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January 01 2008

Operation HOPE and America's Promise Join Forces in National Alliance for Our Children

Operation HOPE and America's Promise Join Forces in National Alliance for Our Children

LOS ANGELES- December 2, 2008 - National financial literacy empowerment leader Operation HOPE announced today that it has entered into a national agreement with the America's Promise Alliance. Together, they will implement a long-term strategy to help stem the high school dropout epidemic, in part by providing an empowerment agenda, including financial and entrepreneurial education, and real hope, to youth around the country. HOPE's vehicle to act on this bold agenda for our youth is its new national initiative 5 MILLION KIDS (www.5mk.org). The partnership marks the first time HOPE and the Alliance have teamed up on a national project to "lift our children up" and provide them the support they need to stay in the education pipeline and graduate from high school.

By working in partnership with 5 MILLION KIDS, the two groups will, amongst other things, combine their powerful volunteer recruitment efforts and work, as a goal, to increase the role model level to approximately 5 percent in the communities we serve. The "5% role model level" is a benchmark established by Malcolm Gladwell in his landmark book, The Tipping Point. Gladwell identified 5 percent as the level of positive involvement at which all communities "tip", and are then positioned to succeed and thrive.

HOPE and the America's Promise Alliance will also teach self-esteem building and money management skills nationwide - a goal that will encourage students to achieve financial sustainability and self-sufficiency. In addition, the groups agreed to partner and participate in events that encourage and promote smart money management among America's youth under the 5 MILLION KIDS brand.

"The Operation HOPE board of directors, employee family, our HOPE Corps volunteers, and our HOPE partners all welcome and look forward to the innovative 5MK partnership with America's Promise Alliance -- one of the leading, best-in-class non-profit organizations in the world today," said Operation HOPE founder, chairman and chief executive officer John Hope Bryant. "The national drop-out rate has many root causes, but 5MK is not about blame. It is about belief and the power of an idea. Well, I believe in our young people, as do Mr. and Mrs. Powell, Marguerite Kondracke and the America's Promise Alliance family. Working together in this new and powerful alliance for change, I believe we can all make a difference in the lives of our young people and the nation."

Bryant, who also serves as vice chair of the bi-partisan U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, continued "Operation HOPE believes the best way to break the high-school drop-out epidemic is to make education "relevant" to their future, and to tie education to an individual's aspirations in life; to show young people how they can do well, legally, and most of all to understand that their real wealth is within them. It's called dignity and hope. When we teach young people about savings, we are not just teaching financial concepts, we are talking about these young people taking their lives back, and re-imaging their future. Through this open door we will walk the power of financial literacy empowerment, the language of money, we will teach them "silver rights," and the rules of free enterprise and capitalism, entrepreneurship and opport unity. Ultimately, I want to help make smart sexy again, because we have made dumb sexy for far too long. This combination together is the power of 5MK."

Working with its 240 plus partner network, America's Promise Alliance will identify youth-serving organizations to participate in the 5 MILLION KIDS initiative. HOPE will dispatch HOPE Corps volunteers to teach Operation HOPE's award-winning Banking on Our Future program at partnership sites and campuses, and assign staff to work with America's Promise Alliance to coordinate partnership activity. Both groups will participate in joint events that promote financial literacy among America's youth.

"America's Promise Alliance welcomes Operation HOPE to our partner network," said Marguerite Kondracke, president and CEO, America's Promise Alliance. "Financial literacy is an important and often overlooked component of the success of our young people. Through this initiative and the outstanding work of the more than 240 organizations and individuals that make up our Alliance, we will ensure that we will make a difference in the lives of this nation's most disadvantaged young people and help them graduate high school ready for college, work and life."

Visit the website for 5 MILLION KIDS at www.5mk.org, and design your own 5MK Pledge today! What better holiday gift can you get, than the one that you actually give.

5 MILLION KIDS is co-chaired nationally by entertainment icon Quincy Jones and civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young, and Quincy D. Jones, III serves as the national chairman of the 5MK "Make Smart Sexy," Digital Edition. Locally, LAUSD superintendent, Vice Admiral (Ret.) David Brewer and Reverend Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray serve as 5MK community co-chairs in our first great 5MK city, Los Angeles.

About the America's Promise Alliance
America's Promise Alliance is the nation's largest partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups committed to ensuring that children receive the fundamental resources - the Five Promises - they need to lead successful, healthy and productive lives and build a stronger society. Building on the legacy of our founder General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our children is grounded in experiencing the Five Promises - caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others-at home, in school and in the community. For more information about America's Pr omise Alliance visit www.americaspromise.org.