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August 29 2013

HOPE Coalition America Heightens Profile for Financial Preparedness and Recovery at Business Opportunity Expo in Birmingham

Atlanta – August 29, 2013 –
HOPE Coalition America, Operation HOPE’s financial preparedness and recovery division, participated in the Business Opportunity Expo, August 14th – 15th in Birmingham, Alabama to help the South Region Minority Supplier Development Council celebrate 30 years of connecting businesses and bring awareness to the importance of financial disaster preparedness.

“Because small businesses have limited financial resources and have difficulty recovering from emergencies and disasters, HCA is instrumental in facilitating free technical assistance and economic recovery services to small businesses in the Birmingham and surrounding areas that have been affected by disasters and/or seek to prepare for future emergencies,” said Damian Carson, HCA Program Manager for Small Business Assistance. We want to encourage employers both large and small to take advantage of the services we provide.”

Carson joined Chris Lewis, President and CEO of the South Region Minority Supplier Development Council, to speak with small business owners, government officials, financial institutions and other non-profit organizations about the free services HOPE provides for Birmingham and surrounding counties, for financial disaster preparedness and recovery.  

According to research from the University of Alabama, the record-breaking 62 tornadoes that struck Alabama on April 27, 2011 had immediate economic consequences, including the loss of up to 13,200 jobs statewide and a reduction of up to $1.3 billion in the state’s gross domestic product in 2011. Since that time, Alabama has experienced additional tornado outbreaks in addition to other common weather-related emergencies, such as floods and severe thunderstorms.

Over 200 people attended the event. In the opening session, Bob Dickerson, executive director with the Birmingham Business Resource Center (BBRC) served as moderator. Speakers include: Dr. Greg Canfield-Sec of Commerce, State of Alabama; Tracy Morant Adams-Economic Development Director, City of Birmingham; Ed Castile-Director Alabama Industrial Development Board, State of Alabama; Hershell Hamiliton-Managing Partner, Blocglobal; Robert Stackpole-Alabama District Director, U.S. Foreign Trade Department; Michael German-Alabama District Director, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

The HCA office in Birmingham has provided Disaster Financial Recovery information and guidance to more than 100 small businesses and assisted with over 110 workshops providing vital information about the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), helping the public gain awareness on the importance of being financially prepared for an emergency, on any scale.  

HCA is a collaborative effort that allows knowledgeable, responsible individuals employed in the regulated financial services industry to provide one-on-one assistance to individuals and families recovering from disasters. Since its formation in 2001, the result of a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, HCA has helped over 300,000 individuals and small business recovering from 33 disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Florida Hurricanes, tornados and flooding in southern and mid-western states and Hurricane Sandy.

Since its inception in 1992, Operation HOPE has served more than 2 million individuals. The financial dignity nonprofit has also directed more than $1.5 billion in private capital to low-wealth communities, it maintains a growing army of 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates

South Region Minority Supplier Development Council (SRMSDC)

Established in 1983, the South Region Minority Supplier Development Council is an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). The SRMSDC's mission is to facilitate relationships between corporations, educational, governmental and health care entities and certified MBEs.

Pictured, Left to right: Jerry Mitchell-President & CEO of Alabama State Black Chamber of Commerce; Thomas Todt-District Director-SBA; Damian Carson-HCA Program Manager-Small Business Assistance; Brandon Hewitt-Board Chairman of the Greater Birmingham Black Chamber of Commerce and Latanya Millhouse-Community activist, volunteer.