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BYU center named after Elder Melvin J. Ballard

Published: Tuesday, May 4 2010 11:47 a.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah — BYU has renamed its

Center for Economic Self-Reliance after an apostle who helped to

implement the LDS Church's welfare program.Elder Melvin J. Ballard was a

member of the Quorum of the Twelve during the Great Depression and

directed the organization, which was then called the Security Program.

Since then, the welfare program has grown

into an organization that helps millions of people each year through

long-term sustainable efforts.

The newly named Melvin J. Ballard Center

for Economic Self-Reliance, housed in BYU's Marriot School of

Management, was started in 2003 with the goals to alleviate poverty by

focusing on self-reliance, provide an economic self-reliance model and

provide research on self-reliance.

The two major areas of focus include

Business Solutions for Development Initiative, which encompasses micro

franchising and Single Mom Initiative, to help identify the economic

challenges faced by single women and provide better resources.

The center's recent renaming was a

tribute to Elder Ballard for his work as a social innovator and advocate

for the poor, according to BYU.

"I'm grateful that his name has come back

into view as having something to do with teaching self-reliance," said

Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and

Melvin J. Ballard's grandson. "Generally, when we hear about welfare,

it's not often that you hear about Melvin J. Ballard, but he wore his

life out putting into place a system that was centered on how people can

develop personal and family self-reliance."

Elder M. Russell Ballard is also on the

Church Board of Education and the BYU Board of Trustees.

Bob and Lynette Gay initiated the

endowment for the center and called Elder Melvin J. Ballard a "true

pioneer" in making self-reliance a basis for individual conduct.

"We look forward with great anticipation

to the Ballard Center's future work with today's social entrepreneurs

around the globe as they work together on society's most difficult and

complex problems through innovative, pattern-breaking solutions," he

said.

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