Who We Are

The Hannah Project Partnership for Academic Achievement is a community-based education and cultural organization located in Marin City, California.  Utilizing culture and the arts to undergird its educational programming, the Hannah Project seeks to both build community and promote the value of achievement among low income black and brown youth and their families.  Our intent is to make college and career both an expectation and a norm. Though our roots lie in the faith community, we are non-sectarian and welcome everyone to fully participate in our efforts.

Our Mission

The mission of the Hannah Project is to boost the academic proficiency and college attendance of Marin City and other low income youth of color by working in partnership to promote a community culture that encourages achievement, celebrates heritage, and equips families and students with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to fulfill their dreams and ambitions.

Our Vision

We envision an engaged community that values children, education, service, and culture and is committed to passing on these ideals to ensure intergenerational cohesion, vibrancy and success.

Our Approach

We believe that communities and families play essential roles in eradicating the achievement gap and we work alongside them to set high standards and expectations for student achievement. But we also know that alone is not enough. Race, class, privilege, and poverty are primary contributors to the achievement gap and major factors in its persistence. We believe that overcoming the achievement gap and the institutional racism that perpetuates it requires an approach that couples individual success strategies with advocacy and community engagement and a commitment to a culturally responsive pedagogy that affirms every student and motivates them to achieve.

What's in a name?

Who is Hannah?

The biblical Hannah audaciously longed for a son - never giving up hope that God would hear her cries - and vowing when He did, to return him to the  temple to serve God "all the days of his life."   And when her son was born, she did just that. Hannah's son Samuel  became the first prophet of Israel.  By naming the organization the Hannah Project, we honor every mother, every family that wants the best for children and are committed to giving them the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.

Our Story

 "Will you talk to my daughter about college?" was the question.

" Of course,  I will, " was the reply.

 And with that response,  it began…Unnamed,  unconscious certainly,  but living. A mother and her succor conjoined in a collective cadence - a call and response  rhythm.  Baptized by prayer.  Fueled by  faith.  Hoping to change the trajectory of a child's life.  It was the fall of 2006. 

 By 2007, the "it" had  begun to take shape, and I decided to name the work  I was embarking on - helping families and children navigate the pathway to a better future - Hannah - in honor of the biblical woman/mother of faith.

From the beginning, I was joined by amazing activists, educators, and community leaders - Marsha Bonner, Wendy Cliff, Karen Gilbert, Ethel Seiderman, Delores Talley, Sharon Turner and  dedicated and persistent parents - Jackie Dedrick, Shirley Thompson, Diane Cook - who, collectively and individually, guided, prodded, pushed the Hannah Project to listen, learn and  lead. 

First arguing that it was a mistake to focus only on high school students; making the case that we needed to work with younger students; introducing the Children's Defense Fund's Freedom School as a model approach to exciting children of color about learning;  never losing sight of parents' voice; urging us to go beyond academic tutoring to better understand trauma  and other socio-emotional issues confronting families and children; recommending that we place special emphasis on black and brown boys;  recognizing culture and the arts as an integral part of the development of positive self-image and mindsets; maximizing the power of space and convenings to create common ground among diverse community groups; uncovering entrenched disparities in local school systems; being unafraid " to speak up and speak out" - daring to talk about racial injustice; this motley crew of impassioned actors has helped craft a cogent response to the plague of systemic racism and its residual  - the achievement gap.

I am so proud of the foundation that  has been laid and the  inspiration, values, and legacy - the bequest  left by our "founding mothers" to the next generation of leaders.  I am most grateful.

-Bettie Hodges-Shelmire, Founder and Executive Director


Meet the Team

The Board of Directors
Ralph Wheeler
Board Chair, Retired Attorney, Port of Oakland
Florence Murray Williams
Florence Murray Williams
Retired Educator, San Francisco Public Schools
Jackie Dedrick
Jackie Dedrick
Community Member

The Advisory Committee
Ida G (2)
Ida Times
Board Chair, Sausalito Marin City School District
Marilyn Mackel (2)
Marilyn Mackle
Retired Judge

Andrea Norwood
Community Member

Karen Gilbert
Retired Administrator, Marin Community Foundation
The Staff
Bettie Hodges
Shelmire, Executive Director/ Founder
Janice trapp
Janice Trapp

Victoria Holmes
Donor Services

Our Partners

Marin City is a small community, but it is microcosym of the disparities and inequities that plague larger urban areas. It is impossible to be effective in this environment - to bring about the change and transformation that our constituents deserve - without partnering with a range of organizations: Bridge the Gap, Marin City Community Services District, Marin City Community Development Corporation,  Marin County Library,  Marin Interfaith Council, Marin Promise, Performing Stars,  Play Marin,  Sausalito Marin City School District, Tamalpais High School District & National Park Service.

Hannah Alumni - Making A Difference

Thanh Lu
Thanh Lu
 CPA, Senior Accountant, Vantage Data Senior, St. Mary's College
Raven Griffin
Raven Griffin
Currently completing degree in Global Hospitality and Brand Management at NYU
Early Clifton Cobb
Early Clifton Cobb
Currently enrolled in PhD program in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department at the University of California

In Remembrance & Love


Ethel Seiderman

Shirley Thompson (2)

Shirley Thompson


Delores Talley

Juliet simpson

Juliet Simpson