Focusing a different lens on poverty

Volunteer of the Year winner Lynn Phillips-Gaines

Oct 12, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

Lynn Phillips-Gaines won Volunteer of the Year for founding Starkville Bridges Out of Poverty, a nonprofit aimed at eradicating poverty in Oktibbeha County, Miss.

Ms. Phillips-Gaines, a principal of Phillips Financial in Starkville, Miss., founded the nonprofit after reading “Bridges Out of Poverty,” a book about how communities need to work together to understand and drive out poverty.

The organization created by Ms. Phillips-Gaines focuses on teaching low-income residents how to improve their financial situations, including lessons on “the hidden rules of the middle class.” At the same time, the nonprofit educates middle-class citizens about the causes and realities of poverty.

"A DISCONNECT'

“People in poverty already know there is a disconnect between their world and the middle-class world,” she said. “The biggest problem with poverty is the middle-class and wealthy groups create programs that make us feel good, but never stop to see what that looks like to someone in [a lower] socioeconomic group.”

Programs like food kitchens or “adopt-a-family” programs at Christmas can work to destroy the recipients' self-esteem by doing things for them that they could do for themselves, Ms. Phillips-Gaines said.

Instead of only giving food and dealing with emergencies, more needs to be done on the structural side within the community to provide education and other resources to transition the poor into the middle class, she said.

“Those in poverty are not subhuman; they are incredible problem-solvers, actually. They are simply working within the constraints that they have,” she said.

In addition to helping adults get ahead, the nonprofit sponsors a children's mentor program called Building Bridges for Kids, which trains college students as volunteer mentors for children ages 3 to 15. The program helps teach children financial concepts, but also the appropriate language used in the real world; the way to behave, such as negotiating instead of fighting; good time management; and dressing advice, she said.

The award comes with a $20,000 stipend that will be used to support the programs of Starkville Bridges Out of Poverty.

Ms. Phillips-Gaines, who is a certified financial planner, opened her independent advisory business 30 years ago.

She also is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and lives in Starkville with her husband, Russell.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

Events

The power of data

Your clients have financial news and data at their fingertips, but donít know how to interpret it. Katy Gibson of Envestnet|Yodlee and Blake Kannady of Envestnet discuss the power of leveraging aggregated data.

Recommended Video

Path to growth

Latest news & opinion

Morgan Stanley reports a loss of advisers after exiting the protocol for broker recruiting

The firm said it lost 47 brokers in the fourth quarter, the most in any quarter of 2017.

Morgan Stanley's wealth management fees climb to all-time high

Improvement reflect firm's shift of more clients into fee-based accounts priced on asset levels, which boosts results as markets rise.

Legislation would make it harder for investors to sue mutual funds over high fees

A plaintiff would have to state in their initial complaint why fiduciary duty was breached, and then prove the violation with 'clear and convincing evidence.'

Relying on trainees, Merrill Lynch boosts adviser headcount in 2017

Questions remain about long-term effectiveness of wirehouse's move away from recruiting experienced brokers.

Supreme Court review of SEC judges could roil pending cases

But long-term, the agency may get around questions of constitutionality by changing the way it brings on administrative law judges.

X

Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print