That he has never been limited in his thinking when it comes to his own business potential has a great deal to do with why John Bryant is one of the most influential black men in America.

A fact not lost on three U.S. presidents—Bush, Clinton and Obama—all of whom he has served including his present post on the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

A former goodwill ambassador to the U.S. for the United Nations, Bryant has been dubbed as one of the most authoritative and compelling advocates for poverty eradication in America today. And in the twenty years since he was motivated to establish Operation Hope after the L.A. riots in 1992, the organization has raised and invested $1.4 billion dollars in private capital in its communities serving over two million people. With an annual operating budget of $20 million, 18,000 HOPE Core volunteers and 5,000 partners, the L.A.-headquartered non-profit offers services in 273 U.S. cities and has expanded globally from South Africa to Morocco to Saudi Arabia.

It is the only minority organization with a national partner in homeland security for emergency economical disaster response and since its inception, has responded to hurricane Katrina and 22 other disasters.

“I want a movement. That’s what I’m focused on,” says John Bryant, referring to his vision of empowering underserved youth through financial literacy and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Ironically, it was a movement that started in transit as an inaugural bus tour with Bryant pulling together members of the banking community to tour South Central in the days following L.A.’s bloodiest and most costly riot to get them to see the viability of investing in South Central Los Angeles.

But what they invested just as much in was John Bryant’s vision.

“I don’t believe a person can have social justice until they can have economic justice. This is the new civil rights issue. After civil rights, we have to have silver rights. If Dr. King was alive this is exactly what he’d be doing right now,” insists Bryant.

“The main driver of freedom in the world today is not the vote but access to capital.”

Read the complete cover story at L.A. Focus Newspaper here.


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