Operation HOPE CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant
“John Bryant is a 41-year-old whirlwind of ideas and action. Lean, intense, focused, and completely positive in his belief in the potential of poor people to prosper, with ‘a hand up and not a hand out.’”
–President Bill Clinton
John Hope Bryant was born on February 6, 1966 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in Compton and South Central Los Angeles, California, John Hope Bryant has traveled throughout the world tirelessly promoting the virtues of hope, self-esteem, love leadership, dignity, empowerment, and opportunity for all. A natural entrepreneur, 10-year-old Bryant began his life as a businessman with his mother’s modest $40 investment in his very first business idea.
John Hope Bryant is a ‘silver rights’ entrepreneur and businessman, author, thought leader, philanthropist, and the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE. In 1994 Bryant was named one of TIME Magazine’s 50 (Leaders) for the Future and he has also received an Oprah’s Angel Network award. Bryant has been an advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents and the last five U.S. presidents have recognized his work.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton described Mr. Bryant in his bestselling book GIVING, saying, “John Bryant is a 41 year-old whirlwind of ideas and action. Lean, intense, focused, and completely positive in his belief in the potential of poor people to prosper, with ‘a hand up and not a hand out." John Hope Bryant is currently one of the most authoritative and compelling advocates for poverty eradication in America.
Today, through Operation HOPE, Bryant is responsible for more than $1.5 billion of private capital invested to support low-wealth home ownership, small businesses, entrepreneurship, and community development in under-served communities across the U.S. Bryant is also responsible for investments in financial literacy programs and financial dignity education in South Africa, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.
Bryant authored LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass, 2009), which spent 18 months on the business bestseller list. To this day, Bryant is the only bestselling American business author who also happens to be African-American.
Bryant is a formal UN Goodwill Ambassador to the U.S. and a partner to former President Clinton and his financial literacy foundation. Along with HOPE Global Spokesman Ambassador Andrew Young, Bryant is bridging the gap between civil rights and silver rights. He co-founded Global Dignity, is a founding member of Clinton Global Initiative and Forum of Young Global Leaders, is the founding curator of the Forum of Global Shapers, Atlanta Hub, a member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and is a member of Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bryant has been honored with more than 500 awards for his work empowering low-wealth communities, including Oprah’s Use Your Life Award and People Magazine’s “Community Hero” on the 10th anniversary of the worst urban civil unrest in U.S. history. Bryant has received the National Community Service Award from both Spelman College and Livingstone College, and in 2011 earned the CUNY/Queens College President’s Award, their highest honor. Additionally, the USC School of Social Work annually awards the USC John Bryant Scholarship to a deserving student.
Bryant previously served President George W. Bush as Vice-Chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and Chairman of the Council Committee on the Underserved. Currently, Bryant serves President Barack Obama as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. He focuses on the establishment of local financial literacy councils for cities, counties, and states. Under President Obama, Bryant’s subcommittee has secured commitments for more than 100 local financial literacy councils across America.
In January 2008, the efforts of Bryant and Operation HOPE directly moved President Bush to designate financial literacy as the official policy of the U.S. federal government for the first time in history. Bryant’s leadership on the President’s Council resulted in the creation of the U.S. SBA Office of Entrepreneurship Education, the issuance of the first Treasury Department report on financial literacy, and inspired financial literacy proposals in both the House and U.S. Senate.
In the private sector, Bryant leads Bryant Group Cos. He also serves on the corporate board of NYSE Euronext publicly listed Ares Commercial Real Estate (NYSE: ACRE), a specialty finance company that is managed by an affiliate of Ares Management LLC, a global alternative asset manager. Further, Bryant serves on advisory boards for the NYSE Euronext Financial Literacy Advisory Committee, the Gallup Government Leadership Academy, and the Kaplan University Business School.
On February 1, 2009, in the midst of the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression, Bryant was chosen to speak at the closing session of the Annual ‘Davos’ Meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He joined Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and fellow Global Dignity co-founders HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland.
Bryant has received an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Paul Quinn College in Texas and completed the Harvard University John K. Kennedy School of Government Global Public Policy and Leadership Program.