Bringing Innovation to Life
With the support of the Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are tackling some of the most pervasive issues in our city head-on, leveraging a research-based and results-focused approach to make Memphis a city of choice." A C Wharton
MEMShop 2013 - Coming Soon!
The MEMShop 2013 pre-application is open! We are looking for start-ups, artists, designers, makers, creative thinkers, online businesses, and established local businesses interested in testing out a new location or relocating.
We are looking for people who are interested in urban revitalization and having your business be a part of the community.
By filling out the pre-application form we can take the first step in assessing your business and matching you with available opportunities. Pre-negotiated, reduced and in some locations waived rent costs will apply to selected applicants.
Click here to download the form
Don’t miss this opportunity
Youth Handgun Violence in Memphis
Challenge: Reduce youth handgun violence by 10% by September 2014
In 2011, 11 juveniles were shot and killed in Memphis. Another 14 were arrested and charged with murder. All 25 saw their lives and their families destroyed by a single bullet. The work of the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team is focused on identifying the causes of youth violence and implementing results-driven initiatives to give young people an alternative to violence and to make our community safer.
Young people turn to illegal guns in response to conflict - whether in retaliation for an act of violence or in response to a real or perceived threat to their safety or self-esteem. As the team has explored this challenge, we have uncovered the fundamental reasons behind our very high rate of gun violence:
- Lack of real or perceived consequences for gun-related crimes
- Easy access to illegal guns and low likelihood of being caught
- Gradual acceptance and tolerance by the community of gun presence
- Cultural acceptance of retaliation for real or perceived threats
- Lack of trust and legitimacy of law enforcement
- Lack of capacity to provide effective social services to vulnerable youth
- Lack of access to employment and educational opportunities
The deep and pervasive problem of retaliatory violence in the United States – particularly the problem of retaliatory homicide – is one of the most frustrating and difficult for law enforcement to predict, prevent and address. Retaliatory homicide is a national problem with staggering costs to individuals, law enforcement agencies, the distressed communities in which retaliatory violence is prevalent, and to American society as a whole. Retaliatory homicide also signals a disturbing devaluation of police as symbol and agent of justice and community protection.
Through a grant from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, George Mason University will develop insight-based interventions with the Memphis Police Department's Community Outreach Police Officers working in the South Memphis community. Memphis is one of two cities selected to participate in this demonstration pilot. The police officers participating in this training curriculum will be engaged in applying Insight theory and methods to explore questions of conflict and resolution in an effort to reduce the escalation of violence as well as develop tools to aid in the predictability of retaliatory patterns of violence.
Teams of trained outreach and intervention specialists will be deployed in areas of Frayser and South Memphis. These teams will provide street-level intervention in response to shootings and also connect youth and their families with educational opportunities, employment training and assistance, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and other services that provide individuals with options besides a life of crime and violence. They will get to know the residents and the individuals that are at greatest risk of being involved in a shooting and will stay informed of everything that is going on within the community. This approach draws from best practices that have shown significant impact reducing shootings in several cities, including Boston, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles.
Neighborhood Economic Vitality
Challenge: Generate neighborhood economic vitality in the core City
The future of the City of Memphis is largely dependent on our ability to return people to the core of the City. To advance this effort, the Mayor has challenged us to generate neighborhood economic vitality in the core City by: increasing the number of new business starts; generating growth in existing businesses; and increasing commercial occupancy rates
As the team has explored this challenge, we have come to understand that there are several key reasons why neighborhoods are suffering from a lack of economic vitality:
- Blight and crime
- Apathy, poor perception and low expectations for the physical space
- Fiscal barriers to new business starts
- Poor coordination of policies and resources to start, sustain and attract new commerce in our neighborhoods.
- Absence of governmental involvement in retail strategies
- Lack of predictability in the application of our regulations that discourage outside investors from investing in the City.
