Blog

MMI Works Externship Preview: South Africa & Stellenbosch

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It’s probably safe to say that Alicia, Allyson, Jose, Tavion and Zavon didn’t expect they’d be spending the July 4th holiday in airports and on planes, heading thousands of miles away from America. But that’s exactly what these five students will be doing – they’re bound for South Africa to participate in the Stellenbosch International […]

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Toward the Future of Arts Philanthropy: 5 Recommendations for Action

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It’s not about you, “Philanthropy.” Philanthropic work is not about showing how smart you are, it is about empowering and liberating the people. Those who seek to help must respect the community as experts in order to drive solutions that work for the world that they know best. Whether it’s musicians, neighborhood leaders, youth or teachers, […]

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Three life lessons I learned while working in juvenile justice

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by Desiree Coleman Long before I had the pleasure of reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, I understood firsthand what disproportionate minority contact meant.  I spent close to 10 years working in the nation’s capital, with some of the most vulnerable communities, including incarcerated youth.  I worked in a juvenile justice system that was […]

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Return on investment

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by Kiesha Davis I’ve been pondering over a challenge posed by Susan Taylor Batten during the opening plenary of this past ABFE Annual Conference – The Fierce Urgency of Now, held here in Memphis a few weeks ago. When detailing the themes for the conference, she made reference to “investing in the leadership versus the labor […]

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Lessons in giving

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by Toya Randall Much of my success has been and continues to be fueled by women. I first experienced the power of an organized network of women growing up under the care of my mother, grandmothers and aunts. Theirs was a unique sisterhood brought to fruition by my birth to teenage parents. Over the course […]

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Five strategies for advancing racial equity in public education

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by Sam O’Bryant When I began working in Memphis in 2012, I arrived during the halfway point of a major investment in teacher effectiveness. While the work was worthy and victories were won, the focus was on making teachers the absolute best they could be. Like most education reform, there was an absence of specific […]

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Don’t talk to me about diversity

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by Denise St. Omer I’m tired of talking about diversity. You heard me right. I’m a black woman in philanthropy and I’m done engaging in conversations about diversity. Conversations about diversity create spaces for people to engage in activities that make them feel like they’re doing something, but don’t actually move forward toward creating inclusive […]

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Philanthropic redlining in practice

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A conversation with Lar’Juanette Williams, Memphis Black Arts Alliance In the study, we explore this idea of “philanthropic redlining,” where essentially certain groups – primarily black- and brown-led organizations – are just excluded from traditional funding. Can you explain how you have experienced that with Memphis Black Arts Alliance or within the nonprofit sector? I […]

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Using what we know to guide what we do

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by Doug Waddill “I know, I know, I know…oooh oooh, call on me, I know…”  We have all been in classes with THAT guy or girl.  The “know it all.”  As a former teacher, I was always amazed at that stereotypical kid that had to be first and had to know it all.  Usually when […]

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A view of value

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by Tawanna Brown Detroit, Michigan reminds me a lot of Memphis. As a first-time attendee of this year’s Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) Conference, there were aspects of the convening, held in Detroit, that felt very familiar. Both cities hug mighty rivers, entrenched in histories muddied with issues of race and class. Though world-renowned transportation operations are […]

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