John Hope Bryant

Bestselling business leadership author and philanthropic entrepreneur

Financial literacy has evolved over time, and thankfully, the broader space still is. That said, as I begin to outline the fundamental building block pieces surrounding this critically important space, it is also helpful to appreciate the insightful quote from the LinkedIn founder, who said, "If you are not slightly embarrassed by your 1.0 software release, then you released too late."

It is better to do something good, today, than to wait for whatever you view or feel to be 'perfect' sometime later. Action is paramount in today's day and age.

Ph.D.'s are good, and Ph.Do's are even better. The answer is not one or the other, but both.

Financial education is the baseline, pioneered for underserved America through then President Lincoln's creation of the Freedman's Bank, which was chartered to "teach freed slaves about money and how free enterprise worked," and for mainstream America, about 100 years ago in the agrarian age by organizations such as Junior Achievement (JA). JA was created approximately 100 years ago to help young people in rural America prepare themselves to run and operate the family farm. For these young people, the issues were not emotional or self-esteem based, but fundamentals-based.

Today, particularly in inner-city and underserved America, issues around money and the economy are mixed up and interrelated with emotions, self-esteem, identity, even core issues of human dignity. Thus, my founding of Operation HOPE more than 20 years ago to address this need, focused on the 100 million Americans who make $50,000 or less, who define themselves as the working poor, the underserved and today, even the struggling middle class. People, families, small businesses and communities, that have "too much month at the end of their money."

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