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Ruby Liles, a senior at St. Mary's Episcopal School, conducted her Honors Independent Research Study (HIRS) with Slingshot this summer. Read below to learn more about her experience.
"My work at Slingshot shattered a misconception I had about the obstacles to philanthropy: we as Memphians don’t lack the drive or resources to stop poverty; we’re simply asking the wrong questions. In philanthropy, we are inclined to apply our own standards — which are inadvertently slanted by privileges unshared by the communities we seek to serve — rather than evidence-based measures of nonprofit success. My research made abundantly clear that in charitable giving, good intentions are not enough. If our goal really is to disrupt systems of poverty to alleviate the suffering of our neighbors, we need to be better stewards. This is a lesson I now carry with me in the communities of which I am a part, including the St. Mary’s Community Fund, the student run nonprofit for which I am the fundraising co-chair. My favorite part of the HIRS program is the confidence it instilled in me in an area in which I was previously insecure — I never would have thought a girl like me interested in political science and nonprofit work could conduct her own research project and actually succeed and gain so much from the work." - Ruby Liles