January 01 2010
Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant Visits Spelman College Campus for Financial Literacy Convocation
Bryant Focuses on Principles from his book LOVE LEADERSHIP and
building wealth for community and family through Banking on Our Future College Edition
(ATLANTA, GA) - February 22, 2010 - Operation HOPE (HOPE) Chairman, Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant, surrounded by 1,000 Spelman College freshmen, sophomores, and faculty members, delivered a message centered on the building blocks of family and community wealth at the "Financial Literacy Convocation" held in honor of Operation HOPE's work to produce financially literate adults. There Bryant joined Spelman President Dr. Beverly Tatum and Leadership Center Director Dr. Jane Smith as he shared his philosophy of LOVE LEADERSHIP, and stressed his belief that this current economic crisis is a crisis of leadership.
"Spelman helped us launch our financial literacy program specifically geared towards college students, said Bryant, bestselling book author and economic thought leader. "If this financial crisis has taught us anything is that we need to become bi-lingual; learning ‘the language of money' and what it means to us." Bryant continued, "If men led the civil rights movement in the 20th century, there is no reason why women cannot lead a silver rights movement in the 21st century." The number one reason why black and brown kids drop out of college is not academics, it's money," continued Bryant.
Through HOPE's historic partnership with the White House on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), HOPE launched the Banking on Our Future College Edition (BOOF CE) in 2009 at Spelman College. Since launching the pilot last year they have educated 189 students at Spelman and Johnson C. Smith. Some 100,000 students in total are expected to be educated over the next five years. Programming has been planned at North Carolina A&T University, Livingstone College, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark University, and Johnson C. Smith University this spring semester, with hopes that all 105 HBCUs will participate by 2014.
BOOF CE springs from HOPE's award-winning youth financial literacy program, Banking on Our Future, which has educated over 400,000 youth, 4th through 12th grade, since 1996. The curriculum focuses on the basics of banking, budgeting, checking and savings accounts, credit and investments, and includes a course in dignity. BOOF CE will also differentiate itself by recruiting HBCU alumni to join the HOPE Corps to expand impact, and inspired by Dr. John Wilson, the new director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, HOPE will soon introduce programming to encourage a culture of philanthropy and "giving back," with a direct aim of moving the needle on the number of HBCU alumni that give back to their college or university.
In a nation where nearly a third of high school seniors already use a credit card, a higher proportion have an ATM card, and nearly 1.5 million families filed for bankruptcy last year, the need for personal financial literacy is greater than ever. Yet fewer than 30 percent of young Americans are given specific instruction on personal finance in high school. By teaching financial literacy, BOOF's ultimate goal is to break the cycle of economic poverty that plagues our underserved communities.