ATLANTA – July 19, 2019 – Operation HOPE announced today that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded the organization a $1.2 million grant to extend its financial recovery work in Puerto Rico through HOPE Coalition America (HCA), the central programming arm of its national disaster and preparedness division, HOPE Inside Disaster. The grant will fund up to 300 workshops to empower entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow and succeed following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The initiative, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with nearly $1.8 million in local funds and will be undertaken in partnership with Banco Popular. The workshops will focus on continuity activities such as business expansion, new business opportunity building, preparedness, and resilience. A key component of Operation HOPE’s delivery of this support is its Digital Entrepreneur Training Program (ETP), designed to enable underserved and developing small businesses to access educational resources and connect with a network of subject matter experts.
“We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department’s Economic Development Administration for awarding this grant to support our work in Puerto Rico,” said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hope Bryant. “It will help us to continue to uplift communities there, and we will also be able to bring impact to a designated Opportunity Zone. As I’ve said before, these zones will begin to attract real capital into neighborhoods and this grant allows us to continue our work to empower inclusion and help the island’s economy recover and grow stronger.”
HOPE Inside, a unique financial empowerment model created by Operation HOPE to provide no-cost financial literacy coaching and education to participants through the support of financial and corporate partners, currently stands at more than 130 locations across the country. Core programming includes credit and money management, homeownership, and small business development. The model also includes HOPE Inside Youth, HOPE Inside The Workplace, an employee financial wellness program; and HOPE Inside Disaster.
In 27 years, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed over $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—impacting 1,467 U.S. cities and towns. Through the HOPE 700 Credit Score Communities initiative, the focus of raising client FICO scores to 700 is at the foundation of all HOPE Inside programming. Seventy-two percent of HOPE clients improved their FICO scores—35-point average—after 5.4 months, and a recent Accenture analysis reveals that Operation HOPE improves FICO scores at 2-3 times the rate of its peers. Through HCA, Operation HOPE has responded to 148 federal-declared disasters.
Read EDA announcement HERE.

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