Pizza with Planners Breaks Down Memphis Transit Funding

On February 1,  BLDG Memphis kicked off Black History Month and our first Pizza with Planners of the year with a discussion around demystifying transit funding.

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Pizza with Planners Discusses How to Foster Community Control of Affordable Housing

Community Land Trusts are designed to ensure community stewardship of land. BLDG Memphis wrapped up our 2021 Pizza with Planners series with Landing on CLTs: Preserving Homeowner Equity in Neighborhoods. The panelists from across the community development sector spoke about the need for community land trusts and the transformative effect it can have on building equity and preserving affordability in neighborhoods.

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BLDG a Path to Vision Zero

Three years ago, when I first moved to Memphis, I was alarmed by the lack of non-motorized transit options for residents in the city. Without having a car, I found it extremely difficult to take advantage of professional opportunities, access grocery stores, travel to work, or attend recreational events.

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Are We Safe on Memphis Roads? My Father Was Not.

When nonprofit BLDG Memphis asked me to give a resident testimonial about my father's fatal bike crash and its effect on my family, I wondered how I would even begin to describe the tragedy that changed our lives in ways both predictable and unforeseen. 

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A Summer Focused on Pedestrian Safety

Currently, Memphis is ranked the third deadliest city in the country for pedestrians. In 2020 alone, 66 pedestrians were struck and killed by vehicles – the highest number in at least five years. Shelby County leads the state with more traffic deaths than any other county in Tennessee. Despite the tendency to attribute traffic deaths to individual responsibility, these accidents are not random.

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BLDG Memphis Seeks Policy Fellow to Join Advocacy Team

BLDG Memphis is a coalition of organizations and individuals who support the equitable redevelopment of healthy, vibrant, attractive, and economically sustainable neighborhoods through public policy and advocacy, organizational capacity building, and community education. 

BLDG Memphis is seeking a policy research fellow with a specific focus on our Public Policy & Advocacy agenda. The fellow will provide 10 hours a week between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021 corresponding with the BLDG Memphis office schedule. 

The overarching goals of BLDG Memphis’ policy and advocacy are found on our website at 

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BLDG Memphis Appoints Deveney Perry Executive Director


Former Director of Advocacy Well Positioned to Lead Nonprofit Coalition

BLDG Memphis today announced the appointment of Deveney Perry as the nonprofit’s new executive director, following a unanimous vote by its board of trustees.

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Advocacy Begins at Home- Pizza with Planners discusses affordable housing and neighborhood advocacy

A livable community is one where residents feel safe and secure—with access to affordable and quality housing, accessible transportation, and supportive services that meet their needs.  BLDG Memphis kicked off our final  “Pizza with Planners:  Advocating for Livable Communities: From Neighborhoods to City Hall”  , Tuesday, October 27th in a virtual conversation which included, local housing experts, city representatives, and community members to discuss how various stakeholders can collaborate together to advocate for the needs of their neighborhoods.

BLDG Memphis Advocacy Strategy

The evening began with Deveney Perry, Director of Advocacy at BLDG Memphis , who outlined BLDG Memphis’s approach to advocacy. BLDG Memphis convenes five policy committees which reviews existing administrative and legislative policies, researches best practices for reducing barriers to community development work, and crafts policy recommendations designed to create more livable communities for our fellow Memphians.

State of Memphis Housing

The night continued with a discussion on housing, where local housing and neighborhood consultant,  Austin Harrison shared highlights from the  HCD’s State of Housing Report , which emphasizes the need for quality affordable housing in the city—especially in low income neighborhoods like North and South Memphis. Harrison explained that the city is in need of 40,000 affordable housing units in black and brown neighborhoods to offset the current housing crisis. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund was cited as a key solution to this effort , which calls for a permanent funding source for developers and non-profits to continuously create affordable housing options for low and moderate income residents throughout the city.  An Affordable Housing Trust Fund would have tremendous economic and social benefits for the city including increasing tax revenue , creating jobs ,promoting homeownership, and building wealth in black and brown communities. Next, Joyce  Cox Senior Manager of Neighborhood Engagement encouraged participants to attend the City’s Housing Summit on Thursday October 29th where leaders across the country discussed  the need for affordable housing and equitable development opportunities  in neighborhoods.

