Memphis Tomorrow has supported a wide array of initiatives over the years that don’t fall neatly into one of our three major priorities, but which were adopted because of their high impact potential for Memphis.
The very first initiative of this kind was to work in partnership with government and civic leaders to bring the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team to Memphis.
Since that time, beyond work on our three priorities, MT has supported projects ranging from parks to health and wellness to government performance management.
Below is a sampling of those.
Memphis 3.0. Memphis Tomorrow and a number of our member companies provided financial support to Mayor Jim Strickland’s Memphis 3.0 strategic planning initiative to create a City of great neighborhoods and opportunity for the residents who live in them. The plan incorporates strategies for enhancing land use, transportation, environment and neighborhoods.
Memphis Brand Initiative. Memphis Tomorrow led a community-wide, collaborative effort to amplify the Memphis brand to the world, and in 2016 established an independent, nonprofit organization staffed with extensive brand and marketing expertise to quarterback the onging work. The mission of the organization is to lead the diverse array of Memphis brand stakeholders in well-coordinated, best-in-class brand, marketing and communications practices which spark civic pride and attract talent, tourists and business investment to Memphis. The website for the effort is found here.
Government Performance Management. In 2015 Memphis Tomorrow funded the development of a City performance management system to help city government better use data to manage and improve performance such as police and fire response times. That system has been further refined by the Strickland administration, and now is viewable by the public at https://data.memphistn.gov/and is helping City administration meet performance and transparency goals. It inspired a similar system in County government under the Luttrell administration.
Shelby Farms Park. Memphis Tomorrow supported and helped fund the launch of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy and the development of the Shelby Farms Park master plan. MT members have since funded tens of millions of dollars to support the 21st century’s great urban park and the Greenline, as well as other Memphis greenways and blueways, resulting in Memphis being recognized as an emerging hub of outdoor recreation.
Healthy Shelby. Memphis Tomorrow supported a collective impact initiative of healthcare and government leaders and stakeholders called Healthy Shelby. As part of that work, our largest healthcare systems partnered to promote advance care planning, which resulted in 150,000 advance care plans being completed with the resulting benefit of improving end of life quality. Additionally, Memphis Tomorrow CEOs championed the CEO Culture of Health initiative, in partnership with Memphis Business Group on Health, enlisting 62 local corporate participants, with 66,000 employees, in one of four national certification programs for corporate wellness programs and policies.
Memphis Fast Forward. At the request of Mayors Herenton and Wharton in 2006, Memphis Tomorrow teamed up with the Mayors to co-lead and fund what would become the Memphis Fast Forward collective impact initiative. It was a massive initiative incorporating goals for economic growth, cradle-to-career education, public safety, government efficiency and, later, health, as Mayor Luttrell became County mayor and urged the addition of that priority. Planning was decentralized and involved experts, practitioners, government leaders and citizens, nonprofits and faith leaders, and members of the business community who together developed and executed on plans of action in each of the priority areas. The effort was implemented 2007 – 2011, and much of the work seeded during that time has continued independent of the Memphis Fast Forward initiative. The report on the work may be found here. The Memphis Fast Forward initiative was cited by Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Collective Impact Forum as a national model for community collaboration and collective impact.
Government Efficiency and Fiscal Strength. Memphis Tomorrow has consistently encouraged Mayors to find and implement efficiencies in government so that tax revenues may be used for the most strategic investments to benefit our citizens and their future. Mayor A C Wharton, as County Mayor, put the County government back on sound financial footing after initiating the first ever County Strategic Financial and Management Plan which among other things resulted in reducing the County’s bonded indebtedness by approximately $200 million and restructuring The Med to save approximately $20 million. As City Mayor, Wharton, with City Council support, made the difficult decision to reform the City’s pension system and retirement benefits to protect Memphis’ government’s financial future and to comply with state mandates. Under Mayor Mark Luttrell, County government launched an efficiency study and systematically identified and seized small opportunities to do more with less – from co-locating and restructuring various departments to consolidating vehicle purchases.