National Conference of Black Mayors: The National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) announced that more than 80 Mayors have committed to stand up local Financial Literacy Councils before the end of 2012 with goal of 100 cities. These Financial Literacy Councils will serve as a local one-stop shop for financial dignity, financial capability and empowerment, for youth, consumers, and businesses. For the full list of cities, please clickhere. Read the complete White House Announcement here.
Last week the National Conference of Black Mayors, as led by Mayor Bowser of East Orange, New Jersey and NCBM Executive Director Vanessa Williams, underscored the significant role they are now playing in the national agenda post global economic crisis, when it made and then kept a commitment to secure 100 U.S. cities to launch new Local Financial Literacy Councils.
Led by commitments of American cities both large and small, President Obama and the White House publicly recognized the lead commitment made by NCBM last week at the first ever White House Summit on Financial Capability at the White House on May 10th, 2012.
In January, 2012, I made a personal leadership commitment to help stand up no less than 50 new Local Financial Literacy and Financial Capability Councils under President Obama's leadership, and as the new incoming chairman of the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.
Today I am proud to report that with the strong support of President Obama and the Obama Administration our Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment more than doubled our initial leadership commitment of 50 Local Councils. With an announcement at the White House on May 10th, 2012, the Subcommittee reported out on more than 110 cities that have thus far committed to establish a Local Financial Literacy Council tied to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, which is in turn chaired by businessman John Rogers. This of course includes the lead commitment from the National Conference of Black Mayors.
As I have said before, "financial literacy is the new civil rights issue for this generation." That said, there has been no no formal national constituency of the people, for the people, for financial literacy and financial dignity in this country.
With the creation of more than 100 Local Councils by mayors, county officials and state leaders, and with each Local Council being made up of 12 appointed leaders in and from that local community (imagine the local school chief, the largest local employer, the leading local banker, the lead of EITC and the BankOn program locally, the local Emergency Management head, and other key local stakeholders playing a Local Council role), America and American citizens now have that active constituency, and a place to turn in cities for action.
Furthermore, given that the U.S. President's Council is a policy and national leadership resource for the President and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and as such "cannot be operational," the Local Councils are led by local mayors, and can be fully operational in nature. And so, from encouraging local school districts to make financial literacy a requirement for every child, to moving the unbanked to become banked, to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), to making real changes with employers, Local Councils can make real and life-changing change in the lives of real people.
Download your own Creating A Local Council Resource Guide, if you want to help your local leadership to create a Local Council for your city.
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.