Banking on Our Future” Reaches James Monroe High School

(Los Angeles) –Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE), Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation continued their “Banking on Our Future” financial education awareness tour focusing on the importance of understanding personal finance and practicing wise money management by hosting an interactive seminar at James Monroe High School on Friday, August 5th.

According to a recent study commissioned by HOPE, and administered by Dr. Lewis Mandell and the Jump$tart Coalition, “The State of Financial Literacy Amongst Young African-American Adults in America,” many university administrators believe that credit card debt leads to a higher drop out rate than academic failure.

OHI’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Bryant educated students on the sensible use of credit and credit cards and about HOPE’s growing Silver Rights Movement to promote financial literacy and empowerment. “Operation HOPE would like to thank Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation for helping us make this “Banking on Our Future” event happen,” Bryant said. “We live in a nation where nearly one-third of high school seniors have credit cards, even more have debit cards, and an average of 1.5 million families file for personal bankruptcy each year. The need for personal financial literacy rings loud and clear.”

“We are pleased to support Operation HOPE and the expansion of a program that empowers so many young people in underserved communities to become more knowledgeable about personal finance,” said Lisa Barrett, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, Citibank West, on behalf of the Citigroup Foundation. “You are never too young to start your financial education and through this program, young people will learn how to build their financial lives. By providing quality financial education programs today, we believe we can help build stronger communities tomorrow.”

In February, Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation announced a $500,000 grant to expand the “Banking on Our Future” program to reach 10,000 students in seven cities, including Washington, DC, Baltimore, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, CA; and Atlanta. In addition, Citigroup employees volunteer as HOPE Corps banker-teachers to educate students about the basics of earning income, budgeting, saving and investing. Since its inception, “Banking on Our Future” has served over 155,000 youths nationwide.

Recently, Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation announced a 10-year, $200 million global financial education commitment, the formation of a new Office of Financial Education and a global initiative designed to encourage its 300,000 employees around the world to devote time to support financial education and other charitable causes. Under the new initiative, employees may take a day off from work to volunteer for non-profit organizations in their communities.

“Banking on Our Future” is part of Operation HOPE’s Silver Rights Movement to eradicate poverty by empowering the underserved. The Silver Rights Movement is aimed to continue and build upon the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the famed Civil Rights movement, by educating minorities, low-income families and youth on financial empowerment.” Bryant continued, “Ambassador Andrew Young the right arm to the late Dr. King and national spokesman for HOPE and the Silver Rights Movement, recently told me that he, King and others succeeded in integrating the lunch counter, the public building and even the school house, but never the dollar. This is the work that Dr. King would be doing if he were alive today.”

In addition to Bryant’s inspirational address, James Monroe school principle, Lynda Schwarz, provided welcoming remarks.

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