(Los Angeles)—Wednesday, May 24, 2006–Operation HOPE, Inc. announced today that the Bush-Clinton Fund will award $750,000 to HOPE Coalition America for on-going emergency and financial literacy guidance and assistance to aid individuals and families affected by the 2005 hurricanes in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. HOPE will open offices in the Louisiana and Mississippi regions in order to provide financial recovery services.
Operation HOPE Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant said, "After a disaster, financial issues affect more people than personal injury. Hurricane Katrina devastated the lives of millions of people, affecting all income levels, and many at lower income and ownership levels were already in a sort of economic disaster when Katrina struck. Through this outstanding commitment from the Bush-Clinton Fund, Operation HOPE will be in a better position to make a positive impact on the lives of people suffering most from the socio-economic repercussions of this disaster."
Bryant and HOPE Coalition Managing Director Fred Smith were present on May 12th in New Orleans, when former Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton announced 10 new Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund grants for recipients, totaling $9.7 million. That announcement included this innovative and results-oriented grant to Operation HOPE for HOPE Coalition America and Project Restore HOPE. These direct grants focus on health, housing, community and infrastructure, and cover all three states impacted by Hurricane Katrina — Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
HOPE Coalition America, Operation HOPE’s financial disaster preparedness division and FEMA partner, began work in the Southern region in 2004 when four hurricanes blew through Florida, causing tremendous damage and destruction. Using a growing network of HOPE Corp volunteers, HOPE Coalition America brings together financial services professionals to provide free financial and economic counseling to those affected by natural disaster, national emergency or personal tragedy. HOPE Coalition America operates a national call center for individuals affected by disasters, in Poway, Calif., sponsored by First American Corporation, which has assisted more than 10,000 victims with emergency financial counseling and economic triage.
"The ability to place more full-time employees in the disaster-affected cities will enhance our capability to provide our financial recovery and preparation services," said Smith.
Separately, Operation HOPE has been working with the William J. Clinton Foundation since 2002, as a partner in Harlem, N.Y. Together, HOPE and the Clinton Foundation are committed to teaching every child in Harlem financial literacy before they finish 8th grade, in partnership with Citigroup and others. In addition, HOPE is also working as a new partner with the Clinton Global Initiative — through the Banking on Our Future program and partnership with the New York Stock Exchange. In February of this year, HOPE worked with the Clinton Foundation to strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) awareness campaign, specifically focused on helping the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
About The Bush-Clinton Fund
The Bush-Clinton Fund totals some $9.7 million and covers all three states impacted by Hurricane Katrina — Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Since September, the Presidents have raised approximately $115 million, awarded 42 grants, and disbursed more than $53 million through April 30, 2006. The grants include funds to help build new homes; provide mental health and health care services; rebuild water, sewer and gas utilities; build shoreline improvement projects; provide community and child development services; provide financial counseling; and aid in economic recovery.