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Operation HOPE Executive Mary Ehrsam Receives Highest Award from Gettysburg College

Mary Ehrsam, Gettysburg College Class of ‘90, received the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest and most prestigious award given by the institution for professional and civic achievement.

ATLANTA (June 8, 2022) – Mary Hagerty Ehrsam, President of Partnerships at Operation HOPE, received the Gettysburg College Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest and most prestigious award given by the college for professional and civic achievement. Ehrsam is a graduate of Gettysburg College class of 1990. She was presented the award by the President of Gettysburg, Bob Luliano during a private ceremony.

Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year private college of liberal arts and sciences located in Pennsylvania. Ehrsam received a degree in economics and political science and graduated with honors.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Art & Soul, and the Alumni Board of Directors of Gettysburg College.

Ehrsam has been an innovative leader and has worked with Operation HOPE, the nation’s leading financial literacy non-profit, for over two decades. As President of HOPE Partnerships, she drives the cultivation of revenue streams and avenues for growth and sustainability while furthering the organization’s overall mission. Operation HOPE’s goal is to make free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved — disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income youth and adults across the country.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award and be a part of an organization, like Operation HOPE, that is constantly raising the bar on what it means to serve communities in need,” Ehrsam said. “As a student at Gettysburg, I learned the value of civic engagement as a powerful tool to help others cultivate positive change— in a bold and unapologetic way. This is truly a full-circle moment.” 

Ehrsam developed and executed the national launch of the HOPE youth programs, expanded the HOPE Inside model nationwide, and led the global expansion in South Africa and the Middle East. Working with the Global Dignity co-founders, Ehrsam developed the “Course in Dignity” curriculum that has been delivered, in partnership with the World Economic Forum of Young Global Leaders, in 100 countries on four continents. She currently serves as the co-lead of the Financial Literacy for All (FL4A) initiative.

Ehrsam has been instrumental in the growth of Operation HOPE’s offerings, working to drive annual revenue to $50M, and expand its reach to more than 300 cities on three continents while serving more than 2.8 million individuals. Notably, her efforts have also directed $3.5 billion in private investment into low-wealth communities through national programming and outreach. 

“We proudly celebrate Mary’s Distinguished Alumni Award and applaud her contributions to the progressive culture at Operation HOPE,” said John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE. “Mary’s confidence, competence and consistency have been instrumental to furthering our mission of empowering underserved communities through financial literacy. This honor is well deserved indeed.”

In addition to her role at Operation HOPE, Ehrsam serves as the Vice President of the Gettysburg Executive Board and Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee. She is an Advisor for the Save The Arts Foundation, a member of the Advisory Board of the BXS Community Fund, LLC, Fifth Third Bank’s National Community Advisory Forum, and is a member of the ODE National Economics Society. 

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income youth and adults across the nation. Through our community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check-cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors. Project 5117 is our multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth in underserved communities, and stabilize the American dream by boosting FICO scores. Operation HOPE recently received its sixth consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator. For more information: Follow the HOPE conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Media Contacts:

Lalohni Campbell, Operation HOPE


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