Neighborhood Advocacy Efforts

Finally, the event concluded with a community panel where Vee Turnage of Frayser CDC  and Regenia Dowell of the Frayser Community Parent Teacher Student Association discussed how community development corporations and community associations can work together to advocate for livable communities in their neighborhood. Ms. Dowell shared an inspiring story of local residents partnering with Frayser CDC, Frayser Exchange Club, Girls Inc., and  other community groups to fight against the expansion of a landfill in Frayser, which was positioned to be in a school zone. Regenia Dowell encouraged participants to always have the “heart of their neighborhood in mind” and to vote out people who do not represent their interests.

BLDG Memphis wants to give a huge thank you to everyone who attended the event and the amazing speakers who provided us with such knowledge, insight, and rich conversation. If you are interested in getting involved in a community association or a community development corporation (cdc) in your community check out BLDG Memphis list of CDCS, and the City’s Office of Planning to get in touch with the local neighborhood associations in your area.

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Q & A + Webinar Recording: Sustainable Workforce Initiative Community Partners

On September 2nd, BLDG Memphis held two webinars for the Sustainable Workforce Initiative Community Partners application process. For viewing either of these webinars, please review at the following links: Recording 1, Recording 2

A brief Q & A of the webinar has been prepared for review below:

Is it okay if the awarded community partner organization provides stipends to community members to complete the work?


If my organization is not focused on job training, individual skills, and weatherization - are we eligible for the program?

Yes, we are not explicitly looking for workforce organization as our partners will be preforming these tasks.

Who is the audience of the weatherization trainings, for instance contractors?

The trainings are not technical in terms of weatherizing homes, but rather training for home inspection.

What other trainings are offered?

There are additionally OSHA trainings provided in addition to spanish language training for lead-safe homes.

Are these trainings reserved for license professionals or can they be used for building capacity?

The trainings are not restrictive in who is able to attend them.

If I want to host a job training opportunity, do I need to partner with one of the partner agencies to provide the job training skills?

The trainings have already been prepared and administered by the partners, but other opportunities could potentially be explored and does not limit you from consideration.




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Call for Applications: Sustainable Workforce Initiative Community Partners

BLDG Memphis is seeking nonprofit Community Partners to support community outreach for the Memphis & Shelby County Office of Sustainability and Resilience Sustainable Workforce Initiative. Through this opportunity, community associations and community development groups focused primarily in North and South Memphis will be contracted to promote Sustainable Workforce activities within their respective communities. These include opportunities for both job training and skills development in weatherization and contracting, as well as community and resident services related to healthy and energy-efficient housing. Community Partners will be responsible for raising awareness of and helping to connect residents with the various opportunities funded by the Sustainable Workforce grant as described in more detail below.

Nonprofit, community-based organizations will be selected as Community Partners for each focus area. Each partner agency will have access to a budget of between $3,000 and $5,000 to support its community engagement activities.

Strategies used may vary by neighborhood and should include distributing project material and information through a variety of channels, such as community newsletters, neighborhood networks, existing neighborhood events, social media, and hosting training sessions on resources available through project partners. While the project team would typically expect the inclusion of in-person events and meetings, we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may limit those activities.

Partners are encouraged to be creative in their recommended approaches with the goal of reaching diverse segments of the community, including youth, adults, individuals who work outside typical office hours, those facing employment barriers, and non-English speaking populations. Partners are encouraged to provide detail on their experience using online platforms for communication and reporting in their applications.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, all Community Partners will be expected to practice distancing and personal protection for any individuals or groups involved. Participants should follow guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Shelby County Health Department and City of Memphis regarding social distance, gatherings, and personal protective equipment.

More details on the opportunity can be found here.

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