The turning point in Eleanor Josaitis’ life came in 1963 as she watched a televised report on the violence inflicted on civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama. The horrific scene ignited Josaitis’ passion for justice. She became a civil rights activist – and a few years later co-founded Focus: HOPE in the wake of the 1967 violence that erupted in her own city.
Eleanor Josaitis, who passed away in August 2011, was widely regarded as a leader who fought with courage and tenacity to open opportunities to African Americans, women and others.
“I refuse to be intimidated,” she said frequently. She was determined to make a difference in the community and she continued to work every day until she became ill in the fall of 2010.
Josaitis served as CEO for nine years after Father Cunningham’s passing and received numerous national and local awards and 13 honorary doctorates.