Monday, May 16: John Hope Bryant

Since founding Operation HOPE in 1992 in the wake of the Los Angeles riots of that year, John Hope Bryant has worked to bring financial empowerment to the working poor, the underserved and struggling middle class. Operation HOPE has served more than 2.5 million people since 1992 and directed more than $1.8 billion in private capital to American’s low-wealth communities.

One way Operation HOPE fulfills its mission is through opening “Hope Inside” centers in the branches of 15 banks around the country, including First Tennessee Bank, SunTrust Bank and Regions Bank. Most recently in Nashville, “Hope Inside” centers were established in First Tennessee’s Inglewood and East Nashville branches.

HOPE Inside workshops offer information about consumer rights, family budgeting, improving credit scores, paying off debt and saving money. One-on-one follow-up counseling sessions are available to workshop attendees. All services are free of charge.

Founding his first business at the age of 10 with a $40 investment from his mother, Mr. Bryant has since become an advisor to three U.S. presidents, been recognized by Time magazine as one of 50 leaders for the future and led the closing session of the Davos World Economic Forum with Archbishop Desmond Tutu – among many other honors and accomplishments.

He is also one of very few authors on economics in the world who also happens to be African-American. In his latest book, “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism,” he argues that if we give poor communities the right tools, policies and inspiration, they will be able to lift themselves up into the middle class and become a new generation of customers and entrepreneurs.