MLK50: The Next Step Forward
As our community continues to reflect on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Community Foundation honors the legacy of Dr. King and the work he pursued here in Memphis in 1968 by launching the MLK50: The Next Step Forward grant program, designed to seek answers to the question asked of all of us on April 4: Where do we go from here?
Dr. King collaborated with others to coordinate his social justice work during the Civil Rights Movement and focused his work around six pillars, as laid out by the National Civil Rights Museum. In September 2018, the Community Foundation awarded one $25,000 grant in each of these six categories, for a total of $150,000, to agencies that are working in those areas to change the path forward for Mid-Southerners. The pillars and associated grantees are:
- Poverty - Neighborhood Christian Centers
- Better Jobs – Higher Wages - Tech901
- Decent Housing - United Housing
- Quality Education - Gestalt Community Schools
- Justice - Just City
- Peace - Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
Our volunteer committee sought proposals that build on Dr. King’s platform to effect real and systemic change – funding programs that have shown promise and progress in one of these areas or that present innovative, newer ideas.
How Can You Help?
We received dozens of applications in this grant round, and our volunteer committee narrowed the pool of applicants to six $25,000 grantees and to six finalists who were not awarded funding. Every available dollar through the Community Partnership Fund was invested in the six grantees, but the caliber of applications went above and beyond expectations. The finalists were unfunded simply because the Foundation reached our giving capacity.
We invite you to explore both the grantees and the unfunded finalists, and please know that each of these organizations and projects can use additional dollars to realize their goals and to help build the equitable community that Dr. King envisioned.
If you would like to support initiatives like this in the future, make a gift to the Community Partnership Fund to fund the Community Foundation's strategic investment in Greater Memphis. To support the grantees' and finalists' MLK50 proposals, click on the links below to learn more and donate.
For more information on the MLK50: The Next Step Forward grant round, contact Director of Grants & Initiatives Elizabeth Warren at (901) 722-0022 or ewarren [at] cfgm [dot] org.
Poverty - $25,000 Grantee
In collaboration with partner organizations, the nonprofit will pilot Holistic Home Visitation Services to address critical needs in order to stabilize and empower 120 families living in Section 8 housing.
Better Jobs – Higher Wages - $25,000 Grantee
By providing tech training, Tech 901 aims to develop and grow the talent pool in Memphis and ultimately, to secure IT jobs with livable wages for its graduates and to increase the diversity of the skilled workforce in Memphis.
Decent Housing - $25,000 Grantee
By offering a Mobile Homebuyer Education Workshop in Binghampton and Crosstown, United Housing will help 300 individuals understand the fundamental mechanics of financial literacy and homeownership.
Quality Education - $25,000 Grantee
The charter operator will launch the Parent Village Project, a unique parent and community engagement model, at its five Hickory Hill schools to promote school-based support and mentoring to families.
Justice - $25,000 Grantee
Working to create a more equitable criminal justice system, Just City pays expungement fees and bail costs as well as advocates for court debt reform and other social justice issues.
Peace - $25,000 Grantee
Through its Juvenile Justice Project, the organization will further integrate youth programming into its work to mobilize communities to realize social justice through nonviolent action.
Poverty - Unfunded Finalist
Girls Inc. will expand its STEM-based program Eureka!, designed to broaden girls’ educational and career aspirations in STEM and position them for jobs in fields with significantly higher earning potential.
Better Jobs – Higher Wages - Unfunded Finalist
Advance Memphis is deepening its efforts to address poverty-rooted trauma, a large contributor to chronic unemployment among its participants, by piloting The Trauma Care to Increase Employment Project.
Decent Housing - Unfunded Finalist
Oasis of Hope is working to complete the last development phase of a North Memphis affordable housing subdivision by building three single-family homes tailored to high-needs senior adults.
Quality Education - Unfunded Finalist
The organization aims to grow the number of teachers trained through its unique residency model in order to support its feeder pattern strategy for placing effective teachers in schools in six specific neighborhoods.
Justice - Unfunded Finalist
Through its Case Mentoring program, JIFF offers a research-based, restorative detention alternative program to Memphis juvenile court youth in order to reduce recidivism rates and help youth flourish.