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From the Editor

This issue is definitely a colorful one, what with the Red Shoe Gala, the GreenShoe Gala, the Think Pink Luncheon and the Blue Pump Gala among fundraisers we have covered. Some of these events have become annual traditions, others are just getting started. Either way, it’s exciting to see people in our community turning up, time and time again, to support the various causes and organizations that benefit from these philanthropic endeavors. Even though the last few months of the year are often referred to as the “Giving Season” for the nonprofit sector, we can be proud that, in Memphis, the giving goes on year-round.

However, the outlook is not all rosy. Memphis-based nonprofit organizations are facing some of the same challenges that are being felt nationally. As more and more nonprofit CEOs retire, this means our work to hone the skills of emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector is vitally important. Helping to guide and offering resources to area nonprofit organizations is Momentum Nonprofit Partners (formerly named the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence).  According to Kevin Dean, the organization’s CEO, “We exist to build the momentum of the nonprofit sector to drive equitable, measurable, and lasting change. Momentum Nonprofit Partners offers a wide range of training, including classes that address community engagement, continuity planning, developing a network for CEOs and Executive Directors, facilitating meetings and managing volunteers. Additionally, we offer a Nonprofit Storyteller's Workshop that is a half-day learning lab designed to help fundraising and communications staff develop storytelling skills to tell their organization’s essential stories, and use those storytelling skills to create community buy-in, raise awareness, and raise funds for their organization.”

Dean continues, “And it is imperative that there is increased collaboration between agencies as competition heats up for the same dollars/donations. We need more collaboration, innovation and collective impact. And, we have to be more diligent about educating emerging leaders about the complexity of nonprofit administration and the community challenges they seek to solve.”

So the call to action here is to ask you to put on your thinking caps. Think about the organizations you support and others that you know about in the Memphis community. See if you can define any areas of overlap where a collaborative partnership might be benefit to all parties — then champion that cause.

Of Note: In our April issue, we published a photo of a class of little ballerinas in our RSVPast feature. We really knew nothing about the photo, except for the year, 1958, and the photographer, Nadia Price. We were pleased to hear from The Reverend Alexander H. Webb II, Rector, Church of the Holy Communion, who let us know that the picture was taken on the steps of the church. Then we heard from Ms. Marion Hammer, who is an alum of St. Mary’s Episcopal School for Girls. Ms. Hammer’s sister is in the photo and she recognized it immediately. Traditionally, St. Mary’s students were required to take ballet. Each May, the students participated in the school’s annual May Festival and showed off the dancing skills they had learned. For many years, including 1958, the ballet instructor at the school was Mrs. Derek Rook. Thank you, Father Webb and Ms. Hammer for helping us out!


Emily Adams Keplinger