About Hope for Stanley

The Hope for Stanley Alliance was founded by Dr. Richard Lapchick, his wife Ann and daughter Emily and ten alumni of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program, and is now under the ISSJ umbrella of services. The mission of the Hope for Stanley Alliance is to provide people in sports with volunteer opportunities in areas affected by natural disasters.

While Hope for Stanley was created to help rebuild the city of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, it has widened its scope. Volunteers have also traveled to Tuscaloosa, AL, Long Island, NY, Baton Rouge, LA and Houston, TX. August 2019 marked the 55th trip by the Hope for Stanley Alliance rebuilding homes in devastated areas. Hope for Stanley volunteers have worked on 146 homes and have donated over 54,000 hours.

The Hope for Stanley Alliance was named after Stanley Stewart who was considering permanently vacating his damaged home after Hurricane Katrina.  After 10 months of clearing debris and assisting in rebuilding his home, the ISSJ staff and DeVos graduate students witnessed Stanley and his family move back into their home.

The Program Our History Our Staff Become a Volunteer Photo & Video Gallery Past Trips Highlights Our Sponsors Contact Us

The Program

Our Mission:

To provide people in the world of sport with volunteer opportunities to assist in the rebuilding of communities hit hard by natural disasters.

Our Goals:

  • Enlighten individuals about the emotional, financial, and physical impact a natural disaster has on a community as a whole.
  • Become actively involved the healing of that community by helping in the process of rebuilding its structures and its members.
  • Helping individuals understand that nothing brings a community together more quickly than sport during a tragedy.
  • Continue the on-going effort to keep those individuals and communities impacted by disasters from being forgotten.

Our Vision:

See communities rebuilt both emotionally and structurally following natural disasters.

Our History

On August 28, 2005 the third strongest hurricane to hit America in 100 years made landfall in Louisiana causing insurmountable damage to the city of New Orleans and the immediate loss of 1,500 lives. Since that time, the number of lives lost has increased dramatically as those being treated also lost their lives.

Six days later, Dr. Richard Lapchick joined the Orlando Magic as they visited the devastated area and spent time with community members who lost everything they owned and some of their closest family members.

  • Home Before 1
  • Home Before 2
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  • Home Before 5
  • Renovation 1
  • Renovation 2
  • Renovation 3
  • Renovation 4
  • Renovation 5
  • Renovation 6
  • Renovation 7
  • Renovation 8
  • Stanley & Dr. Lapchick
  • Remodeled 1
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  • Remodeled 4
  • Remodeled 5

This slideshow chronicles the 10 month rebuilding process of Stanley and Betty Stewart's home.

This trip had a profound affect on Dr. Lapchick and it was then that he decided he needed to begin helping those community members, specifically in the Lower Ninth Ward. In December 2006, Dr. Lapchick, along with his wife Ann Pasnak, their daughter Emily, family friends Allyce Najimy and Massachusetts State Representative Smitty Pignatelli, and ten students from the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program made their first trip to New Orleans.

Their trip began by repairing bicycles at a church in the Lower Ninth Ward. The group soon heard from parishioners about a man named Stanley Stewart who was considering permanently vacating his damaged home with his wife Betty and their family. They decided to meet Stanley then took it upon themselves to rebuild his family’s home. More students returned to help the Stewarts during Spring Break in March of 2007 and even more came back over the summer, including staff and board members from the ISSJ in July of that same year.

By that October, Pignatelli was able to round up a construction crew of 25 that donated their time and materials to do roofing, plumbing, electrical work, drywall and, foundations for the Stewarts’ home. Only a few weeks later a group of students returned to paint the new walls of Stanley’s home. Over two years after the storm and 10 months after UCF and the ISSJ had gotten involved, the Stewarts were able to return home.

The students from the original trip were inspired by Stanley and his family, and in February 2007 (with the help of then New Orleans City Council President Arnie Fielkow) founded the Hope For Stanley (HFS) Alliance. To date Hope for Stanley volunteers have made a total of 50 trips to New Orleans, Baton Rouge and one trip each to Tuscaloosa, AL and Long Island, NY. Hope for Stanley volunteers have given more than 54,000 hours of service and have worked on 146 homes. No other organization based outside of Louisiana has done more.

Meet Stanley Stewart

The organization takes its name from Stanley Stewart who embodies the spirit and optimism of the people of New Orleans. Stanley Stewart is a resident of the Lower Ninth Ward who chose to wait out Hurricane Katrina. After the Industrial Canal was breached, the family was stranded on the second floor of their home for a day and a half before they were rescued by boat and taken to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The Stewart family was separated for the better part of a year before they were finally able to return to the Lower Ninth in a FEMA trailer.

