As the founder of Operation HOPE, and the Silver Rights Movement inspired by and through the on-the-ground work of Operation HOPE – in countless underserved communities across the country – I could not be more proud to have had Operation HOPE selected by the NFL.
The NFL (National Football League) selected Operation HOPE for a national Inspire Change initiative grant award to support our growing national body of work.
The NFL, on behalf of both players and team owners, is rightly so focused on social justice issues that continue to impact the underserved communities where most of the players grew up — and their family members may still live.
I and we believe at Operation HOPE that underneath a wide range of troubling social justice issues, is the core issue of economic equality. The data and findings from the HOPE Research and Impact Institute continue to paint a picture:
- 700 credit score communities, of all races and social strata — are stabilized, have low crime rates, and have sustained levels of aspiration and wealth creation. No problems with jobs and opportunity, or residents feeling properly ‘policed’ and safe.
- 500 credit score communities, be their black and brown and urban, or poor, white and rural, tend to exist right alongside consistent concentrations of high crime, high homicide rates, high school drop out rates at an unsustainable level, low levels of higher education attainment, low levels of entrepreneurship and small business start ups — and residents who feel more preyed upon than policed. These same communities also tend to be job deserts, and low levels of sustained hope.
The on-the-ground work of Operation HOPE, with our HOPE Inside adult locations serving communities and families and aspirants in 24 states, and our HOPE Inside for Kids programming engaged in as many as 4,000 schools nationwide — is leaning in and making a difference here. Our HOPE Inside locations are moving credit scores as much as 120 points over 24 months, and ‘nothing changes your life more than God or love, than moving your credit score 120 points.’
Tackling social injustice in our communities is a complicated agenda, and it must be attacked from multiple directions, holistically, but ‘teaching young men and women to fish, and making sure that they have fishing poles’ must be part of this critical agenda.
One of the clear ‘ways out’ of our systematic injustices in the nation — is economic equality; access to capital, education and opportunity.
We will tackle all three of these critical pieces of the puzzle in the work now being supported nationwide by the NFL.
John Hope Bryant, Founder