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February 24 2006

Operation HOPE joins Protectingamerica.org

Organizations working together to better prepare and protect
America from catastrophes
 
(Los Angeles) Friday, February 24, 2006 - Operation HOPE, Inc.  announced today that it has joined forces with ProtectingAmerica.org, a national coalition of first responders, businesses and emergency managers who are committed to preparing and protecting America from natural catastrophes.
 
“Operation HOPE joined ProtectingAmerica.org because we have seen firsthand the hardship that lack of preparedness can cause,” said John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Incorporated.  “Operation HOPE’s mission is to improve the financial literacy of Americans, and that includes protecting your family’s assets from the devastation natural catastrophes can cause.  ProtectingAmerica.org shares that vision with Operation HOPE.”
 
Chaired by former FEMA Director James Lee Witt and former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Admiral James Loy, ProtectingAmerica.org advocates a comprehensive, integrated solution to make sure financial resources are available to help homeowners recover from natural catastrophes such as hurricanes and earthquakes.
 
“ProtectingAmerica.org welcomes Operation HOPE to the coalition to protect citizens from natural catastrophes,” said  co-chair of ProtectingAmerica.org James Lee Witt, who is also CEO and Chairman of James Lee Witt Associates, LLC.  “We applaud Operation HOPE’S work in the Gulf States to help those affected by hurricanes regain their financial independence following the tragic hurricanes of 2005.  Operation HOPE’s partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross is further evidence of their commitment to helping Americans reduce the risk of the financial consequences of natural disasters.”
 
HOPE Coalition America, HOPE’s financial emergency preparedness division, manages the program; providing financial guidance and services such as credit counseling, agency referrals, economic education and debt restructuring to individuals and small businesses that are affected by a natural disaster or emergency.  These services will be provided through the existing resources Operation HOPE has developed and maintained within the banking, financial and insurance industries. As part of the plan, financial specialists volunteer their expertise to provide “economic triage” to meet immediate needs following a disaster.
 
ProtectingAmerica.org supports state and federal legislation that creates a financial backstop to the private insurance that consumers buy to protect themselves from natural catastrophes.  This mechanism will make catastrophe coverage more affordable and will help ensure that private insurance coverage remains available following a major catastrophe.  The coalition supports H.R. 4366, which would use premium dollars to create that financial mechanism as well as provide funding for catastrophe prevention, mitigation and response; encourage stronger building codes in catastrophe-prone areas; and dedicate resources for consumer education. 
 
For more information, please visit www.ProtectingAmerica.org and www.OperationHOPE.org.