In 2006 and 2007, as students from the University of Central Florida (UCF) rebuilt his home in 2006 and 2007 while Stanley and his family were confined to a cramped FEMA trailer, he offered words of encouragement and served as an inspiration for the group who were rebuilding his home. Stanley Stewart still represents the spirit of the Crescent City as even though he was beaten by Katrina, continues to stay strong and believe that the Lower Ninth Ward will be rebuilt. Stanley and his wife Betty attended the UCF graduation ceremonies in 2007 and watched the students who helped them get back into their home walk across the stage. Stanley's story continues to instill hope in all those who have gone to New Orleans to volunteer since 2006 and moves everyone who meets him to believe in what they cannot see.

Our Staff

Dr. Richard Lapchick


richard-lapchickDr. Richard Lapchick is originally from Yonkers, New York. Human rights activist, pioneer for racial equality, internationally recognized expert on sports issues, scholar and author Richard E. Lapchick is often described as the racial conscience of sport. He was one of 200 personal guest of Nelson Mandela at his inauguration as a result of leading the South African sports boycott from 1975 until Apartheid's end. He brought his commitment to equality and his belief that sport can be an effective instrument of positive social change to University of Central Florida where he accepted an endowed chair in August 2001. It was named one of the nation’s top five programs by the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and ESPN The Magazine. In 2009 it was named the #1 MBA program in the nation for volunteer service. He also serves as the President and Founder of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport and is a co-founder of the Hope For Stanley Alliance. Lapchick is a regular columnist for ESPN the Magazine and The Sports Business Journal. He has written 16 books and over 550 articles.

"The people of New Orleans are afraid people are forgetting their story. This is the 10th anniversary of Katrina and we want to let people know there is so much more to be done there."


Suzi Katz

Institute SSJ Director for Special Programs and Events

suzi-katzSuzi is Director for Special Programs and Events for the National Consortium for Academics and Sports. In this role she directs the annual celebration of National STUDENT-Athlete Day and its Annual Giant Steps Awards program. She also coordinates the Annual Giant Steps Awards Banquet & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the Hope for Stanley Alliance (HFS) and the Outreach & Community Service program for DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate program.

In addition, she coordinates the annual week-long orientation program in New Orleans for the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program. Suzi works with graduate assistants to coordinate four trips per year for the Hope for Stanley Alliance.

Katz has created many relationships throughout the Orlando community which has allowed UCF students and student-athletes get involved throughout the community. Current DeVos Students work at Frontline Outreach, Restore Orlando, Orlando Magic Recreation Centers, Harbor House, Out of The Life, Scholar Baller and the Central Florida YMCA's Teen Achiever Program. They've participated in programs she's created at the Salvation Army Women and Children's Living Center. Suzi volunteers with the St. Bernard Project, Out of the Life, We Build New York, Special Spectators, The Miracle League and Habitat for Humanity. Since 1997, her programs in conjunction with the Institute SSJ, UCF's DeVos Sport Business Management program and UCF student-athletes have reached over 40,000 individuals in the community. Suzi is originally from Boston and now resides in Orlando.

"The people of New Orleans are what make the city an amazing place. They share their personal experiences and inspire me to be grateful for everything I have. They call us angels, but I feel honored to meet and spend time rebuilding their homes. They put a lot of trust in us. It doesn't matter where you come from, we are all human beings who deserve the same respect and dignity and a chance to rebuild."



Become a Volunteer

The Hope for Stanley Alliance makes several trips throughout the year. However, if you are unable to make it on the dates we are going, we can still assist you in making arrangements. Contact us for any assistance with housing, volunteering and places to eat. Groups that have gone on Hope for Stanley trips include SAAC programs, Conference Offices, and College and University Athletics Departments.

Contact: Suzi Katz at skatz@ucf.edu or 407-823-3555.


  • Over 1,000 volunteers have worked on 146 homes since 2006
  • Over 54,000 Volunteer hours have been completed since 2006
  • Dr. Lapchick was names an honorary citizen of the city of New Orleans for his vision and efforts
  • No other organization based outside of Louisiana has volunteered more time to rebuild the city of New Orleans
  • The Hope for Stanley (HFS) Alliance works to establish alliances in other areas throughout the U.S.

Our Sponsors

Like any organization, the strength of Hope For Stanley Alliance is our partnerships. It is been these partners that have been a pivotal part of the difference we continue to make in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.







Our Donors

Without the generosity of our partners who have assisted us in HFS eBay and other fundraising endeavors, the difference that students continue to make in the Lower Ninth Ward and other areas affected by natural disaster would not be possible. Click on the logos below to learn more about our generous donors.





For more information on the HFS contact Suzi Katz at 407-823-3555 or skatz@ucf.edu.