SOURCE: Operation HOPE, Inc.

December 07, 2007 20:30 ET

Operation HOPE's Newly Created Global Advisory Board to Provide Strategic Counsel for International Expansion

Prominent Members Will Serve as Key Advisors as HOPE Global Initiatives Continue to Expand Worldwide

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - December 7, 2007) - Operation HOPE (HOPE) announced today that it has created a new HOPE Global Board of Advisors that will help shape policy and provide overall support and guidance for the organization's activities outside the U.S.

"Organizing this inaugural and prestigious global board of key advisors is a major step in the direction of making our vision real in the lives of millions of individuals who want, and indeed deserve, the dignity of a better life," said John Hope Bryant, founder of Operation HOPE.

As newly elected "ambassadors for silver rights" around the world, these individuals will serve two-year terms on the founding 17-member board. At the counsel's helm is Sean Cleary, Chairman of Strategic Concepts (Pty) Ltd in South Africa. An international visionary, Mr. Cleary serves as an advisor to the chairman and managing board of the World Economic Forum and is a member of the Board of LEAD International. Mr. Cleary also provided the original inspiration for the launch of Operation HOPE of South Africa, and HOPE's first global office teaching youth self-empowerment and financial literacy, Banking on Our Future, South Africa (BOOFSA).

"I am honored to assume the responsibility of guiding the HOPE Global Advisory Board as we work towards implementing international standards and procedures," said Mr. Cleary. "This will be key to helping realise the organization's goal to empower underserved communities worldwide."

HOPE boards are comprised of some of the world's most powerful financial executives, decision-makers, public policy makers, bankers and economists. They include six domestic regional boards, two new regional boards in South Africa, a national governing board, and the recently added global board of advisors. All play an essential role providing insight, guidance, resources and support to the organization and its senior management team.

Those attached to the newly launched global board of advisors include: Frank Krings, Chief Operating Officer, Regional Management, Deutsche Bank AG (Germany); Martina Gmur, Associate Director, World Economic Forum (Switzerland); Elvis Gbanabom Hallowell, Founder and Executive Director, Save Heritage and Rehabilitate the Environment "SHARE" (Africa); Tom McInerney, chairman and CEO of ING (USA); the Honorable Penny Low, Member of Parliament, Founder and President, Social Innovation Park Ltd (Singapore); Kumi Fujisawa, Vice President, Sophia Bank Ltd. (Japan); Malvinder Mohan Singh, CEO & Managing Director, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. (India); Juan Nieto, Chairman and CEO, Palmera Capital y Servicios (Spain); and the Honorable Robin Renee Sanders, the newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria (USA).

International growth has been the focus this year as Operation HOPE celebrates its 15th anniversary. "I applaud HOPE's initiative in addressing the needs of underserved communities both in America and abroad," said HOPE Global Spokesman and civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young. "This is timely and relevant to the development of emerging nations such as those in the Diaspora."

Aside from being a leading global financial literacy and economic empowerment non-profit organization, HOPE is also a second-stage responder to natural disasters and emergencies. Since 1992, HOPE has become the premier social investment bank, educating more than 250,000 youth in financial literacy, facilitating over 13 million dollars in EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) refunds and providing credit and financial counseling for more than 95,000 Katrina survivors. Currently, the organization is addressing issues surrounding the U.S. subprime housing crisis, having advocated for some 5,000 homeowners struggling for mortgage relief. Banking on Our Future, South Africa and Operation HOPE of South Africa, launched in Johannesburg on June 7, 2007, have already taught 1,431 youth in South Africa financial literacy, a course in dignity and a course in entrepreneurship, with the help of more than 70 HOPE Corps volunteers from South Africa's Standard Bank, our international partner IFC of the World Bank group, and our first global partner Citi.

Collectively, HOPE has empowered more than a half million people, whether through its Banking on Our Future program, HOPE Coalition America, Call-In Centers, or one of its eight HOPE Banking Center Networks.

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