The Greater Memphis Partnership – a cross-sector partnership of local agencies – has been awarded $225,000 grant to help transform neighborhoods in Binghampton and Frayser.
The grant is through the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP), a component of the federal Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI), a White House-led federal partnership launched by the Obama Administration in 2010 to help transform distressed neighborhoods. BNCP's intention is to create community-driven change in neighborhoods that have been facing barriers to revitalization.
The Greater Memphis Partnership, with Community LIFT as lead agency, worked for months to secure the grant. The grant process included a detailed proposal and a two -day site visit to Frayser, Binghampton, South Memphis and Whitehaven. Ultimately, the BNCP Review Committee selected Binghampton and Frayser as the neighborhoods to fund.
"It is critical that Frayser have a master plan and vision of where we want to go. This grant will allow the community to speak with one voice and focus and coordinate resources in the most effective manner possible," said Steve Lockwood, executive director of the Frayser Community Development Corporation.
"I believe it will be a great benefit to the community and cause more collaboration of organizations to come together and benefit," said Charlie Caswell, executive director for Rangeline Neighborhood Community Development Corporation of Frayser.
"This critical federal and local support will enable this historic community to accelerate and broaden the progress taking hold today and lay the groundwork for an expanded effort in underserved areas," said Robert Montague, executive director of the Binghampton Community Development Corporation.
"The ability to tap critical technical assistance and the coordinated federal agencies provides leverage that small communities or neighborhood organizations could not practically access directly and will help accelerate the development of this core Memphis neighborhood".
Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said the BNCP grant joins a continuing tradition of collaboration and partnership between Memphis, the federal government, and other entities.
"We must all work together if we are to turn the tide of intergenerational poverty in our city and restore economic vitality to our distressed neighborhoods," said Wharton. "In particular, I would like to thank the local foundation community for their support in this effort."
Both the Mayor's Innovation Team and the Memphis Police Department's COP initiative are already focusing resources on Frayser and Binghampton.
The BNCP grant was created to help low-income neighborhoods provide the foundation and resources needed to help families experience better forms of education, employment, safety, and housing in their communities. The goal is to help neighborhoods develop the knowledge, skills, relationships, interactions, and organizational resources that enable citizens, civic leaders, the public and private sectors and local organizations to create comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans.
BNCP funds are provided by the Departments of Education, Housing & Urban Development, Health & Human Services, Justice, and Treasury, along with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the National League of Cities, the Aspen Institute Roundtable for Community Change, the Institute for Community Peace and Living Cities.
The neighborhoods were selected based on their levels of income, poor health outcomes, struggling schools, quality of affordable housing, access to employment, and levels of crime. Memphis was one of only four cities nationwide to be selected through a competitive process for the BNCP. Other cities include Flint, Michigan; Fresno, California; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thirty cities were considered to participate in the program.
The grant includes $225,000 to provide technical assistance to meet with community members and to begin revitalization plans. It will be matched by members of the Greater Memphis Partnership, resulting in a total of $450,000 in grant money.