Details will follow in a more formal announcement, from Wells Fargo and from Operation HOPE respectively, but I am pleased to announce what I can, at this stage.
After a 20 year plus relationship working together in underserved communities across this country, Operation HOPE was recently approved to become one of Wells Fargo’s Prestigious National Partners — and we could not be more proud or pleased by this.
This is the result of a great deal of hard work on the part of HOPE Team Members and HOPE Leaders, and likewise, the confidence and belief of and from too many Wells Fargo leaders and team members to mention here.
Here is what I can say at present; Wells Fargo will continue to serve as our Signature Sponsor for the HOPE Global Forum Annual Meeting, to be held this January 13-15, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia – which is a major financial and human capital commitment. The bank will continue support our proven on-the-ground work in communities from Los Angeles (our founding city) to Atlanta (HOPE Inside @Ebenezer) to Birmingham, Alabama.
Additionally, we will be collaborating to empower youth with entrepreneurship skills and a comprehensive toolbox of urban youth empowerment tools, skills and services, in several additional communities nationwide.
More to come, but a special thank you here to Wells Fargo leaders including Jon Campbell, Executive Vice President for the bank’s Social Responsibility Group, Darryl Harmon, Southwest Regional President and our National Relationship Manager, and his right hand Candy Moore, who is the definition of ‘community engagement’ in Atlanta. Darryl and Candy helped lead the effort to establish HOPE as a National Partner.
Other notable thanks go to John Stumpf, CEO, Tim Sloan, Senior Executive Vice President, regional and group leaders including Mike Heid and Brad Blackwell, Carrie L. Tolstedt, Brenda Wright, John Sotoodeh, David DiCristofaro, Shelley Freeman, Brenda Ross-Dulan, Scott Coble, Tom Swanson, Byron Reed and Jonathan Weedman, amongst so many others.
Thank you as well to now retired Wells Fargo leaders, including former vice chairman and friend Les Biller, former L.A. market president Lynn Pike (now Lynn Carter) and Tim Hanlon, the former president of the bank’s foundation, who served on Operation HOPE’s very first board of directors in 1992, immediately following the Rodney King Riots in 1992, in Los Angeles.
Back then, Operation HOPE was exclusively a ‘Los Angeles’ organization. Today, thanks to investors and believers such as Wells Fargo, we are now a global presence — for the underserved.
Wells Fargo collaborated on the very first iterations of both our Banking on Our Future financial literacy program, and their Hands On Banking financial literacy program; both of which are award winning today, national, and deeply embedded in communities and the bank.
The bank also dug its feet deep in support of both of my last two bestselling books, which highlight the leadership and ground level work of the organization I founded, Operation HOPE. Making sure their top executives had copies and read them, learning more about the communities they banked.
Wells Fargo was one of the very first partners with HOPE in its early years in Los Angeles. Thank you — for believing. I will, never forget this.
Okay, let’s go…
John Hope Bryant