Leaving a Legacy: Lori Sims


Kayla Crowder, Lynae Sims and Lori Sims

When you give, you develop a philanthropic personal culture. At first, it's to explore and feel what it's like to make a difference. Then you begin to develop a passion for giving as you become more aware and learn. This is the process we try to help our donors with. We want them to give from a transformational perspective rather than a transactional perspective. Transactional giving is like a retail purchase; you get something for a dollar amount. When giving from a transformational perspective, you focus on how you want to transform someone's life or a particular program. It's priceless. There is a connection when you give to transform and stay involved in the journey.

Vern and I have made provisions through our wills to endow the scholarship we support annually now. The Pershing Sims Scholarship for Poverty Prevention is in memory of my dad, who was a child of poverty and worked to rise above it. Coming from a large family, we lived in semi-poverty, and now after three generations, the cycle of poverty is broken. My dad was an example that it takes personal passion, education, and some outside help or support to overcome a desperate situation.

Right now I see my community as Kayla Crowder, the recipient of our scholarship. I know she will go on to do great things. When she gets into the workforce, we will be able to look on and see what she does and how the world is a better place through her. She wants to work with under privileged populations. She grew up in a family of five girls of a single mother. Those are just a few of the things that made her a great candidate for our scholarship. We have shared values.

My passion is freedom of thought and choices. Empowerment is life-changing and long-lasting. I like helping people to be their best and making them aware of their options. It breaks my heart knowing there are people in bad situations who just don't know how to get out of them or rise above it. Being raised in a big family we learned to be resourceful, and we also benefitted from other people's kindness.

The critical tipping point for me, allowing me to go from poverty to success, was getting a solid education. Education can break the cycle of poverty and help people get to the next step of advancement in their lives and careers. When you extend what you have beyond yourself, people live longer, healthier lives. We are all better because of universities and what they produce for society.