Skip to main content


Making a Real and Lasting Difference in Our Community

Staff Members

Tracee Perryman, PhD
, CEO + Co-Founder

Dr. Tracee Perryman, CEOAs Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Tracee Perryman leads the executive team and ensures that data-driven programs align with best practices in education, family engagement, and cultural competence. As CEO, she has developed an infrastructure for evidence-based positive youth development and family support programs. Dr. Perryman earned a PhD from The Ohio State University, where she also served as an instructor. She brings an expertise on culturally relevant practices, ways to remove barriers to achievement and fresh approaches to closing the opportunity gap. She is passionate about sharing best practices and results on the national stage.

During her tenure as CEO at Center of Hope Family Services, Dr. Perryman has established partnerships with municipalities, governmental organizations, private foundations, educational districts, national advocacy organizations and institutions of higher learning in both Ohio and Michigan. Under her leadership, she has grown the organization from a budget of $0 to more than $1,000,000 annually and expanded program and service offerings using innovative approaches during challenging circumstances. An independent evaluation found that the programs she designed for COHFS generates $6 in community savings for every $1 invested.

Dr. Perryman oversees the organization’s core initiatives in positive youth development and adult and family support services and is responsible for the sustainability and long-term viability of the organization. Dr. Perryman graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, where she majored in psychology. She earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Bowling Green State University, where she supervised students majoring in Early Childhood Education. Dr. Perryman then earned her PhD, with a minor in Education, from the Ohio State University College of Social Work. Her dissertation focused on the relationships between racial socialization and reduced violence in African American young adults. During her tenure at The Ohio State University, Dr. Perryman received the Distinguished Graduate Enrichment Fellowship Award. She was later awarded a fellowship from Goldman Sachs, where she also earned a Certificate in Small Business Management. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Toledo’s School of Social Justice and was a lecturer at The Ohio State University.

THOUGHT LEADER. Dr. Perryman’s successes have established her as a thought leader in developing programs that work for marginalized individuals and groups. She is a recognized expert in getting results for individuals labeled at-risk by employing contemporary, data-driven and evidence-based interventions that are culturally relevant and get results. In addition to her contributions to the fields of community engagement, family engagement, culturally relevant best practices, juvenile justice and education system reform, Dr. Perryman shares her expertise through a variety of public appearances and through collaboration with partner organizations at the local, state and national level.

AUTHOR. In her book, Elevating Futures: A Model for Empowering Black Elementary Student Success, Dr. Perryman unveiled a new approach for fostering academic, emotional and social resilience in children. James L. Moore III, PhD, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at The Ohio State University, writes in the foreword to the book: “As society seeks better answers on how to bring greater equity to American classrooms, particularly when it comes to educating vulnerable, Black children, Dr. Perryman has arrived in the nick of time with a child-centered, culturally competent, research-centered program to lift up those in need.” Dr. Tracee Perryman is also the co-author, with Willetta Perryman, of ELEVATE! An Afterschool Enrichment Curriculum for Fostering Children’s Academic, Social and Emotional Resilience.

CONSULTANT. In addition to her work as an author of books and articles in publications, Dr. Tracee Perryman is a sought-after speaker and consultant who shares both from her leadership experience and her educational expertise. She employs contemporary, data-driven and evidence-based interventions that are culturally relevant to get results. Her personal mission as a consultant is to empower people and to inspire change. Dr. Perryman has provided training workshops to governmental agencies, national and regional foundations and non-profit agencies in the following areas:

  • Program Development and Implementation
  • Culturally Relevant Program Development and Implementation
  • Data Collection Analysis and Reporting Systems Development
  • Family Engagement in Youth Development Programming
  • Family Engagement in Juvenile Justice System Reform
  • Youth Development Best Practices
  • Sustainable Program Processes

ELEVATE! CURRICULUM. Applying her studies in psychology, mental health, social work and education, Dr. Perryman further developed the innovative afterschool curriculum initiated by Willetta Perryman to create the ELEVATE! Curriculum. This comprehensive, 28-week afterschool curriculum for fostering academic, emotional and social resilience in children, kindergarten through 3rd grade, supports students from a variety of backgrounds to elevate their lives, helping them to develop leadership skills, strengthen identity and character development and increase academic engagement and success. The curriculum was then further expanded and adapted for use in multicultural afterschool programs.

