Helping people in recovery stay in recovery

aka Voices of Hope   |   Lexington, KY   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 81-0821411


To promote life-long recovery from the chronic disease of addiction through recovery support services, advocacy, research and education.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

michelle elswick

Main address

450 Old Vine Street, Ste 101

Lexington, KY 40507 USA

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Subject area info

Addiction services


Population served info

Economically disadvantaged people

People with diseases and illnesses

Substance abusers

NTEE code info

Addictive Disorders N.E.C. (F50)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Kentucky has been disproportionately impacted by opioid use disorder (OUD), with the fourth highest drug overdose death rate in the country. Compared to the nation, Kentucky has a higher rate of opioid overdose deaths, inpatient hospitalizations and emergency department visits, Hepatitis C, and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). In Fayette County, there were 1,352 drug overdose incidents and 122 drug overdose deaths in 2018. Further, there were 2,071 reported cases of Hepatitis C and 42 infants born with NAS (Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, 2019). The morbidity and mortality caused by SUD in Fayette County demonstrates the need for recovery support services.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Overdose Response

Overdose Response Training equips individuals to respond appropriately to an overdose in progress and distributes naloxone.

Population(s) Served
People with diseases and illnesses
Economically disadvantaged people

The goal of this event is to reduce overdose death and the stigma associated with addiction. It is in part a memorial program for families who have lost loved ones to drug overdose and is observed with a memorial tree planting. This is done in conjunction with International Overdose Awareness Day which is August 31st each year. We schedule our event at a local public park on the last Saturday in August. A resource fair provides information about local resources for drug and alcohol addiction and recovery. This event allows the public to put a human face on recovery from addiction in an effort to reduce stigma surrounding this disease. In 2017 we hosted our 5th annual event and welcomed over 600 participants.

Population(s) Served
People with diseases and illnesses
Economically disadvantaged people

Trained volunteers (who are, in many cases, in recovery themselves) make weekly calls to touch base with each participant. During the call, volunteers may offer information about resources in the community. More importantly, the phone call can help someone in early recovery feel cared for and supported. The beauty of TRS is in its simplicity. TRS helps people stay in recovery. We also support people to get back on track if a relapse occurs. When someone tells us they have relapsed, we don’t kick them out of the program; we keep calling them. When someone is down, that’s when they need support the most. Through this service, Voices of Hope is an encouraging voice at a critical junction on the road to long term recovery.

Population(s) Served
Substance abusers

Recovery can be tough. We get it because at Voices of Hope our services are provided by people in recovery. We are here for you no matter where you are on your journey.

In our recovery coaching program you’ll meet once a week with a coach who can help you: create and meet goals to improve your life, find recovery housing, food assistance and health care, work on a plan for your career, make an individualized plan for your recovery

Population(s) Served
Substance abusers
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Innovation Now 2019

Addiction Policy Forum

Affiliations & memberships

Kentucky Nonprofit Network 2022

Association of Recovery Community Organizations 2022

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of support groups offered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Weekly Mutual Aid meetings

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Despite staggering relapse rates, Substance Use Disorder, which is a chronic disorder, has traditionally been treated as an acute condition. Most attention to this issue is on prevention, crisis stabilization, or acute treatment. With relapse rates between 40-60%, there is a critical need to focus on long-term recovery. SAMHSA recognizes that peer supporters play a critical role in promoting long-term recovery. They are individuals who have been successful in their own recovery journey and who help others stay engaged in the recovery process through sharing resources, building skills, leading recovery groups, and mentoring others. Many institutions such as treatment programs, healthcare facilities, and criminal justice settings employ peer support specialists, but their relationship with participants ends when they depart the program. Also, peers working in institutional settings may be limited in the goals they can work on with participants. For example, peers working in abstinence based residential treatment may not be able to assist a participant with obtaining medication for their OUD. On the other hand, community-based peers have the ability to be person-centered, working on any goal the individual sets for themselves to achieve and maintain recovery. RCCs are ideal locations for the provision of peer support services because they serve as a relocatable hub as well as a safe and sober environment.
Voices of Hope operates the only RCC in Lexington/Fayette County. Prior to opening, we conducted a comprehensive needs assessment, which included focus groups with individuals in recovery and leaders in the recovery community. Results indicated that most recovery support services in the Central Kentucky area were based on a 12-step model. Often, FDA approved medication for OUD is controversial in 12-step communities, and thus, some participants reported a lack of available recovery support for their chosen recovery pathway. Our RCC provides a safe space for people in recovery, regardless of their pathway (e.g,12-step, medication, faith-based or Recovery Dharma) as well as houses our peer delivered recovery support services. Further, VOH serves many vulnerable groups, including participants who are justice-involved, women who are pregnant and parenting, veterans, people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, and individuals with co-occurring mental illness.
Our specific goals are to enhance and and expand access to recovery support services for people in or seeking recovery in Central Kentucky, expand support for friends and family members of people with Substance Use Disorders, sustain a Recovery Community Center to house recovery support services for people in or seeking recovery and their families in Central Kentucky.

