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January 01 2008

Operation HOPE Finds Katrina Recovery in the Gulf Pivots on Small Businesses

More Than 120,000 Survivors of Katrina Served by Third Anniversary; Goal-Driven Nonprofit Efforts Exceed Grant Expectations, Continuing to Help Individuals and Small Businesses Rebuild Post-Katrina

LOS ANGELES, CA--- August 28, 2008 --- Operation HOPE (HOPE), the leading financial literacy and empowerment nonprofit, today reported recovery program results, highlighting further evidence that HOPE in areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is continuing to help individuals and small businesses recover.

Through a partnership memorandum with the State of Louisiana and funding from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, HOPE delivered critical financial expertise and emergency financial guidance to over 120,000 individuals in the affected areas, including 2,652 individuals and families served through Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), working in partnership with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and H & R Block. Additionally, 3,581 small businesses owners received the following critical services to support rebuilding efforts:

-- entrepreneur training
-- financial management guidance from volunteer CPAs
-- in-house business coaching
-- access to QuickBooks, tax assistance, cash flow projection, and
planning tools
-- help researching and preparing for loan presentations to banks
-- sales, customer service, business issues, and marketing guidance
-- special consultations in: website creation, computer upgrades and
government contract procurement

Additional assistance included preparedness and recovery seminars with 10,718 participants, and financial literacy training for youth through HOPE's award-winning Banking on Our Future program educating 3,213 students. These services and the many other services offered to the victims of Katrina and Rita were provided by employees using 2,953 members of HOPE's volunteer network and HOPE Corps, all specifically recruited to provide financial guidance and assistance to families and small business owners.

"The overall post-disaster goals were to share knowledge, experience and develop services to help the Gulf Coast's economy recover and exceed pre-disaster economic conditions in the region. Getting residents back to where they were was not sufficient," said Fred Smith, Managing Director of HOPE Coalition America, HOPE's financial emergency preparedness and recovery division. "Our services are designed to generate continuing economic viability."

"Operation HOPE continues its disaster preparation and recovery services by encouraging individuals in the Gulf States to prepare for Hurricane Gustav. Our efforts include the distribution of 5,000 Emergency Financial First Aid Kits (EFFAK) through Lowe's and Home Depot stores and during various church services, in addition to providing an electronic link to the EFFAK and the companion, Personnel Disaster Preparedness Guide (PDPG) to 200 local organizations, state government agencies. Through memorandums of understanding with the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the American Red Cross, and as a member of National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, employees and volunteers of HOPE's disaster recovery services will act as first responders to individuals, families and small business owners if impacted by Hurricane Gustav," said John Hope Bryant, HOPE Founder and Chairman and CEO.

The organization is also working to convert the Operation HOPE Disaster Recovery Office into a permanent regional office that delivers all HOPE programs.

Individuals needing assistance should call 888-388-HOPE (4673) for more information.