On January 11th, 2019, the NFL announced a new initiative on social justice and racial equality through its Inspire Change program. The focus of Inspire Change is in three priority areas: education and economic advancement, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform. Operation HOPE will use grant funds in support of its nationwide work within underserved communities to equip young people and adults with the financial tools and education to secure a better future.
1. Atlanta-based financial empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE has been selected by the NFL as a recipient of one of four social justice grants for the following reasons:
· At the root of social injustice is economic inequality.
· Operation HOPE addresses this through its HOPE Inside programming model that is structured around financial education and coaching. The HOPE Inside model is operational through a national network of 120 locations in 23 states.
· In 26 years, HOPE has empowered 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion into disenfranchised communities.
2. HOPE is breaking cycles of poverty through financial literacy education, homeownership, and job creation.
· Conversely HOPE is uplifting communities through financial counseling in the following areas: Small Business Development; Credit and Money Management; and Homeownership Preparedness.
· Since inception, HOPE has stimulated the communities it serves by supporting its clients in the creation of over 1,400 small business, and assisting homebuyers in acquiring over $1.4 billion in mortgages.
· In 2018, HOPE successfully improved client lives by improving their financial wellbeing. Specifically, HOPE clients saw on average a 35-point improvement to their FICO scores in 5.4 months—an increase that surpasses other financial counseling organizations.
· HOPE’s clients are also better prepared in the case of a financial emergency or disaster and experience reduced financial stress after participating in HOPE’s programs.
· With youth, HOPE is cultivating entrepreneurial aspirations, providing youth with business mentors, and teaching them the basics of finance so that they are better equipped to lead a life of financial self-sufficiency, independence, and dignity. Programs are implemented through 4,000 school and youth association partnerships nationally.
3. HOPE Inside
· HOPE Inside had its genesis in bank branches, but widespread market adoption continues to bring sponsored offices to government facilities, credit unions, school districts, grocery stores, hospitals, churches, college campuses, and other community locations. Every HOPE Inside location holds consumer credit counseling certifications, and CFPB, FDIC, U.S. SBA, HUD, EITC, and FEMA applications and partnerships. Through the HOPE 700 Credit Score Communities initiative, the focus on raising client FICO scores to 700 is at the foundation of all HOPE Inside programming.
· HOPE Inside programming and services are accessible to participants at no cost due to the support of financial partners. HOPE partners include many Atlanta-based brands and organizations: SunTrust Banks, Coca Cola, Atlanta Public Schools, UPS, Delta Air Lines, and Wells Fargo.