Monday, December 27, 2010

End of Year Letter

Dear Friends of Hoops of Hope,

As another year comes to a close, we’re, once again, amazed by the amount of compassion you’ve shown to the “least of these”. I often smile when I think about the thousands of volunteers who helped to pull off more than 100 Hoops of Hope events this year in 12 countries. I’m humbled when I think of the tens of thousands of donors that helped us fund so many projects. And, I’m amazed by the tens of thousands of participants who shot countless free throws to represent children who have lost their parents. I count serving on the board at Hoops of Hope one of the greatest privileges I could ever imagine.

This past June, we traveled with a team of 17 to southern Zambia to witness the opening of four new dormitories at the school, as well as a clinic and testing facility nearby. There are no words to express the joy of the students sleeping in a dorm for the first time, or the patients receiving treatment that will save their life. All I can say is “thank you” for being a part of Hoops of Hope.

In 2010, your efforts were able to partially fund a dormitory at a the Huruma Children’s Home in Kenya; fully fund two additional teacher houses and a computer lab at the school in Zambia, as well fully fund two deep water wells. In March of this year, we held an auction which generated enough administrative funding to fully fund all administrative costs through the end of 2011. Once again, this means that every penny raised from the Hoops of Hope events around the world will go directly to children.

I’m looking forward to 2011 and working with you again to make a difference in the lives of children who have been orphaned by AIDS. Why? Because there are so many things left to do. The life expectancy in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa is still less than 40 years old. There are still so many who do not have access to clean water, food, healthcare and an education. We’ll continue to help as long as we can and hope you’ll join us again in 2011.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Board of Directors [Volunteer]

Thursday, December 2, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

As most of you may already know, yesterday was World AIDS Day, a date that is very near to the heart of the Hoops of Hope team, participants, hosts, volunteers, donors, and partners. Because the UN estimates that every 14 seconds a child loses a parent to HIV/AIDS, we work toward helping in an area of our world most devastatingly affected by the AIDS pandemic. Donations received at events all around the globe go toward helping ease the pain of living in such an area. Orphans are getting much needed assistance and education, and even more exciting, some children now even get to have their parents around longer because of the medication they now receive to treat their disease!

This past June I had a chance to travel to Zambia with the rest of the Hoops of Hope team. While there, we visited a High School and a medical clinic, both of which were paid for with Hoops of Hope donations. I could tell you story after story of how lives have been changed, and how the people in those areas have benefited from individuals who set aside time and put forth the effort to care for them by shooting some free throws.

There’s one story in particular that I'd like to share with you in light of World AIDS Day. It's about a 10 year old boy named Orlando. I got to visit him in his home where he lives with his grandma and 3 brothers because his parents both died from HIV/AIDS. Orlando also has AIDS. He told me that not long ago he thought he would die. He couldn't get out of bed from being so sick, and his grandma confirmed with tears in her eyes that they had given up hope. Then the clinic that Hoops of Hope funds built opened, and it was near enough to his home for him to get to. There he received medication and care that has allowed him to live a "regular" life. You would hardly know by looking at him that he's sick. He goes to school, helps around the house, and even plays soccer with his friends! When he looked me in the eyes and said "Thank you for giving me my life" I told him it wasn't me, but many people around the globe who care. It was hard to leave Orlando that day, but as I left I promised him that I would tell his story and would be sure to thank his true heroes for him. That's probably you if you are reading this… anyone who has ever hosted, participated in, given to, volunteered for, prayed for, or supported a Hoops of Hope event in any way.

To those of you hosting events this month in recognition of World AIDS Day, thank you. You are making a huge impact in the lives of people you may never have an opportunity to meet, but that are thankful to YOU for giving them life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cool Story from a Hoops of Hope event

Remember, it doesn't matter how big your event. It only matters that you do something. The following is from a girl who did Hoops of Hope...

Alrighty! The Hoops of Hope event went well Saturday, no major catastrophes or anything of the sort, but the amount of people who showed up wasn't the biggest turn out. There was maybe an average of 3-5 people that weren't volunteers at the event, but it still went well. I'm so glad that God let me be a part of this ministry! I know that this fundraiser helps out AIDS orphans and all, which is great! But what I find greater is how God used this event to draw me closer to Him. I look back and see how he used everything that happened, every hardship, every hurdle, to lean on Him and trust in what He's doing.

