Grammy-award winner Quincy Jones on financial dignity, the "civil rights issue of our generation"
His mission to bring hope and dignity to young people and their parents--through practical economic education.
Is there a tipping point for justice? Yes, according to John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO, of Operation HOPE, a not-for-profit organization focused on expanding economic opportunity in underserved communities through economic education and empowerment.
“The goal of 5MK is to reach, teach and touch five million kids in five years about the importance of understanding the language of money, entrepreneurship and the importance of education.” -Quincy Jones
Citing Malcolm Gladwell’s book Tipping Point, Bryant notes that “when five percent of citizens are [economically] positively and actively engaged a community becomes stabilized.” The end result is financial dignity, which Bryant calls “the civil rights issue of our generation.” He says, “There are almost no role models in ‘low-wealth’ communities.”
Reaching five million children
Operation HOPE’s Five Million Kids (5MK) Initiative is focused on creating a mainstream financial literacy movement in America by leveraging current trends on behalf of kids and their parents. “Our kids are brilliant, but their lives have been hijacked by a culture that celebrates celebrities and sports and equates being dumb with being cool. We need to flip that on its head,” Bryant says.
That’s where Grammy-award winner Quincy Jones comes in. Mr. Jones and the civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young are the National Co- Chairs of 5MK.
Bryant explains, “Quincy Jones is one of the few global brands who is relevant to every generation whether you like Kanye West, Jay-Z, or Dizzy Gillespie.”
Quincy Jones says, “The goal of 5MK is to reach, teach and touch five million kids in five years about the importance of understanding the language of money, entrepreneurship and the importance of education.”
Making capitalism work for everyone
Mr. Jones is a leading figure in the “Make School Cool” tour, during which the 5MK team will visit elementary schools around the country delivering HOPE Business in a Box (HBIAB) and the Banking On Our Future curriculum— with Quincy Jones, which will teach kids the language of money and how to be entrepreneurs.
Operationally, it involves kids writing 2-minute business pitches, delivering them in front of local business leaders and the 5MK team, and getting the funding and education needed to start their businesses. The program is for kids between the ages of 8 and 18. Startup funding ranges from $50 to $500 depending on age. “Think Shark Tank for kids,” says Bryant.
For parents, there is the related “700 Credit Score” initiative, where the goal is to take average credit scores from the 500/550 range to 700, all through education at community-based HOPE Financial Dignity Centers. “We want to replace the check-cashing facilities and liquor stores with banks and convenience stores. My mission is nothing short of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the poor,” says Bryant.
To learn more, please visit Operation Hope.
By Nicole Gray