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP. Dr. Tracee Perryman is fully engaged in the community of Toledo, Ohio, where she lives and works. Her community outreach efforts reached over 66 million individuals and earned 55 media stories in the first six months in her role as CEO of Center of Hope. During the global pandemic, she wrote a song to encourage mask wearing and social distancing in urban communities and inner-city areas and worked with city and county leaders to share the message with high-risk communities most vulnerable to the virus. With interests ranging from civil rights, social action and economic empowerment to education and health, Dr. Perryman is a champion for positive change and the creation of equitable environments that uplift all citizens.

SONGWRITER. Known to the children, families and communities she inspires as “Doctor P,” Dr. Perryman is a songwriter. She uses her musical interests and talents to encourage and educate. Her music is infused into the ELEVATE! Curriculum. In her free time, she enjoys composing and recording inspirational music. Her songs blend a range of contemporary sounds

Donald Perryman, PhD
, CIO + Co-Founder

Dr. Donald PerrymanAs Chief Innovation Officer, Dr. Donald Perryman advises the organization on fiscal growth and partnership initiatives that support managed growth, impact and influence. With five degrees focused on leadership, faith and community, finance, and business administration, Dr. Perryman guides organizational advocacy initiatives and is a leading voice in the Toledo, Ohio, community. In addition, he is Senior Pastor of The Center of Hope Community Church, which he founded in 1997.

Dr. Perryman represents the organization throughout the Toledo community and beyond, where he works tirelessly in advocacy and policy change. Dr. Perryman brokered a strategic alliance between Center of Hope and WSOS, a private nonprofit community action agency that serves income-eligible individuals and families. He has helped raise more than $2.7 million for organizational programming in adult and family services and positive youth development.

Dr. Perryman received his Ph.D. from the Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership, publishing his dissertation, “The Role of the Black Church in Addressing the Collateral Damage of Mass Incarceration.” This relevant and timely work synthesizes the myriad of practical interventions that churches can utilize to impact communities, individuals, families and current and formerly incarcerated persons as well as justice systems, policymakers and others directly or indirectly affected by mass incarceration.

Dr. Perryman also earned a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree from United Theological Seminary. The degree focused on leading change through faith-community partnerships and faith-based political activism. In addition, he earned a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree from the Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership and Change, where his studies focused on ethical leadership and its application to faith and non-faith praxis to address pressing social issues. He also earned a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) with a major in portfolio management—to include investments, corporate restructures, mergers and acquisitions—and a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in corporate finance from the University of Toledo.

PASTORAL LEADERSHIP. Since 1997, the Rev. Dr. Donald L. Perryman has served as Senior Pastor of The Center of Hope Community Church in Toledo, Ohio. The church has become a center for change through its holistic ministry that connects contemporary social, economic and political life to spiritual and cultural foundations. In 2011, Dr. Perryman founded United Pastors for Social Empowerment (UPSE). The ecumenical group is a coalition of faith leaders working collaboratively with institutional representatives and communities of practice to challenge the disparities affecting the poor, marginalized and communities of color through public policy, community development and political empowerment. His initiatives as pastor of Center of Hope Community Church have shed light on those affected by mass incarceration. Dr. Perryman’s pastoral leadership has been instrumental in nurturing interfaith connections in the community and working with other community leaders and organizations to effect positive life change.