Toward the last week of Hoops of Hope before the event, I was starting to get tired. But God kept telling me, "don't give up; keep going". so I did as He said. It took a lot of work, but because I pushed hard to reach our goal we not only reached the goal of $1,000, but we went past it by a few hundred dollars. When I was getting tired I felt like it was the 4th and last period of the game. If I started backing down, we would of lost. But I chose to pursue and conquer, and God helped me throughout the entire way! Hoops of Hope has not just richly blessed those kids in Zambia, He's richly blessed me by letting me along for the ride!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chloe and Courtney Skiles raise $1000 for kids


Chloe Skiles, 9 (left), and her sister, Courtney, 7, shoot baskets Saturday during the Hoops of Hope fundraiser benefiting AIDS orphans in Zambia.
“Take Your Best Shot” is the title of the book that inspired Alyssa Presley to do just that.

Alyssa, 16, decided to take her best shot at organizing an event and rounding up sponsors to benefit children in Zambia who are suffering from AIDS.

The result of Alyssa’s six-month effort was visible Saturday when youngsters gathered at First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center to shoot hoops from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The shoot-a-thon raised more than $1,000 to benefit Hoops of Hope, an organization built on the determination of a 9-year-old boy in Mesa, Ariz., to help children in Africa.

The book, “Take Your Best Shot,” by Todd Hilliard, tells the story of Austin Gutwein’s determination to make a difference in the world. Six years ago, when Austin was 9, he came up with the shoot-a-thon idea, similar to a walk-a-thon, as a way to raise money.

Hoops of Hope now bills itself as “the largest free throw shoot-a-thon in the world.”

Alyssa, who is home-schooled by her parents, Ted and Lisa Presley, loves basketball and decided that she could join Austin’s efforts after reading the book.

“I had some hard times planning, but I definitely was blessed,” Alyssa said.

She started in May by locating a gym and picking a date for the event. That was followed by rounding up sponsors who agreed to donate money to children who would shoot free throws all day. Other sponsors donated coupons as prizes for contests during the day.

Before Saturday arrived, Alyssa already had raised more than $1,000 to send to Hoops of Hope. She was pleased enough with her first effort that she said she’ll try again next year.

And Alyssa got some benefit from the shoot-a-thon herself. Her home-school team plays area high school teams during basketball season. Alyssa loves to play defense and admits she’s not as good on offense.

So Saturday’s event gave her the opportunity to do a good deed and get in a little practice at the same time. “I’m not that good at free throws,” she said. “That’s why I’m working on it.”

To learn more about Hoops of Hope, go to

© 2010 Abilene Reporter-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Great Day in Cleveland

Yesterday was an amazing day in Cleveland Ohio. Three simultaneous Hoops of Hope events happened and raised over $16,000 to be used to dig wells in Twachiyanda, Zambia. Here's the story....


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The auditorium was filled with joyful shouts of all generations alike as they praised God and the atmosphere was electric, music from Ryan Axtell and the Stellar Kart band ringing through the air! August 31st, was amazing! The uplifting worship music from Ryan and the rock music from the Stellar Kart band resulted to a beautiful blend! Austin gave a superb testimony of what is going on in Africa and the Stellar Kart echoed Austin’s words because their lead singer, Adam, went for an African tour with Hoops of Hope back in June of this year. The band is made up of Adam B. Agee- the lead singer, Brian Calcara - bass player, Jordan Bradford Messer – drummer and Jon Howard-guitarist. They got to know the needs facing the continent and the passion they felt resonated in the music they represented. There were some hilarious spots whereby the band played famous theme songs of their favorite movies in rock and it was awesome! Because of the amazing and generous hearts of all involved in this amazing concert the children at Huruma Children’s Home will have a place to lay their head on every night. The crowd resonated well with the Band and children were sponsored through World Vision. Truly is takes a heart of love and generosity to do what Hoops of hope does. Austin exudes the aura of a servant who is always ready to help others in their most needy situation. Thank you to all of you for making the concert a success!! Thank you to Ryan Axtell, Stellar Kart band, the army of volunteers, World Vision and everybody who supported in kind and prayer!!!


