By William Thomas II
Founding Partner & Business Development Director

“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

In 2008, Barack Obama inspired myself and an entire nation. His unrelenting passion for the greater good gave everybody a reason to be hopeful. He inspired me and many others to take action and to live a life of purpose; to not just talk, but to do. He showed me that someone that looked like me could occupy the most powerful position in the world. He showed us that there are no limits; that any obstacle can be conquered. He asked us to believe again. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we continue to hope and continue to believe, the same way he inspired us to do so eight years ago.

Today, on January 20th 2017, I remain hopeful. I’ve seen the power of hope and hard work combined. Together these qualities produce an unconquerable force. Just four years ago, thousands of children across Cincinnati did not have access to quality preschool. As a community, we decided that this was wrong and we decided to do something about it. Through the hope and hard work of our city, the Preschool Promise initiative passed, every child was promised the tools for a bright future, and we showed the world that we CAN do more.

I am personally hopeful that despite being told “no” time after time, three young, black men could create an organization that supports entrepreneurs of all backgrounds start their own businesses, transform a city, and change the status quo. It is this hope that keeps us pushing. And as we embark on this new journey, I ask that we 1) embrace the spirit and power of hopefulness, and 2) believe in our own ability to create positive change. It’s on us.

Obama once said, “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it can change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”

It’s time to answer that call… Onward we go.