On January 23rd, 2014, in Birmingham, Alabama, I was proud to stand with new friends Grayson Hall, CEO of Regions Bank, the only Fortune 500 company in the state of Alabama, and Johnny Johns, CEO of Protective Life Insurance, one of the largest insurance companies in the southern states, as we announced the first HOPE Inside location in and for Birmingham, Alabama.
Our broader work of Operation HOPE, Alabama within the state is presently supported by Regions Bank, Protective Life Insurance Co., and the federal government through the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Our first HOPE Inside, Birmingham, located within the Five Points South location, is sponsored by and located within Regions Bank. The HOPE Inside model is an important part of our Project 5117 national initiative. It is my sincere hope that this first location in Bimingham actually represents the first of many more to come. And I am told by my team that our efforts there are already producing results.
Already, we have launched the framework for our HOPE Alabama board of directors, which will be chaired by my friend Rick Swagler, executive vice president of Regions Bank. Internal support from Rick Swagler and friend Lajuana Bradford, senior vice president of Regions Bank, is the reason we have such strong backing from the bank as we roll out this localized version of our nation vision. A special thank you to both of them. Additionally, Art Faulkner, emergency manager for the Governor and the State of Alabama, will serve as our vice chairman for the new HOPE Alabama board of directors.
Importantly, it was Birmingham Mayor William Bell who first invited me and Operation HOPE to roll-out our work in his city. Glad he did, and honored we are now doing just that. Without the mayor's original invitation, we would not be in the city. The mayor and HOPE will remain strongly connected as partners moving forward.