More Than Hope, Enthusiasm

By Harris, Kaisha | ABA Banking Journal, July 2004 | Go to article overview

More Than Hope, Enthusiasm


Harris, Kaisha, ABA Banking Journal


"How many of you like money?" the speaker asked the students of Public School 20 in Lower Manhattan. The auditorium lit up with excitement as hundreds of students shouted out their enthusiastic response. It was the beginning of a half-day financial adventure for the students, who ranged from the first to fourth grades.

The adventure was led by John Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Los Angeles, and co-author of Banking on Our Future: A program for teaching you and your kids about money. His volunteer assistants were CEOs and upper managers of various New York banks, New York State officials, members of the City Council, the head of the New York Bankers Association, CEOs of advertising and marketing firms, the SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins, and FDIC officials--all who donated their time to help teach the next generation about the ways of saving and financial fitness.

"This is not an organization. This is a movement," said Bryant, describing Operation HOPE. The community leader and advocate is devoted to teaching the next generation about how to manage finances. He has been cited for his work in helping to eradicate poverty in America by several presidents, Alan Greenspan, and the United Nations.

"How many of you want to be rich?" he asked the auditorium. Almost all the students raised their hands--and some teachers as well. Bryant took off his Operation HOPE jacket and went on to detail a simple savings technique.

"Do you know," he said, "that at the age of 17, if you start to save $100 a month, by the time you are 65 you will have $4.3 million? …

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