Tag Archives: memphis

Ten Year Stories: Barrier Free

ioby was founded in 2008 in order to make it easier for local leaders to gain the funding, knowledge, and resources needed to make positive change on a local level. For the past ten years we’ve worked alongside more than 1,600 passionate, committed community leaders and have watched as small projects have turned into larger initiatives and collaborations have become movements.

In the coming months, we’re taking a look back at the past ten years, and tell some of our favorite stories of positive neighborhood change. We want to know: what kind of things can start with a conversation, a neighborhood meeting, a few dollars raised?

Yancy Villa-Calvo, in Memphis, tells us about how she created a living art installation that responded to the danger that vulnerable communities experience and encourage empathy. Through ioby, she was able to access quick financial support in a way that she wouldn’t have been able to access through a grant, and that let her quickly react to the vitriol that came out of the 2016 election cycle. Read more about Yancy and her Barrier Free installation.  Continue reading Ten Year Stories: Barrier Free

Double your donations in Memphis!

ioby and the City of Memphis are launching our New Century of Soul matching fund, and we want you to be part of it! If you have an idea for a project that will improve your neighborhood for years to come, our matching fund will double what you raise on ioby.org up to $10,000.

New park bench? Check. Community garden? Check. Solar street lights? Check. If it’s a project that will last in your community for years to come and help make it more fun, more green, and help strengthen your neighborhood’s community, you could be eligible! Learn more about how you could get up to $10,000 matched through the New Century of Soul Match Fund. Continue reading Double your donations in Memphis!

Alternatives to 311: a citizen-led movement for change

311 is a toll-free, non-emergency phone number that people in many cities can call to get information about municipal services (like trash collection), make complaints (like a pothole), or report urgent problems (like a downed power line). Even in cities where a number other than “311” is used, 311 is the most recognized name for this type of phone system. In many places, 311 is now also available as a smartphone app.

Residents are the natural eyes and ears of their neighborhoods, so any system that amplifies their voices straight to city hall gets a gold star from ioby. But what about those residents who want to do more than make a 30-second call to 311 when they notice something amiss on their block? What can neighbors do when they decide it’s not enough to make a report—they also need to take some action?

We’re proud to introduce you to three ioby Leaders who saw opportunities for improvement where they live, and who didn’t wait for someone else (even the government) to step in. While their projects are quite different in nature, they all used ioby’s crowdfunding platform to raise the money needed to make them happen.

Continue reading Alternatives to 311: a citizen-led movement for change

Ten Year Stories: Roundhouse Revival

ioby was founded in 2008 in order to make it easier for local leaders to gain the funding, knowledge, and resources needed to make positive change on a local level. For the past ten years we’ve worked alongside more than 1,600 passionate, committed community leaders and have watched as small projects have turned into larger initiatives and collaborations have become movements.

In the coming months, we’re taking a look back at the past ten years, and tell some of our favorite stories of positive neighborhood change. We want to know: what kind of things can start with a conversation, a neighborhood meeting, a few dollars raised?

This month, Roy Barnes tells us about how Memphis is rallying together to save a historic coliseum from being demolished, and creating new memories and community along the wayContinue reading Ten Year Stories: Roundhouse Revival

Tactical urbanism, the Memphis way

“Memphians don’t always do well with rules,” explains lawyer and city planner Tommy Pacello. Memphis-raised, he left for college and was drawn back to join the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, an effort funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to generate neighborhood economic vitality and reduce gun violence among youth. “The city’s got this grit and soul and texture to it that comes from being a river town, I think. It’s part of our DNA as Memphians.”

But that grit and that soul, in a city that faces its share of systemic challenges, haven’t always found creative outlets. “For many years,” says Pacello, “we had lived in an environment where people felt somewhat stifled. Felt they had to wait on other people to do things for us, to find the silver bullet.” For a community to see itself as dependent on slow-moving government, or on anyone, for positive change, safety, and cohesiveness, is deeply demoralizing. Something had to give.

Continue reading Tactical urbanism, the Memphis way

Meet our City Action Strategists

ioby works nationwide; through the magic of the internet and good old-fashioned phones, we are able to provide support to anyone in the United States with a great idea to bring more good to their neighborhood. We also have staff on the ground in Pittsburgh, Memphis, Detroit, and Cleveland–our City Action Strategists. They’re especially tuned into the cities they live in, are experts at supporting neighbors organize and fundraise online, and help residents turn great ideas into great community projects. Get to know our team!

Continue reading Meet our City Action Strategists

Awesome Project: STREETS Ministries uses data to diversify funding streams

For faith-based community organizations, fundraising can pose particular opportunities and challenges. Megan Klein, Chief Development & Communications Officer at STREETS Ministries in Memphis, puts it this way: “It’s heaven and hell all together.”

Continue reading Awesome Project: STREETS Ministries uses data to diversify funding streams

ioby’s Racial Justice Toolkit: A guide to taking action in your own community

“It’s never too late to act. There’s always time to make your voice heard and to do something, even if it’s a small thing—especially if it’s a small thing. That’s the best place to start.” 

