Jhb_at_the_white_house_003I believe this was taken in preparation for our June 18th, 2008, first ever White House Roundtable on Financial Literacy.  The event was a great success, and initiated the critically important process of building a national leadership constituency around financial literacy in this country. It is an honor for me to serve our country, my country, advancing the vision of "silver rights" for us all.

In this regard I want to thank President George W. Bush for signing the historic Executive Order of January 22nd, 2008, making financial literacy the policy of the federal government for the first time in our nation’s history. This is significant.

Yes, he responded positively when approached on this critical issue by me, and I am appreciative of this. He did not have to. And yes, I believe the President was indeed inspired to act, in part by the empowering work of Operation HOPE in the under-served communities we serve around this country. This said, it simply would not have happened without the President’s executive action, period. He did that.

A proud and coveted American tradition centers around criticizing our nation’s chief executive when it is believed the he, and hopefully at some point this will be "she" too, has made mistakes of leadership.  But I believe we must also applaud them when they do the right thing, and when they show real leadership on behalf of the American people. Such is the case with President Bush and this issue of financial literacy.

Clinton_smith_bryant_1_2I also want to thank my friend and partner in HOPE, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, for partnering with Operation HOPE in Harlem to advance financial literacy and "silver rights," through and with his Clinton Foundation, our work together to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, our commitment to open our first Africa office through Clinton Global Initiative, and his prominent featuring our work in his book GIVING (which everyone should purchase and read). President Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton even sent Operation HOPE a personal $25,000 contribution towards our work around financial literacy. Powerful.

Honored of course to be associated with every President I have had the honor of meeting, working with and serving, and I am likewise appreciative of the leadership provided on this critical issue by both President George W. Bush, and former President Bill Clinton. On financial literacy and the power of "silver rights," we can all agree. Giving credit where credit is due.

The U.S. President’s Council on Financial Literacy will serve two sitting U.S. presidents until 2010, with financial guru Charles Schwab as chairman, and me as vice chairman.

Expect much from the Council in the months to come and on through 2010, and beyond.

Expect much — we do.

Onward with HOPE,

John Hope Bryant

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