2018 grants

In 2018, eight organizations received a total of $57,000 with the theme Reconnecting Memphis: programs that bridge and celebrate our communities. The grantees are:

A Step Ahead Foundation

A Step Ahead Youth Council • $3,100
Watch the Finals pitch here

A Step Ahead Youth Council strives to involve the voices of diverse young leaders in the work of A Step Ahead Foundation. A group of talented and diverse Memphis-area teenagers come together to discuss key issues in teen health in Memphis, provide input on teen-focused programming at A Step Ahead Foundation, and participate in development of innovative strategies and resources to encourage communication between parents and their teenagers regarding reproductive health. 

Bethany Christian Services

Safe Families for Children • $9,100
Watch the Finals pitch here

Bethany Christian Services has a heart for children and equips families in Memphis to be the answer for children in need. Pressing social and economic conditions put children at risk of abuse and neglect. Safe Families for Children hosts vulnerable children and creates extended family-like supports for desperate families through a community of devoted volunteers who are motivated by compassion to proactively keep children safe and ultimately with their families

Binghampton Development Corporation

Kaleidoscope Kitchen • $10,000
Watch the Finals pitch here

Kaleidoscope Kitchen prepares minority entrepreneurs for sustainable careers in food service. Binghampton Development Corporation equips participants with technical skills and business training, provides low priced rental of a licensed kitchen, and connects participants with opportunities in food service. Kaleidoscope strives for a community that comes together regardless of race, ethnicity, and religion to celebrate identity and diversity through food and storytelling. 


Bridge Builders Interfaith Action Program • $4,800
Watch the Finals pitch here

Identifying with a faith tradition is something that almost every Memphian can relate to. This program capitalizes on this powerful characteristic to launch a city-wide effort to bridge our diverse communities. BRIDGES will bring the Bridge Builder curriculum and experience to the wide array of religious congregations in Memphis with youth and adult members of different faith communities for interfaith dialogue and a community action project.   

Circuit Playhouse

Q&A Queer Youth Theatre • $5,000
Watch the Finals pitch here

Q&A is an LGBTQ and Allied Youth Theatre troupe. Troupe members use theatre to explore and express what life is like as an LGBTQ or Allied teen in Memphis and the surrounding area. Participation is open to students ages 14 to 21, and no prior theatrical experience is necessary. 

Levitt Shell

Levitt Shell's 50 Free Concert Series • $10,000
Watch the Finals pitch here

The Levitt Shell's Memphis Music Series features 10 free concerts of local and regional performers that reflect the soul and identity of Memphis. This project brings diverse communities of people together, using unique cultural experiences to create a safe, family-friendly public space for forging new and stronger community connections. 

One Step Initiative

Global Pathways to Success • $5,000
Watch the Finals pitch here

One Step Initiative works to expose underrepresented youth ages 15-18 to the benefits of international education through the Global Pathways to Success (GPS) Youth Global Ambassador Program. In GPS, students learn cultural differences that make Memphians unique, obtain professional development and educational tools from community leaders, and are guided on the importance of community and global citizenship to make Memphis a better place to live and thrive for future generations. 

Playback Memphis

Performing the Peace • $10,000
Watch the Finals pitch here

Performing the Peace is a program of Playback Memphis that helps to bridge the divide between communities and police. Playback Theatre will break down barriers of distrust among police officers and ex-offenders through this innovative program, and will celebrate what is possible for community-police relations in a special public performance featuring stories of hope and transformation from Performing the Peace participants.