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November 19 2015

Operation HOPE Receives $300,000 from the Appalachia Regional Commission and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to Support Youth Entrepreneurial Programs in Jefferson County Schools

BIRMINGHAM, AL – November 19, 2015 – Financial dignity nonprofit Operation HOPE received a $300,000 grant, payable over three years, from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to support financial empowerment programs for youth within the Birmingham City School District in Jefferson County. Helping to bring this program to life is a matching $300,000 combined contribution from Regions Bank and Protective Life. The program is also supported with in-kind support from the Woodlawn Foundation. 

"We are pleased to partner with the Appalachian Regional Commission to help youth in Jefferson County, said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant. “Through HOPE Business in A Box Academies, we are helping youth connect education with aspiration and empowering them to believe that they can control their own destiny.”

With this funding support from both the public and private sector HOPE will launch HOPE Business In A Box Academies (HBIABA), a youth financial literacy program that gives students financial education, business role models and the necessary tools to successfully operate a business. The program teaches students independence, budgeting, prioritizing and working with others, skills that will help them be successful throughout life.  Participating students are also surveyed through the Gallup HOPE Index, a baseline measurement for evaluating financial literacy and behavioral change. 

“With funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is pleased to partner with Operation HOPE to bring HOPE Business In A Box Academies to Birmingham. Operation HOPE will teach financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills, as well as provide positive business role models to over 1,200 Jefferson County youth, as they grow into productive adults engaged in their community,” said Jim Byard, Jr. Director Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

The program is in line with Project 5117, HOPE’s four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality. The initiative aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth, stabilize the American dream by boosting credit scores for adults and making free enterprise and capitalism work for everyone. 

ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Its mission is to be a strategic partner and advocate for sustainable community and economic development in Appalachia. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts. 

To date, more than 900,000 students have been empowered through HOPE’s youth empowerment training, with a goal to reach 5 million youth by 2020. Since its founding in 1992, HOPE's mission has been to promote "silver rights" and make free enterprise and capitalism accessible to the underserved. The social investment organization has provided financial literacy and economic empowerment services to more than 2.5 million people and raised more than $1.8 billion in economic activity for the disenfranchised worldwide.


About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Operation HOPE is rated a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator.  A global nonprofit focused on financial dignity, HOPE has empowered more than 2.5 million individuals and directed more than $1.8 billion in private capital to America’s low-wealth communities. Currently, HOPE is focused on Project 5117, a multi-year initiative that will track and increase business role models for youth, boost credit scores for adults, and empower underserved communities. To learn more about Operation HOPE visit