This week I joined my friend, partner and board member Bryan Jordan, Chairman and CEO of First Horizon, First Tennessee Bank and Capital Bank, for the latest opening of a joint HOPE Inside location together. Our 27th HOPE Inside location together. This location was HOPE Inside, Burlington, NC.

Burlington, NC is about 50 miles from Raleigh, NC, and was founded in the late 1800’s — originally called The Company Shops. It was later renamed Burlington. NC, also in honor of ‘industry.’ This remains the continuing storyline of the city of 50,000 today, just in different ways.

This week, with the help of Capital Bank and First Horizon, Operation HOPE and our HOPE Inside model was able to embed a powerful tool for the community’s continued innovation, revitalization and growth.

Through HOPE Inside, Burlington, NC, powered by Capital Bank, we will serve as a gateway of more than 20 federal government agencies with which we partner, our HOPE Financial Coaches will move clients through the HOPE 700 Credit Score Program, as well as our focus on Homeownership, Small Business, Entrepreneurship and other forms of financial resiliency and economic uplift. In short though, we want to move financially rehabilitated clients back into the bank’s front door, and likewise move the bank (this one and others) from effectively ‘the no business,’ back into ‘the yes business.’ And we do this — when we accomplish this — all boats rise.

Standing with some of our HOPE Financial Coaches tied to First Tennessee Bank and Capital Bank.

We are immensely proud of the groundbreaking work that Operation HOPE, HOPE Inside and our partners — like First Horizon — are doing on the ground, impacting more than 2,000 underserved communities nationwide.

This work is literally changing lives, and in many ways is the unfinished, continuing legacy of Abraham Lincoln’s Freedman’s Bank (which Frederick Douglass later ran), and Dr. King’s dream around The Poor People’s Campaign. And in so doing, we can help return the vitality (and the winning, can do culture) and economic growth and shared prosperity to great American cities such as Memphis, TN, Birmingham, Alabama — and places like Burlington, NC.

In closing, a special thank you though goes to my friend Bryan Jordan. Bryan is not only running a highly successful group of American banks, with performance at the highest levels, he continues to lean in and to express his humanity and his care for community (and his customers and employees) through the work he does through organizations such as Operation HOPE. Bryan is also chiefly responsible for working with me and the City to establish a historic marker at the Memphis International Airport, recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Final Flight.’ And speaking of ‘flights,’ I was surprised (but not shocked) to learn that he flew into Burlington yesterday — just to join me and the team for the ribbon cutting of and for this newest location. Message: he didn’t have to do it. Any of it. He could have left it to others within his leadership. But he did not. He shows up, himself. Consistently.

We need more business leaders like Bryan Jordan. And more communities across the country need their own HOPE Inside.

Raise credit scores in a city or community a mere 100 points, and you are likely to see a fundamental paradigm shift between hopelessness and hope, and a mindset of poverty to a mindset of prosperity (for all).

Let’s go….

John Hope Bryant, founder, Operation HOPE

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