By: Mary O'Brien Hillis
Despite common belief, not all Millennials grew up comfortably. Forward Motion co-founder, Amanda Miller, remembers the years she spent living paycheck to paycheck.
As a single mother, struggling to make ends meet in her hometown of Phoenix, Amanda vividly recalls making hard choices between putting gas in the car or buying food for dinner. Overdrawing her bank account, juggling payday loans, and nights spent worrying about the electricity being cut off. This is the stark reality for the 1 in 7 individuals living below the poverty line in Arizona, and a vast contrast to the brunch-going, world-traveling Millennial that the world often sees through the lens of social media. Studies show that individuals who were poor during childhood are more likely to be poor as adults- and this is especially true for Black communities.
Amanda’s journey of overcoming poverty to become the successful corporate leader, homeowner, and investor she is today is an inspiration. As she moved from surviving to thriving, her desire to lift others from the same place inspired her to create Forward Motion, a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to “create generational prosperity, one family at a time”. Forward Motion currently delivers workshops on financial literacy, budgeting, career readiness, interview preparation, health, and nutrition. What sets Forward Motion apart is individualized coaching for participants, changing not only habits and behaviors but the mindset. “We are not teaching people how to manage being poor.
It’s about ending the poverty cycle, providing tools, resources, and knowledge to bring families into a position of prosperity”, Amanda says. The diverse Board of Directors represents industries including retail, healthcare, behavioral health, and entrepreneurship but share one thing in common: childhood roots formed in a South Phoenix neighborhood.