The Crossroads of Finance and HOPE
By Jack Markwalter ’17
Now that my first school year of involvement with JIFFI is about three-quarters of the way done, I am able to reflect on how fortunate I am to have had the experience that I had prior to working with this great organization. During the final two summers leading up to this school year, I was able to work with Operation HOPE, an organization that is dedicated to creating a financially literate community. I knew that my experience there would be extremely useful in the future, especially because I want to someday work in the financial services industry, but I did not know that I would use some of the skills that I learned with HOPE so early in my college career.
During my time at Operation HOPE, I had the opportunity to attend the openings of local banks, be trained to teach financial literacy as well as entrepreneurship classes to kids in the Atlanta community, and plan and participate in the first and second annual Global Financial Dignity summits hosted by Operation HOPE. Through this experience, I was able to gain basic financial knowledge, be introduced to a myriad of models to create financial change, and make some very beneficial connections with those in the financial industry as well as the non-profit industry.
All of these benefits have directly helped me to contribute that much more to JIFFI this past year. To start, I was able to join JIFFI at the very beginning of the year because I ended up working in Atlanta with another JIFFI member, and through this connection realized that JIFFI would be an organization that would be a perfect fit for me at Notre Dame. From the beginning of my involvement with JIFFI, I have been able to contribute to our newly established Financial Empowerment Program (FEP) through the skills and resources I have received from Operation HOPE. We were able to reference the contents of HOPE’s financial literacy program to make sure that we weren’t missing any key concepts when developing our modules. In addition, the relationship that we have with Operation HOPE has already been very helpful. Two members of our FEP team were able to attend the Global Financial Dignity Summit for this year and we hope to have more members attend in the coming years. With all of this said, I could not be any luckier to have worked at Operation HOPE prior to my time with JIFFI.