February 28, 2011

Dear friends of HOPE,

My birthday wish was simple; a "world better," because we were here. We simply must leave the world better than the way we found it, or what's the point really? Certainly, Operation HOPE should be adding real and meaningful value in the lives of people, or we should forfeit our right to play on the field of change.

And so, on the occasion of my birthday month (I was born February, 1966), I am honored to share with you a couple very significant benchmarks for the organization I founded 18 plus years ago, Operation HOPE, in the aftermath of the Rodney King civil unrest of 1992 in South Los Angeles.

Within a week of you reading this eLetter, Wikia (created by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia) and Operation HOPE will have announced the global launch of Wikia-Operation HOPE Global Money Initiative (http://globalmoney.wikia.com) as the first global financial literacy curriculum ultimately translated and downloadable for free in 50 world languages. Our first country launch is Wikia-HOPE, Morocco, where in partnership with the Casablanca Stock Exchange we will make our award winning Banking on Our Future financial literacy curriculum available in Arabic and French.  Wikia-HOPE also currently makes available global downloads in English, Spanish and soon German.

Finally, I am so excited to announce that Operation HOPE has inspired and directed approximately $1 billion ($952 million plus to be exact) in direct economic opportunity to inner-city and under-served communities since our founding.  And yes, you read that number correctly.

This $1 billion in direct economic opportunity over the past 18 plus years includes the creation of new homeowners, small business owners and entrepreneurs, approximately $12 million in Earned Income Tax Credits returned to low-wealth working residents, $806,000 in Dollar-For-Dollar Matching Grants, $108 million in founding to date grants to support the on-the-ground teaching of youth and adults financial literacy empowerment (where it cost HOPE and our partners approximately $34 per child to teach them a full suite of financial literacy courses), and $406 million in modified and restructured mortgages tied to the subprime mortgage crisis. Operation HOPE has served more than 1.5 million low-wealth and working class citizens to date.

Now that is a birthday gift come true and worth celebrating. If you know someone that needs our services, please log onto www.operationhope.org <http://www.operationhope.org>  to locate an office or service offering near them. Thanks to support from the public and our partners, while all HOPE services require a personal commitment of time and attention from clients to take their lives back, all services are free of charge. Of course, if you want to join the more than 13,000 HOPE Corps volunteers that make up the HOPE family, please contact our HOPE Corps director Shannon Campbell at shannon.campbell@operationhope.org.

Let's go.  Let's make 2011 our year for "rainbows after storms." You cannot have a rainbow without a storm first.

With HOPE,
John Hope Bryant 


John Hope Bryant is founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, bestselling author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama


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