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"When John Hope Bryant talks about how to expand the middle class, I listen. I urge everyone to read this book and discover for themselves John’s great ideas for creating an America with more shared opportunity and shared responsibility."
 – President Bill Clinton

  • Makes an iron-clad case that helping the poor help themselves helps everyone
  • Describes specific programs, policies, and resources that will unleash the massive economic potential in poor communities
  • Written by the founder of Operation HOPE, whose 20,000 volunteers have helped over 2 million clients achieve financial dignity and stability

Business and political leaders are ignoring the one force that could truly re-energize the stalled American economy: the poor. Instead of spending millions pursuing “emerging markets” in far-flung, corrupt, and even dangerous countries, companies can find enormous untapped potential right under their noses. If we give poor communities the right tools, policies, and inspiration, they will be able to lift themselves up into the middle class and become a new generation of customers and entrepreneurs.

John Hope Bryant knows this firsthand. Raised in poverty-stricken, gang-infested South Central Los Angeles, he became a successful businessman and founded Operation HOPE, a nonprofit that promotes “silver rights”—financial dignity and empowerment—for millions.

The poor are not stupid or lazy, Bryant writes, they’ve simply been abandoned. Business loans, home loans, and financial investments have vanished from their communities. After decades of deprivation they lack bank accounts, decent credit scores, and any real firsthand experience of how a healthy free enterprise system functions. The young have no role models for success other than athletes, entertainers, and, sadly, criminals.

Bryant exposes the historical roots of this unfortunate situation, explains why the solutions tried so far have proved insufficient, and offers a way forward. He lays out what he calls a Marshall Plan for our times, a series of straightforward, actionable steps to build financial literacy and expand opportunity so that the poor can join the middle class.

Fully 70 percent of the American economy is driven by consumer spending, but more and more people have too much month at the end of their money. John Hope Bryant aspires to “expand the philosophy of free enterprise to include all of God’s children” and create a thriving economy that works not just for the 1 percent or even the 99 percent but for the 100 percent.