BLDG 20 for 20

Day 13 – Member CDCs and SPARCC/NCR Team Up for Meaningful Investment 

The Strong, Prosperous, And Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) is investing in and amplifying local efforts underway in six regions to ensure that new community infrastructure investments reduce racial disparities, build a culture of health and prepare for a changing climate. The initiative’s long-term goal is to change the way metropolitan regions grow, invest and build through integrated, cross-sector approaches that benefit low-income people and communities of color. 
 
SPARCC’s resources include capital grants and debt financing as key assets to use and demonstrate capital as a critical tool for achieving the systems change objectives of the individual SPARCC sites and the initiative as a whole. Through a community table structure and various work groups, and as a result of the collective efforts of our CDCs and staff, Neighborhood Collaborative for Resilience (NCR) members and the SPARCC national team, community-sourced projects were able to take root in a part of Memphis that has historically faced disinvestment. Some of these projects include:
 
Oasis of Hope Affordable Senior Housing
The NCR Capital Funding opportunity has allowed us to help fill a resource gap needed to build three quality, affordable, energy-efficient homes on the Oasis of Hope lots located a few blocks from their senior program at Bickford Community Center. The funding provided through SPARCC led to the completion of the final three lots of a 40-lot subdivision (Bearwater Park), which involved countless partners, including the City of Memphis, THDA, HUD, Habitat for Humanity, President Jimmy Carter and numerous other foundations and nonprofits. 
 

Klondike-Smokey City Neighborhood Stabilization Plan
The Klondike-Smokey City Community Development Corporation (CDC) purchased 150 vacant, blighted lots in the North Memphis area. SPARCC usage for these properties includes a home rehabilitation program, scattered site development, a feasibility study, and historical home stabilization.
 
Heights Line
Heights Line is a neighborhood-led initiative to create the longest linear park in Memphis along a former trolley line, providing a much-needed public space amenity in North Memphis. This project will also connect disinvested historic neighborhoods to nearby parks, urban centers and transit routes. Heights Line will create the first urban connection between two of Memphis’ premier greenways – the Wolf River Greenway and the Shelby Farms Greenline. SPARCC contributions to the Heights Line will include architectural design. 
 
The work we have accomplished through this partnership has been extremely rewarding. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the SPARCC and NCR teams.
 
Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.

Day 12 – Neighborhood Leaders Discuss the Importance of Park Equity 

In 2019, we gathered neighborhood leaders at one of our monthly Pizza with Planners events to discuss the importance of parks in our community. 

Throughout the night, was shared and ideas were expressed surrounding the concept that community ownership of parks is key for community building and community mobilization around beautification and safety. 

Great parks promote healthy lifestyles through exercise and spending time outdoors, provide places for group activities, increase our property values, improve the environment and connect us with nature and neighbors.

Park Friends, Inc. PFI) is a non-profit group dedicated to providing a community voice for all of Memphis' 165 City Parks. Other leaders advocating for parks and supporting and the activities include:

  • H.U.G. Park Friends (Hollywood, University and Gooch parks)
  • Friends of the Park
  • Rozelle-Annesdale Park Group

No matter where you live, there should be an accessible and appealing park nearby. When this is not the case our key priority is a holistic approach that allows communities to plan and develop park systems that make the benefits of parks available for all community members. To improve park equity across Memphis, we need to limit the existence of poorly maintained, understaffed, and unsafe parks in. 

To help others become leaders and create community change, we’ve kits and resources to help improve the parks in neighborhoods across Memphis. 

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.
Image credit: Memphis Parks – Park Reservation Administration

 

Day 11 – Rehabbing and Revitalizing the Community with The Heights CDC

The Heights Community Development Corporation (CDC) began organizing in 2013 and was officially established in 2016 to help facilitate and implement a neighborhood revitalization plan. While fighting blight by homes and providing quality affordable housing for families, The Heights is also addressing the community’s need for public space by working on a linear park development called the Heights Line. 

With the neighborhood saying, “We rise by lifting others,” The Heights continues to spread hope and awareness of the need for reinvestment and development within the community. Many neighborhood schools, organizations, churches and businesses have shared that mantra, and they invite you to join them.

Learn more about the The Heights: https://www.heightscdc.org/.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.

Day 10 – Give $20 for 20 Years of BLDG Memphis

As BLDG Memphis celebrates our 20th year, we are giving thanks the people, partners and programs that have been core to our work of building more sustainable and just neighborhoods for all Memphians.

Your donations allow us to increase resources for safe, affordable and healthy housing, redevelop vacant and abandoned neighborhoods, create better strategies for community economic development, make our streets safer,  equip residents with the tools they need to make neighborhood change a reality and more. Consider making an investment in our community to help us to continue to strengthen the coalition and make Memphis livable for years to come.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate

Day 9 – City Development with Memphis 3.0

On December 3, the Memphis City Council gave final approval to the Memphis 3.0 land use and guidelines, a comprehensive 20-year plan to improve neighborhoods, streets and future development across the city. With the plan, an affordable housing and catalyst fund provided by the city, the goal is to encourage developers to take on blighted areas, or areas that would otherwise not make financial sense for them to go/build.

