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The Hope Summit

cultivate ideas - accelerate solutions - inspire hope

The Hope Summit is a forum for ideas and solutions. We believe in the importance of a bottom-up approach that prioritizes local voices, local knowledge, and community co-governance in the interconnected efforts to create a regenerative future for our local communities and for our planet. By giving ordinary people agency to shape the future they want for themselves, their families, and their communities, we can create a vibrant future fueled by hope.

Image by Akira Hojo

Our Story

The Hope Summit began as a shared goal for greater collaboration among Charleston's conservation and sustainability communities. Grey Gowder of the Carolina Ocean Alliance envisioned a conference and festival dedicated to bringing nonprofits, local governments, community groups, students, and citizens together to foster greater collaboration and synergy within the community. His goal as the founder of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance's community-based hub in Charleston was to be a connector, a facilitator of the network-of-networks model that connected his hub to young ocean professionals around the world. 


While developing The Hope Summit concept, Grey met Brooke Brown of the Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network. Brooke had a vision for a local conservation fair. Both felt that their shared goals could be achieved best by combining their efforts for the first Hope Summit in 2022. 

The Hope Summit 2022 was a single-day event with a virtual conference in the morning featuring a multi-disciplinary line-up of regional solutions creators and advocates. In the afternoon, 22 local organizations convened for the first Hope Summit Festival at Brewlab where over 200 visitors met with a wide variety of local organizations and institutions. 

After the success of the first Hope Summit, the team pushed forward with bold ambitions for 2023. Grey, now Executive Director of the Carolina Ocean Alliance, led the expansion of The Hope Summit from a single-day small community gathering to a multi-day international summit of community-driven solutions.


In 2024, The Hope Summit launched a Film Festival and its Next Generation Fund to make the two-day Conference accessible for as many students and early career professionals as possible through sponsored Conference passes and scholarships for travel and housing. With a focus on reshaping our relationship with water, waterways, and the ocean, the Carolina Ocean Alliance also launched a book club and film screening series as part of The Road to The Hope Summit to foster multi-disciplinary and intersectional community-driven solutions programming year-round.

We believe in the power of communities to transform our world. The Hope Summit aspires to become a preeminent regional ideas summit promoting solutions-based education and innovation while developing the next generation of community leaders and solutions practitioners.


Join us as we cultivate ideas, accelerate community-driven solutions, and inspire hope.

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