Friday, August 27, 2010


Hello everybody, my name is Caroline Naisarian Lydiah and I am currently working as an intern at Hoops of Hope. Many are asking where I am from and to answer your question, I am from Kenya a great country in Africa and it is amazing how Hoops of Hope has made a difference in our continent and many people now have hope. I come from a home of a 150 brothers and sisters in Kenya! My mother, Mama Zipporah, started an orphanage, Huruma Children’s Home, when I was only nine years old. I was brought up in the orphanage and we went through a lot of challenges growing up but what kept us close was the love we had for each other as well as the word of God which kept us grounded through the hard times.
Later I finished high school and I volunteered at the orphanage as a teacher as I waited to join college. It was a lot of fun because I did not have a clue about teaching and I ended up learning more from my students. Later I went to college and for a time I worked in a media house but my heart was not content. I went back to the orphanage and volunteered to be the administrator. Honestly, I did not have a clue about administration and everything seemed so hard. Mama Zipporah was very patient with me and she made sure I attended a lot of conferences and these were great learning forums because I got to learn from other people’s experiences and I established strategic networks.
After my first year as the administrator, I was invited to the U.S. by Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Chandler, Arizona, to speak about Huruma. It was my first speaking engagement and I was shaking in my boots but God gave me the courage and I was able to talk about the orphanage and raise awareness about issues facing our country. This led to the beginning of a great relationship between the Church and the orphanage. During my brief stay, I visited ASU and I realized that they had a Masters course in Nonprofit Studies, which I applied for immediately. I came back to Kenya and I embarked on finishing up the application process and looking for funds. God is ever faithful because I was accepted and I got a scholarship to help fund my education. Currently, I am in my last semester in college and I am glad to have learnt so much.
God works in mysterious ways because I knew about Hoops of Hope when I was in Africa, through a media outlet. Never would I have thought that I one day I would intern in such an amazing organization. Personally I came to know about the organization through a meeting Mama Zipporah had with Austin’s Dad, Dan and Julie the event coordinator of Hoops of Hope during the month of August. Since then I have been interning with Hoops of Hope. I will be helping out in the media aspect of the organization like tweeting & blogging so that you will be kept up to date with the current events going on at hoops of hope. I am very excited to be part of this amazing organization!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hoops of Hope All Stars Event - Success!

Check out Synergy Production Group's blog for an update on the Hoops of Hope All Stars event in King of Prussia, including some great pictures from the day and the evening concert. Thanks to all of you who came out that day!

Synergy Blog -

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Company Affinity 4 Hoops of Hope Event Raises $5K!

by Joe Flanagan

13NEWS /

Posted on June 3, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 3 at 5:57 PM

NORFOLK -- Hoops of Hope is all about raising money per basketball shot.

Affinity4, a Norfolk company, will score nearly $5,000 from atop Dominion Towers parking garage.

13-year-old Austin Gutwein of Arizona started Hoops of Hope to help orphaned children in Africa who have aids.

Affinity4 employees will donate the basketball hoops to ForKids of Norfolk, an organization that offers transitional housing to the homeless.

"They've helped me get everything I need. I mean, it's one of those things that if I didn't have ForKids, I would have been living in my car," said Ann Biesecker, a ForKids client.

Of course, the group is excited about the partnership.

In May alone, ForKids helped 615 people who would otherwise have been homeless.

"More than half that number are children, about 400 children" said spokeswoman Priscilla Monti. "Nobody wants to see that and nobody wants to let that happen."

Nearly $2 million has been raised nationally through Hoops of Hope.

NBC Philadelphia All Stars Coverage

Hoops of Hope All Stars is coming on July 31st at the King of Prussia Mall. Sign up at Hoops of Hope All Stars. Thanks to NBC for the following interview.

View more news videos at:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fundraising Dinner

Huge thank you to all of our volunteers who helped make our first ever dinner/auction a huge success. The following is a blog post from Stonebridge Manor who was our host for the event. In total, we raised a net of $52K which will go to helping the efforts in Zambia. Thanks to all who volunteered, attended, and donated.

Blog from Stonebridge Manor:
Stonebridge Manor has recently had the privilege of working with Hoops of Hope for their first annual fundraising event in Arizona to assist in its efforts in building a medical clinic in Zambia, hope centers in Swaziland and dorms for a school Hoops of Hope helped build.

Hoops of Hope was founded in 2004 by then 9 year old Austin Gutwein. The first fundraising effort by Austin raised $3000. To date, Hoops has raised more than $1.8million to benefit orphaned children in Africa.

