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January 01 2006

Mayor Hickenlooper and Operation HOPE Launch Financial Empowerment Program for Denver Youth

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Denver Mayor John W. Hickenlooper and Operation HOPE Founder and CEO, John Hope Bryant, launched Banking on Our Future Denver, a financial empowerment program for Denver’s youth today at the Challenges, Choices and Images Charter School. Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, an early supporter of the initiative, has agreed to co-chair the new Banking on Our Future, Denver advisory board.
 
Michael Bennet, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Former Mayor Wellington Webb, and Jack Devereaux, Retail Bank Group Division Executive of Bank of the West, also joined to announce the district wide partnership with the Denver Public School system. The Banking on Our Future, Denver financial literacy program launch, underwritten by lead sponsor Bank of the West, comes as part of Operation HOPE’s commitment to launch a broader “silver rights” campaign for economic empowerment for the underserved in Denver.
 
John Hope Bryant kicked off the financial literacy program by conducting a VIP Banking on Our Future teaching session with more than 80 Denver public school students. He said, “We think it is important that everyone has equal access to learn how to take control of their financial future. That is our ‘silver right.’ With the help of Mayor Hickenlooper, Superintendent Bennet, former Mayor Webb and the generous support of lead partner Bank of the West, we are able to launch Banking on our Future, Denver and help make that possible.”
 
“Financially stable individuals and families are crucial components of strong, healthy communities and local economies,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Providing financial literacy tools and education to students – while they are young – creates a strong foundation for their future success and that of our entire community. We are excited about this public-private-nonprofit partnership and the difference it will make in Denver.”
 
Michael Bennet, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, said, “We are pleased to have the benefit of this program being available in our area schools. “We think that the work Operation HOPE is doing to educate and empower the youth of today, through its Banking on Our Future program, will pay great dividends for not only the kids, but for our community.”
 
Operation HOPE partners Alliant Credit Union, Bank of the West, Citywide Banks, Denver Community Federal Credit Union, Edward Jones, 1st Bank, Regis University, State Farm, USBank and Wells Fargo participated, providing volunteer HOPE Corps members for today’s launch.
 
Banking on Our Future (BOOF) provides year-round financial education for youth ages 9-18 at no cost to school districts nationwide, and is primarily focused on urban, underserved communities. It is Operation HOPE’s premier financial education program for youth in underserved communities. The program is a winner of the Oprah’s Angel Network Award and the U.S. Treasury Department’s John Sherman Award for Financial Literacy Excellence. Celebrating its 10th year in existence, the program has educated over 197,000 youth nationwide. Banking on Our Future will teach Denver youth the basics of checking, saving and the importance of credit and investment, using a network of area HOPE Corps volunteers from banking and private firms. Within a year of the launch of the program, kids who complete the program will be given an opportunity to open a “Starter Savings Account.” 
  
Bank of the West’s Community Support works to help improve the social and economic health of the communities it serves. The bank in 2005 set a ten-year goal of making $75 billion in loans, investments, contributions and services to low- and moderate-income individuals, small businesses and community-based organizations. Visit www.bankofthewest.com. With $55 billion in assets, San Francisco-based Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com) currently operates 680 branch locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states, including 96 in Colorado. The bank will provide Operation HOPE $375,000 over three years for support of the Denver area Banking on Our Future program.