Morning Joe   |  January 10, 2014

Nonprofit works to lift people from poverty

Kirsten Lodal of the LIFT non-profit joins Morning Joe to discuss how the organization is fighting poverty across the country.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we do that in a multitude of ways, you know? we lift people's spirits. we lift their situations. we assist in any way we can.

>> myself and my wife feel very accepted that they actually truly want to help.

>> the first contact, the thing that came to mind was hope springs eternal . so that anything that you thought when i engage with my adviser, i realize that anything is possible.

>> various testimonials about the nonprofit organization lift. here with us now is the cofounder and ceo of lift, kirsten . you just had a baby?

>> i did.

>> your first week back from maternity leave?

>> yes.

>> how is that first week going?

>> her dad is there.

>> dad are heroes and talk about that a different way. i want to hear about lift. you started this in college?

>> i did. fifteen years ago.

>> how did you come across the idea and what is it and how did you start it? you're at yale, a sophomore?

>> i was at yale. i had always done a lot of volunteering growing up. i grew up in a very public service oriented family. the long story short is after volunteering in head start i know we were talking about that in the earlier segment, i felt the children i was working with needed so much more than just the occasionally support. they also needed a lot of support for their families to ensure that their parents employment situation and housing situation and child care situation was stable. so fast forward 15 years and we built an organization that helps families secure the strong personal and social and financial foundations they need to get ahead.

>> tell about us about wimpy.

>> wimpy, in many ways, was our first client. we call our clients members because they really are a part of defining how the organization works. he was an unemployed and homeless gentleman in new haven, connecticut, where i was in college, who really, you know, i think most people just passed by. my cofounder and i struck up a relationship with wimpy and, very quickly, just through listening and getting to know him and treating him with dignity and respect and an open mind learned he had big aspirations for the life he wanted to live and the dad he wanted to be. over time , we helped him secure employment. we helped him reconnect with his family. in a lot of ways, he wrote our business plan for us and that is really --

>> that is incredible. first of all, i can't believe you graduated from college 15 year ago. can i just say that? secondly when you were getting this off the ground, it's amazing you did because i think so many people have this intention or idea and want to do something and just -- saying it is one thing and doing it is another. my question is did you pull together any help from the private sector either back then or now? how key is that support as you put this together?

>> well, it's critical. we are a vast majority and private sector supported from a funding standpoint. more than 90% of our funding is from private individuals, corporations and foundations. and it's really we have drawn a lot of inspiration from what the private sector has learned over the last 50 years in terms of the importance of customer satisfaction and engagement and loyalty. a lot of what we do at lift is listening to our own families and allowing them to tell us whether or not our programs are effective and we think that is an idea that could get carried forward into the next 50 yooears on poverty that people themselves know a lot about what it takes to succeed and amazon and google have figured that out but the social service has a way to go.

>> kudos.

>> kirsten , thank you. now is your chance to get involved online and tweet your questions to kirsten and watch her extended web interview on afternoon mojo on great to have people like you in our world. i'm serious.

>> thank you so much.

>>> ahead we will ask former new york mayor rudy giuliani about chris christie 's scandal and other political news of the day. we will be right