OUTMemphis is proud to announce we are the recipient of a grant from the Kresge Foundation as part of Kresge Innovative Projects: Memphis (KIP:M), a program that awarded grants totaling $2 million to 20 community organizations throughout Memphis to support resident-driven projects. Other recipients include BRIDGES USA, Hattiloo Theatre, Explore Bike Share, Historic Clayborn Temple, JUICE Orange Mound, The Works, Inc., the Collective (CLTV), Inc., Whole Child Strategies, Inc., among many others.

OUTMemphis’s KIP:M project will support the planning of a long-term social enterprise business, a to-be-determined community-based business to house a job training program for those LGBTQ+ Memphians most excluded from economic and housing stability. Social enterprise businesses – meaning commercial projects that directly support social impact – are a rich part of LGBTQ+ legacy as traditional funding structures have not always been available for the social services of our community. The KIP:M project focuses on neighborhoods as a driving force in economic empowerment. Our social enterprise project – a business and gathering space – will house a job training and employment program for LGBTQ+ seniors, LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness, trans men and women, among other groups. The LGBTQ+ community in Memphis is shaped – like many neighborhoods – by both proximity and cultural identity.

Like neighborhood residents, LGBTQ+ Memphians are linked by both proximity and cultural identity but suffer from segregation, marginalization, and disinvestment. We look forward to a brighter future for Memphis that supports to the economic justice of LGBTQ+ Memphians.

“KIP:M grantee organizations of all sizes have already led highly impactful initiatives throughout Memphis neighborhoods. KIP:M funding will help these organizations undertake resident-driven projects aimed at strengthening Memphis neighborhoods including blight reduction and public space improvements, increased access to transportation, community narrative-shaping, creative placemaking, youth engagement, and workforce development.

“Community-based organizations throughout Memphis are brimming with passion, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to enhancing the day-to-day experiences within their neighborhoods,” said Chantel Rush, senior program officer with Kresge’s American Cities Program. “We’re eager to witness these projects evolve from well-crafted aspirations to resident-driven manifestations that transform today’s Memphis into the neighborhoods Memphians deserve tomorrow.”