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Heritage Foundation Conference Highlights Practical Ideas to Impact Community

Students and members of the Mobile community learned practical ideas about effectively impacting the community during the “Seek the Welfare of the City” conference held Feb. 10 and 11 featuring keynote speakers Jay Richards and Ryan Messmore.

The University of Mobile was selected to host the conference by the Heritage Foundation, a research and educational institution whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies. The event was hosted by the UMobile Center for Leadership and the Twelve23 Movement.

Richards, author of “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism Is The Solution And Not The Problem,” addressed the topic, “When Good Intentions Aren’t Good Enough.”
Richards urged listeners to study legislative policies and consider possible unintended implications.

“If we can learn to ask, ‘and then what will happen?’” said Richards, “then we can make a difference.”

Messmore, the William E. Simon fellow in religion and a free society at The Heritage Foundation, gave a lecture titled, “My Neighbor’s Keeper,” in which listeners were given a practical understanding of how to seek the welfare of the city through nurturing right relationships in the family, community and society as a whole.

“Justice, at its core, is about restoring the foundation of relationships that human beings need to thrive,” said Messmore.

He discussed the necessity of governments to facilitate a free society in which citizens can help one another restore broken relationships within homes and communities, but ultimately, “governments cannot provide love,” said Messmore.

A wide array of panelists presented practical ideas on restoring justice to the community through families, churches, education, business, welfare reform, and strategic partnerships.

Audience members were encouraged to take personal responsibility in seeking the welfare of the city. Messmore concluded, “Government protects what civil society cultivates. Civil society cultivates nothing less than justice.”

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

The University of Mobile Center for Leadership was founded in 2010 to bring national attention to the goal of helping leaders fulfill their responsibility to God as American citizens. The Twelve23 Movement, a project of the UMobile Center for Leadership, focuses on the need for a spiritually transformed nation and how individuals can start that transformation. For more information, visit

By Amy Wright, a junior majoring in global business and a member of The Bunker Hill Society, a leadership project of the Twelve23 Movement for University of Mobile students.

Joe Savage, director of the University of Mobile Center for Leadership, welcomes
the audience to the "Seek the Welfare of the City" conference.

Keynote speaker Jay Richards answers questions texted from the audience in
UMobile's Ram Hall.

More than 350 students and members of the community attended the first night of
the two-night conference.

Ryan Messmore, keynote speaker for the second
evening session.

UMobile students Daniel Wattier and Jeremy Crews, from left, discuss the
conference with panelist Randy Hicks, president of Georgia Family Council, who
discussed welfare reform during the panel discussion "What Do Effective Solutions
Look Like?"

Panelist Jamie Lord, director of government affairs with Georgia Family Council,
left, talks with students after the first session. Lord discussed education in the
panel discussion "What Do Effective Solutions Look Like?"

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