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP. Dr. Perryman is a Lucas County Children Services board member and formerly served on the Aspire Cradle to Career Network board, uniting community partners and families around children’s healthy development and education. He is an active board member for the Ohio Poverty Law Center, advocating for policies that protect and expand the legal rights of low-income Ohioans. As chair, Dr. Perryman led a task force workgroup for the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, leading to a comprehensive health equity, diversity and inclusion policy. He is a past board member of the Neighborhood Health Association and the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County. Dr. Perryman’s leadership in forming and implementing the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board Diversity Task Force culminated in the 2018 Health Equity and Awareness Award from the State of Ohio’s Equal Opportunity Division.

ADVOCACY AND POLICY CHANGE. Dr. Donald Perryman has been involved in several community-wide initiatives, working collaboratively with policymakers at the city, county and state levels to effect positive change at every level of the community. He is an outspoken advocate for social change and was the impetus behind area efforts to reorganize TARTA, the Lucas County public transportation system. When proposals for a regional water authority did not adequately address basic access and commitments to water for low-income families, Dr. Perryman rallied community support and became a leading advocate for the inclusion of voices that represented those most affected in the decision-making process. Advocacy efforts also led to the assurance of continued access to water for low-income families in Northwest Ohio among other improvements to the proposal and the community at large.

Dr. Perryman served on a task force that examined fairness and transparency in how the City of Toledo distributes Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and helped broker legislation for the City of Toledo’s Lead Ordinance. He also raised substantial funding to bring keynote speakers to Toledo’s celebrations of Martin Luther King. As a member of the Regional Advisory Council, he helped to assess the progress of KeyBank’s investment strategies in the Great Lakes region. Dr. Perryman has served as a panelist at the International Leadership Association conference, where he discussed “Leading for Social Justice through Faith-Based Partnerships.” He also presented at Ohio’s Infant Mortality Summit on “The Moses Project: A Faith-based Approach to Improving African American Birth Outcomes.” Dr. Perryman advises Center of Hope Family Services on issues of diversity, inclusiveness, empowerment and social justice.

FINANCIAL EXPERIENCE. Dr. Perryman also brings extensive financial experience and expertise to his role as Chief Innovation Officer for Center of Hope Family Services. Before founding The Center of Hope Community Church and serving as its pastor for the past 25 years, Dr. Donald Perryman served as one of the first African-American commercial loan officers in Toledo, managing a portfolio of $32 million with delinquencies less than 0.50%. As a loan officer, he held individual loan authority of $300,000, making loans to small and medium-sized businesses and large corporations for working capital and capital for real estate purchases. Dr. Perryman also previously served as an examiner for the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Credit Unions in Columbus. He examined state and federal credit unions for soundness, stability and liquidity, making recommendations to improve individual state and federally regulated credit unions.

In addition, Dr. Perryman used his expertise in fundraising to raise several hundred thousand dollars to support the former Economic Opportunity Planning Association (EOPA) of Greater Toledo to continue its existence as a Community Action Program agency. Dr. Perryman has raised funds for several vital community projects, from a study of food deserts in Toledo’s Dorr Street corridor to a community garden. He raised $750,000 to build, remodel and expand local churches and acquire real estate for new builds. In addition, Dr. Perryman established a nationally franchised janitorial service serving corporations and state, county and municipal clients and built it to more than $1 million in annual revenues.

CONSULTING SERVICES. Dr. Donald Perryman has provided consulting to select organizations seeking advantageous restructuring alternatives that allow them to bring forward innovative strategies that position these organizations to fully realize their unique missions and maintain a robust market presence. He has extensive experience in planning, training, evaluation, grant writing and fund development. This skill base has uniquely equipped him to support a variety of ministries and community organizations to develop their networks, shift into new business paradigms, and establish or expand revenue streams—all while deploying culturally-relevant strategies to surmount the significant challenges organizations face within the 21st-century urban context.

Dr. Perryman supports growing not-for-profit agencies in acquiring expert knowledge in various disciplines and has helped churches and nonprofits secure nearly $4 million in funds to support, strengthen and build organizational capacity. He draws upon a diverse and robust network of associates and partner organizations to meet organizations at their point of need and brings extensive experience consulting with health care organizations, institutions of higher learning, governmental agencies, human service and behavioral health agencies. In addition, he has worked closely on correction reform initiatives and with a variety of not-for-profit organizations and foundations.

