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Biography

A natural entrepreneur, life as businessman for young John Hope Bryant began with a modest but life changing $40 investment by his mother in his very first business idea, at the age of 10 in Compton, California. 

Bryant is today responsible for more than $1.5 billion of private capital supporting low-wealth home ownership, small businesses, entrepreneurship and community development investments through Operation HOPE in under-served communities across the U.S., as well as investments in financial literacy programs and financial dignity education from South Africa to Morocco, to Saudi Arabia.

Author of Inc. Magazine-CEO READ business bestseller LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass, 2009), Bryant remained on the business bestseller list for a total of 18 months, and today Bryant is the only bestselling business author in America who happens to also be African-American.

A TIME Magazine 50 (Leaders) for the Future (cover story, 1994'), and an Oprah's Angel Network award recipient, 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. Bryant has been an advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents, whose work has been recognized by the last 5 U.S. presidents.

Mr. Bryant serves U.S. President Barack Obama as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. Prior to this, Mr. 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 the Council Committee on the Underserved. For President Obama, Mr. Bryant focuses on the establishment of local financial literacy councils for cities, counties and states. Under President Obama his subcommittee has secured commitments for more than 100 local financial literacy councils across America.

Raised in Compton and South Central Los Angeles, California and homeless for 6-months of his life by age 18, John Hope Bryant has traveled throughout North and South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe tirelessly promoting the virtues of hope, self-esteem, love leadership, dignity, empowerment and opportunity for all.

Operation HOPE, America’s first non-profit social investment banking organization founded immediately following the Rodney King Riots of 1992 in South Central Los Angeles, now operates in more than 300 U.S. cities and South Africa, has served more than 1.5 million individuals, has more than 19,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, more than 5,000 partners from government, community (including faith) and the private sector, and is the global leader in financial dignity.

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 one of the most authoritative and compelling advocates for poverty eradication in America today.

In his private business, Bryant leads Bryant Group Cos., and 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 with approximately $59 billion in committed capital under management as of December 31, 2012.  Bryant also serves on advisory boards for the NYSE Euronext Financial Literacy Advisory Committee, the Gallup Government Leadership Academy and the Kaplan University Business School.

Bryant is a former UN goodwill ambassador to the U.S., a partner with former U.S. President Clinton and his foundation teaching financial literacy, and working with HOPE global spokesman Ambassador Andrew Young, is bridging civil rights to silver rights. 

Bryant has received more than 500 awards and citations for his work to empower low-wealth communities including the Use Your Life Award by Oprah Winfrey, and named a “Community Hero” by People Magazine on the 10th anniversary of the worst urban civil unrest in U.S. history.  Mr. Bryant has received the National Community Service Award from both Spelman College and Livingstone College, and in 2011, Bryant received the CUNY/Queens College President’s Award, their highest honor. The USC School of Social Work annually awards an endowed USC John Bryant Scholarship to a deserving student.

In January, 2008, Operation HOPE and Bryant’s work directly moved then President Bush to designate (by Executive Order) financial literacy as the official policy of the U.S. federal government for the first time in U.S. history. Bryant's initial President’s Council leadership resulted in the creation of the U.S. SBA Office of Entrepreneurship Education, the issuance of a first ever U.S. Treasury Department report on financial literacy and responsible sub-prime lending, and inspired House and U.S. Senate financial literacy legislative proposals.

On February 1st, 2009, in the backdrop of the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression, Mr. Bryant was chosen to speak at the closing session for the Annual ‘Davos’ Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, joining Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu, as well as fellow Global Dignity co-founders HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland, on the subject of “dignity for all.”

Connecting civil rights with a bold 21st century vision for silver rights, Operation HOPE has recently built a multi-million dollar HOPE Financial Dignity Center at the historic Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.’s pastoral church, in honor of Martin Luther King, Sr. (Daddy King). The HOPE Center, Ebenezer represents the first time that an outside nonprofit organization has been invited onto the hollow grounds of the Ebenezer Church and broader King Center complex.

Mr. Bryant has received an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Human Letters from Paul Quinn College of Dallas, Texas, and in April 2008, as a Young Global Leader Bryant completed the Harvard University John K. Kennedy School of Government, Global Public Policy and Leadership Program.

Mr. Bryant is a co-founder of Global Dignity, a founding member of the Clinton Global Initiative, a founding member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, the founding curator of the Forum of Global Shapers, Atlanta Hub (part of the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland), a member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and a member of Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

John Hope Bryant was born on February 6, 1966, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California, and resides in Atlanta, Georgia.