OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement will host Bill Bynum, CEO and founder of Hope Credit Union, Tuesday (Feb. 21) in the Robert C. Khayat Law Center auditorium as part of Black History Month observances.
The 5 p.m. event is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow Bynum’s address, which is titled “Poverty and Mobility in Mississippi.”
Bynum has dedicated his career to improving the lives of financially vulnerable populations by providing them with increased economic opportunities. With 14 locations in Mississippi, Hope Credit Union assists hundreds of thousands of Mississippians in building assets and improving their lives by providing access to high-quality financial products and services.
The McLean Institute shares Hope’s vision to provide people with the tools and resources to foster community development, with a specific focus on using education to fight poverty and further the engagement of the university with communities throughout the state.
The McLean Institute’s CEED Program, or Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, works to empower students and faculty to create community partners and engage purposefully in the economic advancement and development of these communities.
Vera Gardner, a CEED innovation scholar, spent last summer leading financial literacy workshops in Vardaman. With support from Catholic Charities and the Caterpillar Foundation, Gardner worked with Laura Martin, assistant director of the McLean Institute, to provide residents of Calhoun County useful tools and resources to improve their financial literacy.
“In my first year of involvement with McLean through the CEED program, I have already seen how student engagement can impact individuals within a community,” said Nikki Park, a CEED innovation scholar. “I saw how children attending Vera’s classes in Vardaman understood basic financial concepts that had been foreign to them at the beginning of the workshop.
“I have seen the excitement in young kids from our own Oxford and Lafayette County communities as they open their own bank accounts through McLean’s LOU Saves program, which combines asset building with financial education.”
By continuing to learn from leaders like Bynum, McLean Institute officials hope to create effective and sustainable programs that improve Mississippian’s quality of life.
The mission of the McLean Institute is to advance transformative service at the university and to fight poverty through education in Mississippi. The mission of Hope Credit Union is to strengthen communities, build assets and improve lives in economically distressed areas of the Mid-South by providing access to high quality financial products and related services.