community engagement

Program Development Institute: Perfecting Gifts

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by Sharonda Mitchell As a young lady who was greatly inspired through Arts in our Schools and mentored through various summer camps similar to Sing-City; I know the impact of music first hand. Being a native of Memphis, my desire is to use my talents and experience to help kids and teens create a love […]

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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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Shifting from pain to promise

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by Rhonda Broussard What if solving for pain points isn’t good enough?  From product designers to UX/UL to social entrepreneurs, we’ve been trained to get close to the problem.  Bryan Stevenson urges us to get proximate to people so that we can really understand their pain.  Last year, we worked with Memphis Music Initiative (MMI) […]

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Music Cities Convention Memphis

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Memphis Music Initiative was proud to partner with Sound Diplomacy to present the Music Cities Convention in Memphis in October. The conference brought more than 200 people to our city, hailing from 60 cities and 15 countries, to talk about equity and access in a music city. Our own Amand Pugh attended and wrote this […]

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Building consensus and buy-in with schools

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A conversation with Janet Thompson Let’s start with the strategy and how it’s evolved. Can you talk about how you’ve approached building relationships in the schools and how that approach has developed this year? When I came on board with MMI, I really felt that my first priority should be to extend the reach of […]

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Our strategy: introducing the Institute for Nonprofit Excellence

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by Kiesha Davis With a multitude of challenges, the nonprofit sector working with community to support those needs are often pushed beyond their own capacity to do so. Sector leaders, and those all to often focused on serving communities of color, are routinely faced with a barrage of competing interests calling for their attention and […]

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Developing the approach: MMI’s in-school strategy

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A conversation with MMI Executive Director Darren Isom Talk about the development of the in-school strategy. The in-school program strategy plays a critical role in the success of MMI’s larger youth and community impact strategy.  Key to the success of our work is engaging students in all facets of their lives. And schools, important in […]

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Shelectricity: energizing girls for innovative lives

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by Tawanna Brown It was a stormy Saturday morning in April, but the rains did little to deter the more than 100 middle school girls, parents and girl allies who showed up for Shelectricity’s Memphis Listening Party.  It was a festive affair that included girl-power music, from Alecia Keys to Aretha Franklin, spun by DJ […]

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Visible Community Music School at Su Casa

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by VCMS Staff At Visible Community Music School, we’ve just finished our first semester working with kids in the Berclair/Graham neighborhoods through a partnership with Su Casa Family Ministries.  With the help of Su Casa staff, Tim Jewett and Ceci Fortier, we were able to give piano and guitar lessons to 15 eager and excited students […]

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Getting teachers and principals to the “Room Where it Happens”

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  by Morgan Beckford When I first returned to Memphis after teaching in Virginia, I worked for Opera Memphis as the Coordinator for Education and Outreach. My charge was simple: find opportunities for local students to engage with Opera Memphis. I accepted the challenge; over the first month, I drafted an email list that included […]

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