Operation HOPE Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary and 215,000 Youth Educated

LOS ANGELES, CA — (MARKET WIRE) — April 05, 2007 — Operation HOPE (HOPE), a leader in the delivery of financial education for youth and adults, has a story to share about how the financial empowerment of one young man will now lead to the education of two more. The story of a young student from Detroit — who after going through the Banking on Our Future program, decided that instead of using $70 to buy a pair of sneakers, he would buy stock in the company so that he could make money every time his friends bought shoes. This story became the backdrop for HOPE’s Public Service Announcement focused on the importance of financial literacy for youth.

The announcement features the voice of HOPE Global Spokesman, Ambassador Andrew Young and Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant, talking about lessons learned in forward thinking and investing. After hearing HOPE’s PSA numerous times, a XM radio listener wrote to Operation HOPE to share his experience.

"I heard the public service announcement with Ambassador Young and Mr. Bryant until I was sick of it. Then I decided to purchase a few shares of Nike stock. I watched the stock see-saw for a period of time, until the stock which I purchased for about $80 per share, had climbed to over $109 per share." The listener wrote, giving credit for purchasing the stock to Operation HOPE’s financial literacy PSA. "I am putting the stock on dividend reinvestment and dividing the shares between my two sons, 6 and almost 2. One day they should almost have their college paid for."

"Financial education that reaches youth and adults where they are, empowers them to take control of their financial future, equals success," said SVP Global Chief of Financial Literacy, Mary Hagerty. "Operation HOPE celebrates 15 years of empowering youth and adults through financial literacy initiatives and recognizes Financial Literacy Month, celebrating those who have been empowered through our programs."

The Banking on Our Future program has educated over 215,000 youth, ages 9 – 18, on the history of the money and financial services, savings, checking accounts and budgeting, the power of credit and basic investments. The Banking on Our Future program operates in 25 cities, in over 700 schools and community based organizations. More than 6,000 HOPE Corps volunteers are utilized to deliver the Banking on Our Future curriculum.

The Banking on Our Future program expansion continues this year with improvements intended to provide more results based training which include: the launch of an online, interactive version; a dignity component will be added to the curriculum; a $25 HOPE Starter Savings Account for program graduates; a long-term assessment of the program curriculum designed to guage the patterns of changed behavior of those completing the program; and an entrepreneurship curriculum will launch along with Banking on Our Future curriculum in Johannesburg, Wellington and Capetown, South Africa in June.

As a winner of Oprah’s Angel Network Award and the U.S. Treasury Department’s John Sherman Award for Financial Literacy Excellence, Banking on Our Future is the premier financial education program for youth in underserved communities. It is designed to orient school-aged children on financial responsibility, self-sufficiency and dignity.

Support from HOPE national partners including Bank of America, Citigroup, GE Consumer Finance, E*TRADE BANK, First American Corporation, H&R Block, ING, JP Morgan Chase, National Credit Union Administration, NYSE, Premiere Radio Networks, State Farm Insurance, Toyota, TransUnion, USbank, and FDIC has greatly contributed to the Banking on Our Future program success.

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Operation HOPE, Inc. is a non-profit organization, which was founded in 1992 to empower minorities in underserved US communities by connecting them to mainstream, private-sector economic resources made available through ongoing collaborations and long-term partnerships with leading government, private sector, and community interests. HOPE and its programs can be found online at www.operationhope.org.

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