It just never, ever gets old. When a current respected former U.S. President, calls your name. I remember the first time it happened, with a man I respected —- then President George H.W. Bush, at the White House. But he didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him. He had heard of my work in community, and the decision was made by his team to commend me publicly. Appreciated greatly, but it was not personal.

President Bill Clinton, giving closing session remarks at his Clinton Global Initiatives 2022 Annual Meeting in New York City, September 20th, 2022.

Last night, was personal. And respectfully stated, more meaningful to me. At the close of the Clinton Global Initiative 2022, in Manhattan, NY this week, President Clinton in his closing remarks, found time, space and reason to mention me and my lifelong work of service.

And given that he knows me so well, and has known my work from its very early stages – and unpacked it – it meant even more to me. He has witnessed the magic and work of Operation HOPE right up close. He also believed in our work enough, and me, to chronicle it all in his bestselling book GIVING.

I thanked the President — in my opinion one of the best U.S. Presidents we have had in the past 100 years — for his lifetime of service, and now, this week, for bringing back Clinton Global Initiatives as an annual meeting. It has been transformational for so many around the world. It has been transformational, for me. Operation HOPE and I are honored to be one of the first 1,000 founding members of and for CGI.

Thank you President Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton. Your brand has always been about public service, giving, doing the work, producing results for society and others alike, and leaning in and being a light for so many who feel trapped in darkness and despair.

This is your legacy. And I am your friend.

John Hope Bryant

Pin It on Pinterest