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Memphis Match: The numbers are in!

Success!

The numbers are in: ioby leaders and project donors in Memphis raised more than $160,000 during our Memphis Match campaign for projects that will make the city safer, greener, more livable, and more fun.

How’d it happen?

In February, ioby and Livable Memphis put the word out about a matching funds campaign for neighborhood projects in Memphis and were quickly inundated with great ideas. Leaders came forward with ideas large and small, from re-striping public basketball courts to creating “bee gardens.” Murals were designed, new park signage was planned, and neighborhood cookouts were coordinated. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

number block

Then, the magic really happened.

On Saturday, April 11, the match period kicked off at the much-loved community event MEMFix: the Pinch with live music, pop-up shops, food trucks, and an ioby installation in an empty storefront where neighbors could meet the leaders making all these great projects happen.

MemFix
Some of our awesome project leaders at MemFix

 

The inspiration going around that day proved highly contagious, and resulted in a tidal wave of giving: as part of this campaign, citizen philanthropists, together with the matching funds, had raised $161,100.58 that will benefit 66 projects! Pretty stellar.

More eye-popping numbers:

  • More than $100K of the total was given by individuals.
  • 36 ioby leaders (more than half) met their original fundraising goal before the match period deadline of April 15, and 28 of them surpassed it! Some have since adjusted their goal and are now raising even more money.
  • More than 60% of the leaders had never before raised money online.
  • Campaigns raised an average of $2,440.92
  • Nine projects were city-wide; the others focused on one or more particular neighborhoods. Together, the projects cover 17 zip codes.

Here’s what we love about these projects: While they include the typical mix of project types  (14 involved gardens, 11 included art, 7 dealt directly with education, and so on), their benefits transcend categorization. A community garden can provide fresh food, but creating one together also gets kids outdoors, teaches them about science, and gets neighbors talking to each other, maybe for the first time. Painting a mural can brighten up a wall, support a local art scene, encourage community pride, and even make a neighborhood feel safer. The  benefits of each project are real, long-lasting, and powerful. Now multiply that by 66 and you get nothing short of a groundswell of positive neighborhood change in Memphis. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see where this goes!

You can read more about this smash-hit campaign and the people and initiatives who made it happen on our blog (increasing the match amount; stories behind  some great ideas) and take a spin through the super-cool projects now in process on our Discover ioby page.  We owe a big and hearty thanks to the Kresge Foundation for the initial  $50,000 in match funding, and to  the Hyde Family Foundation, Livable Memphis,  and  the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis for helping us “grow the pie” when it became apparent that the opportunity to support awesome projects in Memphis was even bigger than we had imagined!

And what’s our favorite part? That the best part—bringing these projects to life—is just getting started.

 

Double your impact for Memphis neighborhoods at MEMFix! (and Online)

Calling all Memphians, neighbors,  and friends who care about making a difference for Memphis neighborhoods:  the big day is almost upon us! Tomorrow, Saturday, April 11, from 11am to 4pm, the Pinch district in Memphis comes alive with the latest manifestation of beloved community event series MEMFix. And we’ll be there loud and proud, to celebrate the seventy, yes, seventy – Memphis ioby campaigns currently running as part of our MemMatch challenge. Want us to throw some more awesome numbers at you? Don’t mind if we do:

Total raised to date:  $98,043

Number of MemMatch campaigns already fully funded:  10

Largest amount raised so far for a MemMatch campaign: $11,105 for  Trinity Playground Revitalization

So come find us tomorrow at our pop-up storefront at 358 N. Main Street. We’ll be there with Liveable Memphis and Sweet Potato Baby. Expect games, sweet treats, a book signing  by Tactical Urbanism author Mike Lydon, and the chance to learn about some really cool projects coming down the pipeline in your neighborhood.

Here’s   the best part: All donations given at MEMFix or online until  April  15 will be doubled, thanks to the match!  To whet your appetite, read a little bit below about four of the inspiring MemMatch projects.

 

Strengthening Memphis communities by improving public basketball courts

When Daniel Peterson was a junior in high school living in Putnam County, New York, the middle school in his town renovated its basketball court. No big deal – just your average renovation. But it changed Peterson’s life. His school team, “perennial losers,” as Peterson puts it, had within three years of the renovation started sending kids to play in college. He started practicing by himself every night – getting to know the cops, who always kicked him off at midnight – and soon found himself playing Division 1  in college. Fast-forward a few years and a few careers, and he was stepping into a new role as senior coordinator for health and fitness initiatives for the Memphis Grizzlies. Today, he’s the director of an organization called Project Backboard, which strengthens communities by improving courts. The game has never left him. And it all started with that renovation back in Putnam County. “Having those courts renovated really changed the trajectory of my life,” says Peterson.

A Memphian now, Peterson is focused on making as many improvements as he can to as many public Memphis courts as possible. Even something as minor as painting posts and covering graffiti makes a difference. “My feeling is that if you add minor improvements that draw people out of their cars and off their bikes and out of the house and into the parks, then you start getting that social interaction that strengthens community ties.”

There are 51 public courts in Memphis parks, only 13 of which are striped. Most of them are in pretty bad shape. Peterson is raising money right now to get to 15-20 of those that need stripes, and to replace backboards where possible. Striping and painting an entire court takes only $150, which means that with the current one-for-one match offer, $75 of your cash will go a long, long way. Click here to learn more about the campaign.

