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 Here is a quick fact-based update on what's going on in the world of Operation HOPE, America's first non-profit social investment banking organization and a global non-profit financial services holding company.  Thanks to our own Mary Hagerty for preparing this summary.

The mission of Operation HOPE (HOPE) is to expand economic opportunity in underserved communities through financial education and economic empowerment programs. HOPE improves the economic quality of life for individuals, families and communities through programs that create and sustain stakeholders. These services convert check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into home owners, small business dreamers into small business owners and minimum wage workers into living wage workers. Through our major portfolios, HOPE has served over one million low-wealth individuals globally.
·        Banking on Our Future (BOOF) is HOPE’s award-winning financial literacy program designed to empower youth ages 8-18 to envision and grasp the skills needed to make sound financial decisions and take charge of their financial future. BOOF is taught by trained HOPE Corps volunteers who guide the students as they learn about living a life of dignity, as well as the basics of banks, checking and savings accounts, credit and investments. Since its inception in 1996, BOOF has educated 511,163 students with over 12,500 volunteers.  Other initiatives in this portfolio includes Banking on Our Future, College Edition, 5 MILLION KIDS (5MK), www.bankingonourfuture.org, and the upcoming Banking on Our Future, Celebrity Edition, featuring Quincy Jones and Tyrese amongst others.

·        HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers (HOPE Centers) provide financial education and “one-stop” soft banking services in underserved communities across America. HOPE Centers offer personalized empowerment through credit counseling, home and small business loan services, entrepreneurial training and small business technical assistance, as well as business-oriented computer and internet service through our Cyber Cafes. Since the first HOPE Center opened in 1996, 67,332 adult clients have attended credit and other financial literacy workshops and 8,779 loans have been originated.

·        HOPE Coalition America (HCA) focuses on financial emergency preparedness and recovery. In advance of natural or un-natural disasters, HCA offers seminars and preparedness kits. After a disaster, HCA provides one-on-one assistance by staff and local volunteers to those directly impacted by emergencies. HCA’s signature program is the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency staffed by HUD-certified foreclosure prevention counselors that provides foreclosure intervention services to borrowers nationwide through a toll-free hotline. Since its inception, the Hotline has served over 100,000 individuals and delayed or prevented foreclosure on more than $300 million in mortgage loans.

·        HOPE South Africa represents the initial effort of HOPE Global Initiatives to take HOPE’s economic empowerment efforts for underserved populations to countries around the world. The primary program of HOPE South Africa is Banking on Our Future (BOOF SA), which delivers financial literacy education while developing communication, educational and life skills that help women and children envision their financial future. BOOF SA is delivered using age-appropriate curriculum through schools, churches and non-governmental organizations in seven South African provinces. Since HOPE South Africa began in 2007, BOOF SA has reached over 18,000 youth, women and men.

·        HOPE Haiti, established on September 1, 2010, delivers economic triage, financial life management skills and long-term sustainable economic enhancement services to Haitians in the United States and Haiti recovering from the 2010 earthquake.  Services include youth and adult financial literacy, effective self-employment skills, training to meet the requirements of identified jobs, employment referrals, small business ownership and access to microfinance loans.

One of HOPE’s leading collaborative relationships is with the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), a leading forum for financial industry leaders. HOPE’s five-year framework partnership agreement with FSR emphasizes progress toward achieving universal financial literacy in the United States and across the globe, a joint commitment to responsible financial products and services to deliver fairness to consumers and ensuring employees of Roundtable members are available to teach financial literacy in classrooms. HOPE and FSR will import financial literacy tools and services (including Internet-based products) to consumers facing credit and other financial problems and support federal and state legislation to establish mandatory financial literacy curricula at K-12 and college levels as well as encourage colleges and universities to develop programs.

This is not a comprehensive review of all HOPE major programs, partnerships and initiatives.

About the founder —

John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Operation HOPE, the bestselling author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents and an innovator in the business of empowerment. Raised in Compton and South Central Los Angeles, California and homeless for 6 months of his life by age 18, Mr. Bryant travels the world tirelessly promoting opportunities for providing hope, dignity and financial literacy for the underserved. Mr. Bryant has received more than 400 awards and citations for his work to empower low-wealth communities, including the Use Your Life Award by Oprah Winfrey. Mr. Bryant served as vice-chairman of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy under Presidents Bush until 2010 and was recently appointed to the U.S. President’s Council on Financial Capability under President Obama.

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