Seven Black-led nonprofits you should know about in the 901

Would you be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) here in Memphis? NPOs legally function for the benefit of a particular mission, and not to produce profit or income beyond what it takes to run the organization. And in Memphis, Black leadership is on the rise within the field.

Inspired by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and their efforts to amplify Black Philanthropy Month this past August, we checked in with some of the organizations doing incredible work here in the 901.


Nadja Marion, Executive Director of A Fresh Start to a New Beginning.Nadja Marion is the Executive Director of A Fresh Start to a New Beginning. Here, focus is on a person as a whole — from healing mental health issues to family reunification. Marion wants us to know A Fresh Start has a passion for helping clients and will work nonstop to insure success. Plans are being made for them to be able to not only assist clients being released for incarceration, but also to also provide wrap-around services for others that need assistance with life issues. Their proudest moment so far is securing housing units to house clients.

Click HERE to learn more.


Cordell Walker, Executive Director of Alpha Omega Veterans Services.Established in 1987, Alpha Omega Veterans Services was the first agency to provide housing to veterans experiencing homelessness in the Midsouth. They offer three types of permanent housing, including options of studio apartments, a one bedroom apartment, or four-bedroom apartments with shared common areas. In 2018, an urban farm was added that offers fresh and organically grown produce, honey, and eggs for veterans. They also provide opportunities for veterans to work the land as paid Farm Ambassadors. In December 2021, Alpha Omega acquired a 22,000 sq. ft. building on 6.47 acres of land on Jackson Avenue. With a target occupancy date of November 2023, it will become their primary transitional housing for veterans, administrative headquarters, and a second urban farm. Cordell Walker is the Executive Director.

Click HERE to learn more.


Margaret Cowan, Founding Keeper of I Am My Sister's Keeper.Margaret Cowan founded I Am My Sister’s Keeper (IAMSK) in 2018. The Black-owned and Black-led IAMSK supports single mothers in Shelby County with affordable housing, child care, tutoring, and access to healthy meals. Cowan describes mothers here as “too rich to be poor and too poor to be rich” which makes them ineligible for many governmental resources. IAMSK plans to purchase or rent a single-family home or duplex that will serve as their base of operations as well as emergency housing for families in need. IAMSK was proud to have raised over $5,000 in donations at their first mental health retreat on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9.

Click HERE to learn more.


Dr. Crystal DeBerry, Founder of Indomitable Families Affected By Incarceration.Indomitable Families Affected By Incarceration orchestrates a string of programs and events dedicated to members faced with obstacles due to incarceration of a loved one, or those that were incarcerated themselves. With a mission to empower families and individuals affected by incarceration, promoting health and wellness, and minimizing societal barriers, Indomitable aims to serve this population by providing the tools necessary to succeed by addressing the mental health of their members. As a former prison wife herself, founder Dr. Crystal DeBerry knows firsthand the struggles of having a loved one incarcerated and the need for help. To grow their outreach, this year they will launch the Incarcerated to Indomitable app to bridge the gap between receiving mental health services and obtaining daily life necessities. Additionally, their new I.C.O.N. program (Indomitable Children Overcoming Negativity) is in development for youth in the community impacted by incarceration.

Click HERE to learn more.


Phillis Lewis, CEO and Founder of Love Doesn’t Hurt.Love Doesn’t Hurt provides crisis intervention and case management for the LGBTQ+ community, which is the first of its kind in Tennessee. In addition, they provide educational sessions to address the many different barriers that this population faces but can also be useful to other communities as well. In 2021, they were able to reach over 27,000 people through their educational sessions, addressing the topics of healthy relationships, grief, trauma, self-care, tenant and eviction rights, and current events impacting the LGBTQ+ community. CEO and Founder Phillis Lewis mentioned Love Doesn’t Hurt is looking forward to expanding their emergency services program to help their participants transition from emergency housing to transitional housing.

Click HERE to learn more.


Sarah Lockridge-Steckel, Co-Founder and CEO of The Collective Blueprint.The Collective Blueprint (TCB) is leading the charge in Memphis to engage employers and local government in innovative ways that will create pathways into schools and streamline the process toward gainful employment. In just five years, TCB has grown from a small nonprofit with a few staff to a 13-person organization with dozens of community partners and a national footprint. They are currently recruiting for their Code Collective program that allows participants to become a software developer, putting them on track to earn more than $50,000 a year with less than one year of training. Participants will also receive coaching, $400/month, access to free therapy, professional training, and more. Sarah Lockridge-Steckel is the CEO.

Click HERE to learn more.


The Wellness & Stress Clinic is located at 3915 Tchulahoma Rd. in Memphis. (File photo: Kim Coleman)A community-academic partnership, the Wellness & Stress Clinic (WSC) was initiated by the leadership of Bishop William Young, who sadly passed away earlier this month, and his wife Pastor Dianne Young. Offering their support were our regional colleges and universities, including University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center (UTHSC), Rhodes College, and the University of Memphis. With an approach that links community expertise with technical expertise while building a sustainable health equity infrastructure, people who need to see a doctor, a social worker, or access to emergency food can come in, be welcomed, and have their health and wellness needs assessed for free. WSC needs more funding and more volunteer health providers, especially volunteers who speak Spanish. “We believe that health equity can be achieved when we link community knowledge and expertise with our abundant health equity resources,” says Clinic Director Peter Hossler. “We believe this is possible and work to create that reality every day.”

Click HERE to learn more.

Visit the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis online to learn more about Black philanthropy and nonprofit organizations in Memphis.
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