Dr. Wilson is the executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, where we have a long-term agreement to reach, teach and to empower college students with financial literacy empowerment (the number one reason that black and brown kids drop out of college is not academics, but money).
Presently Operation HOPE's Banking on Our Future, College Edition, supported by the ING Foundation and Charles Schwab Foundation amongst others, is operating on the ground in 16 HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and community colleges nationwide, including our founding HBCU partner, Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Under the direction of Spelman College college president Dr. Beverly Tatum, and Dr. Jane Smith, head of the Spelman College Leadership Institute, were able to pilot and develop a very special initiative with is now spreading to other leading HBCUs and colleges. One of the innovations that came out of discussions with Spelman leadership and Dr. Wilson was the development of a focus on "giving back" and philanthropy amongst the student body. Most HBCU's suffer because the majority of their income derives from student tuition rather than endowment, research, investment and other income.
What we need now are graduates of HBCU who have an inspired "culture" of giving back, and so our enhanced model going forward will begin with A Course in Dignity (inner-wealth), continue with a traditional suite of financial literacy empowerment programming, and end of programming around giving, philanthropy,and where appropriate "modeling successful entrepreneurship." The goal should be HBCU's reaching a specific target of alumni who "give back" over the course of our relationship with them. Stay tuned. More to come here.
Operation HOPE and Banking on Our Future, College Edition will soon be announcing an enhanced relationship with Clark Atlanta University, under the leadership of its president Dr. Carlton Brown who has taken on a cutting edge focus around "student success." More to come here.
Lots of work to be done here, and Dr. Wilson and his team are to be commended for pushing hard, thinking outside the box, and having high standards for all of their alliances and partnerships.
Onward with HOPE
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