Let us pull back the curtain on the relationship between local government and nonprofits to share a story of a community that works together.
Last week we had the opportunity to work with the Office of Neighborhood Engagement in Memphis, TN and we are delighted to report that “The ONE” as they call themselves showed up in style to host nonprofit grantees. As Joyce Cox, manager of The ONE shared in her welcoming message, “We are the bomb diggity.” She is proud of her team – and the other programs within the Department of Housing and Community Development – for how they are responsive to community needs, and how they work to lift up residents within Memphis neighborhoods. These programs are responsible for administering federal and local funds, and ensuring the dollars reach those for whom they are designated, including those who are homeless, with special needs, living with AIDS, and more.
All grants are publicly announced, have specific criteria, and a detailed application process. There are grant committees that review the applications, and then they make decisions about which organizations should receive funding and for which projects. But the process doesn’t end there. In Memphis the process goes beyond letters being sent out with paperwork for the nonprofits to return. Joyce Cox and her team take time to build community by bringing together grantees with City staff members to review all the ins and outs of how to manage a grant and report on use of funds. They seek to build community amongst and between local nonprofits, and to make sure that grantees know who to talk to within City government when it comes to questions related to their grants.
This was the second time we were asked to facilitate this process and we left feeling good. Our city has been making the national news lately for horrible crimes and police brutality, and locally we, like so many other communities, wake up to news of violence from the preceding today. But last week we got to see the goodness that is at the core of who we are as Memphians. We shared the morning surrounded by people who spend their lives caring for the homeless, connecting people to services and housing. We were with those who made sure the “hard to reach” were connected to COVID testing and vaccines during the height of the epidemic. There were representatives from the local LGBTQ organization, OUT Memphis, from the Salvation Army, and from a local rugby team. The room was overflowing with diversity and a caring commitment to service.
The purpose was to help make sure that the nonprofits who are awarded funds have an understanding of how and when funds can be spent, and who to turn to when they have questions or challenges. Joyce Cox shared her vision, “We got it together so people would understand how quickly we need to spend the money, how important it is, and how to spend the money and to spend it correctly.” We hope your City has its own Joyce Cox!
Copyright 2023 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you plan for 2023! Video and phone conferencing services are always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com