By Damian Carson

Thursday, February 10, Damian Carson, Program Manager for Small Business Assistance with HOPE Coalition America (HCA), hosted a seminar on disaster preparedness and recovery to bring HOPE to Birmingham business.


HDOP copyDuring the workshop, I discussed the HOPE Doctrine on Poverty: lacking self-confidence, belief in one-self; lacking role models and positive environment and lacking aspiration and opportunity. The HOPE doctrine redefines what it means to be poor. As HOPE founder and CEO John Hope Bryant always says, “There is a difference between being broke and being poor; being broke is a temporary economic situation, but being poor is a disabling frame of mind and a depressed condition of the spirit.” Knowing this directs Operation HOPE activities, and focus.

The HOPE Coalition America (HCA) initiative under Operation HOPE delivers services through our Adult, Youth and Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Divisions. At the seminar, the group also discussed the nine counties in Alabama that were designated as a Presidential Disaster Declared area.  I talked about the resources available through FEMA and SBA, and how HCA assists with ensuring that individuals and small businesses are prepared before a disaster, how to navigate through a disaster and recover after a disaster. The post-disaster resources and preparedness efforts are the reason our Emergency Financial First Aid Kit EFFAK & Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide PDPG are so valuable.

I had the opportunity to serve at the Disaster Recovery Center in Bessemer. Unfortunately, several individuals needing assistance could not produce the needed documentation because of loss documents during the storm.  I stressed the importance of completing the EFFAK completely and saving documents on a drive, storing copies in safety deposit box or leaving them with a relative out of town.  I also encouraged the small businesses to inquire and get business interruption insurance. Studies show that for every dollar spent on the front end for preparedness saves you 7 dollars on the back end during recovery.

Lastly, I talked about the next steps related to Project 5117 and how it relates to moving the Birmingham small businesses forward through a collective effort.  I left attendees with three hopeful quotes from John Hope Bryant, “Always a rainbow after the storm,” “Phd’s are nice, but PHDo’s are better” and “learn to eat “no” as vitamins!”


Below is a letter received from the Assistant Vice President of Alliant Bank following the seminar, who now plans to get involved!

Good Afternoon Damian,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for coming to the BBA meeting and sharing your expertises with the group. This has enlightened and empowered me to get connected in some form. Your company has an excellent strategy to get the community involved.

Keep up the great work!!

Sierra Earle
Assistant Vice President
Alliant Bank