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March 16 2015

Operation HOPE Announces Kat Cole as Co-Chair for Nationwide Program to Attack High School Dropout Crisis

  The HOPE B- (Minus) Business Compact Aims to Connect "Education to Aspiration" For Young People

Program will offer Fortune 1000 internships to young people from low-wealth urban, rural and underserved communities

LOS ANGELESMarch 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryantannounced today that Kat Cole, group president for Focus Brands, has been confirmed as co-chair for the organization's new nationwide program, HOPE B- Business Compact.

"I'm excited to lend my energy to such a worthy initiative. I eagerly anticipate the benefit so many students and companies will receive from this program, including the benefit I look forward to in our community and from leveraging this program at FOCUS Brands. I am deeply committed to the HOPE B- Business Compact program," said Cole.

The program is designed to tackle America's high school dropout crisis by creating a positive relationship between young people and the free enterprise system, connecting education to aspiration. The HOPE B-Minus Business Compact will offer internships at Fortune 1000 companies to young people from low-wealth urban, rural and underserved communities.

Bryant first introduced the new program during his appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box on March 3, (View video here), where he commended Cole for her leadership abilities and demonstrated the value that the program will have in encouraging students to do their best.

"Ms. Cole is a key partner in this program. We applaud her ability to inspire and excel, and feel that through her leadership, HOPE B- Business Compact will help our target of students reach higher levels of achievement," stated John Bryant.

Operation HOPE seeks to inspire, recruit and organize 500 leading CEOs who will become founding partner-members of the HOPE B- Business Compact (HOPE B-BC). Founder partner-members agree to make business internships available for 6-week or more to young people from low-wealth urban, rural and underserved communities who achieve a B- or better grade from high school. 

For any young person who graduates high school with a B- grade or better, Operation HOPE and its partners would guarantee them a local business internship, consisting of the following:

  • A 6-week business internship
  • $500 youth stipend, covering transportation, food and the cost of one business suit

The original program announcement was made in conjunction with Operation HOPE's Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Freedman's Bank at the National Archives in Washington D.C. The commemoration also launched a year-long, nationwide tour driven by Operation HOPE to complete the Bank's unfinished mission of delivering economic empowerment by teaching individuals and families how to use their money.

About Operation HOPE
Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Operation HOPE promotes financial dignity through the delivery of financial inclusion and education tools to underserved communities. Through its core divisions, the organization has provided youth and adult financial literacy, economic preparedness, digital empowerment, promoted home ownership, and assisted with foreclosure prevention to more than 2.2 million individuals, families, and small business owners. HOPE is currently 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 how you can join Project 5117, go to  

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