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September 23 2016

Operation HOPE Participates in Freedman’s Bank Forum Hosted by the U.S. Treasury Department

WASHINGTON – Sept. 23, 2016 – Global financial dignity and empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE, Inc., participated in the Freedman’s Bank Forum, hosted today by the U.S. Treasury Department. The Freedman’s Bank Forum was developed to explore ways to build an economy that works for all Americans—bringing together public, private, and nonprofit leaders to discuss strategies to improve jobs, economic opportunity, financial inclusion, and shared prosperity for all communities.to improve jobs, economic opportunity, financial inclusion, and shared prosperity for all communities.The Forum's name is a tribute to the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, which was created to provide economic opportunity for newly emancipated African-Americans more than 150 years ago, and which was commemorated with the building’s renaming by the Treasury Department earlier this year. The Freedman’s Bank Forum aligns with the historical significance of the bank and its original mission—to promote economic integration and financial inclusion. Additionally, the Forum coincides with a series of events throughout the nation’s capital that will mark the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on September 24.

John Hope Bryant, Chairman, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE, and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, served as a catalyst to the historic renaming of the U.S. Treasury Annex to the Freedman’s Bank Building earlier this year, and was a contributor at the one of the Forum’s panels—examining federal, state, and local government solutions to foster financial inclusion and shared prosperity with Kasim Reed, Mayor, City of Atlanta; and Kim Saunders, President and CEO, Eads Group, moderated by Amias Gerety, Department of Treasury’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions. Bryant explained how financial stress affects communities and individuals and provided solutions to help bridge the gap between Americans and financial organizations.

“Operation HOPE is pleased to be part of this essential conversation to honor and extend the legacy of the Freedman’s Bank by focusing on actionable steps to ensure that all people are empowered to effectively participate in the free enterprise system,” said John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE.

Forum attendees comprised a curated group of entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders in business and economic development. Distinguished speakers and panelists included Jacob J. Lew, Secretary, U.S. Treasury Department; Sarah Bloom Raskin, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Treasury Department; Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics, Stanford University; Derek Dingle, Senior Vice President and Editor-In-Chief, Black Enterprise Magazine; Curley M. Dossman, Jr., Chairman of the Board, 100 Black Men of America; Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent; Roger Ferguson, CEO, TIAA; John Rogers, Chairman, CEO, & Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments; and Ambassador Andrew Young, Chair, Andrew J. Young Foundation.

The dialogue centered around recent progress and new options for the Obama Administration and private, non-profit, and local government sectors in fostering broad-based economic growth, and considered additional efforts to address economic disparities in minority communities. The agenda was structured around two discussion panels: Panel 1: Building Jobs and Opportunity for Communities of Color; and, Panel 2: Financial Inclusion and Shared Prosperity.

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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 second 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. For more information: www.OperationHOPE.org. Follow Operation HOPE on Facebook and Twitter @OperationHOPE.