Goal 1: Enhance and expand access to recovery support services for people in or seeking recovery in Fayette County
Activity 1. Provide access to telephone recovery support and recovery coaching services
Activity 1.2 Provide enhanced recovery coaching services by offering specialized housing and employment coaching services 80% of participants who access employment services will gain employment within 60 days and 80% of participants who access housing services will obtain safe and sober housing within one week
Activity 1.3 Provide Employment Readiness Internships to 10 recipients/year All 50 individuals who complete the Employment Readiness Internship will become certified Kentucky peer support specialists
Goal 2: Expand support for friends and family members of people with SUDs in Fayette County
Activity 2.1 Provide access to one weekly Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Friends & Family meeting We will serve 80 family members with our SMART Friends & Family meeting each year.
Activity 2.2 Provide access to individual telephonic education, support, and resource navigation through a Family Support Warm-line In Year 1, we will serve 250 friends and family members with our Family Support Warm-line. In years 2-5, we will serve 500 friends and family members.
Activity 2.3 Provide access to quarterly educational programming for friends and family members
We will serve 80 friends and family members with our educational series each year.
Goal 3. Sustain a RCC to house recovery support services for people in or seeking recovery and their families in Fayette County
Activity 3.1 Provide access to a safe sober environment for people in or seeking recovery We will serve 1200 individuals per year in our RCC each year.
Activity 3.2 Provide access to monthly sober social events We will serve 500 individuals with our sober social events each year.
Activity 3.3 Provide access to two weekly support groups open to all pathways of recovery (e.g., SMART and All Recovery Meetings) We will serve 200 individuals with our weekly support groups each year.

Our leadership consists of Shelley Elswick, President/CEO, a former CPA, is the mother of a son in long-term recovery. With this lived experience, she is grounded in the culture of addiction and recovery. She was a founding member of VOH and the first President of the Board of Directors. Under Ms. Elswick’s leadership, VOH opened the first RCC in Kentucky and launched peer-based recovery support services. Ms. Elswick is a Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) certified trainer of Recovery Coaches. Alongside Dr. Fallin-Bennett, Ms. Elswick has overseen multiple grants, including corporate, foundation, and state pass-through SAMHSA grants (SOR and STR). Ms. Elswick will oversee all aspects of this project and ensure required reporting and communication regarding grant progress and completion. Amanda Fallin-Bennett, PhD, RN, is Program Director at VOH overseeing the training and provision of Peer Support Services. As Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Dr. Fallin-Bennett has successfully competed for state, foundation, and federal grants, including a MERIT award (R01/R37) from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Fallin-Bennett is a Co-Investigator on UK’s HEAL (PI Walsh) and JCOIN (PI Staton) grants, which are highest and among the highest funded applications ever received by the University of Kentucky. Under the HEAL and JCOIN grant, VOH will expand recovery support services across the state. Dr. Fallin-Bennett will lead the development and pilot testing of the curriculum to certify peer support specialists as well as oversee all data collection and analysis for reporting. Marysha Fritz, Operations Manager has ten years of management experience.
VOH recovery support services include Telephone Recovery Support (TRS) and Recovery Coaching. Through our TRS program, volunteers make weekly recovery check-up calls to provide encouragement, social support, and referral to community resources. TRS engagement is associated with a reduction in substance use and SUD-related problems. Recovery Coaching consists of weekly, hour long sessions with recovery coaches who are certified adult peer support specialists. Recovery Coaches help those in early recovery identify goals and set strength-based strategies. They use evidence-based techniques such as motivational interviewing to help participants in positive decision-making and behavior change commitment. Further, coaches leverage our strong community partnerships for facilitated referrals (e.g, sober housing, transportation, employment and financial counseling).
We currently recruit in-person and through direct referral from partner sites, including outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential treatment programs, sober living homes, and drug courts in multiple counties across Central Kentucky. Additionally, participants enroll by calling or walking in to our RCC or enrolling through our website.

