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June 15 2011

HOPE Express Ebenezer First Month of Operation a Massive Success in Providing Financial Literacy Services to the Atlanta-Area

Momentum continues to build around flagship HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center at the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Facility

Atlanta – June 15, 2011 – Financial literacy and economic empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE, Inc.  (HOPE) announced that their HOPE Express office at Ebenezer Church exceeded programming goals for their first full month of operation. The office seeks to establish a foothold in the Atlanta community as  on construction continues on the flagship HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center to be housed at the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Complex, in partnership with Ebenezer Baptist Church in the heart of Atlanta.

“HOPE’s vision for Atlanta and the entire Southeastern Region is to empower residents with ‘silver rights,’” said Operation HOPE Executive Vice President and Chief of the HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers. “Helping residents understand the financial system and how it can work for them sometimes is the difference between renting a home and paying down a mortgage in that home for the same amount.”

The HOPE Express office launched its inaugural Credit & Money Management Workshop at Vision Church Atlanta. Over 112 people attended the event, with 84 of the participants signed up to receive one-on-one credit counseling. In the Southeast Region this year, Banking on Our Future educated 4,180 youth in the “language of money”, and the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline helped modify 27 loans totaling over $3.5 million.

Since 2004 HOPE has serviced the Atlanta area, educating a total of 28,694 youth in financial literacy, recruited over 1550 HOPE Corps volunteers, supported 1,774 adults and assisted 114 families with mortgage modifications totaling over $9.5 million.

Sensing an immediate need from the community, the HOPE Express team in Atlanta is preparing to launch several new initiatives, including:

- A Faith Based Initiativewhich aims to bring HOPE’s message of economic empowerment to communities through their place of worship

- A Volunteer Cultivation Initiativethat will enlist talented business and technology professionals to offer teach basic computer skills and website construction to local residents

- The Fulton County Concentration Initiative, in partnership with Fulton County, the initiative focus on teaching the language of money to county employees

With the support of Ebenezer Baptist Church and The Financial Services Roundtable, other partners for the Center include Founding Partners SunTrust Bank, LPL Financial, State Farm Insurance, Wells Fargo, MasterCard, Coca Cola, the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) and honorary partners Atlanta-based Capitol City Bank and Citizens Trust Bank.

Since breaking ground on the HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center, Ebenezer in 2010, HOPE has received support from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and The King Center President and Chief Executive Officer, Martin Luther King, III, HOPE Global Spokesperson Ambassador Andrew Young; Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock; daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and founder of Be A King Enterprises, LLC, Dr. Bernice A. King; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Atlanta District 2 City Councilman Kwanza Hall; and Financial Services Roundtable President and CEO Steve Bartlett, among countless others.

An important impetus for project funding stems from the Operation HOPE and Financial Services Roundtable Framework Agreement, signed in June 2009, to promote financial literacy and further integrate financial literacy into the “business case” of the financial industry. Support from Roundtable members for the center continues to demonstrate the power of this partnership.

About Ebenezer Baptist Church
The Ebenezer Baptist Church has been solid as a rock for more than 121 years. Built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, Ebenezer has been blessed with pastors who not only preach the Gospel, but take their ministries into the world and speak on behalf of the oppressed, disenfranchised and underprivileged. Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta was founded in 1886 during the Reconstruction Era in the South and was home to both Martin Luther King Jr. and Martin Luther King Sr. in their ministries.

About Operation HOPE?
Founded in 1992, social empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE's mission is to expand economic opportunity in under-resourced communities through financial literacy education. HOPE promotes "silver rights" - making free enterprise and capitalism relevant and effective for the underserved. Raising more than $500 million and directing and restructuring nearly $500 million more in mortgages and economic support from the private sector, for a total of approximately $1 billion dollars in economic activity, HOPE seeks dignity and empowerment for all. Follow Operation HOPE on our website and through Social Media at our Blog, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as Flickr and YouTube.