Willetta Perryman
, CPO + Co-Founder

Willetta PerrymanAs Chief Program Officer, Mrs. Willetta Perryman advises the organization on issues of education, enrichment, and family engagement. She encourages and inspires parents to become advocates who lead their families and communities. She developed the ELEVATE! Afterschool Program after founding the Creative Village Child Development Center, which was named a model program by the Ohio Department of Education. Instrumental in bringing the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools to Toledo, Mrs. Perryman studied early childhood education and served for 15 years as an educator.

Willetta has been the driving force behind quality assurance and innovation across the agency since its founding. Her contributions in this regard are unique and imperative to the success of the organization, creating a cohesive and rewarding customer experience that maximizes contributions to the agency by providing positive life outcomes for its customers. In addition to the technical support she provides, Willetta assesses program performance, overseeing strategic plans to improve current offerings and, where needed, develops new programs. To ensure the highest levels of quality and excellence, she assembles transition teams that help sustain and maintain new and expanded services. When programs are not performing to expected levels, Willetta identifies specific performance blocks and issues, then designs new models and leads projects with the goal of improving program performance.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. Willetta leveraged the experience she gained from owning and operating retail and personal styling operations to bring dignity and confidence to Center of Hope’s Workforce Development initiative. Her innovative Dress to Impress initiative filled a gap left by traditional programs. Rather than offering only a soft skills template that highlighted participant weaknesses, Willetta took the time to develop a robust service delivery model that spoke to each participant’s deepest dreams and desires. While styling them, she mentored participants, helping them to discover how to pursue employment that spoke to their personal gifts and passions. Rather than keeping participants reliant on the agency to provide the tools necessary for their success, Willetta invested time in building participant self-confidence, setting the stage for them to feel empowered enough to choose for themselves which skills they most needed and then develop and use those skills to gain meaningful employment.

JUVENILE JUSTICE. In 2016, Willetta stepped in to provide leadership for the implementation of Center of Hope’s family engagement initiative within the Lucas County Juvenile Justice system, bringing dignity, new life and quality to the court system's overall efforts to increase family engagement, and reduce minority contact with the system on non-criminogenic factors. She expanded that effort in 2017 through the “Peace On Earth” project—a community-based collaboration to ensure that all individuals touched by the juvenile justice system would have an opportunity to celebrate the holiday with caring individuals, enjoy an extensive holiday meal and receive holiday gifts and prizes. She emphasized the importance of justice systems interacting authentically and non-judgmentally with the community to support positive community relations and, over time, a more favorable view of the criminal justice system.

POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. As an early childhood educator, Willetta had a tremendous influence in the development and implementation of Center of Hope’s innovative youth development programs. In 2007, Center of Hope brought the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools to Toledo, Ohio. Willetta had an expanded vision of what our youth development program could and would become and, rather than implement a prescriptive program, she instead assembled, equipped and trained a team of individuals to understood the “whys” of the program. She challenged the education staff to master best practices in child development and classroom management, embedding social and emotional learning into academic enrichment. She trained Dr. Tracee Perryman, who later went on study education as a secondary focus during her PhD studies at the Ohio State University and lead Center of Hope into its future.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. Willetta’s passion for kindergarten readiness and social-emotional learning led her to open the Creative Village Child Development Center in 2009, bringing a high quality, exquisite learning experience to children under 5. She designed a bright, colorful and inviting learning center and enriched it with a variety of learning materials. Willetta assessed developmental benchmarks and created individualized plans to help students acquire the skills necessary to progress naturally into preschool and kindergarten. Recognizing the childcare need for her students’ older siblings, she expanded the program to provide afterschool tutoring and enrichment. In 2011, Creative Village was evaluated by the Ohio Department of Education and rated a High Quality Tutoring Center that was “a model for other tutoring programs around the state of Ohio,” a distinction that led to the strengthening of partnerships with educational agencies and the full development of the ELEVATE! experience.

