HOPE Express Opens at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta
Momentum continues to build in Southeastern Region around flagship HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center at the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Facility
ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a press conference co-hosted by historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and financial literacy empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE (HOPE), the two organizations announced the opening of a HOPE Express Office on location at Ebenezer, offering empowerment services to the local community immediately. (Atlanta HOPE program results can be found here.)
“Working with the Founding Partners of the HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center, Ebenezer has truly been a gathering of like minds focused on accomplishing a common goal”
The event brought together leaders from the greater-Atlanta area as well as top-level representatives from the banking community, government and local clergy. Speakers at the event included Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant; HOPE Global Spokesperson Ambassador Andrew Young; Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock; Daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Be A King Enterprises, LLC Founder Dr. Bernice A. King; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Atlanta District 2 City Councilman Kwanza Hall; and Financial Services Roundtable President and CEO Steve Bartlett. Fulton County Board Commissioners Chairman John Eaves was on hand to present HOPE with a proclamation recognizing HOPE’s work around financial literacy, and City Council President Ceasar Mitchell also gave remarks.
“As America’s Freedom Church, the Ebenezer community recognizes financial literacy and access as the fourth symphony of the freedom movement,” says Rev. Warnock. “John Hope Bryant’s notion that the post civil rights movement must advance from civil rights to silver rights is an idea that no freedom loving people can deny. For this reason, we are pleased to join with Operation HOPE as they seek to provide financial assistance to individuals and families through the new HOPE Express Atlanta, which will be located on the grounds of Ebenezer Baptist Church.”
The announcement comes as HOPE celebrates April as National Financial Literacy Month and as construction continues for the HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center, Ebenezer to be housed at the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Center in the heart of Atlanta.
“Working with the Founding Partners of the HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center, Ebenezer has truly been a gathering of like minds focused on accomplishing a common goal,” said Bryant, who currently serves the Obama Administration on the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. Ambassador Young continued, “By positioning financial literacy into the forefront of our national discussion through this effort, we are finally starting to integrate all underserved people into the free market economy so that they too can realize the American Dream.”
During Phase I of the project, HOPE solidified its presence in the Atlanta community and made its vision for the HOPE Center Ebenezer (HCE) a reality with a shovel ceremony hosted on April 7, 2010. The HCE project continues to receive support from the greater-Atlanta community with support coming from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, The King Center President and Chief Executive Officer Martin Luther King, III; and honorary partners President and CEO of Capitol City Bank George Andrews, and President and CEO of Citizens Trust Bank James Young. Founding partners include Ebenezer Baptist Church, SunTrust Bank, LPL Financial, State Farm Insurance, Wells Fargo, The Financial Services Roundtable, MasterCard, Coca Cola and the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA).
“This partnership between Ebenezer Baptist Church, Operation HOPE and the Roundtable will empower generations far into the future,” said Steve Bartlett, president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable. “The HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center will indeed be a beacon of HOPE, a city on the hill for millions of Americans.”
Since then HOPE hosted a Forum in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, opened the regional corporate office serving seven counties in the greater Atlanta-area and launched the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline and the HOPE Consumer Credit Crisis Hotline in the region. Through the expansion of services in the southeast, HOPE currently serves the market with six full-time employees.
“Improving our communities in a tangible way is not always easy,” noted Mayor Reed. “But providing people with the resources and the knowledge to take control of their lives will positively affect our city for decades to come.”
Moving forward with the HCE, the inaugural meeting of the HCE Advisory Board made up of HCE Founding Partners has taken place and construction has begun with H. J. Russel and Co. hired on as the construction management firm.
In the next few months, the HCE project will be featured as “best practices” at the HOPE Forum hosted at the New York Stock Exchange in July and it will be a focus during the public unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Sr. Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. this coming August.
“My father’s work on the Poor People’s Campaign was left unfinished,” noted Dr. King, who was just appointed to the HOPE Southeastern Board “He saw this work to help provide underserved individuals to a path towards economic parity as the second step in the civil rights movement and we are all here today to continue that work.”
The flagship HOPE Financial Literacy Center, Ebenezer expects to be fully built and functional by early 2012. In addition, HOPE is planning their 20th Anniversary Celebrations in Atlanta with a HOPE Global Financial Literacy Summit planned for next year.
“The HOPE Express office is a great response by a national nonprofit and a pioneering church to bring financial empowerment services directly to the communities that need them,” stated Atlanta District 2 City Councilman Kwanza Hall. “The closer and more convenient the services, the faster we can change the paradigm.”
In the Atlanta area, HOPE has educated a total of 26, 405 youth in financial literacy. During Phase I, HOPE has counsel
ed 732 adults and assisted in helping 114 families receive approval for mortgage modifications totaling over $9.5 million in Georgia and recruited 1500 HOPE Corps volunteers.