What is hope? Hope is a feeling of expectation. A desire for a certain thing to happen. It’s grounds for believing that something good will happen. What do you hope for? Since you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you’re hoping to get out of debt and live a life of financial prosperity and freedom. But what does it really take to get there? Is it just having a solid debt payoff plan – or is it something more? Financial freedom doesn’t just come from frugality and planning, it comes from access. Access to information, resources, and tools that will help you pay off debt and save money for the future. What if you never had this access? What would happen to you?
Imagine the way you felt at the height of the financial collapse of 2008. Worried about your job security, how you were going to pay your bills, and where to turn for help. At that time it seemed like no one was unscathed by the downturn. What did you do? If you were struggling to pay your bills, maybe you refinanced a loan, consolidated your debt, or found a way to earn extra money. How did you even know to do any of these things? There’s no question that the more you know, the more likely you are to overcome financial obstacles. Now think about this. There are people in the US and abroad who feel this way all the time. People who, no matter what they do, can never seem to get their heads above water and aren’t sure what to do about it. Where can they turn?
That’s where Operation Hope comes in. Operation Hope is a leading nonprofit that promotes financial literacy and empowerment throughout the world and has reached over 1.5 million people to date. Their mission: “To expand economic opportunity in underserved communities through economic education and empowerment.” Their goal: “Improve the economic quality of life for individuals, families and communities through programs that create stakeholders: converting check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners and minimum wage workers into living wage workers.”
So how does it work? Operation Hope gives underserved communities access to the education and resources which give them a chance to actually become a part of – and benefit from – our economy. In order to make this happen, they have an extensive list of programs and initiatives. Those who need help understanding personal finance can go to one of The Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers. Once they’re ready to move their finances forward, they can join the 700 Credit Score Communities for help in obtaining a high enough credit score to do things like buy a home. And what about kids? The sooner they learn how to manage their finances, the better their chances at a bright future. That’s why Operation Hope created Banking on Our Future, bringing financial literacy into classrooms across the US. And these aren’t even the tip of the iceberg! See here for a full list of Operation Hope’s programs and initiatives.
So who’s the brains behind Operation Hope? John Hope Bryant founded the nonprofit after the Los Angeles riots of 1992 and is on a mission to make the American Dream available to everyone through his “Silver Rights Movement”. Bryant, described by former US president Bill Clinton as “whirlwind of ideas and action” has been showered with so many accolades and awards that I’d have to write another blog post to list them all. Most notably he has advised the last three US presidents and is currently the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. In this role, Bryant is focused on establishing local financial literacy councils across the U.S. Clinton went on to say that Bryant is “Lean, intense, focused, and completely positive in his belief in the potential of poor people to prosper, with a ‘hand up and not a hand out.’”
It’s our mission to empower everyone to take control of their finances and get out of debt. With the great work Operation Hope is doing to promote financial literacy and access to resources throughout the US and beyond, then even more people can take that control. Thanks to John Hope Bryant and Operation Hope, more people than ever are realizing the American Dream and we think that’s pretty awesome. If you’re interested in learning more or helping out, then check them out and find out how to get involved.
Image credit: drpnncpp