Eleanor Josatis

Eleanor Josatis died today.

Eleanor Josatis died today.

While her name may not be familiar to you, it is a name that is more than familiar to people throughout the city of Detroit—and through them to countless others with whom they are associated.

Eleanor Josatis was the co-founder of Focus: HOPE. She was preceded in death by Father William T. Cunningham, who, with Josatis, established Focus: HOPE in Detroit in 1968. Cunningham died in 1997.

For those of you who think “Detroit” and the 1960s, the 1967 riot may come to mind. And it was out of that riot in July that ripped a whole in the fabric of the city and its surroundings, that Josatis and Cunningham worked to create something more resilient and enduring, worked to create education and opportunity, worked to create fairness and equality.

They did good by doing good. They did good by helping people—but not just by giving them a helping hand, though they most certainly did that, but by giving them the wherewithal and the opportunities to improve themselves to that they could help themselves.

When they wrote the charter for the organization, it included that they would endeavor to undertake “intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty and injustice.”

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Eleanor Josatis & Focus: HOPE students at the Management Briefing Seminars, 2005.  Photo by Joe Wilssens

And one of the key things that they did was establish educational training programs like the Center for Advanced Technologies in 1993, which has developed young men and women who are tremendously capable and adept in the ways and means to perform manufacturing.

While some people decry the lack of talented, capable and hard-working people in manufacturing, there is a whole cadre of people who have come out of Focus: HOPE programs who have the skills and abilities that are second to none. They have the intelligence and the practical abilities to get things done.

And that happened because Eleanor Josatis and Fr. William T. Cunningham saw injustice and wanted to do what they could to make things better.

And what they did was good.

Eleanor Josatis will be missed. She will not be forgotten as long as there is hope. And Focus: HOPE.