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Hip-Hope Inc. is a non-profit organization, with 501(C)3 tax exempt status, whose mission is to utilize arts and culture to promote, advocate and support Hope wherever symptoms of hopelessness are prevalent.  We define hopelessness as: “Being unable to function or maintain a desired quality of life due to lack of knowledge, resources, mental health and/or access to solutions.”  


Our primary focus is on addressing community safety concerns and disparities as they relate to economics, health, incarceration and education among underprivileged / over-challenged youth, ages 5-22, primarily throughout the greater Des Moines area.  

“Listen with the intent to understand!” 

"Hip" is giving Youth a voice. "Hope" is optimism for the future. Hip-Hope's formula to empower underprivileged / over-challenged Youth is to Engage them, in order to IDENTIFY THEIR PASSION. Then Help them ALIGN THEIR PASSION WITH THEIR PURPOSE. Support them so that they can MAKE THEIR PASSION AND PURPOSE THEIR PRIORITY.  Once they have made their Passion and Purpose their Priority we GUIDE THEM TO THEIR PROMISE.


Bo James
Founder/Exec. Director

Bo James is born and raised in the urban core of Des Moines, Iowa. Despite going up in a two parent home, being in gifted and talented, in marching band, an honor roll student and a world class athlete he realized that he was at risk. He accredits boxing and music for saving his life. By high school most of his closest peers and relatives were in gangs including his younger brother. By his senior year in high school most of them were in detention centers, prison and some had even lost their lives to the streets. He accredits music, sports and mentors for keeping him from falling into the traps of society that snared his family and friends.  



Tracy Duran

Tracy Duran is the Director of Studio Education and Inclusion at the Des Moines Art Center where she provides vision and strategic leadership for programs that link the Art Centers studio and community educations classes to the museum and community through the development of innovative programming. In addition to her work in education, Duran provides vision and leadership for the organization’s inclusions efforts as they strive to be a cultural resource for all in the community. Duran and her team work with community partners and schools to strengthen external relationships with diverse audiences. Over the past twelve years Duran has developed and provided leadership for the Art Access program, which provides innovative and engaging art programs to underserved communities in the Des Moines Area. Through the Des Moines Art Center she has worked with various programs involving at-risk youth, displaced children at a local youth shelter, women from the Department of Corrections, and residents in an Alzheimer’s care facility. Duran has dedicated her life to empowering youth and began mentoring at the age of 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada where she grew up. She holds a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and an MFA from California State University, Fullerton.

Vice President

Nadir Mehta

Nadir was born in Karachi, Pakistan. Upon graduating from St.
Patrick's high school, Nadir traveled to Europe to explore all the
cultures this continent offers. He began his undergraduate
education in electrical engineering at Oklahoma state university in
Stillwater, Oklahoma. After graduating, in 1979, he began his career working for a large electrical utility located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1999, Nadir graduated with a Masters in Business Administration from Oklahoma City University. Other work experiences include working for a large telecommunication company dealing in the sale of undersea cable capacity to 5 continents. Also he worked for the state of Iowa as Director of Administrative Services under the leadership of Governor Vilsack. In this capacity, he was able to make major changes to the IT infrastructure for the State of Iowa.

He worked for various Financial Services Companies in Iowa; as a
consultant, helping them to make process improvements changes in their operations areas. As an expert in costing he was able to save millions of dollars for these large Corporations. Currently, Nadir is self-employed specializing in a American disabilities act. Nadir has been married, for 25 years to his wife Iveth and has three daughters Nicole, Suzanne and Elizabeth, who will be a Junior at Valley High School in 2017/2018.

Additionally he has two grandchildren Amrit and Myra who live in
Sacramento, California with his oldest daughter.

His hobbies include traveling, swimming, and he enjoys volunteering at a local retirement center as a men's coffee facilitator and as well as mentoring the youth on career opportunities.

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Louis H. Fountain

A Philadelphia, PA native, Louis H. Fountain has extensive experience working in social services and education.  He truly believes his lifelong calling is "serving youth" and has strived to manifest that calling for the last 15 years.  Under His supervision, Fountain has transformed the lives of hundreds of youths, that felt hopeless. Louis’ passion for working with at-risk youth began while working with youth sex offenders and teens with mental & behavioral disorders at Kids Peace of Georgia. A fire was ignited. Upon relocating to Iowa, Louis accepted a position with United Community Services as the Head Jail Treatment Counselor. Fountain served in several facets within Polk County: Youth Services at the Teen Detention Center, Youth Shelter and as Teen Director for the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. 

In late 2018, Louis took a position with Des Moines Public Schools, as a Community Schools Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools, at Callanan Middle School.  Louis, “Mr. Lou,” quickly became an indispensable and valued resource for students, staff, families & the community. 

Louis served diligently each day to create programs, groups, resources,& materials to break down barriers in the way of our students & families being successful. Louis embodies the quote; “Every Kid is one Caring Adult Away from being a Success Story,” as he thoughtfully places solid resources, time & energy into our students’ and families’ lives.

In May 2021, Fountain took a position with the Johnston Community School District as the Director of Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.  His impact was immediate, and he was an essential and esteemed part of the Johnston Schools Leadership Team, being the first administrator of color ever within the district.

Currently, Des Moines Public Schools District Community Schools Coordinator, for all Elementary schools, Louis supervises coordinators who serve diligently each day to create programs, food insecurities, resources and materials to break down barriers that stand in the way of our students and families being successful.

Louis Fountain is an esteemed motivational speaker that grips audiences, youth,& adults, around the Des Moines Metro.  He will have you laughing and crying and sure to leave you feeling inspired. 

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