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09-25-03, 01:47 PM
VA and Operation Hope Sign Cooperation Agreement

WASHINGTON (Sept. 25, 2003) - Leaders of the Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) and Operation Hope Inc. recently signed an agreement that will provide
veterans the needed tools in financial planning, both for individuals and
small business owners.

"Today's collaboration stands to provide veterans an understanding of money
management that will advance their financial education on both a personal
and professional level," said Dr. Leo S. Mackay Jr., Deputy Secretary of
Veterans Affairs. "I am truly heartened that one of my last official acts
in government is to help launch a program that will heighten veterans'
understanding of financial management."

The memorandum of understanding, signed Sept. 24 in VA's central office,
builds on the achievements of the department's Center for Veterans
Enterprise (CVE). CVE helps promote business ownership and expansion for
veterans. It provides assistance for veterans, including service-disabled
veterans, who are considering starting or expanding a business.

The agreement will also assist VA in its many programs for homeless veterans
by helping those veterans to develop the financial skills necessary for
self-sufficiency. "Homeless veterans need financial literacy as a survival
skill," said Mackay, who steps down from his VA post Sept. 30 after 29
months in office.

Operation Hope Inc. is a national non-profit organization that seeks to
bring economic self-sufficiency to America's inner city and underserved
communities. Founder and Chairman John Bryant has been cited by four U.S.
presidents for his work to empower low-wealth communities across America.

"This alliance will be an educational investment in the future of America's
veterans and in the future of this great nation," said Mackay. "It will
nourish homeless veterans as they move to independence and help the CVE
provide entrepreneurial veterans the training, outreach and counseling they
will need to succeed professionally."

For information about other business opportunities and programs for
veterans, visit VA's Center for Veterans Enterprise Web page at