- Trend of new development and investment directed at the city’s edge rather than reinvesting in the core
Great places are defined by the active presence of retail, production, education, community programming, and a unique urban form. We can make our neighborhoods great places by strengthening each of these elements. To accelerate results, we will follow a simple formula:
- Clean it: Eliminate environmental barriers that detract from the neighborhood
- Activate it: Deliberately program activity to generate interest and ideas and demonstrate what is possible.
- Sustain it: Align resources, policies, attitudes and actions to the vision of the neighborhood.
Blighted properties create hot spots for criminal activity and deter commercial investment in our neighborhoods. This initiative aligns the efforts of Public Works, Code Enforcement, Fire Department, and the Memphis Police Department for the 25 Square Initiative. Specific blocks (i.e., 25 square block total area) along key commercial corridors where we want to develop commercial investment will be improved through trash and debris removal, grass and weed control, code enforcement, and demolition where necessary.
To complement the general cleaning activity, selected liabilities in each corridor will be transformed into community assets after being thoroughly cleaned and then enhanced through web-based project management software, and messaged public art projects. We expect that 25 Square will help improve the public perception of safety, raise collective awareness of the physical environment, encouraging residents to take ownership of their neighborhoods and sustain the areas that were once a sore spot in the community.
About the Team
Additional initiatives developed to address youth gun violence will be announced later in July, so check back here for details. Look for updates on the Mayor’s Challenge on Facebook at Mayor’s Challenge or follow the discussion on Twitter at @MayorsChallenge.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is committed to making Memphis a “City of Choice” by
* Creating safe and vibrant neighborhoods
* Growing prosperity and opportunity for all
* Investing in our young people
* Advancing a culture of excellence in government
In support of these priorities, Mayor Wharton charged the Innovation Delivery Team to develop bold solutions to reduce youth gun violence and to generate neighborhood economic vitality in core city neighborhoods.
In late 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded the city of Memphis a 3-year grant to establish the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team. Memphis is one of just five cities nationwide chosen to participate in this unique opportunity – the largest private-sector investment in social innovation in our nation’s history. The Team is charged with developing and delivering bold ideas that the city can implement to address some of Memphis’ most pressing challenges.
Bloomberg Philanthropies established Innovation Delivery Teams to help mayors develop and deliver powerful solutions to major urban challenges. Through these investments. Bloomberg Philanthropies seeks to both support grantee cities to achieve impact, as well as establish a model that can be used by mayor’s anywhere to develop and drive innovation over time.
We are a new resource to coordinate complementary actions across the many agencies, departments, and organizations that are committed to the targets established by the Mayor.
Our role is to generate and propel new ideas, lead solid planning and coordinated implementation of those strategies, and then to measure our results and refine our approach as necessary.
Bloomberg Philanthropies' Innovation Delivery Teams
Please click on the title to download press release
Youth Gun Violence
- Mayor A C Wharton Launches Initiatives to Combat Youth Gun Violence (May 31, 2012)
- City of Memphis, DA’S Office, Grizzlies Partner for Mentoring Program (October 3, 2012)
- Mayor A C Wharton Announces New Resources to Combat Youth Gun Violence (October 18, 2012)
- Mayor Unveils Initiatives to Build Economic Vitality in Memphis Neighborhoods (July 2, 2012)
- Cleveland Street to be “MEMFIXED” Saturday, November 10th (October 12, 2012)
- Updated: Cleveland Street to be "MEXFIXED" Saturday, November 10th (November 6, 2012)
- Mayor Wharton Announces New Initiatives in Neighborhood Economic Vitality Plan (November 10, 2012)
- MEMShop showcases retail opportunity in Overton Square (November 27, 2012)
The Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team is a privately funded unit of his office that will focus on developing and delivering innovative strategies to reduce handgun violence and foster small-business growth in core city areas over the next three years.
Doug McGowen – Director, Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team
In his capacity as Director of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, Doug McGowen reports to the Mayor of Memphis, working closely with existing department leaders and staff to develop powerful solutions and implementation plans, and then managing those plans for results. Doug, a 26-year career Naval Officer, served most recently as the Commanding Officer of Naval Support Activity Mid-South, Millington, TN, and Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO TWO. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute and an M.A. in National Security from the Naval War College. Actively involved in the local community, he serves on the Board of Directors of Leadership Memphis, the University of Memphis LEAD program, and the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering.
