Today I was deeply honored to meet and spend substantive time, one on one, with former U.S. President (and my friend) William Jefferson Clinton, in his Clinton Foundation office in Harlem, New York.
I was also pleased to have with me Mrs. Mary Hagerty Ehrsam, our global chief of financial dignity. Our government relations chief, Ms. Jena Roscoe who worked for President Clinton in the second term at the White House, did not join us but she was there with us in spirit.
We covered a range of items of mutual interest to both his foundations and the Operation HOPE family, both domestic and international, including the new Gallup-HOPE Index and the Gallup-HOPE Index Cities Initiative. We actually presented President Clinton and his staff with the first draft copy of the Gallup-HOPE Index 2011 Report, which will be mailed out nationwide to leaders later this month.
We also briefed the President on the HOPE Financial Dignity Center, Ebenezer which is presently under construction in Atlanta (at the King Center complex and within the new Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Complex), our new HOPE Office of Small Business & Entrepreneurship which will be formally announced to the public on my birthday, February 6th, 2012, along with our new HOPE Business-In-A-Box and the HOPE FILE Program (HOPE Fellows, HOPE Interns and HOPE Loan Executive Programs).
Needless to say, we found a great deal of common ground and all should expect great things to come from our closer association in the weeks, months and years to come. I told the President that he has already changed our world, but without question his work around “silver rights” empowerment of the poor and underserved will prove one of his greatest legacies.
President Clinton and his foundation helped HOPE to launch our Banking on Our Future, Harlem program in schools there, and later we worked with him and the Clinton-Bush Katrina Fund to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina to regain some measure of financial dignity in their lives. The best is yet to come.
If you have not read it yet, go out and get a copy of President Clinton’s cover story feature in Esquire Magazine. The man is brilliant, and I am also glad to see him working so closely with President Barack Obama to “make America better.”