Brenda Krause Eheart is a leading authority on intentional neighboring. It was her research while at the University of Illinois that led to her breakthrough idea to create intergenerational communities where vulnerable people can reengage within a supportive environment while also engaging in service to others. In 1994, in response to the ravages of the crack epidemic in her state and its impact on families and children, Brenda started Hope Meadows, an intergenerational community created to support families adopting children from the foster care system, and spent ten years as its executive director. She went on to found Generations of Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of vulnerable populations by tapping the transformative power of intergenerational community living through intentional neighboring.
Brenda has received numerous honors, including The Heinz Award in Human Condition, the AARP Inspire Award, and Elfenwork’s In Harmony with Hope Award. She was named an Ashoka Fellow and a Civic Ventures Purpose Prize Fellow. In 2011, the Obama Administration honored her as a Champion of Change. Her work with Hope Meadows has been honored by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Innovations in American Government (finalist), and she was presented the US Department of Human Services Adoption Excellence Award by President Clinton. Hope Meadows has been featured in prominent broadcast and print media, including ABC Nightline, CBS 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The New York Times, and NPR’s All Things Considered. Brenda and Hope Meadows were also featured in Lesley Stahl’s recent book, Becoming Grandma: The Joy and Science of the New Grandparenting.
Recently retired from her position as the executive director of Generations of Hope, Brenda continues to provide clear values and a cohesive vision for the intentional community movement exploding in this country. She is actively involved with both existing and emerging communities, teaching and inspiring leaders in community planning and development, social health, equity and justice, and cultural change. In November 2017, Brenda was invited to talk about her work at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit for the Obama Presidential Library, where thousands of young entrepreneurs, innovators, and social leaders gathered as a mighty force for future change. In September 2018, she spoke at Chicago’s 2018 Resilience Summit, put on by the National Resilience Institute in conjunction with Rush Medical University. The theme of the summit was "Innovating and Scaling Community Resilience Initiatives."