Financial literacy becomes latest innovative "capital plan" designed to maximize the potential of HBCUs

LOS ANGELES, CA – June 17, 2008 – Leading national financial literacy nonprofit, Operation HOPE (HOPE), announced today a new initiative with the White House Initiative (WHI) on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to infuse a baseline knowledge of financial literacy, or what HOPE calls "the language of money" and silver rights, into the student population on every HBCU campus nationwide.

HOPE’s key charge will be to initiate programming for HOPE’s new Banking on Our Future, College Edition for the student populations, and alternatively to provide Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) outreach for college and university adult administrative staff making $40,000 or less per year. HOPE Founder and CEO, John Hope Bryant, who also serves as Vice Chairman for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council for Financial Literacy, was instrumental in developing and initiating the program framework. "The number one reason that black and brown young adults drop out of college is not academics; it’s money.  Having our hard working young people drop out of college over money is unacceptable, particularly in an era when education is the best way out of poverty, and the principle pathway into individual, family and even collective community prosperity in the 21st century," Bryant said.

As an increasingly sought after speaker, Bryant will headline a signature forum during "HBCU Week" in Washington, D.C. later this year where the partnership will be advanced. Bryant continued, "the important contribution of African-Americans throughout America’s history is undeniable. Through this partnership HOPE looks to help HBCUs advance even further as institutions of change, through "silver rights", our mission to empower underserved communities. Making sure these academic centers remain footholds in the community is critical; and increasingly a financial education is a critical component of a student’s academic education. If you don’t know better, you can’t do better," he noted. 

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12232, which established a federal program "… to overcome the effects of discriminatory treatment and to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education."[1]

In 1981, President Reagan, under Executive Order 12320, established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which expanded the previous program and set into motion a government wide effort to strengthen our nation’s HBCUs.  In 1989, President George Bush signed Executive Order 12677.  This executive order established a Presidential Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to advise the president and the secretary of education on methods, programs, and strategies to strengthen these valued institutions.

In 1993, President William Jefferson Clinton signed Executive Order 12876.  This executive order required that a senior level executive in each agency have oversight in implementing the order, and that the Office of Management and Budget be involved in monitoring implementation of the order.

On Feb. 12, 2002, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13256.  This executive order transferred the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the Office of the Secretary within the U.S. Department of Education.  Previously, the White House Initiative was housed in the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Most recently a White House Initiative of President Bush requested $402.8 million in fiscal year 2008 to strengthen institutions of higher education that serve high proportions of minority and disadvantaged students, which will include HBCUs. Also, by executive order, Bush has proclaimed September 7 – 13, 2008 as National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week. 

There will be some 600 representative leaders from the national HBCU community, federal agencies, corporations, and foundations joining together to participate in discussions exploring issues of particular interest to the Black college community.

"We are very excited about the value of this initiative," said White House Initiative on HBCU Executive Director Dr. Leonard L. Haynes III, "it will help thousands of HBCU students increase their knowledge and awareness of the importance of financial literacy."



About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) is a leading nonprofit social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization. Through several global initiatives and its three principal programs: Banking on Our Future (teaching youth about financial empowerment), HOPE Coalition America (financial emergency preparedness and disaster recovery), and the HOPE Center Banking Network (loans, bill pay, computer literacy, understanding banking principles), HOPE is leading the "silver rights" movement towards making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities. For a complete 2007 board list or other information about the organization, visit us at 

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