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Press Release

FEMA Administrator Joined HOPE Forum Discussion on Importance of Financial Preparedness to Expedite Economic Recovery

Operation HOPE joined federal and local disaster management leaders in Atlanta to explore solutions to better prepare our communities

PR Newswire

ATLANTA, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Operation HOPE (HOPE), the financial dignity nonprofit, hosted Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate on June 18 at a HOPE Forum to discuss the importance of financial preparedness planning for disasters and emergencies. The event was held at the HOPE Financial Dignity Center at the Martin Luther King, Sr. facility in Atlanta.

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The Forum, titled Financial and Economic Disaster Recovery: People, Preparedness and the Price, was the fifth installment of the 2013 HOPE Forum series. Administrator Fugate spoke about the important relationship between financial and economic recovery and a stable tax base, explaining how businesses can aid recovery efforts by providing jobs in recovering communities.

"Disasters can strike at any time and can affect people in profound ways, including financially," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "A key part of being prepared is to know the risks for where you live. Organizations like Operation HOPE can assist survivors before and after disasters to be financially resilient." 

The Forum also engaged audience members for targeted and strategic planning development to improve citizen preparedness. The more than 120 attendees were divided into three action groups that collaborated to develop real-life disaster preparation and recovery strategies. The groups fell into one of three categories: corporations and large employers, emergency response and recovery officials, and government and community organizations. Results from these sessions will be compiled into a report to be used as suggested best practices for disaster preparedness.

The groups outlined three primary items for immediate action in preparation for future disasters:

  1. Establishing collaborative efforts to highlight the importance of disaster financial preparedness and recovery in their local communities
  2. Participating organizations and corporations agreed to place the EFFAK (Emergency Financial First Aid Kit) and the PDPG (Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide) on their company websites and encourage employees and customers to take advantage of these tools
  3. Corporations and large employers will explore including the disaster financial preparation as a part of their employee benefit packages

"Our HOPE forum can jumpstart this critical dialogue about how business and community leaders can help ensure a timely recovery should a disaster occur, but true success of this effort will be measured by how we follow through in the days and weeks that follow," said Operation HOPE chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant. "Operation HOPE was honored to help facilitate this conversation between the most important actors at the state, federal and local levels and private industry about how to prepare our communities before disaster strikes."

Other distinguished attendees who joined Bryant and Administrator Fugate included:

  • Art Faulkner, manager, Alabama Emergency
  • Kwanza Hall, councilmember, Atlanta City Council
  • Deborah Jackson, mayor, City of Lithonia, Ga. 
  • Dan Mahurin, chief financial well-being officer, SunTrust Bank
  • Ceasar Mitchell, president, Atlanta City Council
  • Jack Morgan, divisional disaster executive, American Red Cross
  • H. Philip Paradice, regional director, U.S. Economic Development Administration
  • Joe Ruiz, director of humanitarian relief, UPS
  • Chris Womack, executive vice president of external affairs, Southern Companies

American electric utilities holding firm, Southern Companies, sponsored the Forum, which was moderated by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Charley English.

HOPE Coalition America, led by Fred Smith, is Operation HOPE's disaster preparedness and recovery division. It has worked closely with FEMA on multiple disaster recovery efforts, for more than 35 natural disasters and national emergencies, including the Boston bombing and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

About Operation HOPE
Operation HOPE is Americas leading nonprofit social investment banking and financial dignity empowerment organization. Through its four core portfolios, the organization has provided youth and adult financial literacy, economic preparedness, digital empowerment, promoted home ownership, and assisted with foreclosure prevention to more than 2 million individuals, families, and small business owners. Operation HOPE is leading the silver rights movement, making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities. For more information, please visit

About FEMA
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. For more information about FEMA visit


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