Who Are Hope & James?


Our family has long admired the devotion and dedication to humanitarian efforts that our parents, Esperanza and James McNeilly, have lived through their lives. Their compassionate leadership has always driven them to lend a hand to people in need, and their efforts in health, human services, and education have resulted in new and innovative research, policy changes, community services, and the establishment of organizations. 

We recognize that Hope’s and James’ commitment to such significant work stems from their essential humanitarian values of benevolence, compassion, generosity, integrity and a deeply spiritual perspective. Hope and James’ great love for their children extends to the “family” of community and the world.

This is what inspired Dr. Maya McNeilly and her husband, Barry deVille, to establish The Hope James Foundation. Their hope is that our Foundation’s work will honor the 50 years of dedicated service of Dr. McNeilly’s parents.



Together Hope and James accomplished inspirational works over more than 50 years.
These works included:

  • Providing counseling, education, transportation, interpretation, and advocacy for underserved individuals and community groups.
  • Providing health, mental health, housing and financial information to youth, adults and the elderly.
  • Teaching children, teens and adults academic subjects in various community programs.
  • Initiating a Well-Baby Infant Program through the Vernon County Mental Health Association
  • Assisting in establishing the Vernon County Hospice Program in Viroqua, Wisconsin, which to date continues its expansion.
  • Helping to develop the first Alzheimer’s Family Support Group in Viroqua, Wisconsin.
  • Initiating and providing community education programs regarding Alzheimer’s Disease in Vernon and Crawford Counties.
  • Developing and implementing a Compassionate Friends Support Group for grieving parents and siblings, which continues today in rural Wisconsin.
  • Supporting and volunteering to establish the first Waldorf School in Viroqua, Wisconsin, which addresses the educational needs of students in new and creative ways.
  • Assisting in establishing a bi-lingual, bi-cultural community organization: “Friends of the Community” which continues to promote communication and understanding between Hispanic immigrants and local rural residents in Norwalk, Wisconsin
  • Writing and obtaining a research grant to assess the health and psychosocial needs of Hispanic women in the Sparta, Wisconsin; making recommendations and helping to develop resources to meet those needs. Supporting and assisting the establishment of a free health clinic that is still operating; and developing strategies to integrate the Hispanic immigrants into the community. This research was published in the Journal of Community Psychology and continues to be used as a national model for successfully integrating immigrant and resident communities.
  • Volunteering for the Community Partnership Charter High School in Holly Springs, North Carolina in an advisory capacity to students, volunteers, parents and teachers. Rebuilding the parent/teacher group, raising funds, advising on school projects, tutoring students, organizing the first Career/Job Fair, and preparing a manual on “How to Conduct a Career Fair and Resources for Support.”