MLK COMMISSION Knoxville, Tennessee
MLK COMMISSIONKnoxville, Tennessee

Chairman John Hope Bryant

The 2018 Leadership Awards Luncheon Keynote Speaker, the CHAIRMAN JOHN HOPE BRYANT, the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE, Inc.   


MLK Leadership Luncheon Keynote Speaker John Hope Bryant

American Banker magazine 2016 "Innovator of the Year" Inc.’s “The World’s 10 Top CEOs” (honorable mention), and one of Time magazine’s “50 Leaders for the Future” named in 1994, John Hope Bryant is an American entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and prominent thought leader on financial inclusion, economic empowerment and financial dignity.


Bryant is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE, Inc. the largest not- for-profit and best-in-class provider of financial literacy and capability empowerment for youth and adults; chairman and chief executive officer of Bryant Group Ventures and The Promise Homes Company, and co-founder of Global 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. 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’, founded by President Abraham Lincoln, legacy has become the narrative of the work of Operation HOPE—to help all people become fully integrated into our nation’s economy. In April 2017, a historical marker inspired by Bryant  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 founding member of Clinton Global Initiative, Bryant is a LinkedIn Influencer, contributor to Huffington Post and Black Enterprise, and a member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network. His Facebook Live “Silver Rights” Series has received millions of views. He has received hundreds of awards and citations for his work, including, Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life Award, and the John Sherman Award for Excellence in Financial Education from the U.S. Treasury.





Bryant founded Operation HOPE, HOPE Global Forums, HOPE Global Initiatives, Operation HOPE, South Africa, Operation HOPE, Saudi Arabia, Operation HOPE, Morocco, Operation HOPE, United Arab Emirates, HOPE Inside, HOPE Business In A Box Academies, Banking on Our Future, Banking on Our Future, College Edition, HOPE Coalition America, (Disaster Financial Recovery Score), EFFAK (Emergency Financial First Aid Kit for FEMA), Project 5117, 5 MILION KIDS Initiative, HOPE Corps, HOPE FILE (Fellows, Interns & Loaned Executives) Program, HOPE Office of Innovation, Research & Assessment. 


Bryant co-founded Wikia-HOPE Global Money Initiative, Gallup-HOPE Index and Global Dignity.




Bryant created Bryant Group Ventures, Bryant Group Companies, Bryant Speaks, Bryant Group Real Estate, The Promise Homes Company, Bryant Group Africa LLC, Bryant Group Motorsports Group and Bryant Group Motorsports Academy.  The Promise Homes Company is the largest minority controlled owners of institutional quality single-family residential rental property in the United States with a focus on working class and middle class communities.




Bryant directly inspired the creation of the City of Los Angeles loan fund (Administration of Mayor Tom Bradley), financial literacy as U.S. federal government policy, circa 2008, (George W. Bush Administration), U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Entrepreneurship Education  (George W.  Bush Administration), emergency financial disaster preparedness, response and recovery federal policy framework for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA (George W. Bush Administration), commitments for 100+ local financial literacy councils across the U.S., and formalized the inclusion of FEMA into federal financial capability policy (a seat on the U.S. Financial Literacy & Education Commission for the Obama Administration). 




Bryant co-founded The New Leaders organization (Los Angeles) and Just Brothers (Atlanta).


Through Operation HOPE and its partners, Bryant is today responsible for more than $2.8 billion of private capital supporting low-wealth home ownership, small businesses, entrepreneurship and community development investments in under-served communities across the U.S. Operation HOPE operates on-the-ground partnerships in more than 1000 U.S. cities, South Africa, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and has served more than 1.5 million clients, recruited and mobilized more than 22,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, enjoys more than 5,000 partners from government, community (including faith) and the private sector, and is the global leader in financial dignity.


Operation HOPE, founded as America’s first nonprofit social investment banking organization immediately following the Rodney King Riots of 1992, in South Central Los Angeles, today operates as a global non-profit software company, specializing in the software of human development—reverse engineering poverty.


Published in 2009, LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) remained on the business bestseller list for a total of 18 months.


Published in 2014, How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class. The Solution for the 100% (Berrett-Koehler), has been translated into four languages (Arabic, Korean, Portuguese, and Greek). The book has also been widely recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek, TIME, Publisher’s Weekly, Black Enterprise and Essence, and has been featured in numerous media interviews, including CNBC Squawk Box, CNBC On The Money, Fox Business News, and a host of others nationwide.


Bryant served U.S. President Barack Obama as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment, and a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. In this role Bryant represented the broad interest of approximately 100 million American citizens who struggle at the margins. Under President Obama.  


Prior to this, Bryant served U.S. President George W. Bush as Vice-Chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, and Chairman of that Council Committee on the Underserved as well. Operation HOPE’s work led then President Bush to sign an Executive Order establishing financial literacy as federal policy for the first time in U.S. history.                                               


Raised in Compton and South Central Los Angeles, California and homeless for 6-months of his life by age 18, Bryant has traveled to more than 100 countries, tirelessly promoting the virtues of hope, self-esteem, love leadership, dignity, empowerment and opportunity for all.


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton described 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."



Bryant has received more than 500 awards and citations for his work to empower low-wealth communities including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Legacy Award, and was People magazine’s “Community Hero,” on the 10th anniversary of the worst urban civil unrest in U.S. history.


Bryant’s work has been recognized with the 11th John Sherman Award for Financial Education Excellence from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and he has received National Community Service awards from both Spelman College and Livingstone College, and the CUNY/Queens College President’s Award. The USC School of Social Work annually awards an endowed USC John Bryant Scholarship to a deserving student. Bryant has received an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Paul Quinn College of Dallas, Texas, and in April 2008, Bryant completed the Harvard University John K. Kennedy School of Government, Global Public Policy and Leadership Program, as a Young Global Leader.


In the backdrop of the Great Recession of 2009, Bryant joined Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Global Dignity co-founders HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland, for the closing session of the Annual ‘Davos’ Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on the subject “dignity for all.” Global Dignity is now active in 55 countries.


Connecting civil rights with a 21st century vision for silver rights, Operation HOPE operates its flagship HOPE Inside location at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Ebenezer was Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.’s pastoral church, and the Center itself was built in honor of Martin Luther King, Sr. (Daddy King).


Mr. Bryant is the founding curator of the Forum of Global Shapers, Atlanta Hub (World Economic Forum), a member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church.


In 2015, Bryant created Bryant Group Motorsports to advance his passion for auto racing, as a sport, and a vehicle for greater social inclusion. He holds a full competition-racing license. In April 2016, Bryant took a 3rd place overall podium finish and a 1st place win in his class during the Phakisa 2-Hour Endurance Race in South Africa. This was his first official race ever. Bryant

now races in South Africa as a member of the Fantastic Racing Team, as their U.S. driver.

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