This Memphis nonprofit just took home an award from the largest national conference of its kind

What’s happening: Harambee took place from April 13 through April 15 in Raleigh, N.C., this year, an annual event that’s touted as the largest convening of Black philanthropic professionals in the U.S. It’s a big deal. And, as part of the conference, at this year’s James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards Ceremony, a Memphis nonprofit was honored with some well-deserved recognition. The Memphis Music Initiative received the 2023 Institutional Award from ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities, the organizers of the annual event.

Who they are: Memphis Music Initiative (MMI) is a local nonprofit that sustains and expands music education and engagement activities for primarily Black and Latino young people in Memphis and the greater Mid-South region.

[Related: Read “Every student got an offer at Memphis Music Initiative's first HBCU scholarship audition event” on High Ground News.]

What (and why) they won: MMI took home the Institutional Award for its “transformative grantmaking and capacity building work supporting Black- and brown-led and -serving youth arts organizations,” according to a release. This includes three initiatives: Black Pay Matters, where MMI created a $400,000 funding pool to support 13 nonprofit leaders; Black Legacy Matters, where MMI invested in the capital campaigns and infrastructure building for three Black- and brown-led arts organizations; and Black Rest Matters, where MMI organized a wellness retreat for Black and brown creative youth development leaders.

Why it’s important: “The Memphis Music Initiative is a great example of what transformative and responsive leadership looks like at an institutional grantmaking level,” ABFE President and CEO Susan Taylor Batten says in a statement. “The Memphis Music Initiative continues to illustrate how grantmakers can meet the unique needs of Black communities, when you have thoughtfulness and innovation at the forefront. Preserving the arts is critical to maintaining the creativity and legacy of our people.”

Visit Memphis Music Initiative online to learn more about these and other programs supporting Memphis youth.
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