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
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