February_2005_027The Atlanta Dream Team!

Rhonda Mims, president, the ING Foundation….

Andrew "Bo" Young, III, president, Young Solutions, Inc….

Shirley Mitchell, senior vice president, Bank of America…

Laura Sherman, senior vice president, Wachovia Insurance Services, Inc…

Kwanza Hall, member of the Atlanta Board of Education…

Donna Stone Buchanan, president of Junior Achievement, Atlanta…

Bill Cheeks, regional director, $umpstart Coalition… (not pictured)

Brenda Hillman, vice president, community reinvestment, GE Consumer Finance… (not pictured)

These are the members of the newly minted Southeastern Regional Board, and the Operation HOPE "Dream Team" for our movement work in and around Atlanta, Georgia!

In life, sometimes the starts just line up! About a year ago I got a call from Andrew "Bo" Young, III (yes, THAT Young family!) and Kwanza Hall, a member of the Atlanta Board of Education and an up and coming leader for Atlanta, Georgia (his father was also a civil rights hero), inquiring as to whether we had an operation in Atlanta, Georgia, and if not, WHY NOT!!

Oxendine_atlantabreakfast_02_1Around the same time, oddly enough, thanks to the leadership of one Georgia Insurance, Fire and Safety Commissioner John Oxendine, and financial and early volunteer support from Rhonda Mims, Mellanie Lassiter, CRA officer, and others from the ING family, and even friends and Atlanta business legends such as my wife’s Godfather Jesse Hill, Jr. (he and Ambassador Young have parallel boulevard named after them in downtown Atlanta! Now how very cool is THAT?), Jesse_hill_and_sheila_her_mentor_3we were in fact planning a move into Atlanta — teaching financial literacy to youth through Operation HOPE’s award winning Banking on Our Future program.

Well, today Banking on Our Future, Atlanta, Georgia is up and operational, run by the ever capable Monique Youssef! And it’s all thanks to Commissioner Oxendine (California Commissioner John Garamendi too, because that is how I ever met Oxendine!!) and the Atlanta Dream Team!

Thank you ING for your $250,000, two year grant commitment, along with donated office space, volunteer support, …and a lot of ING passion!

Thank you Laura Sherman for your incredible leadership in rounding up our first volunteer professional HOPE Corps members in Atlanta, starting with the ever committed YOU! …And for being our board co-chair too!

Thank you Shirley Mitchell and Bank of America for your most recent commitment of a $50,000 grant towards our work in Atlanta, …and your leadership service on our board!

And last but certainly not least, …a very special "thank you" to my friend and partner in empowerment, Bo Young. You are so much more than "your father’s son…," although we both have to admit, THAT ain’t so bad either! What a man… More on him later.

Bo — you have been the most steadfast, focused and consistent of everyone in Atlanta, and I personally thank you for it friend. Your vision, your passion for the "silver rights movement," for impacting our youth and MAKING A DIFFERENCE, and your keen counsel to me and for Operation HOPE — has proven an invaluable "value add" to the process there in Atlanta.

Onward, with HOPE

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