BLDG Memphis has played a role in coordinating more than 20 neighborhood-based organizations as community engagement partners. In addition, some of our 2020 policy focuses are based on Memphis 3.0 recommendations.

We look forward to witnessing the continued growth of Memphis into a city of opportunity. For more information on 3.0 progress, visit: https://www.memphis3point0.com/.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop, and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.

Day 8 – Ushering in Healthful Renaissance of a Targeted Community with The Works, Inc.

The Works, Inc. was founded in 1998 to serve the housing and community development needs of South Memphis. Its vision is to usher in the total, holistic and healthful of a targeted community in South Memphis – to deliver its revival. The South Memphis Revitalization Action Plan (SoMe RAP) is an effort to transform South Memphis into one of the region's premier urban neighborhoods of choice.

Housing Development Programs:
Alpha Renaissance Apartments is an 80-unit multi-family development in South Memphis, opened in May 2002 by The Works, Inc. Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.  

The DreamWorks is a home construction program that builds new and renovates existing single-family homes. The homes are built to be, not look, affordable, using the highest quality construction products to facilitate long-lasting

Mortgage Financing is for those looking to buy a new home. The Works, Inc. acts as a mortgage lender for homes costing up to $50,000.

  

Community Development:
South Memphis Farmers Market (SMFM) opened for the first time in 2010. It was founded by a of South Memphis residents, The Works and the University of Memphis.

The Grocer at South Memphis Farmers Market is a year-round neighborhood grocery store serving the needs of the South Memphis community. The Grocer grew out of the South Memphis Farmers Market, opening in 2014 to expand upon the food access provided the seasonal Farmers Market.

The Works, Inc. continues to be a leader in showing what is possible when the community is engaged to address their own holistic health outcomes. We congratulate them for winning an award from Healthier Tennessee for their health and wellness campaigns in 2018-2019.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.

Image credit: The Works, Inc.

Day 7 – Investing in Memphis Alongside Frayser CDC 

The Frayser Community Development Corporation (FCDC) was formed in January 2000 to become a revitalization engine for the community. Frayser CDC has seen significant growth in its efforts toward impacting housing values, home ownership rates, foreclosures and improving overall perceptions of the Frayser community. To date, it has rehabilitated nearly 200 houses and sold or rented more than 200.  

Steve Lockwood
Steve Lockwood, the Executive Director of Frayser CDC, joined the organization in 2002. Steve Lockwood and the Frayser CDC as a beacon of hope, not only to Frayser residents, but across the city of Memphis, as they model and share best practices with other neighborhood leaders as they also work to overcome the effects of disinvestment.

Charia Jackson
Jackson, the CDC’s Deputy Director, joined the staff in 2005. She has worked with many Frayser families over the years through the Housing Counseling Program to attain their home ownership goals or by resolving housing issues through specialized foreclosure prevention counseling services. Jackson focuses on leading Frayser’s housing program and recently received her Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of Memphis.

Continuing to make an impact
In March, at THDA’s annual Tennessee Housing Conference Frayser CDC was awarded The Neighborhood Stabilization Award. This award reflects the hard work of the agency in combating blight to stabilize the Frayser community. Additionally, Jackson received the Vicki George Award of Excellence for her work in serving West Tennessee residents through the housing counseling program.

In July, Frayser CDC celebrated its commitment to build 10 new homes in Frayser with the completion and of the first three. The event also gave residents the opportunity to connect with lenders and realtors, listen to great music, eat delicious food and participate in fun giveaways.

We are grateful to have Frayser CDC as a part of our community and look forward to their continued success. 

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.

Day 6 – Strengthening Knowledge and Connections through New City Builders

The New City Builders program was created in 2015 in response to community development corporation (CDC) member organizations asking for support that would build knowledge and strengthen connections of CDC staff and board members who have worked in community development for less than five years. 

2019 marks the fourth year of our New City Builders program for emerging leaders in community development. The experiences and exposure provided throughout the program give participants the opportunity to hear from real-life leaders in the industry, participate in monthly visits to CDCs and the neighborhoods they serve, engage in social networking, and complete capstone projects. At its core, this program focuses on building an individual’s own capacity as a leader through professional development. 

We recognized the most recent graduates of the New City Builders program at the BLDG Memphis 20th anniversary celebration. The eight graduates were a part of the largest class to complete our program to date. 

We look forward to the continued success of New City Builders and are excited to see what’s in store for 2020. 

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.


