September 1st is just another day to the world, but to us it is a day to be recognized. 9/01 will be written millions of times today, and billions will not know the significance; but in the Bluff City, we know 901 is a glorious 3 number combination. A date on all calendar books, 9/01 also signifies the area code for Memphis. For obvious reasons, Memphis have chosen to celebrate this brilliant federation of great neighborhoods on 9/01. Asking yourself why should you celebrate your city? Read this list and let it sink in all the amazing things happening in the 901 and all the people working together to make it the place we all love to call home. Then celebrate! Get together with friends, talk with your family about why you love Memphis, eat at your favorite local restaurant, or celebrate with others at The Levitt Shell! You can’t use being ‘too busy’ as an excuse. Even if its just reading this list and acknowledging the beautiful community around you, celebrate Memphis!
by Holli Whitfield
Does Memphis need outside approval? Not really. But is it nice or otherwise just fun to get a little attention? I think so. I haven't done a big roundup in a while, so here are 17 reasons to brag about Memphis in terms of national and international media coverage.
1. The UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph named Memphis a must-visit destination in 2015.
2. The Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars song "Uptown Funk" is currently #1 on the Billboard Top 100 charts and it was recorded right here in Memphis at Royal Studios – where Al Green, Ann Peebles, and many more legends recorded their songs in the 60s and 70s.
3. The New York Times featured Memphis in a video and article with a 36-hour itinerary featuring classic and new Memphis activities beyond "the usual". Go here to see the video.
4. Memphis is one of a few U.S. cities to feature Google Trekker Street View images of sites and attractions like Graceland, the Memphis riverfront, Shelby Farms Park,Overton Park, Rhodes College and the Memphis Zoo. Read more full post on this with links here.
5. A survey of USA TODAY 10Best readers named Memphis “Best NBA Destination" You can listen to me discuss exactly why Memphis deserves this title in this short radio interview with my pals on Grizzly Bear Blues Live!
6. In December, Memphis’ Riverside Drive was singled out as offering the top bike lanes in the U.S., according to the advocacy group PeopleForBikes.
7. Huffington Post named Memphis on a list of “Most Affordable Cities” in 2014.
8. Just last week, Marc Gasol was selected as the first Grizzlies player in history to be named an NBA All-Star starter for the Western Conference. Go Big Spain!
9. Many prominent Memphis chefs have cooked at the James Beard House including Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman (Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen/Hog & Hominy), Ryan Trimm (Sweet Grass), Jonathan Magallanes (Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana), Miles McMath (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital), Patrick Reilly (The Majestic Grille) and Felicia Suzanne Willett (Felicia Suzanne’s).
10. In case you missed my link to this article on Pie Day last Friday, The New York Times featured Memphis’ best dessert offerings last year, including Muddy’s Bake Shop, Hog & Hominy, Lunchbox Eats, Germantown Commissary and Cozy Corner, in an article about pie.
11. In December, Forbes featured Cooper Young's Phillip Ashley Chocolates, describing Phillip Ashley Rix as a “self-taught Willy Wonka.”
12. Esquire magazine featured Memphis last July; the article lauded attractions like Graceland, Shangri La Records and Central BBQ. I liked this quote from author: "Every aspect of this great southern city urges you to relax, slow down, ease the pace. And, in between exploring the countless historic spots and stuffing your face with all the juicy hunks of barbecued meat…that's exactly what you should do."
13. I can't believe I just found this vibrant, riveting article from Thrillist about the author's first time at BBQ Fest. It's just a great read that captures the drama and celebration of the competition side of the event. Speaking of Thrillist, a little bird told me they'll be launching in Memphis real soon (as in, this week). Stay tuned for details on that.
14. As the U.S. craft beer boom continues, three new microbreweries recently opened within the last year or so: High Cotton Brewing, Wiseacre Brewing and Memphis Made Brewing. Wiseacre took home the Bronze Medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival for the popular Tiny Bomb American Pilsner.
15. MEMPHIS, the Tony Award winning Broadway musical is currently running in London. It had a 4-year run on Broadway along with a North American tour. Go here to see the video of when the British cast visited Memphis.
16. The St. Louis Dispatch recently posted an article about what to do in Memphis beyond the typical tourist stuff. They cited "vibrant neighborhoods, a host of small and little-known museums, intriguing shopping and a world-class zoo…"
17. The Charlotte Observer did a lovely article with an extensive rundown of things to do in Memphis, including projects and attractions that are up-and-coming or worth looking forward to.