VOH currently serves approximately 300 individuals per week with our TRS program, 125 per week with our recovery coaching program, and 15 with our on-site coaching at Baptist Health. VOH has been a member of the Association of Recovery Community Organizations since 2016. We opened the first RCC in Kentucky. Our RCC houses our recovery support services, including TRS and recovery coaching. To date, we have served 1300 individuals with our TRS program and 600 with our recovery coaching program. In 2019, 1500 individuals became members of our community center. Members have free access to our mutual aid meetings, family support meetings, sober pro-social events, and educational events (e.g. Overdose Response Trainings, Expungement Fairs and HIV/Hepatitis C prevention and screening, Insurance Enrollment, Tax Prep) Through these programs, we have developed strong partnerships with treatment providers (residential, intensive outpatient, and outpatient) and sober living homes throughout Central Kentucky (see letters of commitment Attachment 1). VOH currently has a paid Employment Readiness Internship program and all five of our previous interns successfully completed the program by obtaining employment. VOH was awarded a contract through the University of Kentucky to expand provision of remote recovery support services to 21 counties through the NIDA funded HEALing Communities Initiative for the next 5 years. We are guided by an eight-member Board of Directors which includes three people in long-term recovery, two parents of children impacted by addiction, and three professionals.

In the near future, we would like to focus on sustainability. Current funding due to the opioid crisis has allowed us to begin, however we serve people with all substance use disorders and want to see recovery support services available to people getting their lives back for many years to come. We plan to expand our ability to support people in recovery with new programs as research shows promising new ideas. We plan to continue researching our own programs to add to the body of knowledge surrounding recovery support services.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 25.41 over 5 years

Months of cash in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 2.6 over 5 years

Fringe rate in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 15% over 5 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of VOICES OF HOPE--LEXINGTON INC’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $215,318 $161,623 $285,492
As % of expenses 39.9% 19.4% 15.3%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $215,318 $161,623 $282,232
As % of expenses 39.9% 19.4% 15.1%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $755,600 $996,383 $2,171,876
Total revenue, % change over prior year 0.0% 31.9% 118.0%
Program services revenue 8.4% 38.6% 57.5%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 75.5% 54.7% 31.1%
All other grants and contributions 15.2% 6.6% 10.5%
Other revenue 0.8% 0.1% 0.8%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $540,282 $834,760 $1,866,384
Total expenses, % change over prior year 0.0% 54.5% 123.6%
Personnel 42.3% 59.9% 65.6%
Professional fees 5.9% 3.3% 4.1%
Occupancy 33.7% 16.4% 5.3%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.4%
Pass-through 1.3% 0.2% 0.5%
All other expenses 16.8% 20.1% 24.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021
Total expenses (after depreciation) $540,282 $834,760 $1,869,644
One month of savings $45,024 $69,563 $155,532
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $537,621
Total full costs (estimated) $585,306 $904,323 $2,562,797

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021
Months of cash 5.5 5.7 1.6
Months of cash and investments 5.5 5.7 1.6
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 7.6 7.2 3.6
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021
Cash $249,349 $395,225 $252,851
Investments $0 $0 $0
Receivables $90,535 $106,574 $341,278
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $1,567 $1,567 $539,188
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 0.6%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.0% 1.3% 29.2%
Unrestricted net assets $341,605 $503,228 $785,460
Temporarily restricted net assets N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $20,000
Total net assets $341,605 $503,228 $805,460

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021
Material data errors No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Principal Officer

michelle elswick

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 01/19/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Elizabeth Bancroft

Alex Elswick

University of Kentucky, Extension Associate Family Resource Management

Elizabeth Bancroft

Fayette County Prosecutor's Office

Danielle Sanders

Kentucky’s Administrative Office of the Courts

Michelle Elswick

Voices of Hope - Lexington, Inc.

Tyler Fallin

RFH CPAs & Consultants

Steve Lange

The Gardener

Kacy Allen-Bryant

Lexington/Fayette Urban County Government

KaSondra Brown

Mary Ann Getty

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/28/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation



Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.