Nov05_241When Operation HOPE moved out nationally in 1998 with our vision, mission and work, New York City was the first place we decided to make our own. I was of course told that I and we would not be "welcome" in New York City, etc. Those critics could not have been more incorrect.

Upon arriving in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and the birthplace of my sweetie, Mrs. Sheila Kennedy Bryant, Operation HOPE and I were immediately embraced by Elizabeth Rodriguez of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and what was then Bankers Trust, nor Deutsche Bank, our first partner and sponsor in the city — and the location to this day of our main office in New York City.

Nov05_243 As we grew and expanded in the city many others came on board to support the HOPE vision, inclusive of Michael P. Smith, president of New York Bankers Association and a dear friend, along with his colleague Roberta Kotkin, Esq of NYBA, who really had a lot to do with HOPE Coalition America finally coming into existence. And of course the great Mary Hagerty, our chief of financial literacy nationwide, who moved back to her home city of New York, and Jennifer Riveiro, our incredible Banking on Our Future coordinator in the Big Apple, who single handedly has helped to educate more than 16,000 young people in the city in financial literacy education; aided by more than 200 professional HOPE Corps volunteers.  And last but not least, our incredible regional board there in new York City — many shown in this photo here; Robyn Brady Ince, Mary Hagerty, Prince Cedza Dlamini (guest to this board meeting and Nelson Mandela’s grandson), Deborah Wright, president and CEO of Carver Federal Savings Bank, the largest black bank in the nation, Andrew "Bo" Young, III (CEO of Young Solutions, co-chair of our regional board out of Atlanta, Georgia, and son of legendary Ambassador Andrew Young), Edward Kramer, deputy superintendent of banking for the New York State Banking Department and a dear and committed friend of HOPE, and of course Elizabeth Rodriguez. Also, in the second picture is my dear friend and board member City of New York Commissioner of Youth and Community Development Jeanne Mullgrav. All friends of HOPE. All helping us to make a difference in the world.

We appreciate you. I…appreciate you.

Onward, with HOPE

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