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August 09 2006

Operation HOPE Announces Countrywide Bank's $75,000+ Commitment to Anacostia-DC Center to promote Silver Rights and Economic Empowerment

New funds will allow Center to provide financial literacy to the community of Anacostia and beyond

(Washington, D.C.) August 9, 2006 – Operation HOPE, a national nonprofit dedicated to silver rights and empowerment for the underserved, today announced that Countrywide Bank N.A., has awarded it more than $75,000 dollars to focus on programs that promote economic education and financial empowerment. The grant will provide the Anacostia community with vital resources such as financial literacy, homeownership programs, small business technical assistance, banking customer conversion, job skill training, and in particular the computer literacy programs through the HOPE center. The computer literacy program ensures that D.C. residents under age 30 will have a resource to learn and develop their computer skills making them more marketable and desirable in the workforce.

Since the Anacostia-DC HOPE Center opened its doors in 2005, it has created access to resources and opportunity for local Ward 8 residents; providing programs that create financially literate home and business owners – known as stakeholders, and helped employee trainees move from low-wage to living wage jobs.

“Countrywide is pleased to continue its support of Operation HOPE and its mission to inspire and empower communities like Anacostia,” said Countrywide Bank Managing Director Dean Lesiak. “The HOPE center has proven its ability to help better the lives of underserved communities. We are proud to take part in revitalizing D.C. by providing valuable resources such as computer literacy.”

The funds will be earmarked specifically for the growing Anacostia - D.C. HOPE center. The center’s recent findings reported that within the last year it has delivered financial literacy programs to over 10,000 Anacostia - Washington, D.C. residents of all ages.

Currently, the D.C. HOPE Center employs eight full-time people and has been essential in promoting economic empowerment to local Ward 8 constituents and beyond, assisting the residents gain homeownership, small business loans and workforce development program which has been essential in training people with new job skills such as the computer literacy program.

According to the Washington, D.C. Tax and Revenue Office, while property values shot up to an average of 21.8 percent citywide last year, they rose 30 percent in Anacostia. City officials say about $2 billion in public and private investment is revitalizing Anacostia, which has been Washington\'s lowest-income area for decades. Operation HOPE’s goal is to make sure no one is left behind and provide the D.C. residents with tools that can empower them to make better business decisions and allow financial growth within their family and community.

“These funds allow us to reach more people. We will be able to provide more comprehensive programs that will encourage revitalization in and around Anacostia, and provide better results for the low-wealth and under-served communities throughout the country. Development and change are coming to the residents of D.C. and Countrywide Bank’s contribution is paving the way by showing the community the importance of economic empowerment through financial literacy. Those living East of the River will not be left behind, now they have an opportunity for home ownership, jobs, small business, entrepreneurship, health, faith and a better quality of life”, adds CEO and Founder of Operation HOPE, John Hope Bryant.

Since its grand opening last year, the Anacostia HOPE center has become central to Operation HOPE’s ongoing Silver Rights movement for economic empowerment in the Washington, D.C. area. With its combined free financial services and empowerment programs, HOPE has become the nation’s largest social investment bank.