Hope Gospel Mission

Our History

HGM was founded in December of 1998 under the direction of founder and current board president Mark Donnelly. At that time Mark had become quite concerned about the growing but ‘invisible’ population of homeless men and women in the Eau Claire area. It was apparent that there was a great need to serve these lost ones with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

HGM has seen hundreds of homeless people come through its doors since 1999. The following is a condensed timeline of the growth and development of HGM over the last several years:

1999
  • Men's Home purchased at 8 South Farwell Street; renovation of building commences immediately.
  • HGM offers emergency housing to 3-5 men per night in hotel rooms until home building opens.
  • Gary Steward appointed as Executive Director.
2000
2001
  • HGM launches the Life Skills Program in an effort to help equip residents with resources to get out of poverty.
2002
  • Attempt at Wisconsin Street women's home fails after being voted down by Eau Claire City Council.
  • HGM backs out of negotiations for proposed downtown bargain center after lease structure changes.
  • HGM offers emergency housing to 1-3 women per night in hotel rooms until home building opens.
2003
  • HGM purchases 2511 Moholt Drive property/facility in April through a private loan. The six-acre property offers a 52,000 square foot former grocery store and an attached former gas station. Property will be used for Women's Home, Bargain Center, Auto Sales, and Education Center.
  • In August, the City Zoning and Planning Commission approves a 12-bed Ruth House proposal.
  • HGM Auto Sales opens in October.
  • HGM Bargain Center opens in November. Ribbon Cutting ceremony occurred on December 4, 2003.
2004
  • HGM Ruth House Project: Haven from a Storm Campaign kicks off. Construction begins.
  • HGM Education Center construction begins as funding campaign ends successfully.
2005
  • $330,000 goal for "Project: Haven from the Storm" is successfully reached.
  • HGM becomes recipient of $275,000 Affordable Housing Program Grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, a private corporation. The largest gift in HGM history, this grant is designated for the construction of the Ruth House, the Education Center, and the upgrade of the Men's Home facilities.
  • HGM Education Center opens in October. The Education Program is offered in partnership with Literacy Volunteers-Chippewa Valley, who staff the facility during a one-year pilot project.
  • HGM Ruth House opens and hosts it Grand Opening on November 30th! Ruth House is the first home for single women in Western Wisconsin.
2006
  • HGM becomes a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), ensuring that all donors can rest assured that their gifts will be treated with the highest level of accountability and privacy.
  • Men’s Home remodeled. A new parking lot, the addition of the Fireside room, a new recreation room, a remodeled pantry, a new bathroom, and a new office area are added.
  • Building Hope opens. This is the first business of its kind in western Wisconsin, offering new and used building materials, office furniture, appliances and other materials.
2007
  • First Easter dinner is held.
  • HGM hosts the Christian News Ministry Expo 2007 at the Bargain Center. There were approximately 60 booths from all over the state of Wisconsin, 7 musical groups and
    several mini seminars.
  • HGM expands its work therapy programming and switches to a computerized learning system.
  • Building Hope had a 14,000 square foot expansion to accommodate retail display areas and a dedicated area for training in the resident job training program.
  • HGM begins a major kitchen remodeling project at the Men's Home.
2008
  • New dining room and kitchen remodel completed thanks to a donation from the Iwakiri family.
  • At the AGRM's national convention, HGM recognized as a Certified Mission, representing high levels of financial accountability and integrity.
2010
  • The Education Center expands into the Solomon Learning Center and moves downtown. Classes on leadership, computer use, budgeting, and more now open to the public.
2011
  • HGM launches a new public awareness campaign that includes eye-opening documentaries on what HGM does as a rescue mission.
  • The Bargain Center Renewal Project begins. Among other improvements, this project makes the Bargain Center more energy efficient and easier to navigate for customers. By completely changing its outdated lighting alone, the Bargain Center saves $1,000 a month in utilities!
2013
  • The Solomon Learning Center moves into a larger facility at 2110 Western Avenue,
    next to Building Hope.
  • HGM signs its first lease for a transitional house. This house is part of its Discipleship Transitions program, giving graduates a secure place to continue to set a firm foundation
    after graduation.
  • Men’s Home upstairs remodeled for better lighting, space, and quality of living for residents.