June 17, 2014, Detroit, MI—Focus: HOPE has joined with 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit, Inc. to help better prepare men for their role as fathers. The program is part of a multi-pronged initiative, which centers on the recently released book “Dare To Be Extraordinary – A Collection of Positive Life Lessons from African American Fathers” ( by businessman and former President of the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit William (Bill) K. Middlebrooks and journalist Leslie M. Gordon. In the book, the (20) famous (ex. Robin Roberts, Russell Simmons, Dennis Archer) and not-so-famous (ex. Kim Harris Jones, Thurman Hunt, MD, Rosiland Brewer) share stories about the important role and influence their father played in their lives.

The goal of the book and program is to “bend the curve,” (i.e., reducing the number of father absent homes in our community) according to Middlebrooks, and change the perception and reality of African-American fatherhood. William F. Jones, Jr., President/CEO of Focus: HOPE said, “In order to build strong neighborhoods, we must develop strong families in the African-American community. Our HOPE Village Initiative focuses on providing opportunities and support for children, while our education and job training programs enable parents to reach their full potential. The Extraordinary Fathers Academy of Detroit is a natural fit that will help us to further strengthen our efforts.”

The partnership represents an unprecedented effort to ensure that the education and training received at Focus: HOPE is enhanced by the fatherhood specific instruction, thus helping to redefine and strengthen the whole male. Bill Luse, President of the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit says “this partnership expands and deepens our on-going commitment to serve our community and we are proud to work with Focus: Hope and the program participants.”

The program is designed as an 18-week program, offered in two nine week semesters. Each week will bring participants together for a half day of hands-on, non-judgmental engagement and exchanges to help make fathers aware of their importance in the lives of their children, partners and communities by being positively present and involved. The curriculum is derived from the National Fatherhood Initiative in Washington, DC.

Scheduled to begin in September of 2014, Father’s Day presented the perfect opportunity to announce the program, which already has 15-20 men who are volunteering to participate. “I love being a dad, and want to be the best one possible,” said Liam O. Foster, Sr. a scheduled participant. “No one had to ask me twice when I heard about the program. I’m in!”

Free for Focus: HOPE clients, the program is presented by Focus: HOPE, 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit and other yet to be announced partners. Opportunities exist to underwrite scholarships for Focus: Hope clients to attend the Extraordinary Fathers Academy of Detroit. For more information contact Focus: Hope Chief Development & External Relations Officer Steve Ragan at 313-494-4257 or

About Focus: HOPE
Focus: HOPE is a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization in Detroit founded in 1968 after the Detroit riots. Throughout the years, Focus: HOPE developed numerous programs in its efforts to overcome racism, poverty and injustice, including food, career training, and community development programs. Through Focus: HOPE, thousands of individuals – especially women and minorities — have achieved financial independence. For more information, visit

About 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit
The 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit, Inc. is a group of concerned African American men whose goal is to improve the quality of life in the African American community through their collective resources, abilities and experiences. To learn more about the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit visit

Media Availability: William (Bill) K. Middlebrooks and Steve Ragan are available for interviews to share additional insight into the program and its anticipated impact. Copies of “Dare To Be Extraordinary – A Collection of Positive Life Lessons from African American Fathers” are also available to the media upon request.

For more information on ‘Dare To Be Extraordinary” and the fatherhood initiative please visit