At Hoops' recent event at Stonebridge Manor, I was humbled and inspired by the speech given by the now 15 year old Austin. Too frequently, we wonder if our efforts can make a positive impact. My hat is off to Austin for following his vision and creating an organization that has had a profound impact on the lives of many children in Africa.

The Hoops of Hope event was a huge success with ethnic music, silent and live auctions as well as updates to the contributors on the progress of building schools, medical clinics and dormitories. Congratulations Austin and all the Hoops of Hope volunteers!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Students Throw Hoops of Hope

Article Reprint from Montgomery News / North Penn Life

Students throw "Hoops for Hope"

By Tony Di DomizioFor North Penn Life Sink a free throw, help another Zambian youth get a place to sleep.

Feb. 21, Immanuel Church of the Nazarene in Towamencin will see close to 400 youths shoot free throws into 18 basketball nets in order to raise money to build dormitories for students in Twachiyanda, Zambia, and to provide for care centers for orphans in Swaziland.

Hoops of Hope will run from 1 to 7:30 p.m., and all of the participants are the 400 or so youths in the church’s Upward Basketball League.

The event can be attributed to coincidence and being at the right place at the right time.

When Richelle Holnick, 13, a Pennridge Central middle schooler, attended a Revolve concert in Philadelphia, she witnessed a speech from 15-year-old Austin Gutwein about his nonprofit organization he started in 2004 called Hoops for Hope, which raised money for children in Africa orphaned by AIDS.

“That experience showed me what one kid can do,” Richelle said. “If we wanted he said he would e-mail everyone a way to start their own Hoops of Hope and the money will go to his organization to send over. I really wanted to help them out.”

At around the same time, Marie Jansen was reading “A Hole in Our Gospel,” which mentioned Gutwein and his effort.

Jansen and Holnick, unbeknownst to one another, approached the youth pastor at the church with the same idea and the same message.

“We got together,” Richelle said, “and now we are getting to do this.”

Each child participating in the event will get a sponsor to donate money toward their day of standing at the free-throw line shooting 1,000 baskets in honor of the children of Zambia and Swaziland.

“After I found out I was able to do this, I was happy that I could help and that other kids could help too,” Richelle said.

Youths will be broken up by groups and proceed to shoot hoops. Each one will try to sink 1,000 baskets.

“The idea is kids are coming in and getting sponsors to raise money, and that money will go to build a dorm in Zambia, where Austin Gutwein has raised money to build a school,” said Richelle’s mother, Cathy Holnick. “These kids have to walk so far for school, that they are sleeping in the school. They want to build a dorm so they have a place to sleep and they can go home on the weekends.”

Hoops of Hope “shoot-athons” have funded the building of a high school for 1,000 students, a medical lab and a counseling center, according to Holnick.

Most recently, Hoops have helped fund a water project in Kenya and a second medical clinic in Zambia.

The Hoops of Hope universal goal is to raise $580,000 to complete dorms for the high school.

All money collected through Hoops of Hope go to World Vision, a nonprofit that facilitates the building of Hoops of Hope projects.

Because it is in its preliminary year, the church’s Hoops of Hope event will feature only youths in its Upward league.

“Let’s see how we can do with this the first year. In subsequent years, we are hoping we can open it up to the community,” Cathy Holnick said. “Certainly, people can come from the community and be supportive at the event and they can donate as well.”

Individuals can also show up and sponsor a child through World Vision, she said. A World Vision table will be at the event.

Businesses in the community have asked to either be sponsors or to donate prizes.

“We want to make it a festive event and keep kids motivated,” Cathy Holnick said.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gilbert Christian School Backpack Build

GILBERT, AZ – A Gilbert teen is continuing his work to help out children in Africa.

Beginning Thursday morning, every Gilbert Christian School [GCS] student will walk down an assembly line hand packing a backpack full of school supplies to send to a school they helped to build in Zambia Africa in 2007.

The backpacks are part of 15-year-old GCS sophomore Austin Gutwein’s Hoops of Hope program.

In January, students from GCS participated in Hoops of Hope and raised $12,000 to fund the backpacks as well as raised $2500 to help an orphanage devastated by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Gutwein, a tireless crusader for the 12.5 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa will be returning to Africa with a couple GCS students in June to hand deliver the backpacks.

