Reno Commits To Being First 'Hopeful' City

The International Foundation of Research and Education is launching a “Hopeful Cities” initiative with Reno, Nevada as its first partner. 

The initiative incorporates research on what it takes to grow and maintain hope, says Kathryn Goetzke, the foundation’s founder. 

The program in Reno will include a workplace campaign, a 30-day hope challenge for teens and adults and the Hopeful Minds curriculum in the public school and Boys and Girls Club. All program materials are free for download at

The curriculum target grades K-6 but is adaptable for all ages. The overview features "Hope Hero" stories of well-known people who have used the skills of hope in life, including John Krasinski, Magic Johnson, The Rock, Lady Gaga, Mr. Rogers, John McCain, Serena Williams, Bill and Melinda Gates, Oprah and Michelle Obama. 



Billboards, yard signs, social media and PSAs aim to educate residents about the program. 

COVID-19 sent the city into a spiral of hopelessness, the primary symptom of depression and anxiety, says Hillary Schieve, Reno mayor. 

 “The job and home losses are also adding to the dire circumstances of many, and it is critical we use hope as a strategy, and the related skills, to combat the many challenges we face,” Schieve says in a release.

There is scientific research to back the idea that hope is more than just a wish, Goetzke says.

“Hopelessness is both a feeling of despair and a sense of helplessness, so we aim to teach individuals the ‘how to' of getting from despair to positive feelings, and helplessness to inspired action,” Goetzke says in a release.

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