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January 01 2004

Operation HOPE, Inc. and U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings Celebrate Banking on Our Future Success in Baltimore

Program at Booker T. Washington Middle School Empowers Young People

With the Skills They Need To Manage Their Financial Futures

Baltimore , MD – U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07), Harbor Bank of Maryland Founder, Chairman and CEO Joseph Haskins and executives from Provident Bank and the Harbor Bank of Maryland today joined Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Bryant to congratulate 120 students who have successfully completed the Banking on Our Future program at Booker T. Washington Middle School.

In December of 2003, Operation HOPE’s Banking on Our Future program in Baltimore was launched at City Springs Elementary School, where Congressman Cummings and leaders in Baltimore\'s banking industry taught over 150 students the basics of financial literacy. Since then, 11 schools in Baltimore have signed up for the Banking on Our Future program, and over 1,000 youth have been educated by volunteers from more than six banks and the Urban Financial Services Coalition.

"As a Member of Congress, my number one priority is to empower my constituents. Whenever I learn of a program that is effectively helping people to live their best lives I will do everything within my power to make sure my constituents have access to it,” said Congressman Cummings. “Banking on Our Future gives young people the financial skills they need to gain economic success. Students learn the basics of spending and saving money so they can make responsible choices for the future. I am proud that students in my district are benefiting from this positive program."

Congressman Cummings made a commitment to help bring Banking on Our Future to Baltimore after learning about the success of the program in schools across the country. The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation is a national signature sponsor of Banking on Our Future and provided funding to establish a chapter in Baltimore, where a program coordinator from Operation HOPE is working with Congressman Cummings’ office to bring the program into Baltimore schools.

“Education is the ultimate poverty eradication tool, and financial literacy is one of the most important issues facing our nation today,” said John Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE. “The commitment of Congressman Cummings, the Weinberg Foundation and our bank partners in Baltimore will ensure that we reach our goal of educating our children how to take control of their financial futures. When our kids know better, they do better, and that’s what Banking on Our Future is all about.”

Banking on Our Future is Operation HOPE’s financial literacy initiative to teach children the basics of managing their financial futures and surviving in a global economy. It is currently the only national urban delivery platform for financial literacy in the country today, operating in eight states and the District of Columbia. Using a growing network of 1,500 trained volunteer banker-teachers, the Banking on Our Future initiative teaches four core modules, and to date has educated more than 126,000 youth about the basics of banking; how to open and maintain a checking and savings account; the power of credit; and basic investments.