Today was a truly historic day in the work of Operation HOPE, with Operation HOPE partner SunTrust Banks announcing a new commitment to open 200 HOPE Inside locations throughout its branch banking footprint by year 2020.  And the rollout begins right now, with the first group of locations opening before the end of 2016.  SunTrust presently operates 7 HOPE Inside locations and has experienced impressive results with each.

HOPE Inside is part of a larger vision and work product within Operation HOPE, which we call Project 5117.  Within Project 5117, we have committed to open and operate 1,000 HOPE Inside locations by year 2020, with a goal of ‘finishing what President Abraham Lincoln first legislated with his Freedman’s Bank of March 3rd, 1865,’ immediately following the American civil war.

The Freedman’s Bank mission was simply to ‘teach freed slaves about money,’ or what we might call modern day financial literacy.

President Lincoln thought that the most important thing he could do following the civil war was to teach freed slaves about money, the free enterprise system, capitalism, and how the entire system worked.  To give former slaves the mechanismm to invest back in their own industry and self-determination.

Unfortunately, President Lincoln was assassinated on month later, in April, 1865, and he never got the chance to see his vision made real.

100 or so years later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set out to achieve the third element of the civil rights movement, which was poverty eradication in America, and he called it his “Poor People’s Campaign.”  Unfortunately, Dr. King was also killed, in April of 1968, before even his first formal march of the Poor People’s Campaign.

I outlined this entire vision in my last bestselling book, “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Revuilding the Path to the Middle Class. The Solution for the 100%,” and now I am working to make this work real in people’s lives.

My point here is simple and clear — there are entire large groups of people in America, and by extension the world over, that never got what I call The Memo in life.

There is a ‘memo’ on free enterprise and capitalism.

There is a ‘memo’ on job creation and money and self-determination.

I am committed to delivering this ‘memo’ to and for a generation.  Enter the SunTrust-Operation HOPE partnership:

JHB and Brad Dinsmore

While all of our partnerships are important, the partnership with SunTrust — the 10th largest bank in the nation — is indeed ‘signature.’

And while detailed in the press release below and the Facebook Live Video above with Brad Dinsmore, the head of branch banking for SunTrust Banks, the larger context is that SunTrust Banks was the first bank to take a risk on the HOPE Inside model with Operation HOPE in early 2014.  It is thus appropriate, that we signal the next level of our execution and success on the ground, in an expanded partnership with SunTrust and its OnUp.com movement.  Here is the full press statement:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/suntrust-bank-expands-partnership-with-operation-hope-300354739.html

A special thank you to SunTrust Chairman & CEO Bill Rogers, former CEO Jim Wells, Brad Dinsmore, the head of branch banking, Debbie Crowder in branch banking and our SE Board Chair, Susan Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer and so many others there within the SunTrust family.

Who ever said that banking and bankers could not have a moral calling, and that civil society could not have a positive and substantive impact on the business model for some of our largest business enterprises?

You can do well and do good, and do well by going good too. This new partnership, is but one example.  SunTrust is a new sort of role model for corporate America.

It is time for a change — let’s go…

John Hope Bryant

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