PARENT EDUCATION. When COHFS brought the Nurturing Parent Education and Family Navigator Models to Toledo, Ohio, Willetta provided critical analysis. She expanded the agency’s understanding and appreciation of creating a strong customer experience by carefully designing the facilities where services are provided and by honing a responsive and equitable customer service program. Her abiding commitment has been to destigmatize social services for marginalized individuals and families and to offer them the same quality of services and personalized attention as is common for those of privilege. This commitment inspired her to transform family education classes into a space that integrated instruction with community building. To reinforce her passion for quality, irrespective of socioeconomic status and race, Willetta infused meals with gourmet influences, which she prepared herself, providing them with each session. In 2021, Willetta expanded this experience into the “Cooking Up Hope” program with the goal of empowering parents to participate in the educational process with their students, preparing meals while engaging with children. Participation in the program has increased by 500 percent and Willetta now partners with local school systems and organizations to offer “Cooking Up Hope” as a community engagement strategy. She has freely shared lessons learned and strategies for increasing authentic family engagement with partner organizations.

AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM. The success of Willetta’s first site, Old Orchard, led to ELEVATE!’s distinction as an Ohio Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center. This led to the program’s expansion within Toledo Public Schools, where 90% of kindergarteners had not learned their letters. Willetta’s interventions led to 95% Adequate Yearly Progress for program participants. Willetta opened ELEVATE! sites in five Toledo schools, in the McClinton Nunn Community Center and at Sylvania Area Family Services, again focusing on the development of individualized action plans and integrating culturally relevant social emotional learning into all aspects of instruction. In 2017, she brought the program to a site with 32% school suspension rate where only 12% of students were reading at grade level. Staff had deemed participants “unteachable” and “uncontrollable,” but with Willetta’s innovation, commitment and leadership the number of students reading at grade level quadrupled and the school suspension rate was lowered to 6%—results that led to the Innovation and Excellence Award and the State Award for Literacy Improvement. Willetta’s real-time observation, monitoring and intervention led to student improvements in math and reading, increased school attendance, a reduction in the number of unexcused absences and a decrease in chronic absenteeism. In May 2021, Willetta opened an ELEVATE! site in collaboration with Sylvania Public Schools. After just 6 weeks, 91% of students increased their academic performance and 75% achieved positive results in the category of social-emotional learning.

ELEVATE! CURRICULUM. During the pandemic, Willetta provided direction to meet the pressing needs of overwhelmed students and parents, developing culturally relevant enrichment components to expand and engage ELEVATE!’s Virtual Learning Center which led to increased attendance. Willetta provided reading materials aligned with contemporary issues along with culinary and visual arts materials. Building on the demonstrated success of this model, she worked closely with Dr. Tracee Perryman to co-author ELEVATE! An Afterschool Enrichment Curriculum for Fostering Children’s Academic, Social and Emotional Resilience, published by Advantage/Forbes. The progam serves children from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Thanks to Willetta’s invaluable contribution over many years, Center of Hope is now poised to become a leader in afterschool education on the national stage.

Randall Clark
, Data Management Director

Randall ClarkMr. Clark advises the organization in the areas of data analysis, data management, and performance evaluation. He brings a strong background in sales and customer service in the healthcare, financial, and insurance industries. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Western Michigan University. Mr. Clark served as a facilitator for the “Breaking Barriers” Project, providing adolescents with individualized learning and socialization plans to address behavioral modification, develop conflict resolution and communication skills, and provide academic interventions.


Executive Board Members

Fletcher Word

Editor, The Sojourner's Truth Newspaper

Larry Stegall

Executive Board member of the Local 500 Retiree Council 

Reginald Temple

VP, Director of Community Development, Premier Bank

JacQui Wilson

Assistant Vice President, Community Development Mortgage Loan Originator, State Bank