Day 5 – The Executive Director of BLDG Memphis, John Paul Shaffer

While in planning school at the University of Memphis, our current executive director, John Paul Shaffer, first crossed paths with BLDG Memphis (then known as the Community Development Council) as it convened a large group of active transportation advocates to drive policy change and investment in Complete Streets and public transit.

After working several years at the government level on transportation planning and investments, the opportunity came to join the advocacy side with BLDG, allowing John Paul to broaden his scope to look at new ways of re-investing in neighborhoods and the people within them, and he didn’t hesitate to join.

We are thankful and honored to have an executive director who continues to support the mission of our organization. For two decades, we have worked to promote the revitalization of Memphis neighborhoods through public policy development and advocacy, organizational capacity building and community education.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis.
 

Day 4 – Connecting people with safe, affordable housing through the Housing Counseling Network

The BLDG Memphis Housing Counseling Network (HCN) is a collective of Memphis-area housing counselors and housing resource providers that share resources, data and strategies to connect people with safe, affordable housing.

BLDG Memphis, with support its members, re-launched the network over the past year. This year BLDG Memphis has connected HCN members with trainings at no cost to housing counselors. A few highlights include:

  • In July, BLDG Memphis hosted trainers from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition to offer a variety of weeklong professional development courses. This opportunity not only brought together counselors from around the city, but also across the region and country.
  • NCRC returned to Memphis in November with a follow-up course for the HCN.
  • In December, BLDG Memphis will welcome facilitators from Freddie Mac to teach their exclusive CreditSmart Train the Trainer program. 

Over the next year, BLDG Memphis aims to support HCN participating counselors and organizations to achieve HUD Certification–a new federally-mandated national standard.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis. 


Day 3 – Facilitating Dialogue through Pizza with Planners

Pizza with Planners – BLDG Memphis' flagship community engagement program – has been facilitating dialogue among community development leaders in government, non-profits, the private sector and Memphis neighborhoods for almost five years. By bringing together folks who are passionate about their community and city over complimentary (and delicious) pizza and salad, we set the stage for collective participation in a search for positive change through public policy and civic education. 

Pizza with Planners events are held monthly, from January through October, at different locations across the city and feature a variety of speakers from government officials and CDC directors, to artists and resident leaders. In some cases, Pizza with Planners might include focus groups, audience Q&A, guest lectures, film screenings and audience activities.

Pizza with Planners explores questions such as:

  • How can our city plan and prioritize equity?
  • What changes can the city and MATA make to strengthen our transit system?
  • How can we attract businesses to our neighborhoods and build commercial corridors?

As we head into 2020, we hope you will consider joining other neighborhood leaders at the next Pizza with Planners for continued discussion on how we can collectively continue building Memphis.

For more information, visit: https://www.bldgmemphis.org/PWP.

 

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis. 

Day 2 – Investing in North Memphis through SPARCC/NCR

In six regions across the country, the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) is investing in and amplifying local efforts to ensure that new investments reduce racial disparities, build a culture of health and prepare for a changing climate. Since 2017, BLDG Memphis has served as the backbone agency for SPARCC in Memphis, also referred to as the Neighborhood Collaborative for Resilience (NCR), supporting community-led solutions for addressing racial inequity in North Memphis. 

As SPARCC prepares to launch its next three-year initiative in Memphis, we recognized that bringing in Center for Transforming Communities (CTC) as an institutional partner to lead this effort is the best next step for our community. CTC will now serve as the backbone agency to the continuation of SPARCC efforts across our city. 

Executive Director of CTC, Justin Merek, states, “Center for Transforming Communities is very excited to support the North Memphis Neighborhood Collaborative for Resilience. Our model of grass seeds (youth), grassroots (residential) and grass tops (institutional) organizing is a fresh approach toward building neighborhood capacity and systems change.” 

We are grateful for the opportunities we’ve been able to be a part of through SPARCC/NCR, and we are excited for what the future holds for our community. 

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis. 

 

Day 1 – 20 Years of Building Memphis

In 1999, the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis was formed from a group of neighborhood-based developers, who had experienced challenges affecting everyone, from land development and grant attainment to training and advocacy. They understood that there was strength in numbers and chose to join forces to create an advancement community for Memphis by pooling the various strengths and resources each possessed.

Now, two decades later, BLDG Memphis is the product of the combination of the Livable Memphis program and CDC engagement. Through peer-to-peer organization and relationship-building, the organization has adapted to speak as one voice to work with city, county, government, foundations and financial institutions.

In celebration of 20 years, BLDG Memphis is sharing the many ways we are Join us over the next four weeks as we post about various community development corporations (CDCs), community projects and leaders we have had the pleasure of enabling and participating with to keep moving Memphis forward.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate.

Your donations allow us to continue the development and redevelopment of sustainable and healthy neighborhoods across Memphis. 

Want to be a part of something great?
Donate Now