 

Memphis churches coming together to save the bees… and to serve survivors of prostitution and trafficking

Last year, Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis found itself with a massive bee problem on its hands. The church’s bell tower, it turned out, was teeming with tens of thousands of the little guys. But instead of calling the exterminator, Calvary did something remarkable: they put out a call to other churches in the area, and set to work on finding a new home for the hive. That’s how the “bee garden” at the Church of the Annunciation, in Cordova, was born. The bees now make their home here, on a gorgeous nature trail near a meditation garden and a very special spot that the church calls the Stations of the Cross. The Church of the Annunciation offered the land for free; they simply wanted “to be good stewards of the land,” as Amanda Jemison, director of operations at All Saints Presbyterian, puts it.

Jemison got involved in the project early on. She was particularly excited to learn that the honey produced by the project would be sold locally, and that proceeds would be donated to Lives Worth Saving (LWS), a prostitution intervention program in Memphis. For her, that made the honey that much sweeter. Her reaction to the first honey harvest? “Amazing! I just finished my jar. It was delicious. It’s local honey that’s contributing to a dream and a mission that I just believe in so fully.”

Now Jemison is helping to lead the charge to raise the funds to another three apiaries in the bee garden, which will make five, total. The original two hives produced twenty pounds of honey in their first go-round; the second big harvest will take place in September, and is expected to produce 95 pounds of honey. Click here to help make that possible!

 

Bringing bats back to Buntyn  (Late breaking: This project is now FULLY FUNDED, although donations are still being accepted!)

When Shannon Langellier, Vice President of the East Buntyn Historic District Neighborhood Association, heard about ioby’s MEMmatch challenge, she put out a call to community members, asking how they thought the neighborhood could best be improved. And a very interesting suggestion came in from Caroline Carrico, who works at the local natural history museum. We need more bats, Carrico said. And more homes for bats.

Some of the best insect-eaters around, bats are critical to ecosystems, especially in areas where mosquito-borne illnesses are a problem. That includes Memphis, which is starting to see more and more West Nile virus. And bats are equally critical for their top-notch pollinating skills; organic gardeners love them.

But Carrico was right – bats had all but left the neighborhood of Buntyn. “I’ve lived here 30 years,” explains Langellier, “and it was not uncommon to see bats and chimney swifts around. At twilight, you could go out and see them fluttering around and such. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a bat anywhere in our area. I haven’t seen any in years and years. And you don’t realize it until someone points out that they’re gone!”

The money that Langellier and her partners are raising now will go toward the construction and installation – with the help of experts from the local nature center – of ten bat houses and one chimney swift tower in the neighborhood. So here’s to healthier gardens and fewer skeeters next year! Click here to learn more.

 

New rock garden and rotating art exhibit coming to an empty Soulsville lot  (Late breaking: This project is now FULLY FUNDED,  although donations are still being accepted!)

At the corner of Mississippi and Mclemore, in Soulsville, Memphis, is an empty lot about to get a serious makeover. It’s a high traffic corner (the Stax Museum and Stax Music Academy are both nearby) in a very walkable part of town, and residents often sit and hang out amidst the remains of the building that was demolished across the street. Lori Robertson, VP of the neighborhood association, wants to build an inspiring and permanent space where residents can gather. There’s a fabulous “I love Soulsville” mural in place in the empty lot already, and all it needs now, says Robertson and her team, is the attention of some Memphian creatives.

Robertson’s hope for the art garden? To “create a little happy in Soulsville,” she says. She and her team are raising money now to turn the lot into a rock garden, which will serve as a canvass on which local artists will create their own public works. The exhibition will change – if all goes according to plan – every two or three months.

“My husband and I have this personal mantra that we try to live by,” says Robertson, in explaining why she loves her corner of Memphis. “It says ‘live in the vision, not in your circumstances.’ And I feel like the residents of Soulsville truly believe in that. Despite that Soulsville is part of an inner city neighborhood, they focus heavily on the opportunities. What can we do to make sure that Soulsville grows into something greater than what people may see it as today?” To learn more, click here.

Matching Funds for NYC Green Infrastructure Projects

Today ioby is proud to announce a call for small-scale, community-led green infrastructure projects inside of the Gowanus Canal watershed. Projects that meet this criteria, with budgets of up to $3,000, will be eligible for dollar-for-dollar matching funds applied to your ioby campaign.

ioby is a community of donors, volunteers and leaders working to make their neighborhoods stronger and more sustainable. Leaders can run ioby campaigns to “crowd-fund” their ideas for their neighborhoods. ioby often runs match campaigns to incentivize and support certain project types. This match campaign is designed to support small-scale projects around the Gowanus Canal that reduce storm water.

To qualify, you must submit your project idea at ioby.org/idea by 6pm, July 3, 2014. Include in the project description the ways you believe your project will measurably reduce storm water.

To support leaders in the Gowanus Canal watershed who may be starting green infrastructure projects for the first time, we’re also announcing today the release of ioby’s Guide to Green Infrastructure, 5 Projects that any Community Can Do to Reduce Storm Water Runoff in 5 Easy Steps . You can find out more about this guide here.



Jack Johnson and ioby join smallwater to rebuild in the Rockaways

Thanks very much to Jack and Kim Johnson and the whole team at the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation for matching donations to smallwater’s project on ioby. smallwater began serving the Rockaways in the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy, on Beach 96th Street (across the street from Rockaway Taco), and now, with serious elbow grease put in by neighbors and Jack Johnson himself, a vacant lot that was just six months ago used to deliver food and clothing to people in the Rockaways is now being transformed into a community center and garden. Give to the project now, and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation will match your donations.