May 11, 2006 7:00 AM
RE: “Anacostia’s Operation Hope could be ‘Operation Hype’,” May 2
I would like to thank The Washington Examiner for its interest in the future of Anacostia. It is an area that has been overlooked and underserved for far too long. However, the column by Harry Jaffe largely ignored both Anacostia and the results that Operation HOPE is achieving for the people who live there and in low-wealth communities around the country.
Since its founding in 1992, our organization has helped hundreds of thousands of people break the cycle of poverty by providing them with financial empowerment tools and services. Our HOPE centers teach people the skills to set and manage their personal budgets, plan for emergencies, start their own businesses, own their own homes and much more — while offering loans and grants to help them on their way.
More importantly, however, they are breaking the mindset of poverty. While being broke is a temporary problem that can be solved with a paycheck, being poor is a depressed condition of the spirit. We are revealing to low-wealth individuals not only that are they not poor, but that they possess the strength and determination to shape their own destinies.
Operation HOPE has been in Anacostia for just a little over a year, but thousands of residents have already taken advantage of our services and are on their way to brighter futures. More then 3,000 people have used our computers through our digital empowerment program; more than 1,200 people come to us for financial education; and more than 6,500 area children have completed our Banking on Our Future Program. We are also working with other local leaders and organizations to design better community strategies to revive the area.
This is the real story of Operation HOPE in Anacostia. Unfortunately, Mr. Jaffe chose to focus his piece on me personally. In so doing, he also falsely quoted me to the effect that I would consider taking a White House post. I never said this, and I hope the editors of The Examiner will make the appropriate corrections.
I was disappointed when I saw the article because I wanted to read about thousands of people in D.C. and across the country who are seeking our help to build wealth and pull themselves and their communities up out of poverty. That’s a real American story, and it sure beats any story about me.
Founder, chairman & CEO, Operation HOPE