Neal Emmons

Founder & Executive Director

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A Single Kindness
I grew up in Tyler, Texas. The son of a single mother, I watched my mom work tirelessly to provide for my sister and me. She worked a full-time job and often two part-time jobs to bring in extra income. We always had food on the table, and we never lacked the basic necessities of life. But when it came time to graduate from high school, it was clear that college tuition was simply not in the budget.

That’s when close family friends stepped in and changed our lives. Out of sheer generosity and kindness, they provided the funds necessary to send my sister and me to college. I am forever grateful to those individuals who gave so much – when they could have easily looked the other way. It’s painful to think there are kids out there who are not so lucky.

That’s why I started Project One Scholarship Fund.

A Single Hope
Over the years, I’ve come to believe that each of us embodies a unique set of experiences, gifts, and talents. We each have something important to contribute – something that can possibly make a difference in the world. Once we are able to recognize and embrace our own distinctive capabilities, we can then find our life’s purpose. In the process, we start believing in ourselves, developing self-confidence and setting our individual paths.

The trajectory of my own life was forever changed through three distinct events: graduating from college; completing a personal financial management course where I discovered how important it is to live within your means; and coming to one important realization: that to have personal fulfillment, I needed to use my own gifts and talents to help others.

Lifetimes of Possibility
These elements of my own experience have helped shape the core ideas and mission of Project One: a college education, financial literacy, and strengths discovery. I believe it is vital that each scholarship recipient learns to believe in himself. To embrace the value of helping others. To understand the power of financial self-sufficiency. Ultimately, I envision the program becoming a self-perpetuating cycle of giving. The possibilities are limitless.

Career and Personal History
I graduated from Baylor University in 1989 and went on to enjoy a successful 20-year career as an investment advisor. After living in Atlanta for two years, my wife Katie and I had settled in Dallas, Texas, where we had two daughters, Grace and Olivia. While we both found career success in Dallas, something was missing. Katie and I longed for a more family-oriented atmosphere in a smaller city. In 2008, we picked up and moved to Charlotte. It was here that my longstanding dream would begin to flourish: to help young people from single-parent families discover personal achievement and success in the world.

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