I'd feel weird if I didn't give a shout-out to my colleagues at the CVB, who work tirelessly to make sure that outside media, including some outlets mentioned above, get exposed to reasons why Memphis is lovable. Speaking of that, here's a new Memphis promo video that features one of my favorite songs (I Can't Wait by Star & Micey).
In the past few years, Memphis has ranked either first or second in the nation in terms of citizens’ charitable contributions among large cities. Last year, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that in 2012 Memphians had a giving rate of 5.1 percent of their income, second only to Salt Lake City, Utah. When it comes to volunteering, however, Memphis has not been as generous.
According to the Corporation for National & Community Service report on Volunteering and Civic Life, in 2013 only 6.5 percent of residents volunteered, ranking Memphis 30th among the largest 51 metropolitan statistical areas in the nation. The state fared only slightly better with one in four Tennessee residents volunteering, ranking it 35th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The survey looked at volunteer activities that run the gamut, from fundraising to tutoring, office services to collecting food or clothing. Unsurprisingly, the largest share of volunteer hours in Memphis was categorized as religious (34 percent), followed by educational (28 percent) and health (13 percent). Volunteering categorized as social service, civic, or sports and arts-related was significantly lower.
But there is no shortage of need in Memphis. According to the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence, more than 1,000 nonprofits (outside of churches) are located in Shelby County, and 259,200 volunteers provide 29 million hours of service to those Memphis nonprofits each year. Those volunteer hours a real boon to our nonprofit's bottom lines, as well. That annual volunteer investment is valued at $620 million. Infusing these organizations with volunteers is an important consideration if these nonprofits are to keep delivering services to the community.
Connecting volunteers to opportunities has been the focus of a few local non-profits, and some key groups have been working recently to make inroads in the Memphis volunteer supply and retention mechanism.
Leading the Charge
In early February, Leadership Memphis announced that it had acquired Volunteer Mid-South, an organization (originally named the Volunteer Center of Memphis) dating back to 1975. In 2000 it became Volunteer Memphis and then Volunteer Mid-South after a merger with HandsOn Memphis in 2009.
The 40-year-old organization now becomes an action initiative of Leadership Memphis and reverts to the “Volunteer Memphis” moniker. Their primary goal will be to develop, promote and support volunteerism throughout the city. Other initiatives of Leadership Memphis include leadership development programs (Grassroots, FastTrack, Executive), Memphis Talent Dividend, Graduate Memphis, and Success High Schools.
It's a natural move for Leadership Memphis, an organization who has worked for nearly four decades to train city leaders and get them actively involved and interested in civic life. Volunteer Memphis provides an expanded platform for the organization to connect their program alumni to volunteering, in addition to recruiting and training thousands of new volunteers to hundreds of nonprofit organizations.
“Leadership Memphis will take volunteerism to the next level,” said Leadership Memphis President and CEO, David Williams. “Our mission is to prepare and mobilize leaders to work together for the good of the whole community, and volunteerism is one more way for us to fulfill that mission and make a difference.”
With the acquisition of Volunteer Mid-South, Leadership Memphis and Volunteer Memphis are the official local affiliate of the national organization,Points of Light, as well as the national HandsOn Network.
“I can’t say enough about the great things accomplished by Volunteer Mid-South over their 40 years of distinguished service to the Memphis area, and about the staff, board and volunteers who gave so much of themselves,” Williams said. “Leadership Memphis is honored to carry the torch forward and continue their legacy into the future.”
Their primary goal will be to develop, promote and support volunteerism throughout the city. That works begins with collecting information on what the community's needs are, and where volunteer talent is needed most.
Leadership Memphis is currently in talks with local and national partners to identify and prioritize the ways Leadership Memphis can increase connectivity of volunteers to the organizations who rely on them. Williams said Volunteer Memphis expects to respond to needs of the nonprofit community, as well as individuals, youth and families, companies, faith communities and the public sector. A full-time Volunteer Memphis director will be hired by the close of March, and other staff will be added as resources and capacity become available.
But in the meantime, the community can still utilize their website as a resource to find a volunteer opportunity. Their search allows users to isolate experiences that fit their talents and interests, as well as their schedule.
Crafting the Experience
In 2013, Sarah Petschonek began Volunteer Odyssey to connect Memphians with volunteer opportunism and to share those experiences. Since its inception, the organization has been innovative in its approach to making volunteering work. Building the amount of volunteer service in Memphis requires making volunteering easy, productive, and sometimes fun.
Volunteer Odyssey's Job Seekers Program is a unique example. The program is specifically tailored for job-seeking professionals in the greater Memphis area with moderate communication skills and a willingness to serve. While someone is on the job hunt, the program put them to work volunteering for a week for several organizations that fit their interests—and simultaneously writing about their experiences on a blog—which helps them hone skills and stand out in the job market. So far 29 have gone through the Job Seekers Program.
