behind sustainable practices to global and specific local audiences.