Banking on Our Future Program expands youth empowerment through financial literacy abroad

LOS ANGELES – April 19, 2007– Financial literacy and empowerment leader Operation HOPE (HOPE) today announced its first global partnership–a coalition between Operation HOPE Global Initiatives (HGI), Citigroup (Citi), Operation HOPE’s first true global partner, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Volunteers for Prosperity (VfP) at USAID. As a result, HOPE’s Banking on Our Future program will expand its services to youth in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Wellington, South Africa – introducing for the first time a course in dignity, and entrepreneurship. The six-year, $1 million investment by Operation HOPE and its partners will go towards empowering 50,000 youth, and women, in financial literacy and to recruit and train a minimum of 250 South African financial professionals as HOPE Corps volunteers by 2012. Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman CEO John Hope Bryant, along with HOPE Global Spokesman Ambassador Andrew Young will travel with a delegation of investors and supporters to publicly launch Banking on Our Future, South Africa in June.

"Our venture into South Africa is our first step towards delivering Silver Rights globally. With the su! pport from global leaders and South African corporations alike, govern ment and education leaders, and community-based organizations, Operation HOPE aims to educate the first 1,000 youth as well as recruit 80 volunteers for HOPE Corps, our program delivery arm, during the first year," said Bryant.  "Thanks to the leadership of South Africa’s Western Cape Minister of Education Cameron Dugmore and South Africa’s Gauteng Province Minister of Education Angelina Motshekga, schools in South African will be the first that I know of in the world to offer a course in dignity, a new approach, and language, around poverty eradication and empowerment which I and others involved with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and Global Dignity have actively encouraged around the world. Dignity itself is a form of personal wealth, and it is inspiring to see this vision made real in the lives of young people in South Africa." Finally Bryant remarked, "likewise, we will be introducin! g a course in entrepreneurship in South Africa, because in areas where there are not enough jobs to go around, no matter how smart you are, you have to become your own job creator. Entrepreneurship is a way out for many of the youth of South Africa, as it was the way out for me in South Central Los Angeles."

Banking on Our Future, South Africa stems from Operation HOPE’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiatives, ands its agenda around promoting the eradication of poverty. Through the Banking on Our Future program, HGI aims to promote financial literacy, self-sufficiency and global dignity as a way out of poverty.

Bryant, who traveled to South Africa earlier this year to address students and faculty at Hugenote, Bolland College and CIDA University, all new partners in Banking on Our Future, South Africa, and to set impleme! ntation plans for the program, has also received support from Clinton Global Initiative, the Andrew Young Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the FW de Klerk Foundation, USAID Volunteers for Prosperity, South Africa Members of the Forum of Young Global Leaders including Taddy Blecher, Chief Executive Officer of CIDA University, as well as the Ministers of Education of the Western Cape and the Gauteng Province among others. Additional major commitments to Banking on Our Future, South Africa will be made in weeks to come.

Banking on Our Future’s expansion into South Africa is in concert with HOPE’s mission to bring economic self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to underserved communities. HOPE’s Banking on Our Future program is the winner of Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network ‘Use Your Life Award’ and the U.S. Treasury Department’s John Sherman Award for Financial Literacy Excel! lence.  HOPE Corps volunteers have educated more than 215,000 youth from ages 9 to 18 during the past ten years.


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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