The organization also connects corporate groups to volunteer opportunities, crafting the experience to be both useful for the nonprofit receiving the services, but also the host company. The volunteer experiences encourage team building and facilitate employee engagement.
VolunCheers is a monthly happy hour service event that makes couples a volunteer activity with a social outing. Participants visit a different nonprofit each month to help with a simple task—like stuffing envelopes or assembling gift bags—while sampling cocktails and making new friends.
And for the individual volunteer who is just looking for the best fit for them, the Volunteer Opportunity Calendar provides a comprehensive listing of current volunteer needs in the area.
“With these programs and opportunities we're building the new era of volunteerism in Memphis,” Petschonek said.
Volunteer Odyssey has grown since 2013 to include over 35 nonprofit partners and will be adding an exciting new effort, in addition to the current operating programs Job Seekers, VolunCheers, Corporate Teams, and the Volunteer Opportunity Calendar. Soon they will be rolling out a virtual volunteer fair, something that Petschonek says is the first of its kind in the country.
“Based on the success of its Job Seekers Program, Volunteer Odyssey has expanded to serve more of Memphis,” Petschonek said. “We believe you live your fullest life through volunteering and we aim to match every volunteer with his or her ideal volunteer opportunity. To do that, we need to be a hub for volunteerism.”
Kindness from Campus
And around for 10 years is Serve901, which brings in college students on Spring Break to volunteer their time in and around the city at local nonprofits, schools, and community development organizations. The organization works with local churches to house the volunteers.
So far Serve901 has hosted groups with 4,000 people over the years, according to director Jeff Riddle. The students have done things such as tutor, read to children, and build wheelchair ramps.
“The opportunity to volunteer in Memphis is great, because yes there are needs...but also because there are great organizations and people in place to learn from and to support their great work,” Riddle said.
If the leaders of Serve901 got their wish, some of those involved would make Memphis their home, ultimately. Riddle said that he believes that college students are looking for meaningful ways to spend their breaks, and that through their visits to Memphis they get exposure to people who love what they do and love where they live.
“Students get to see individuals who are running towards needs and issues,” Riddle said. “They see people are not just complaining about failing schools and crime rates. They see Memphians running towards these issues as opportunities to lead and serve.”
Source: High Ground News
The Wall Street Journal just released the results of a survey touting Memphis as a top Millennial destination. Check it:
“In a nod to the youngsters, the survey found that the top markets offering “the right live/work/play environment” for millennials were Nashville, Brooklyn, Portland, and Memphis.” - Wall Street Journal
The criteria for the survey were not revealed in the article for the Wall Street Journal, but you can see the whole report for yourself here.
The results are no surprise to those who Choose901. Memphis has again been named among the most affordable cities in the country, a great place for entrepreneurs, among other honors. That’s before we even mention our natural advantages like weather, music, and the opportunity to something significant; all while living in a hipwalkable/bikeable neighborhood, in a downtown condo with a view of the river, or even in an innovative vertical urban village where you can do all three in one place..
We would tell those reading the report “Now is the time. Memphis is the place.”
According to an article in Forbes, Memphis ranks as #6.
MSA: Memphis, TN-MS-AR
Median Family Income: $56,700
Q4 2014 median sales price: $140,000
Housing affordable at median family income 72.4%
Cost below national average: Groceries 8.3%; Utilities 12.9%; Transportation 9.7%; Health 5.0%; Misc. 10.3%
Memphis is a city with a rich and eclectic history. We can lay claim to a lot of things: Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll, BBQ Pork Capital of the World… on and on. With all the great milestones and traditions that take place in Memphis, we’ve earned the right to boast a little bit about what makes our city such a great place to live and visit.
Recent awards and polls have highlighted some of Memphis’ best assets – top notch attractions, awesome food, crazy good sports and rockin’ events. See some of Memphis’ latest distinctions below.
Source: I Love Memphis
Marx-Bensdorf, REALTORS was voted 1st place in Memphis Most Category - Best Real Estate Company in 2014, 2015, and 2016. This award is sponsored by the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The real estate professionals at
Marx-Bensdorf, REALTORS have been serving the real estate needs of the Greater Memphis community for over 145 years. We have developed a sustainable model that demonstrates an appreciation for the client’s sense of urgency without compromising the long view. Our experience is more valuable now than it has been at any other time in our history.
Need another reason to live in Memphis? We'll give you many more! Check out #choose901 #ilovememphis #abouttownmemphis
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