Key to the Economic Rebirth of the Economy Lies in Underserved and Under-Resourced Communities

OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Operation HOPE (HOPE), America's leading financial literacy and economic empowerment nonprofit, brought together leaders from the community and hundreds of guests to discuss strategies and solutions for the “Rebirth of America and the Effect on Underserved Communities, Post Economic Crisis.” Held on October 19, 2010, the event involved regional and national leaders from government, public- and private-sectors as they discussed economic growth for our inner-cities as one of the keys to economic prosperity as the nation recovers from the economic downturn.

“Our nation is the richest in the world yet 40 million Americans do not have a simple bank account,” said Operation HOPE Founder John Hope Bryant who was just appointed to serve the Obama Administration on the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. “That’s a significant number of people who take part in the underground economy and don’t have the ability to own a home or access a small business loan. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that there was a relationship between civil rights and economic empowerment and empowering our underserved communities will be the key for our economic recovery.”

Forum events included a keynote address from the President and Chief Executive Officer of the King Center, Martin Luther King III, who also serves HOPE as a senior advisor. “Working toward economic equality is a vital right of the 21st Century," said King. "Helping individuals obtain 'silver rights' is the next step for what my father and the entire Civil Rights Movement fought for, equal access to the American Dream.”

Distinguished Mayor Ronald Dellums, who served in Congress from 1971-1998, co-chaired the event and received the Chairman’s HOPE Award for strong leadership, commitment to public service and for his support of the Silver Rights Movement – helping individuals find self-fulfillment and empowerment through financial literacy education in a ceremony the last evening.

“Financial education and asset development are paramount in the implementation of the mayor’s vision of Oakland as the Model City,” said Oakland’s Mayor Dellums. “The opportunity to establish financially sustainable households and communities is integral to the economic vitality of Oakland’s economic engine. Providing the most marginalized in our community the practical skills to help them build assets and sustain their households benefits the entire community.”

Plenary session speakers, regional and national leaders coming from all sectors of business and government, included Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Deputy Director Robert W. Mooney; Bank of the WestChairman and CEO Michael Shepherd; Union Bank Vice Chairman & Chief Retail Banking Officer Tim Wennes; Gallup Inc. CEO Jim Clifton; Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Tony Smith; San Francisco Housing Development Corporation CEO Regina Davis; Union Bank EVP and Group Head of Corporate Social Responsibility Julius Robinson; Bank of the West SEVP National Finance Group Head Paul Wible; Greenlining Institute Executive Director Orson Aguilar; United Way, Bay Area Chief Investment Officer Carole Watson; and Assistant District Director and Lender Relations, Small Business Administration, San Francisco, Lola Robinson and CoreLogic Foundation, Karen Collins. 

As a part of the first-ever HOPE Oakland Financial Literacy Empowerment Forum, Operation HOPE signed four landmark Memorandums of Understanding with theOakland Unified School District, Gallup, the City of Oakland and Union Bank. The agreements centered on providing services and financial literacy and empowerment programs for underserved and under-resourced areas in the Oakland community.

Event Signature Sponsor Bank of the West, California’s first largest bank, was recognized with an award for their longstanding partnership with HOPE, their foundational support and their hosting of the HOPE Center in Oakland.

Diamond Sponsors for the event include HOPE partners Union Bank and Wells Fargo. The organization also acknowledged the City of Oakland, a support to HOPE’s programming since 2000.

Other event sponsors include: the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Bank of America, The Financial Services Roundtable, U.S. Small Business Administration,Gallup, Inc., America’s Promise Alliance, United Way, Bay Area, The Greenlining Institute, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, the Oakland Unified School District, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Canon Business Solutions.

The HOPE Oakland Financial Literacy Empowerment Forum is a part of the HOPE Global Summit and Regional Forum series. In April, HOPE hosted its first forum inAtlanta at the Atlanta Federal Reserve. The first HOPE Global Summit took place inWashington, DC in 2009 and included such notables as Federal Reserve ChairmanBen Bernanke and Senior Advisor to the White House, Valerie Jarrett among others.

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

For over 18 years, Operation HOPE has been America's leading nonprofit social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization. With more than 400 private sector partners, 1500 nonprofit organizations and schools and 100 government partners in 70 major U.S. cities as well as South Africa, HOPE has raised almost $900 million in economic activity for the disenfranchised in its pursuit of educating, assisting and inspiring the next generation of global stakeholders. Through international initiatives and its core programs, Operation HOPE has delivered services to more than 1.2 million low-wealth individuals and has shouldered the responsibility of piloting the Silver Rights Movement towards making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities. To learn more about HOPE, visit or read our blog



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