Yd2h9394_2Delegation’s Participation in HOPE’s 15th Anniversary Celebration Expected to Promote Silver Rights in South Africa

LOS ANGELES, CA — (MARKET WIRE) — May 11, 2007 — Provincial Western Cape Minister of Education for South Africa, Cameron Dugmore, visited Operation HOPE’s worldwide headquarters and HOPE Centers in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to celebrate the organization’s 15th anniversary and examine ways to expand HOPE’s programs and services to the Cape.

"We were proud to host MEC Dugmore and his delegation and look forward to offering HOPE financial literacy programs when we open our first Banking on Our Future office in South Africa in June," said HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant.

During MEC Dugmore’s Los Angeles visit he participated in HOPE’s signature Bankers Bus Tour on April 23, commemorating 15 years of HOPE, and was hosted at the organization’s world headquarters for a dialog with local businesses and educational leaders. The roundtable was attended by Shannon Lawrence, Department of Education, City of Los Angeles; Frank Kwan, Director of Communications, Los Angeles County Office of Education; Rod McGrew, President and CEO, Love & Happiness Productions, a prominent entertainment executive; and senior officers of HOPE. The group touched on some of the common issues and challenges in educating a diverse population.

On the east coast, the group was treated to a VIP HOPE Center tour that included the busy Washington, D.C. HOPE Center. MEC Dugmore and his delegation admitted that they were impressed by the center’s attractiveness and the staff’s professionalism. The delegation was introduced to Center constituents enrolled in financial literacy programs. Clients who were currently taking workforce development and credit management programs provided living testimonials about home ownership and empowerment programs.

"I’m committed to bringing one to Cape Town, that is my priority and focus," Minister Dugmore said after visiting the Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles HOPE Centers, expressing his desire to introduce a fully operational HOPE Center to South Africa.

The South African delegates accompanying MEC Dugmore to the U.S. were Danita Welgemoed, deputy chief education specialist, and Gert Witbooi, media liaison officer.

Operation HOPE is already scheduled to launch a Banking on Our Future office to focus on youth financial literacy, dignity and entrepreneurship in the South Africa townships of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Wellington this June.

If you are involved in or have an interest in addressing any of the challenges identified in this article, please contact Bill Walbrecher at bill.walbrecher@operationhope.org.

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) is America’s first nonprofit social investment bank and a global provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs. Since 1992, HOPE has worked to bring self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to inner-city communities through ongoing collaborations and longterm partnerships with leading government, private sector, and community interests. At the core of HOPE’s mission to eradicate poverty and empower the wealthless is a movement to establish "Silver Rights" or the right to financial literacy, access to capital, and equality of opportunity for the underserved. To date, HOPE has educated over 215,000 youth in financial literacy, created more than 800 new homeowners and small business owners, generated more than $400 million in commitments for homeownership and small business loans from their 300 bank and corporate partners. Operation HOPE provides the most comprehensive range of financial literacy programs available under one roof, making it a global leader in economic empowerment.

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