A friendship, that evolved into a partnership — that will ‘do good’ at scale, and soon.  Last week Operation HOPE, Inc. and I were proud to partner together with Twitter and the Opportunity Funding Network to stand up a $100 Million commitment to invest in minority serving financial institutions

This bold and important social justice initiative through a business lens was led by my friend Ned Segal, Chief Financial Officer of Twitter, who saw it through from beginning to end. Little did I know when I visited and spoke at Twitter HQ in San Francisco, back in February, 2019, that it would evolve into something as powerful and helpful as that which was introduced last week. Thank you Twitter.

The new $100 million partnership is co-lead by Twitter and Opportunity Finance Network, and will again, focus on making important investments in financial institutions in underserved communities, most notably CDFI (Community Development Financial Institutions).  Ned Segal is CFO for Twitter, and the brainchild for this sustainable investment in community approach, and my friend Lisa Mensah, CEO of Opportunity Financial Network, will provide the essential leadership here. 

The new partnership details can be found here as well as a brilliant New York Times feature piece on the commitment from last week, but one piece I particularly love about what Ned has done here is he has endeavored to make it 1) holistic, 2) focused on getting capital access and liquidity to the ground where it is needed in underserved communities,  3) a use of any profits coming out of the commitment will be ‘re-invested’ back into community, most notably, initially this will include us standing up five new HOPE Inside locations that will operate inside of minority banks and institutions that need our financial coaching for clients, but cannot afford to underwrite our Operation HOPE programs. More on this below.

The final piece of necessary innovation that I love so much here around Ned’s vision, is what I call ‘the blueprint factor.’   Ned and his treasury team at Twitter have worked hard to create a ‘replicable model’ that other companies, and other treasury departments can easily replicate and copy — and we hope that they do!  Let’s just call it The Twitter Model (for community re-investment). And in this regard Twitter’s $100 Million commitment will seed a new $1 Billion (targeted) Finance Justice Fund, also to be managed by OFN.

The final piece of this exciting and important partnership very much involves the scaled, best in class and empowering work of Operation HOPE.  Profit proceeds from Twitter’s commitment will 100% underwrite the cost of Operation HOPE standing up 5 (five) new HOPE Inside locations featuring comprehensive financial coaching, to be located within minority serving financial institutions as well.  This means that this new commitment expands our 157 HOPE Inside locations to a network of more than 160 full service HOPE Inside locations nationwide.   Inside of these minority serving financial institutions, Operation HOPE will be able to help coach up and quality black and brown and underserved applicants in a way that allows them to qualify for the prime level financing and credit options available from these same minority serving financial institutions.  It is a circle of business and community service that completes itself.

And the better the new Fund does, and the more investors sign on behind Twitter, the more we can expand our HOPE Inside Network locations, and on a sustainable basis.

The world needs more Ned Segal’s, and Jack Dorsey’s, but I am just glad to call both a friend to the underserved — everywhere. This is an example of the new Silver Rights Movement, and social justice equity through an economic lens.

Let’s go… More of this.

John Hope Bryant, founder, Operation HOPE


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