Tommy Pacello – Neighborhood Economic Vitality Project Manager
Tommy Pacello was born and raised in Memphis. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia (BA) and the University of Memphis (JD and MCRP). Tommy started his career in Memphis as an Assistant City Attorney assigned to the Division of Planning and Development. In this capacity, he represented several City offices, agencies, and commissions on legal matters involving planning, zoning, employment and constitutional law. Tommy has played a major role in such initiatives as the Memphis and Shelby County Unified Development Code, Sustainable Shelby: A Future of Choice Not Chance, and the Uptown and Highland Row Community Redevelopment Districts. Tommy is returning home from Austin, Texas, where he has managed several national planning and development code projects for the Austin based firm Code Studio. While with Code Studio, Tommy focused on the firm’s coding and sustainability efforts and worked to implement policies that build stronger communities through neighborhood revitalization. Tommy is an active member of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
Peggie Russell – Project Manager Handgun Violence
Peggie Russell, JD, is a native of Memphis and a graduate of Hamilton High. She earned her Bachelor of Professional Studies and Law degrees at the University of Memphis. She has significant experience in the private sector, holding leadership positions with Nike, Williams-Sonoma, and Amazon.com. Since 2008, Peggie has been directly involved in numerous public ventures to make our community a safer one. She served as the project Director for the Drug Market Intervention Initiative, Community coordinator for the Smart Policing Initiative, and co-chair of the OJJP Comprehensive Gang Model Pilot (GRASSY). In 2010, she was selected to lead the Shelby County Defending Childhood Initiative as Project Coordinator.
George Lord – Performance Management Lead
George Lord’s career has included being a faculty member, Department Chair, and Dean at several institutions of higher education in addition to working in both the state and the not-for-profit sectors. His past experience in Memphis has included time as a Research Professor in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Memphis and the Director of Research and Policy Analysis at Partners in Public Education. Most recently he served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at The University of the Virgin Islands. He has previously served as Professor of Public Affairs and the Campus Dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Northwest and Director of The Great Lakes Center for Public Affairs and Administration, a Center within the IU system. His research has focused on education reform, labor markets, and the impact of politics on local development efforts. Dr. Lord earned his undergraduate degree at Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary and both his MA and PhD at Louisiana State University.
Dorian Spears – Neighborhood Economic Vitality Junior Project Manager
A native Memphian, Dorian previously served with the non-profit intermediary Seedco, Mid-South Regional Office, in various roles including trainer, facilitator and program coordinator. In addition, she co-developed the robust internship program entitled Career Steps, which engaged more than 600 business, corporate, and community sponsors.
Clay Braggs – Handgun Violence Junior Project Manager
Clay is new to Memphis. Most recently, he was the research program director of the College Ambition Program (CAP) at Michigan State University, a National Science Foundation funded program designed to help first-generation college-going students navigate their way to college.
Kerri Campbell – Team Manager
Kerri is a Memphian and most recently served as a program coordinator at The Memphis Challenge, where she provided educational programming for underrepresented students. An attorney by trade, she has additional experience in the nonprofit sector, including providing legal services to indigent populations.
Patrick Hendricks– Development Assistant
Patrick, a native Memphian, most recently served as a Development Officer for the MED Foundation. Prior to returning to Memphis, he helped New York Presbyterian Hospital’s capital campaign, To Realize Medicine’s Promise, become one of the largest capital campaigns in the history of healthcare.
To meet our goals to reduce youth handgun violence and promote neighborhood economic vitality, The Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team will bring rigorous focus and best-in-class practice to identifying powerful solutions, developing implementation plans and then managing for results – effectively engaging all necessary stakeholders to support success throughout the process.
The Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team is being funded through a $4.8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. This grant is part of a $24 million initiative launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies to help mayors in Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, and New Orleans effectively develop and deliver powerful solutions to major urban challenges.