For HOPE International, Money Can Buy Happiness

$1.2 million. That’s the amount of money HOPE International raised through its 23rd annual golf outing that was held last fall. The Manheim Township-based nonprofit will put those dollars to good use in the form of loans, investments and assistance to financially challenged individuals and families around the globe.

HOPE International founder, Jeff Rutt (center), and the organization’s COO, Jesse Casler (right), enjoy fellowship with a golfer taking
part in HOPE’s annual golf outing.

“We’re excited about the impact we are having,” said HOPE International founder, Jeff Rutt, who was once a dairy farmer and became a home builder with start-up of Keystone Custom Homes in 1992. Since then, Keystone has built more than 8,000 homes in south central and southeast Pennsylvania, as well as northern Maryland and North Carolina. Five years after launching Keystone, Rutt founded HOPE International; a year later, the organization’s first loans were dispersed in Ukraine.

As for the money that was raised through the golf outing, “That money will impact thousands and thousands of lives,” he noted. “Small loans can empower families to have dignity instilled in their lives. With the families we serve, we really believe God has put each of them in our hands.”

“A lot of people like to golf, and a lot of people want to impact lives around the world,” Rutt said of utilizing the game of golf as a way to help others. “This is a vehicle. It’s a way to network together, have a great time outdoors and at the same time drive out poverty. It’s a fun way of fundraising.”

The outing was conducted at three separate golf courses – Iron Valley Golf Club in Lebanon, Wyncote Golf Club in Oxford and Turf Valley Golf Club in Ellicott City, Maryland – in mid-September. Some 350 players participated. “It’s small businesses who want to get involved, and they’ll send folks on their team,” Rutt explained. “Sometimes the golfers may not even be aware of what the owner of their company is doing. They may not even be aware the company is involved with helping lives around the world. It’s a great way to get involved.”

The 2023 version of the HOPE International golf outing raised about $200,000 more than the previous year’s outing. Over the years, the golf outing has collected more than $7 million in donations. “We started very small at the beginning, but we’ve been building on it,” said Rutt. “I think philanthropy in general has changed over the [past] 23 years. It used to be, ‘We need to send our money.’ But I’ve seen a shift where the world has become smaller. The way [the outing] has grown is tied to the impact,” added Rutt. “If something works, the word spreads. Like, ‘Hey, I want to get behind something that’s growing.’ And with some of the people we work with, their businesses have grown.”

Since its founding, Hope International itself has grown. In 2004, Peter Greer became HOPE International’s president, and in that same year it distributed its 10,000th loan. Over the past 27 years, HOPE International has aided 2.7 million families in 24 countries with $1.7 billion in loans. “In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing,” Rutt admitted. “I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how to help. God knew, and we just kept taking small steps. God had bigger plans. It was exciting to see.”

For additional information about HOPE International, visit hopeinternational.org.


Jeff Falk writes for the community newspapers – Merchandiser, Advertiser and Pennysaver in Lancaster County – that are published by Engle Printing & Publishing. Townlively.com. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *