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2022 has been a huge year for MMI, and we couldn’t have done it without your support! Just a few of our highlights, in reverse order, include:

December: We held the MMI Works inaugural Alumni Program Pitch Fest, where youth 18-24 pitched creative entrepreneurial projects to a panel of judges for $10,000 in seed funding, thanks to generous support from ArtUp and Cummins, Inc.

November: Our In-Schools and MMI Works programs were honored by the international Music Cities Awards with one of three nominations for Best Initiative to Support Music Education & Career Development. Call & Response Ep. 1: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things was featured in Race Flicks, a national film festival as part of the Facing Race Conference.

October: The University Middle School choir, led by MMI Fellow Keia Johnson, sang at the naturalization ceremony for 300 new citizens from countries all over the world. The newly formed Oakhaven High School band, led by MMI Fellow David Bassa, performed for the first time at homecoming. 

September: More for Memphis, a city-wide, cross-sector, public-private partnership aimed at increasing social and economic mobility launched; as lead anchor for the Arts and Culture collaborative, MMI is spearheading a first-of-its-kind data collection effort to measure cultural activity and impact across Memphis.

August: The Grantmaking and Capacity Building team took local creative youth development organizational leaders to Gatlinburg for a Black Rest Matters retreat, where the only agenda was food, fun, fellowship, and true respite.

July: The MMI Works cohort completed 4,257 internship hours in nine arts businesses and cultural organizations, learning essential professional and personal skills while earning money. Check out their original music videos here

June: We celebrated Black Music Month with a groundbreaking partnership with The Hershey Company, launching limited edition Black artist-designed Kit Kat and Cookies 'n' Creme bars in Target stores nationwide, featuring MMI on every wrapper and online content curated and created by young people in our programs.

May: MMI was honored by the Memphis City Council for our contributions to the community—specifically the over $9M we have invested in Memphis Shelby County Schools over the past seven years through In-Schools Fellows providing musical skill building and creative liberation curriculum through our In-Schools program. MMI Fellow and Memphis Jazz Workshop leader Stephen Lee led a performance with a student ensemble representing all of MMI's programs.

April: Recruitment for the MMI Works summer internship program was underway, bolstered by the hire of our first MMI Works Program Coordinator, Kab Browley. Kab is an MMI Works alum, and joined the team this year to expand the program and launch our new alumni program. Registration for MMI Works 2023 will be open soon!

March: We launched Call & Response: The Sound of a Black Arts Revolution—a manifesto and bold strategic initiative, kicking it off with the Black Pay Matters pay equity pool, with which we paid local organizational leaders of color an annual salary commensurate with the median income in Memphis.

February: We hosted our second annual day of virtual band and choral auditions for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Ninety-five percent of students who auditioned received scholarship offers! Sign up for the 2023 auditions here.

January: With support from The Kresge Foundation, we deepened capacity building work with our organizational partners, providing tailored support in the areas of HR, nonprofit legal and financial compliance, and other organizational and leadership needs.

…MMI achieved all this—and so much more—this year alongside our incredible young Memphis creatives, teaching artist Fellows, interns, staff, and community partners and friends. It is thanks to your support—of time, treasure, care, prayer, partnership, hustle, and grind—that we can be out here making change on behalf of brilliant Black and brown youth in Memphis. Please consider making a year-end donation today to keep us moving into 2023!