Gutwein, who was recently named one of the top 10 most caring Americans by the Caring Institute, founded Hoops of Hope six years ago while in the 5th grade at GCS.

What started at GCS has grown to the largest free-throw shooting marathon in the world, involving tens of thousands of kids globally.

In the past five years, Hoops of Hope has raised nearly $2 million, opened a high school, four dormitories and two medical clinics to help orphan children in Africa.

Austin, who will be present at the backpack build, says, “It’s neat to see your own school get behind something. It shows that our school isn’t just about us, but it’s about giving and helping others. We now have thousands of schools around the world doing Hoops of Hope, but none as special as GCS”.

In 2004, Austin was captivated by a World Vision video that told the story of a little girl named Maggie who lived in Zambia in Southern Africa.

She lost almost everyone she loved to the AIDS epidemic that ravaged the country, leaving nearly a million children orphaned.

“As I watched I just kept thinking about what it would be like if I lost my parents. I finally asked myself: What if this was me?” Austin writes in his book Take Your Best Shot.
Austin was changed forever, and he decided to do something about it. He used something he loved: basketball. His organization Hoops of Hope was born.

For more information visit

Thursday, February 11, 2010

American School of Doha Hoops of Hope

Students hold first ‘Hoops of Hope’

Students at the American School of Doha (ASD) hosted their first “Hoops of Hope” event yesterday to raise awareness about the plight of African children who have been orphaned by HIV/Aids.

Students were inspired by the speech of the Hoops of Hope founder during last year’s Global Issues Conference that was hosted by ASD. Hoops of Hope was started in 2004 by 10-year-old Austin Gutwein, who wanted to raise funds for the more than 15mn children who, by UN estimates, have been orphaned by HIV/Aids.

Basketball is one of the key activities of American student life, which makes Hoops of Hope, an event where students raise money by having people sponsor them for making a successful basketball throw, appropriate since this charity works specifically to help children who have been affected by HIV/Aids.

Close to 60 high school students rallied towards the organisers’ goal of raising about QR3,000 making the event a success. Organisers and faculty hope that this will become an annual tradition at ASD.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Incredible Video

Last month, the Body of Christ Community Church in Ohio held a Hoops of Hope event. They raised $5700 for orphan children. Check out this video from their event. I think the last hoop shot will inspire you!

Hoops of Hope Fundraiser from Streamlab on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Haiti Interview with Rich Stearns

Check out this interview with Rich Stearns, President of World Vision. World Vision has over 800 people on the ground in Haiti.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dormitory Update

We just received new photos of the dormitories! The first dormitory has opened and will hold up to 80 girls. These pictures were taken last week of two of the boys dormitories which will house 40 boys each. All of the supplies to finish the dorms have been secured and are on the job site. The project is on schedule and inspection from the Zambian Ministry of Education should happen next week. Bunk beds are also on site and will be moved into the dorms once inspection is complete. Thank you to everyone who shot hoops, donated, hosted, prayed, etc. for Hoops of Hope. You've forever changed the lives of kids in Zambia.

Haiti Relief

Thank you to everyone who donated during our Haiti relief drive. We were able to raise $3595 to help out friends at the Hands and Feet Orphanage in Jacmel.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti - 4 days left

So far, we've been able to raise $3100 to help our friends at the Hands and Feet Orphanage in Haiti. If you still want to give, everything we raise online for the next 4 days will go to help the deliver food and supplies to the 41 orphans at this center. To give, just go to Thank you for caring,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Update on Haiti

Six days left in our campaign to help our friends at the Hands and Feet Orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. So far, we've raised $600 for the children to help deliver food and much needed supplies. 100% of everything we raise online for the next six days will go directly to this orphanage. Thank you for caring.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Urgent - Hope for Haiti

Hi everyone. I'm sure by now everyone has heard about the devastation from the earthquake in Haiti. If you're looking for a way to help, here's what we're doing at Hoops of Hope: For the next 7 days, we're going to give 100% of everything raised online at to help our friends with the Hands and Feet Orphanage in Haiti. Right now, all 41 children at the orphanage are okay but they'll need food and supplies soon. We want to help and need your help. All you need to do is click on and click the Donate button. 100% of everything raised for the next 7 days will go to help our friends in Haiti. Please spread the word.

Thank you for caring for these children,