Higher Purpose Co Awarded $360,000 Grant to Research the Impact of Payday Lending Policies in Mississippi

CLARKSDALE, MS – (January 12th, 2024) The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a $360,000  grant to Higher Purpose Co (HPC) of Clarksdale, Miss., to research the impact of payday lending policies in  Mississippi.

Higher Purpose Co will lead a research team that includes the Center for Rural Strategies of Whitesburg, Ky., and the Institute for the Advancement for Minority Health of Jackson, Miss. The grant is one of eight announced under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature research program, Policies for Action.

“If leaders in our state are going to make informed decisions about policies that improve people’s lives, we need to make sure that rural voices like those in the Mississippi Delta are included in the research,” says Dr. Tim Lampkin, CEO of Higher Purpose Co.

The grant will assist with collecting data, conducting focus groups, documenting the collection of lived experience narratives, and working with communities in the Mississippi Delta. “Higher Purpose Co is located in a region overwhelmed by the payday lending industry, by combining the data and stories of the area, HPC seeks to understand how to create solutions to improve the well-being of Black residents who are primarily impacted by the services,” says Dr. Gabe Schwartzman, Assistant Professor of Human Geography, University of Tennessee- Knoxville.

Dr. Emmitt Y. Riley, III, one of the project’s principal investigators, says, “Our research is dedicated to illuminating the experiences of residents in the Mississippi Delta, particularly individuals who identify as Black and have encountered payday lending, with the ultimate goal of formulating policy recommendations to reduce exploitative practices in this industry.” Riley is an Associate Professor of Politics and the Director of the African American Studies program at Sewanee: The University of the South.

Learn more about the research project here.

Dr. Tim Lampkin