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January 23 2013

A Personal Letter from Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Hope Bryant and Ambassador Andrew Young

Operation HOPE is "the private banker to the working poor, the underclass, and the struggling middle-class," and the impact of our work can be felt on-the-ground, everywhere we operate.  Our mission is 'silver rights,' or making free enterprise and capitalism work for all.  Financial literacy is the tool, financial dignity is the goal and financial inclusion is the way. 

 
2012 marked new heights for HOPE's silver rights movement as it continued to reach out and empower underserved populations in new and innovative ways. HOPE divisions currently serving the community include:
 
Banking on Our Future, focused on keeping the most at-risk youth from repeating the cycles of poverty and despair that has trapped so many in their families and communities by teaching them basic financial literacy, or what we call "the global language of money." 
 
HOPE Business-In-A-Box/Gallup-HOPE Index, focused on inspiring a generation of young people to become future American assets of economic energy, small business and entrepreneurship.
 
HOPE Financial Dignity Centers, including our newest HOPE Financial Dignity Center at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr''s Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, Georgia, are where we approve clients day one, subject to the resolution of their primary denial factors, and raise credit scores on average 120 points over 18 months of active counseling. We call it the 700 Credit Scores Communities Initiative.  The HOPE Center at Ebenezer marks our 11th HOPE Center across the nation, and is the proud anchor for the new Martin Luther King. Sr. Community Resource Complex next to Ebenezer Church.  Most people know that Daddy King, as he was lovingly called, co-pastored Ebenezer Church with his son, Dr. King, but what they don't know is that Daddy King served on the board of a bank for 40 years.  Even more than 50 years ago, the King legacy was alive with civil rights, and silver rights empowerment, too. A special thank you to our HOPE Center signature partners, including Bank of the West and Union Bank on the west coast, E*TRADE FINANCIAL in New York City and Washington, DC, and at Ebenezer in Atlanta, FINANCIAL SERVICES ROUNDTABLE members SunTrust Bank, State Farm Insurance, LPL Financial/NestWise, Wells Fargo Bank, MasterCard, and BMO Harris Bank, along with supporting partners including the Coca-Cola Company, Kaplan University, Equifax, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, amongst others.
 
HOPE Coalition America, which is the national partner with FEMA around emergency financial disaster preparedness, response and recovery, or the "economic Red Cross" for the nation.  HCA responded to, and served, more than 200,000 survivors following Hurricane Katrina, and we are responding to Hurricane Sandy now. 
 
HOPE Government Relations & Public Policy, and HOPE Forums, which both advance responsible public policy and help to shape, engaged public opinion.  The recent HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit featuring U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, with more than 1,500 delegates from 30 countries, covered by 50 major media outlets, is but one example of our focus here.
 
Other key highlights for 2012 to note include: 1) Gallup and Operation HOPE continued their joint efforts with the America 2020 Campaign which aims to cut the high school drop out rate and unlock kids entrepreneurial spirits, measured by the Gallup-HOPE Index, and featuring HOPE Business In A Box; 2) HOPE recognized the rebuilding of a community on the 20th Anniversary of the Rodney King Riots, hosting the HOPE Los Angeles Opportunity Bus Tour, and giving investors, community leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials a look into how South LA has evolved since the 1992 civil unrest, which also marks HOPE's 20th Anniversary; 3) Global Dignity Day celebrated 5 years with youth educated simultaneously on one day in October, 2012, in 55 countries; and finally, 4) SEDCO Holding and HOPE partnered to bring financial literacy to Saudi Arabia, just to name a few.
 
With 2 million clients served, 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and more than $1.5 billion in private capital directed into America's low wealth and underserved communities, creating thousands of homeowners, small business owners and entrepreneurs over the past 20 years, Operation HOPE is making a difference.  But we cannot achieve our mission along with advancing the final work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., eradicating poverty and achieving a measure of economic justice for all, alone.  To quote our global spokesman, civil rights icon, and co-signer of this letter, Ambassador Andrew Young "to make free enterprise and capitalism finally relevant to the poor, and work for the poor." 
 
Thank you for being a supporter of HOPE and its mission and we look forward to 2013 filled with Operation HOPE challenges and opportunities.
 
With HOPE,
 
            
 
         Ambassador Andrew Young,                                   John Hope Bryant, 
        HOPE Global Spokesman                                         Founder, Chairman and CEO