NAJEE’S NOTES: Operation HOPE to hold annual global forum


March 22, 2018

A large delegation of civic and corporate leaders from Los Angeles will be in Atlanta next week to join more than 4,000 delegates from across the world for the annual HOPE Global Forums, a call to re-imagine the global economy so the benefits and opportunities of free enterprise can be extended to everyone.

The event is organized by Operation HOPE CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant and includes conferences and policy programs to build leadership around free enterprise.

The annual meeting is the largest gathering of leaders in the world on behalf of empowering poor and underserved communities.

I’m honored to be part of the Los Angeles delegation. I first met Bryant more than 20 years ago as a member of the New Leaders, a group for young professionals he co-founded. In fact, he’s the reason I was an invited guest and our organization was invited to a special reception we hosted at the White House during the Clinton administration.

He’s been a real brother to me ever since. Over the years I have proudly watched him grow as a global leader whose commitment to the underserved is inspiring.

HOPE Global Forums are an initiative of Operation HOPE, the global leader in providing financial dignity. Founded in 1992, Operation HOPE is the nation’s first nonprofit financial services network for underserved communities.

The mission of Operation HOPE is “silver rights” empowerment – uplifting individuals and communities by making free enterprise work for everyone.

That is accomplished through shifting the economic landscape for youth, adults and families.

Operation HOPE has helped convert check-cashing customers into bank customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners and minimum wage workers into living wage workers.

Operation HOPE is rated four-stars by Charity Navigator for transparency and accountability, its highest rating available.

To date, HOPE has served more than 2 million individuals; directed more than $1.5 billion in private capital to low-wealth communities; utilized over 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers and currently serves more the 300 cities around the world.

Its impact is measured through the Gallup-HOPE Index, a historic 100-year partnership with Gallup.

Bryant is an American entrepreneur, author, philanthropist and prominent thought leader on financial inclusion, economic empowerment and financial dignity.

The last five U.S. presidents have recognized his work and he has served as an advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents, from both political parties. He is responsible for financial literacy becoming the policy of the U.S. federal government.

In January 2016 Bryant became the only private American citizen to inspire the renaming of a building on the White House campus, when the U.S. Treasury Annex Building was renamed the Freedman’s Bank Building. The Freedman’s Banks’ legacy has become the narrative of the work of Operation HOPE — to help all people in the “invisible class” become fully integrated into the nation’s economy.

Last April, a historical marker, also inspired by Bryant, to honor the final flight of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis on April 3, 1968, was installed at the Memphis International Airport 49 years to the day that Eastern Flight 381 arrived from Atlanta.

A member of the founding class of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, and a founding member of Clinton Global Initiative, Bryant is a LinkedIn influencer, a contributor to Huffington Post, THRIVE Global and Black Enterprise, and a member of the World Economic Forum and OECD Expert Networks.

His Facebook Live “Silver Rights” Series has received more than 40 million views and serves as a platform to foster discussion in the digital age around financial inclusion and social uplift.

One of the featured speakers at the HOPE Forum is civil rights icon Andrew Young. He was a key confidant and strategist to Martin Luther King Jr. during the critical years of the civil rights movement.

In 1972 he was elected to represent Georgia’s Fifth District in Congress, the first African-American elected from the South since Reconstruction. He was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the first African-American to do so. In that role, Ambassador Young established the framework for international negotiations that led to democracy in several nations in Southern Africa.

Young served as mayor of Atlanta from 1982-1990, bringing jobs and $70 billion in private investment to the city during a recession. Ambassador Young’s leadership, vision and global reputation were instrumental in bringing the Centennial Olympic Games to Atlanta in 1996.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is also a featured speaker. For nearly 50 years, Jackson has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for peace, civil rights, empowerment, gender equality and economic and social justice the world over.

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