On the 23rd anniversary of Operation HOPE's birth, I am sitting in a Paris airport, waiting to complete travel to the first ever meeting of Clinton Global Initiative for Africa, in Casablanca, Morocco. 23 years after the Rodney King Riots, a lot has changed (including the stability of South Los Angeles and the underserved communities of Greater Los Angeles), but so much else has not (Baltimore, Maryland for instance). There is much work yet to be done, and we are focused on doing it.
I am inspired by people like my personal hero, mentor ad HOPE Global Spokesman, civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young. A man with more than 125 honorary doctorate degrees, and who amongst his countless accomplishments, worked as a senior lieutenant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ambassador Young was the nation's first ever UN Ambassador of African-American descent, the first Black member of Congress from Georgia since Reconstruction, Mayor of Atlanta for two terms, Co-Chairman of the Atlanta Olympic Games, and one who is widely credited with making Atlanta the only international city in the South today. I have been deeply honored to work closely with him, to learn from him, and to count him not only as a mentor, but a friend and father figure in my life. he is a full partner in our growing silver rights movement to open up the free enterprise system, for all.
I created Operation HOPE for a reason. We will complete what President Abraham Lincoln had in mind when he created the Freedman's Bank on March 3rd, 1865, whose mission was to 'teach freed slaves about money and the free enterprise system.' We will help advance what Dr. King had in mind in 1968, when we sought to launch his Poor People's Campaign.
Operation HOPE will deliver The Memo, and open up the free enterprise system — to all who wish to participate in it. It's work, will continue to be 'dignity centered.'
The work going forward through 2020 for Operation HOPE, will be rooted in HOPE's Project 5117 Initiative, focused on:
- Reaching 5 million kids, helping to make smart cool, so kids want to stay in school.
- Helping to connect one million of those young people to entrepreneurship, and internships.
- Opening (at least) 1,000 HOPE Inside locations. Inside of bank branches, credit unions, grocery stores, big box retailers, houses of faith, government offices, and wherever we find people in need.
- And all of the adult empowerment work will lead to HOPE 700 Credit Score Communities. "Nothing changes your life more today, than maybe God or love, than moving your credit score 120 points."
Operation HOPE will continue to grow to become the world's leading private banker for the working poor, the struggling class, and the teetering middle class. Folks with 'too much month, at the end of their money.'
And the work outside of the United States, in developing countries and regions of the world, will focus on empowerment, and giving people and communities the dignity and tools they need to do for themselves. This is the legacy of the work we continue to do, in places like South Africa, where Operation HOPE South Africa has achieved impressive results. It is the work of HOPE South Africa, including our work with the Peace Corps there, that will be highlighted during CGI in Morocco this week.
CGI was founded immediately following the Presidency of my friend President William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton, and is the living legacy of friends Secretary Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton as well. They are doing good and important work in the world, and I appreciate them. The world needs — what CGI is doing.
John Hope Bryant, Founder
Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Ventures