Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant, says that there are 3 things that define poverty and struggle more than any other set of financial numbers ever could. He outlines this concept in his book, How the Poor Can Save Capitalism.
“My radical re-imagining of the definition of poverty is what I call the HOPE Doctrine on Poverty. This approach to defining poverty is a departure from the status quo, because the current definition, respectfully, misses the point completely. It is limited solely to a commitment to numbers. However, if we restrict the notion of poverty to a purely statistical interpretation, as our government is understandably required to do, we miss the human element.”
The HOPE Doctrine on Poverty states there are 3 things that define poverty and struggle more than any set of financial numbers ever could: self-confidence, self-esteem and belief in oneself, role models and environment, and aspiration and opportunity. Or even, the lack of these things:
- Self-confidence, self-esteem, and belief in oneself. In this country, if you wake up in the morning and you don’t know who you are, by dinnertime someone will tell you who you are. If you don’t have self-confidence, you are in serious trouble in America—and maybe anywhere.
- Role models and environment. Think about your family and your immediate community. If your role models are negative, the only aspiration you see around you is illegal, and if your immediate environment stinks, then your well-being is going to take a real hit. When you think about it this way, why is anyone surprised if inner- city youth grow up wanting to be rap stars or athletes—with no disrespect intended to either of these professions—or, unfortunately, drug dealers? Life is very simple: you model what you see. These kids are not dumb; they are brilliant. They are modeling what they see.
- Finally, life is about aspiration and opportunity. If you don’t have the opportunity, the chance, the shot at operationalizing your smarts, your talents, or your education, then life has a concrete ceiling rather than a glass one. You feel that all is for nothing, so why try in the first place? You lose hope, and at Operation HOPE, we believe the most dangerous person in the world is a person without hope.
The Solution. As the world searches for real, sustainable solutions to the issue of poverty and lack of opportunity in underserved communities, Operation HOPE works to fulfill its mission of making free enterprise work for everyone. Since its inception in 1992, Operation HOPE has served more than 2.5 million individuals, directing more than $2.5 billion in private capital to America’s low-wealth communities. Partnerships with financial institutions, colleges and universities, retail stores, supermarkets, local municipalities, community-based organizations and shopping centers, allow HOPE to bring financial empowerment and financial dignity to locations clients already frequent, and meet with HOPE Financial Coaches for their personal financial needs. Learn more about our HOPE Inside model here: http://www.operationhope.org/hopeinside.