Last week, Mary Hagerty, our global chief of financial literacy at Operation HOPE, and I visited with Mr. James "Jamie" Dimon, chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co. in his offices in New York City. Like many others, I was impressed with his obvious intellect, but I was more impressed with his genuine interest in listening. I think it is fair to say that in this substantive meeting we learned a lot about each other, and that respect grew on both sides.More than a decade ago JP Morgan Chase was amongst a hand full of NY financial leaders, amongst them the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the then Bankers Trust, that welcomed us to Manhattan, New York. Today we are making a big difference with youth, teaching financial literacy empowerment in more than 200 NYC public schools and nonprofit organizations, with our HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center in Harlem, New York, and soon, in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, we will be providing technical assistance to other nonprofit organizations (via HOPE Advisors), helping them to provide financial literacy to their constituencies.
I felt like I genuinely met the "real" Jamie Dimon last week, and frankly, I am glad I did. While I cannot talk much about the real substance of our discussion in the meeting, I can say that what Jamie had to contribute was honorable and in what I would call "the public good."
With any luck, going forward, we will find a way to move the agenda (of financial literacy empowerment for all, and expanding capital access wherever it makes sense) together. Let's see what comes. Frankly, I would be honored to work closely together with Jamie to advance "silver rights" empowerment; meaning to make free enterprise and capitalism relevant to the poor and the under-served, and to work for the poor and the under-served.
A special thank you to my friend Kim Davis, president of JP Morgan Chase Foundation, our other friends at the bank and the more than 90 JP Morgan Chase employees who serve as HOPE Corps volunteers with Operation HOPE.
To better understand Jamie Dimon, read this piece from the New York Times Magazine here.
Onward with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant