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July 24 2017

Citi Foundation support builds Operation HOPE’s capacity to deliver financial empowerment at scale

ATLANTA – July 24, 2017 – For over 15 years, the Citi Foundation has served as one of the top global investors in Operation HOPE (HOPE). From over 1,000 Citi volunteers teaching youth to take control of their financial futures in cities across the U.S., to financial recovery support for hundreds of survivors of Superstorm Sandy, to serving as the founding partner of HOPE South Africa, spurring our financial inclusion and workforce programs in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the Citi Foundation has demonstrated leadership, excellence, and a commitment to improving the financial health of low and moderate-income individuals around the world.

When HOPE began to scale the HOPE Inside business model in 2014, the Citi Foundation stepped up and invested in building the capacity of HOPE to implement operating efficiencies that would enable sustainable, measureable impact at scale.

“When we launched the HOPE Inside business strategy, we had opened a total of 12 locations in 21 years. This year, our 25th anniversary, we are proud to have just opened our 75th location and have commitments that will enable us to open an additional 200, putting us on track toward our goal of 1,000 HOPE Inside locations by 2020. Because of the Citi Foundation’s partnership and support, we are able to manage our growth, operate more efficiently and, most importantly, more accurately measure our impact” said Mary Hagerty Ehrsam, president of the Office of Partnerships.

In 2015, funding from the Citi Foundation enabled HOPE to conduct assessments of its current client, volunteer and donor management systems and research current product offerings to determine the best systems to meet HOPE’s strategic objectives in each of these areas. As a result, HOPE implemented a technology infrastructure to ensure strong fiscal oversight, structured donor relationship management and more accurate impact reporting.

With the 2016 grant funds, HOPE reengineered its human resource, talent management and finance departments— streamlining our processes and workflows to improve customer service and reduce operational costs. The grant further supported the implementation of a system to manage the recruiting, hiring, and placement of all employees, and a full-time recruiter was hired to manage the process. The organization was restructured by focusing on the redesign of business processes, and an IT infrastructure was developed to manage all human capital, including employees, contractors, volunteers, fellows, interns, and loaned executives. These technology-optimized workflows reduced the costs associated with opening new locations. The efficiencies generated supported the opening of 20 new locations and the hiring of 20 new coaches.

The 2017 grant funding will enable Operation HOPE to further enhance the capacity of their financial coaches by having them earn the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education’s new professional credential for Accredited Financial Counselors.

“What this all translates to is thousands of future economic opportunities for young people participating in HOPE’s youth entrepreneurship programs and workforce internship program and thousands of adults increasing their credit score above 700 and transforming into first-time homeowners and small business owners,” said Ehrsam.

“The Citi Foundation is pleased to continue our support of Operation HOPE to further enhance the capacity of their financial coaches, enabling them to deliver more consistent and higher quality financial coaching services at HOPE Inside locations across the country” said Daria Sheehan, Senior Program Officer at the Citi Foundation. “Our funding over the past 15 years demonstrates our commitment to investing in efforts that strengthen the organizational capacity of our non-profit partners, thus increasing their ability to scale their work and achieve stronger gains for the people they serve.”


About Operation HOPE

Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to "silver rights" with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved. Through its core programs, the nonprofit has provided financial dignity and economic empowerment to over 2.6 million individuals worldwide, and $2 billion in economic activity for the disenfranchised—turning check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners and minimum wage workers into living wage consumers.  Project 5117 is HOPE’s multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth, and stabilize the American dream by boosting credit scores. Operation HOPE recently received its third consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator—further establishing it as a best-in-class organization. 

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