— Indigo Bishop,  ioby Cleveland Action Strategist, in ioby’s new Racial Justice Toolkit

Fifty years ago today, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Commemorations are taking place across the country to honor his vision and achievements, from panel discussions to walking tours to the symbolic ringing of church bells. The anniversary of Dr. King’s tragic death can serve to remind us of how real the challenges to racial equity movements can be.

Continue reading ioby’s Racial Justice Toolkit: A guide to taking action in your own community

Three great youth music programs we love

Love music? Love working with young people? Interested in organizing a music program for youth in your community, but not sure what it could look like?

You’ve come to the right place. Over the years, we’ve worked with many leaders who have started creative initiatives in their communities that get young people involved in music, often in conjunction with something else engaging like the outdoors, visual arts, or technology. They’re all different,  but they all have some common threads (such as, we’ll just say it, being awesome).

Continue reading Three great youth music programs we love

Neighbors making neighborhoods: Khara and NJ Woods

ioby is more than just a crowdfunding platform: we’re a team   of  individuals who are passionate about  helping neighbors make their neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable and more fun.  We love hearing from ioby Leaders about  their experiences planning, funding and implementing a project with us. We think by sharing  these experiences,  complete with both triumphs  and roadblocks,  we can help spread knowledge and  maybe even inspire others  to  take action towards positive change where they live.

 

Looking for signs

As a self-identified sign-hunter, Khara Woods is always on the lookout for street art in Memphis. On leisurely walks through her hometown, she documents property signage and graffiti as reference for her graphic design and hand-lettering projects.

Khara and NJ Woods

[Photo by David Leonard]

One day in midtown, Khara stopped in her tracks and took notice of a colorful new  graffiti-inspired mural  on a formerly unsightly wall along Lamar Avenue. The stark contrast between the mural design and surrounding disrepair drew into focus  the strange mix of rapid transformation and neglect  that for her characterizes the historic neighborhood of Rozelle-Annesdale. The wall sat adjacent to a freeway that now the divides the area, which was formerly a bustling corridor   for residents and commuters. Her curiosity piqued, Khara was determined to track down the artist responsible and soon learned that the art was one of eight installments comprising the “Paint Lamar” ioby campaign led by  Kyle Taylor. Khara kept ioby on her radar. She bookmarked the site to her browser and checked in periodically.

 

A family affair

She also sent the link to her mother. While Khara scouts emerging street art, her mother NJ Woods keeps busy as a “primitive folk” artist building on a collection of self-portraits depicting Mid-South and Civil Rights- era living. For some time now, they had been looking for a way to collaborate,   and they had an idea to  work on   a large scale public mural together.  They had applied for grants, responded to city RFPs and sought funding from arts commissions to no avail. Feeling defeated,   they tabled their collaborative project until they had the resources to execute on their own terms.

NJ and Khara Woods

[Photo by David Leonard]

 

A connection is made

In the early stages of ioby’s 85K  Memphis Match, Khara skimmed our blog announcement and promptly got in touch with our office  to float a question about what permission she’d need for a potential public mural project. After connecting with ioby’s   Ellen Roberds in person at an Urban Resource Center meeting, Khara shared her concerns about her lack of fundraising experience and navigating permissions for public property use. Drawing on her local relationships, Ellen facilitated introductions between local business owners, weighed in on potential sites, and even proofread Khara’s draft emails to property owners.

After much back and forth with  local stakeholders, Khara secured   the site of a welcoming local eatery in Midtown: Moore Food Company. Launching their ioby campaign “Headshots”, Khara and NJ quickly racked up   match funds for their $1,000 funding goal for wall clean-up materials and paint supplies. Inspired by NJ’s past collage work, the mother-daughter pair spent a couple of weekends rolling out a cast of minimalist geometric figures to represent  the diversity of their   Memphis neighbors. After Khara and NJ’s mural  went   up  on behind the  Moore Food Company, the restaurant  saw business profits spike – their beautification project  was clearly doubling as a placemaking success and a striking new neighborhood landmark!

Headshots mural

[Photo by David Leonard]

 

Vision meets guidance

Khara and NJ’s mural project reminds us that fundraising is just one of many barriers that can stand in a way of potential leaders starting a project. After being burned by grant opportunities, Khara felt discouraged by bureaucratic language, sluggish timelines, and by veteran organizers competing over resources  for public arts projects.

When the Woods pair came to ioby with the  vision to get their project off the ground, ioby provided the footing they needed to ask for buy-in from their community. Ellen’s guidance   throughout the process speaks to one of ioby’s core principles: we believe that our neighbors   know what’s best for their neighborhoods. While we’re confident that local residents are the ones best equipped to make on-the-ground change, our hands-on approach offers leaders the chance to build confidence and expand their skillsets. We’re here to affirm ioby leaders’ right to improve their neighborhoods   and to guide them through unforeseen hiccups along the way. ioby is proud to be a part of Headshots fundraising success and we hope it’s one of many for the Woods family!

And  remember: if you’re ever headed east from Downtown Memphis, keep on the lookout for the Woods’ bold and whimsical 10-foot  geocentric headshots to jut into view.