Around the Block Newsletter

Welcome to Around the Block, a quarterly newsletter and recap of policy, advocacy and civic engagement initiatives at BLDG Memphis and the community development sector in Memphis.

BLDG Memphis serves as the community development intermediary in Memphis. Our Capacity Building & Policy & Advocacy programs enable us to work with our partners to ensure that community development in Memphis has a thriving, equitable and well-funded ecosystem.

BLDG Memphis' public policy and advocacy platform is crafted in collaboration with our member and partner organizations and reflects the needs and issues they face in Memphis neighborhoods every day.

Our advocacy focuses on building affordable housing, ensuring a robust and connected public transit system, planning communities that are safe and walkable, eliminating blight and driving equitable policies and practices that create healthy and thriving neighborhoods for all Memphians.

Here are some of our highlights from this quarter:

BLDG Memphis Partners with Moral Budget Coalition

BLDG Memphis along with the Moral Budget Coalition advocated to implement a Community Participatory Budgeting Process at the County Level. The Moral Budget Coalition, in conjunction with the Shelby County Commission and the Office of Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris launched this initiative to engage residents across Shelby County in the process of setting the County Budget. Take the survey here and let the county know what investments are most important to you!

BLDG Memphis Attends Day on the Hill

BLDG Memphis' Community Development Policy Coalition attended the Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition’s Day on the Hill to advocate for community development and housing policy at the State Capitol. Our team met with Senator Akbaris' Office and Representative Camper to discuss state opportunities to increase resources for the development and maintenance of affordable units & incentivizing missing middle housing in Memphis.

BLDG Memphis Hosts Pizza with Planners Focusing on Transit Equity

BLDG Memphis hosted our first pizza with planners, Demystifying Transit Funding, on February 1st in honor of Transit Equity Day. The event featured several speakers from MICAH, Sierra Club TN, MATA and the City of Memphis to discuss the need for dedicated and permanent funding for MATA. Read a recap of Pizza with Planners here.

BLDG Memphis is Community Development Anchor for Seeding Success

BLDG Memphis receives funding through Seeding Success to serve as the Community Development Anchor lead for the More for Memphis Project. BLDG Memphis will explore policy through a racial equity lens. With a focus on engaging grassroots organizations, youth & BIPOC communities, we will host a series of work groups meetings, events, and community sessions that analyze the root causes of racial inequalities related to housing, transit and parks and come up with strategies, policies and assessments to disrupt institutionalized racism.

BLDG Memphis Adopts Annual Policy Agenda

BLDG Memphis Community Development Policy Coalition met in January to confirm and adopt our 2022 Policy Agenda. Policy Work Groups received on-boarding and met in February to implement focus area advocacy strategies. This year our Policy Work Groups will focus on:

  • Healthy and Affordable Housing
    • Secure dedicated funding for the Memphis Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Sign our petition and learn more about the MAHTF here.
    • Expand the definition of residential property to encourage the development of Missing Middle Housing
  • Community & Economic Development
    • Increase resources and reduce barriers for small businesses and entrepreneurs
    • Acquire and rehab commercial blighted properties
  • Strong Neighborhoods
    • Increase funding for transit and mobility plans that prioritize public transit, connectivity to job centers, and public safety
    • Advance the development of a comprehensive solid waste policy that manages our municipal solid waste and redirects waste from landfills

BLDG Memphis Quarter 1 Policy Actions

BLDG Memphis Quarter 1 Sign-On Letters


Stay up to date on topics related to community development and neighborhoods with these local and national podcasts:

  • Behind the Headlines- Each week host Eric Barnes discusses major stories in the Memphis area with business executives, community leaders and politicians, as well as local journalists.
  • Memphis Metropolis- Memphis Metropolis is all about the built environment - the building blocks that define the look and feel of our city and region. Through conversations with community leaders and residents, this podcast examines architecture, transportation, public art, parks, development and redevelopment plans, and much more, from a variety perspectives.
  • Develop This! Economic and Community Development- Develop This! Podcast is published weekly and explores topics related to transformational community leadership including economic development, non-profit engagement, organizational management and policy management. It is a candid conversation with veterans of the economic development profession along with inspiring interviews of today's thought leaders throughout the country.
  • The Streets are Planning: Where Urban Planning, Cities, Hip-Hop Culture and Community Development Conversations Live- The Streets are Planning Podcast highlights the unheard voices, stories and impact of community leaders working in cities and neighborhoods across the globe.

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