What Proposed Changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Could Mean for Memphis CDCs

 

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) could divert billions of dollars from low- and moderate-income communities. Currently, banks meet their CRA requirements by providing capital for affordable housing, small businesses and economic development in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. By relaxing standards for the types of investments that qualify for CRA credit, the proposed rules would open the door to discriminatory housing and investment practices – i.e., redlining. Overall, these rules would make financial institutions far less accountable and connected to the communities they are required to serve.

Our team at BLDG Memphis wanted to address the concerns of these proposed changes at the local level by speaking with leaders of our member community development corporations. We asked Charia Jackson, Deputy Director of Frayser Community Development Corporation, to share her perspective on how CRA changes could impact communities across the city. 

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Member Monday Spotlight: Alcy Ball Community Development Corporation

 

Seth Harkins, Executive Director 

How was Alcy Ball started?
Alcy Ball Development Corporation (ABDC) was founded in 2012. Our Community Development Corporation (CDC) started through relationships between the leadership of Divine Life Church and Second Presbyterian Church. Through their mutual understanding of Asset Based Community Development principles, the initial leadership group decided to form a CDC to strengthen some of the existing relationships and reestablish Alcy Ball as a desirable, thriving community. Funding from Second Presbyterian and neighborhood connections from Divine Life formed the foundation of what exists today – an organization working to support resident leaders. 

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BLDG 20 for 20

Day 20 – The Next 20 Years of BLDG Memphis

Thank you for following along as we celebrated our 20th year and reflected on the people, partners and programs that have been core to our work of building more sustainable and just neighborhoods across Memphis.

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. 

As we look to the next 20 years, 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

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BLDG Memphis celebrates 20th anniversary, reflects on two decades of community development and engagement

BLDG Memphis (Build. Live. Develop. Grow.), a coalition for organizations and individuals who support the development and redevelopment of healthy, vibrant, attractive and economically sustainable neighborhoods throughout the Memphis region, recently announced its 20th anniversary, celebrating two decades of community advancement. Established in 1999, the organization now enables more than 40 community development corporations (CDCs) to make their visions a reality.

“The daily lives of Memphians are affected by the infrastructure and investments, or lack thereof, made in our communities,” said John Paul Shaffer, executive director at BLDG Memphis. “With this in mind, it has been a privilege to lead, encourage and witness the revitalization that has been brought to local neighborhoods through the work of our organization and incredible partners.”

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The Future of 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. Through a community table structure and various work groups, and as a result of the collective efforts of our staff, 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.

The work we have accomplished through this partnership has been extremely rewarding. These projects include a food pantry, affordable senior housing, education around flash flooding and more. 

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Member Monday Spotlight: South Memphis Alliance Community Development Corporation

 

Tiffany N. Turnage, Program Director

How was SMA started?
SMA opened its doors in the year 2000 to help support local civic organizations in addressing community concerns such as blight, food deserts, environmental racism, and social injustice. These issues are, and always will be, at the core of our agency’s mission.

What is your current focus? 
SMA has focused on three core goals: social services, mentoring, and advocacy. In 2012, our agency took a dilapidated, rundown laundry in South Memphis and secured one million dollars to convert it into the first-of-its-kind laundromat and resource center, which we named “Social Suds.” This unique social entrepreneurial project built a state-of-the-art laundromat to attract individuals who often fall between the cracks of society, including the working poor and students. While customers were waiting for their clothes to wash and dry, they were able to receive free support services from over a dozen social service agencies. These agencies included the Shelby County Health Department, the Memphis VA Medical Center, the IRS, Hope Credit Union, Southern College of Optometry, Just City legal aid, and many more.

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Member Monday Spotlight: The Heights Community Development Corporation

Member Monday Spotlight: The Heights Community Development Corporation

 

Jared Myers, Executive Director 

How was the Heights CDC started?
The Heights CDC began organizing in 2013 and was officially established in 2016. A small group of residents who went to Christ Community Church completed a community survey with 80 families to find out how the church could best serve the neighborhood. The results of that survey showed that residents wanted better housing and a safer community. The Binghampton Development Corporation was awarded a Building Neighborhood Capacity Program grant under President Obama’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, and the BDC deferred that grant to the neighborhood north of Highland/Mitchell Heights. The BNCP allowed our community to build capacity and start our own CDC for the neighborhood. The Heights CDC is the organization that is helping to facilitate and implement our neighborhood’s revitalization plan.     

 

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The Concept of Shared Prosperity

In April 2019, the Atlantic and the Shared Prosperity Partnership gathered local policymakers and community leaders at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis to discuss how the legacy of structural racism has affected cities across the country. Together, these groups exchanged views on how public policy can help foster more inclusive growth, and they took a look at those who are currently pushing for change.

The Shared Prosperity Partnership – a collaboration of The Kresge Foundation, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, the Urban Institute and Living Cities – uses public forums and open discussions to spark dialogue among local leaders in communities across the United States. In Memphis, this conversation was designed to help leaders feel more equipped and informed on best practices for fighting poverty. During this discussion, Shared Prosperity openly challenged local community and economic development leaders to approach the topics of race, equity and equality and discover ways to address these areas of concern.

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