Arts + Entertainment
A Change Agent, at Any Age
We Day Minnesota co-chair, Hutton Phillips, proves there’s no reason to wait to make a difference in the world.
Talking to Hutton Phillips is confronting youthful idealism head-on. The Minneapolis native thinks that young people can change the world, are changing the world.
Proof is in Hutton herself, who, at 19, has been appointed co-chair of the first We Day celebration in Minnesota, to be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Oct. 8.
Globally aware and philanthropically motivated, Hutton is a natural fit for the role. When she was just seven, her piggy bank already had sections labeled “save” and “give.” When she and her twin brother hit 13 and shared a b’nai mitzvah, they gave away all the money they’d been given as gifts.
Following in her father’s footsteps, the late Eddie Phillips—who was as widely known for his philanthropy as he was for his success leading the family business, Phillips Distilling Company—she’s helped build a school in Ethiopia for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation; developed a curriculum to teach students about genocide; and sits on the Free the Children Youth Board. All this before entering her freshman year at Davidson College, which she chose, not surprisingly, for the school’s commitment to student activism.
It’s clear that Phillips’s altruistic outlook is central to her identity, making her an ideal spokesperson for We Day Minnesota. The celebration, featuring performances from the Jonas Brothers, Carly Rae Jepson, and a collection of inspirational guest speakers, is free for students who earn their entrance through volunteerism.
According to Phillips, We Day serves as both a celebration of the students’ hard work and a testament to the collective potential of so many passionate young people: “They’re old enough; they’re influential enough, and they’re respected enough to stand up for their beliefs now,” she says.