Grant Thornton names Hope in a Box as next Purple Paladin


Inspiring nonprofit makes classrooms more inclusive for LGBTQ+ students

Grant Thornton providing funding assistance, business advice and volunteer support

CHICAGO — Grant Thornton LLP has named Hope in a Box as the sixth nonprofit in its Purple Paladins initiative — a program that helps emerging nonprofit organizations move from start-up to sustainable by providing funding, business advice and volunteer support, while also helping them share their stories more broadly.

Hope in a Box provides educators with literature, detailed curriculums and coaching to improve classroom environments for LGBTQ+ students. The nonprofit offers free boxed sets of materials designed for high school and middle school levels, with each box containing about two-dozen curated books featuring positive LGBTQ+ characters and themes.

The nonprofit also provides teachers with curriculum guides tied to Common Core standards, which helps educators to incorporate Hope in a Box’s materials into their classes. In addition, Hope in a Box cultivates a community for educators working with their materials, including facilitated small-group discussions, virtual training modules on how to build an inclusive classroom, and other programming related to their books and curriculum.

Hope in a Box was founded in 2018 by Joe English, who was raised in rural upstate New York. When English was discovering his own LGBTQ+ identity as a teenager, he often felt isolated at school — a phenomenon that is all too common. According to a report from the Human Rights Campaign, only 13% of LGBTQ+ students reported they heard positive messages about being LGBTQ+.

“Hope in a Box is an inspiring organization that’s found a way to make an enormous difference for young people facing what can be a challenging time in their lives,” said Brad Preber, CEO of Grant Thornton. “It’s the kind of organization that is making our society more inclusive and equitable. And Grant Thornton shares this mission, which is why we are eager to help Hope in a Box grow and thrive so it can do even more great work.”

The nonprofit has already impacted more than 45,000 students from 300 schools in 48 states, aiming to reach all 50 by the end of 2020. The public can learn more about Hope in a Box by visiting the nonprofit’s website:

Hope in a Box joins five other nonprofits that Grant Thornton previously selected as Purple PaladinsWeird Enough ProductionsInvisible Hands DeliverPal ExperiencesSneakers for Soldiers and Coming Up Rosies.

  • Weird Enough Productions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that develops free, interactive online content designed to combat media misrepresentations of minority communities. The organization is best known for its hallmark comic book series, The UnCommons. To learn more, visit:
  • Invisible Hands Deliver is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that taps more than 12,000 volunteers to deliver groceries, prescriptions and other necessities to people vulnerable to COVID-19 — including the elderly, disabled and immunocompromised. To learn more, visit:
  • Pal Experiences is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people with non-visible disabilities — such as autism — have more inclusive experiences at museums, entertainment venues and sporting events. To learn more, visit:
  • Sneakers for Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides properly fitted athletic shoes to deployed combat troops in all branches of the military. To learn more, visit:
  • Coming Up Rosies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides “smile kits” to hospitals so children — particularly those suffering from hair loss — can engage in therapeutic art activities to create custom head scarves, neck scarves and superhero capes based on their own unique designs. To learn more, visit:

Grant Thornton’s Purple Paladins program derives its name from the word paladin, a champion of a cause. Grant Thornton and its professionals have donated more than $250,000 for Purple Paladin nonprofits. And more than 300 Grant Thornton professionals have volunteered support to the firm’s Purple Paladins.

To learn more about Purple Paladins or to nominate a nonprofit for potential support, visit Grant Thornton’s website:



About Grant Thornton

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