My 2019 Birthday Present #1: HOPE Inside locations hit 1,000 Cities Served Mark.
On the occasion of my 53rd birthday, I am thrilled to report that the organization I founded almost 27 years ago, Operation HOPE, has now surpassed 1,000 cities directly served by our growing HOPE Inside Network!
Operation HOPE and the HOPE Inside Network has served clients in 2,467 cities and 46 states - or just shy of serving clients in every state in the nation.
Not bad for a movement that began humbly through a chance conversation with Rev. Cecil 'Chip' Murray at First AME Church, and a quickly organized Operation HOPE Bankers Bus Tour through South Central Los Angeles, following the Rodney Kind Riots of 1992.
We now have more than 130 HOPE Inside location operational, with 15 additional planned for grand openings across the country soon. Our HOPE Inside network is now active in 24 states throughout the United States, and growing.
Inspired by Abraham Lincoln's Freedman's Bank, chartered March 3rd, 1865, to 'teach freed slaves about money,' and later Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'Poor People's Campaign,' which was aided by my mentor and HOPE Global Spokesman Ambassador Andrew Young, today Operation HOPE and our HOPE Inside network has a goal of securing commitments of 1,000 HOPE Inside locations by December 31, 2019.
In January, 2016, Operation HOPE and I were successful in securing a first ever name change of the then U.S. Treasury Annex Building (across the street from the White House) into the Freedman's Bank Building, in honor of Lincoln and the striving of the former slaves that placed every dime they had in the Freedman's Bank. We used this accomplishment as a marker for our on-the-ground work to come.
Operation HOPE will become the private banker to the Invisible Class, and HOPE Inside will become 'the Starbucks of financial inclusion.' Operation HOPE will become the conscious of the banking sector, and a moral compass within the free enterprise system.
I have another 50 years of energy left within me, so know this -- the best is yet to come.
Stay tuned for THE BEST.
John Hope Bryant