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January 30 2014

Former White House Aide Michael Blake to Serve as Operation HOPE Senior Advisor


WASHINGTON, DC – January 30, 2014 – Today, financial dignity leader Operation HOPE (HOPE) announced that former White House Aide, Michael Blake is joining the nonprofit as a Senior Advisor to Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and the HOPE Government Relations and Public Policy Department.

“As a Bronx, NY native who has seen firsthand what communities are facing in terms of the needs for jobs, financial literacy and economic opportunity, I am incredibly excited to help execute the Project 5117 vision that will bring transformational change to our communities," said Blake.

As an advisor to HOPE, Blake will serve as the HOPE Government Relations Senior Advisor for its Project 5117 campaign, focusing on public engagement with U.S. Mayors, U.S. State and local municipal government officials.

“Operation HOPE is honored to welcome Michael Blake as a Senior Advisor. Mr. Blake brings a wealth of government and public policy knowledge and expertise from his unique role as an Public Engagement and Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affair during the first term of President Obama and Vice President Biden Administration,” said Bryant. “He will help provide positive support around Operation HOPE’s new initiative to eradicate poverty, Project 5117.

Most notably, Blake served in the White House as Associate Director of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs where he coordinated outreach to African-American, minority businesses and county and statewide elected officials. He created the White House Urban Entrepreneurship Summit series, which sought to foster public, private and not-for-profit partnerships and provide strategic advice to attendees.

Currently, Blake is the Director of Public Policy and External Affairs for Green For All, where he leads their work in NY, DC and the national resiliency efforts. He recently served as the campaign manager for Reshma Saujani’s campaign for New York City Public Advocate while also doing governmental, political and constituency outreach consulting. 

Previously, he served as the Senior Advisor for the Office of Public Engagement for President Obama’s 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee. Prior to that appointment, he served as the National Deputy Director of Operation Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election, the constituency outreach program for the Obama for America campaign and helped expand the diverse electorate who voted for President Obama. 

Blake started his political career in Michigan, where he successfully co-organized three state house campaigns in the 2006 election cycle and was promoted to become the Director of External Affairs for the Michigan House of Representatives serving in Michigan Speaker of the House Andy Dillon’s cabinet. 

Blake first met President Obama in 2006 when he joined the Obama organization as a participant in the “Yes We Can” political training program, which trained 10 young Americans to run and execute a political campaign. Blake maintains that President Obama was the same caring, intellectual and transformational individual at their first meeting that he is today as President and encouraged him to think beyond his present circumstance saying, “Michael, Dream Big Dreams.”

His affiliation with Obama would continue through the 2008 Obama for America campaign, in which Blake worked in eight states over 20 months, starting as the Iowa Deputy Political Director and Constituency Outreach Director and ending as the Michigan Deputy Director and Political Director. Shortly before the Iowa caucuses, a 2007 Time magazine said, “Michael Blake may have more to do with Barack Obama’s chances of becoming President than anyone besides the candidate himself.” Blake humbly disagrees.

Blake was honored as one of “The Root 100” in 2012; featured in Jet magazine as one of 15 black politicos behind President Obama’s re-election; and recognized by MSNBC in 2011 as one of the Top 10 Black Politicians on the rise.  

The New York native grew up in the Bronx and is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is also an Exhorter in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a member of Calvary United Methodist Church in The Bronx.