With the support of FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and FEMA Deputy Administrator Tim Manning, approximately 45 days ago the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, which I chair serving President Barack Obama and the Obama Administration, considered and subsequently passed a key recommendation to the full Council that would incorporate the new field of emergency financial and economic disaster preparedness, response and recovery into the federal government policy framework around financial capability.
I am pleased to report that this past week, at the Council meeting held at the U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday, November 27th, 2012, the full Council unanimously approved this same recommendation to the President and Secretary of the Treasury. Chris Logan, chief of staff and counselor to the deputy administrator at FEMA, pictured above, was on hand when the vote was considered and carried at the meeting.
And while we had no way of knowing that Hurricane Sandy would hit out country, making this policy recommendation even more relevant to all Americans, it does suggest that the President's Council is on point, on task, and paying close attention to what matters most in America, for Americans.
Recommendation: That the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury integrate the field of emergency financial and economic disaster preparedness response and recovery into the broader financial capability efforts of the federal government, and invite the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to be a part of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC).
Justification: Underserved communities have historically been particularly impacted by natural disaster. Families who are financially prepared (for example, those who have a bank account, manage their financial documents, have adequate insurance, and have savings) are in a better position to receive benefits and ultimately recover from a disaster. Integrating disaster preparedness into the Federal government's financial capability initiatives provides another touch-point and incentive for people to get their finances under control. Federal and state governments should therefore connect financial education and disaster planning work in order to make both more effective.
A special thank you to Council Chairman John Rogers, Council Vice Chair Amy Rosen, Council Members and Members of our Subcommittee, as well as key US Treasury officials including Assistant Secretary Cyrus Amir-Mokri, Deputy Assistant Secretary Melissa Koide, and Louisa Quittman, Director of Financial Education, Office of Consumer Policy.
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. Mr. Bryant is a though leader represented by the Bright Sight Group for public speaking. Mr. Bryant serves on the board of directors of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, an NYSE Euronext publicly traded company, and a division of $54 billion Ares Capital.