In 2017, ten organizations received a total of $60,000 with the theme Foundations for the Future: programs that help youth meet their potentialThe grantees are:

A Step Ahead Foundation

Girl Talk • $4,800.00
Watch the Finals pitch here

The Girl Talk program allows for meaningful impact on the lives of more Memphis teens. Girl Talk has made significant strides in increasing awareness about how to avoid high-risk behavior which can lead to teen pregnancy. Through the program, participants realize the impact an unintended pregnancy can have on their life, how to avoid it, and become educated on the availability of long-acting, voluntary, reversible contraception (LARC). 


Incarcerated Youth Speaking Out For Change • $5,000.00
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Incarcerated Youth Speaking Out for Change gives youth in the juvenile justice system an opportunity to develop solutions to deter juvenile crime and violence by asking them what would have made a difference in their lives. Using proven methods for working with youth, this project helps offenders contribute to their individual development, learn new skills to deal with conflict, repair damage done to victims, rebuild relationships with their families, and create better relations with enforcement officers. Ultimately, the youth use their firsthand knowledge and insight to help prevent their peers from making the same mistakes. 

Carpenter Art Garden

Artistic and Educational Programs for Binghampton’s Youth and Their Families • $10,000.00
Watch the Finals pitch here

Carpenter Art Garden’s (CAG) mission is to work with the children of Binghampton to promote each one’s creative potential and self-worth through exposure to artistic, educational, and vocational programs. The vision is to empower the children of Binghampton to create their best futures. CAG programs have been developed collaboratively with the community, including art education, tutoring, mentor groups, community gardens, vocational training, computer access, laundry co-op, community events, and employment opportunities. 

Communities in Schools of Tennessee at Memphis

CISTN Memphis Uniform Closets • $5,000.00
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CISTN Memphis is a beacon of support for the students and families we serve. In response to the statistic that 75% of Memphis/Shelby County students live in poverty, CISTN Memphis addresses each child’s unique barriers to learning that accompany economic disparity. Through the tireless efforts of our dedicated Site Coordinators, we are committed to keeping more students in school while lighting the pathway to graduation through success both in and out of the classroom. 

Emmanuel Center

Camp H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Participants Excel) • $10,000.00
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The purpose of Camp H.O.P.E. is to educate and empower youth so that they may be equipped with the skills to help elevate themselves out of poverty. By providing a safe and stimulating education environment, this program helps youth maintain academic continuity throughout the summer break. During summer break, educational camp programs are able to mitigate summer learning loss and expand learning by engaging students in creative learning activities. 

Hattiloo Theatre

TechiLoo Youth Program • $6,000.00
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TechiLoo will engage underserved youth from the Hollywood community in free, neighborhood-based workshops in the technical theatre arts, including sewing costumes, prop making, and scenic painting. These workshops will serve to develop artistic, practical, and team-building skills, to instill in youth a sense of pride in self and community, and to plant seeds for a meaningful, long-lasting engagement in the arts. 

National Ornamental Metal Museum

Metal Museum Youth Initiative • $5,000.00
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In partnership with Knowledge Quest, the Metal Museum hosts the Metal Museum Youth Initiative. This program is comprised of an after-school program, the Soulsville Metals Collaborative, and a six-week summer day camp, Cu in Summer. The program teaches high-school students basic metalworking and business skills, which are used to design, fabricate, and sell a line of jewelry and artwork that are sold in the Museum Store and other retail establishments. 

Memphis Oral School for the Deaf

Memphis Oral School for the Deaf Preschool • $4,100.00
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For 58 years, Memphis Oral School for the Deaf has empowered deaf children to listen, learn, and talk. Through unique, individualized instruction, deaf children from all socio-economic backgrounds learn to build listening and language skills that develop a firm foundation for their future. The goal is for students to enter kindergarten with their hearing peers, setting them on a path of independence and success in school and in life. 

Su Casa Family Ministries

Esperanza Early Childhood Center • $4,100.00
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Su Casa Family Ministries created Esperanza Early Childhood Center in order to provide bilingual, early childhood education to children from a Spanish language background. Access to high-quality learning opportunities at a young age is proven to benefit children into adulthood. Early childhood education is crucial not only for individuals, but it is also the key to ending the poverty cycle, lowering crime rates, and improving Memphis. 

Teach for America - Memphis

Summer School Experience for Memphis Kids • $6,000.00
Watch the Finals pitch here

Teach For America - Memphis’ mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize our nation’s most promising leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity. As part of our highly effective teacher preparation program, we provide summer school to local students in need. As a result, 500+ Memphis students gain access to intervention and enrichment they wouldn’t otherwise receive. In its fifth year, we’re hoping to enhance their experience.