|Home | Spring 2009||
Hershel Lipow, Community Relations Expert, OCC
Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) is a leading provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs. Founded after the 1992 civil disturbances in Los Angeles, HOPE creates partnerships with government, the private sector, and community interests to bring self-sufficiency and revitalization to inner city and underserved communities across America. It has expanded its mission to include global financial literacy.
Through its "silver rights" initiatives, HOPE is helping to make free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities. In conjunction with its partners, HOPE has created a national network of one-stop banking centers to increase access to financial services in underserved communities. Financial commitments from HOPE's bank and corporate partners for homeownership and small business loans total more than $457 million.
HOPE has also developed a series of programs to provide youth and adults free financial education, counseling, and casework services. Its principal programs include
Banking on Our Future
Since 1996, HOPE's Banking on Our Future financial literacy program has educated more than 370,000 students, ages 9-12, in more than 2,000 schools and community-based organizations. The program consists of five training modules, delivered in classroom settings, to introduce students to the fundamentals of banking, savings, and investment. The program also conveys a message of dignity, responsibility, and hope to its students.
Banking on Our Future relies on volunteer finance professionals to interact with students in ways they can understand. Volunteers share their consumer experiences and provide lessons that the students can put to use right away.
Volunteers are recruited by, and join, the HOPE Corps volunteer network. HOPE has a goal of recruiting 25,000 volunteers nationwide by 2010 at no cost to school districts. Last year, HOPE signed an historic agreement with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to train students. Banking on Our Future College Edition, which trains college students to adopt healthy financial habits, launched at Spellman College in January.
HOPE Center Banking Network
HOPE banking centers provide personalized service to homebuyers, small businesses, and community stakeholders. HOPE centers have generated more than $457 million in commitments for homeownership and small business loans.
HOPE centers currently serve the Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, and Washington, D.C., areas. Each center has a HOPE Inner City Cyber Café and offers a variety of programs, including the following:
Last year, HOPE launched several new programs, including the Hope Mortgage Crisis Hotline; a five-year partnership with the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) to implement a five-point counseling program with COGIC's more than 12,000 churches; and the 5 Million Kids Initiative (5MK). HOPE also has plans for a HOPE Consumer Credit Hotline.
As one of HOPE's newest initiatives, the 5MK Initiative aims to break the cycle of high school dropouts in America's inner cities by re-engaging youth and restoring their personal dignity. The initiative aims to involve kids, parents, and teachers in learning about the language of money, free enterprise capitalism, and ownership.
The 5MK Initiative hopes to place a minimum of 25,000 volunteers in the classroom and increase the number of role models in urban communities, in part by recruiting 5,000 grassroots leaders, in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, and other select markets. The initiative will
Through its outreach, HOPE has created many opportunities to participate in its strategic partnerships and initiatives. These include
In turn, Operation Hope created HOPE Advisors to provide the banking industry with the knowledge and experience it has acquired in managing and analyzing its empowerment programs. One unique service provides mainstream financial institutions with creative concepts to convert non-bankable individuals and small businesses into traditional banking customers. An outgrowth of this soft banking services model is HOPE Inside, which places counselors offering HOPE's financial products and services within the premises of partner banks.
For more information, visit Operation HOPE and Banking on Our Future or contact Operation HOPE at (213) 891-2900.