SOURCE: Operation HOPE, Inc.

March 12, 2008 15:24 ET

Vice Chairman John Hope Bryant Applauds Creation of White House USA Freedom Corps Sponsored Financial Literacy Volunteer Initiative, Announced at Oakland Town Hall With U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson

New Financial Literacy Corps to Be Considered for Formal Adoption at Next Meeting of U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy

Treasury Secretary Paulson Presents President's Volunteer Service Award to HOPE Corps Volunteer Gayliene Omary During Oakland Town Hall Event

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - March 12, 2008) - Operation HOPE (HOPE) Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant, also the vice chairman of the newly enacted U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, touted the new White House USA Freedom Corps (USAFC) Financial Literacy Volunteer Initiative, or what Bryant calls "the nation's first Financial Literacy Corps," during a town hall discussion in Oakland, California last week. Bryant also plans to place the Financial Literacy Corps on the agenda for the next meeting of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy to seek formal adoption.

California State Assembly Member and Banking Committee Chair Ted Lieu, and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums were each on hand to participate in the HOPE sponsored event that featured Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. and U.S. Treasurer Anna Cabral.

This new White House USA Freedom Corps initiative provides tools and resources, available at www.volunteer.gov for Americans interested in sharing their financial expertise, nonprofits in need of skilled volunteers, or homeowners seeking financial guidance.

"I applaud the White House for creating this initiative. A national resource accessible at the local level in every community across America, now people can sign up to educate adults in the workplace as well as youth in schools and community based organizations. And for those with experience in credit and mortgage finance, these individuals will have the opportunity to counsel citizens who've been most impacted by the subprime mortgage crisis. This is dignity in action," said Bryant, vice chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy (USPACFL).

Established on January 22nd, 2008 by Executive Order, the USPACFL is commissioned until 2010 to promote and enhance financial literacy and economic empowerment through the whole of society and at all levels; from schools to the workplace to the unbanked, to those impacted by the mortgage sub-prime crisis. The Executive Order also mandates financial literacy as the policy of the federal government.

Joining Bryant at the tented, standing room only forum was President's Council Chairman Charles Schwab, chairman and CEO of the Charles H. Schwab Corporation, and President's Council Member Don J. McGrath, chairman and CEO, BancWest Corporation and sponsor of the Oakland HOPE Center with Operation HOPE. McGrath also serves on the national board for Operation HOPE.

During the event, Secretary Paulson presented a lifetime President's Volunteer Service Award to HOPE Corps volunteer Gayliene Omary, a Wholesale Account Executive for Bank of America who has dedicated more than 27,000 hours of volunteer service over the course of her lifetime. Omary, raised by her mother with a spirit for volunteerism, brought her own daughter to the event who in turn volunteered during the town hall session.

Through Operation HOPE, Omary volunteers in California schools teaching students at various grade levels about the importance of making wise financial decisions. Last year, Omary received HOPE's "Banking on Our Future Volunteer of The Year" award to honor her community service. The lifetime award recognizes outstanding volunteers who have contributed over 4,000 hours of service.

Senior Vice President and HOPE Corps Director, Emily Ausbrook said, "There is no better time than the present to volunteer to help your fellow Americans, young or old, navigate through the world of financial literacy. Now is the time to be a hero, volunteer today."

To find or promote financial literacy volunteer opportunities in your area visit: www.volunteer.gov.

For more information on the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, visit: www.treasury.gov/offices/domestic-finance/financial-institution/fin-education/council/index.shtml.

For more information on Operation HOPE's award-winning Banking on Our Future Program visit www.operationhope.org.

About Operation HOPE

Operation HOPE (HOPE) is a leading global nonprofit social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization. Through various initiatives and its three principal programs: Banking on Our Future (teaching youth about financial empowerment), HOPE Coalition America (financial emergency preparedness and recovery), and the HOPE Center Banking Network (loans, bill pay, computer literacy, and understanding banking principles), HOPE is at the forefront of a "silver rights" movement, making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities. For more information, visit us at www.operationhope.org.

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