January 01 2009
First Global Financial Literacy Summit Hailed a Success
White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, civil rights icon and HOPE Global Spokesman Ambassador Andrew Young, and Members of Congress Join Operation HOPE in Making a Business Case for Financial Literacy
WASHINGTON, DC (June 22, 2009) –A summit held by Operation HOPE (HOPE), a leading global nonprofit social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization, gathered together an unprecedented array of national and global leaders to discuss the importance of instilling the “language of money” in the homes of Americans and individuals around the world of all walks of life.
The summit was launched in response to the global economic crisis, the highest U.S. unemployment rate in 25 years (9.4 percent), and a loss of consumer and market confidence due to deteriorating personal finances. Highlights of the day included a signing of an historic Memorandum of Understanding with The Financial Services Roundtable, which will help promote a financial literacy standard countrywide and the launch of Tech 2000, a new entrepreneurial program featuring Apple worldwide certification for youth, and aimed at promoting education and growing business skills for youth.
John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO, HOPE, who also serves as vice chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and who hosted the summit said, “When a top adviser to President Obama, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC chair, a civil rights icon and four members of Congress all make time in their busy schedules to spend the day making a strong business case for the potential of a world in which financial literacy is deeply engrained in the lives of every family, it sends a loud message indeed. These global leaders who are dealing with the current economic meltdown know better than anyone how important it is that every citizen understands more than just math; they also need to understand the language of money.”
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke has long been a champion for financial literacy and a strong supporter of HOPE’s “silver rights” mission to empower the underserved through financial literacy. Chairman Bernanke said, “Community-based organizations such as Operation HOPE offer training and counseling to people in traditionally underserved markets, helping them to manage credit, buy homes, and start small businesses. These organizations (with a particular emphasis on Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund) also facilitate economic growth and development by offering a broad range of services and financing in low- and moderate-income communities.”
White House Senior Advisor, Valarie Jarrett, who now serves as Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama administration provided a special keynote address. “Today’s consumers have a bewildering set of choices…and they all create an environment where consumers feel at-risk,” she said.
As Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair knows having citizens armed with financial literacy is the only way to ensure local and global economic stability. She stated, “Financial education is very important during these challenging economic times.”
Adding gravitas to the day’s proceedings were Chair-Emeritus of the National Council on Negro Women, civil rights legend Dr. Dorothy I. Height, and HOPE Global Spokesman, former Ambassador and civil rights icon Andrew Young. Young noted that financial literacy is the latest fight for civil rights. “Rights imply that somebody has something to give us and they're not giving it to us. When you switch from politics to finance, that doesn't necessarily apply anymore. You must work, invest, think, dream, and create for yourself,” he explained.
Event support from financial sponsors included lead sponsorship by retail giant Wal-Mart, major sponsorship by financial services leader JP Morgan Chase & Co. and CIT, and supporting sponsorship by major corporate and foundation leaders including The Coca Cola Company, SunTrust, The Charles Schwab Foundation, Best Buy, Ernest & Young, Ally, U.S. Bank and Tech 2000.
Summit work partners who provided in-kind support included the American Banker, America’s Promise Alliance, The Financial Services Roundtable, Pearson Foundation, Jump$tart, Milken Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Post.
More than 700 delegates and economic leaders from six continents and more than 30 countries were there to deliver comments, or participate in panel discussions. The event was held at Town Hall Education, Arts & Recreation Campus (THEARC) in historic Southeast Washington, D.C. also known as Anacostia.