Disruption is at the heart of Dr. Tim Lampkin’s message.
To disrupt issues like generational poverty, structured inequality and institutional racism, Lampkin believes business ownership is a direct pathway to building wealth. Lampkin and Higher Purpose Co have been working to promote that message since 2016.
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, Lampkin will address “Economic Justice: Past, Present, and Future” as part of Mississippi University for Women’s Social Justice Speaker Series. The presentation will be in the Gail P. Gunter Room in the John Clayton Fant Memorial Library.
“The idea to fully support Black-owned businesses came during my time working at Southern Bancorp and seeing the need in the community,” said Lampkin, who recently was recognized by “Our Mississippi Magazine” as one of Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans for the 2022-23 period. . “Our work is focused on building tangible financial assets our statewide membership can use to improve their quality of life.”
The Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Housing & Residence Life and the Fant Memorial Library are co-sponsors of the event.
Lampkin, a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University, also holds graduate degrees from Delta State University, Bellevue University and the University of Arkansas. He is the founder of Higher Purpose Co, a 501c3 economic justice nonprofit that helps build community wealth with Black business owners in the state of Mississippi by supporting the ownership of financial, cultural and political power.
Lampkin said business ownership is key to shrinking the racial wealth gap that continues to grow in the United States. He said that issue faces additional challenges in Mississippi and the Deep South due to institutionalized racism slavery, but he said Higher Purpose Co has built a strong support network to help it in its work.
“We unapologetically support Black entrepreneurs, farmers and artists,” Lampkin said. “Several allies from various geographic regions and demographics support our work. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Motley Fool Foundation, the Better Place Foundation and a dedicated list of anonymous donors also support our work.”
Lampkin was born and raised in Chicago before he moved to Clarksdale. His social justice activism started in high school and later amplified during his time at Mississippi Valley State. Lampkin said Higher Purpose Co originated in Clarksdale and now has 12 full-time employees across the state. He said the company will open its Jackson office in the second quarter of the year.
“Fant Memorial Library’s Social Justice Speaker Series has invited Dr. Tim Lampkin, from Higher Purpose Co, to again focus on what Mississippians are doing in their communities to promote social justice and equity,” said Amanda Powers, dean of library services at The W. “His talk will appeal to students, faculty, staff and the wider community. We are so grateful to have his contribution to this important and inspirational series.”
Lampkin has more than a decade of community development and entrepreneurship experience. He managed the Racial Equity Program for the Mississippi Humanities Council, which won the national 2018 Schwartz Prize, worked for Southern Bancorp Community Partners to implement multi-million community initiatives and has advised rural entrepreneurs in several counties served by Delta State.
In 2019, The Mississippi Business Journal selected Lampkin as one of the top entrepreneurs in the state. Ashoka, an American-based nonprofit organization, selected Lampkin as the first person in Mississippi for the lifetime social impact fellowship. The Motley Fool Foundation also named him Mississippi’s first Financial Freedom Fellow.
Lampkin serves as president of Lampkin Impact Ventures, LLC providing economic justice advising, impact speaking and creative digital content. He also is a member of the board of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive and the Mississippi Humanities Council, and previously served on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Community Development Advisory Council and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).
“We have been working on organizing a series of speakers that will highlight social justice initiatives in the state of Mississippi and beyond,” Powers said. “We hope to inspire our students and the broader community by showing the variety of social justice work being done by these inspiring leaders.”
The Social Justice Speaker Series originated in 2022 after Fant Memorial Library received The W’s University Initiative Impact Award for its efforts to enhance diversity, promote cultural diversity and cultivate an inclusive campus community. Dr. Ebony Lumumba and Sadè Meeks also were part of the series.