The North Memphis Volunteers, Organizing, Inspiring, Cultivating, and Education (V.O.I.C.E.) Coalition, supported by SPARCC, is a community-driven initiative that addresses disparities and empowers residents.
This case study explores the journey of The North Memphis V.O.I.C.E. Coalition, a collaborative table focused on 20+ neighborhoods in North Memphis. Comprised of residents, community-based organizations, and institutional partners, The North Memphis V.O.I.C.E coalition recruited issue-focused champions to establish workgroups focused on climate and environment, health, arts and culture, growth and economics, and education.
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The coalition aimed to build community leadership and drive change based on residents’ priorities. They provided individual stipends to compensate and incentivize residential leadership and employed “community connectors” to lead their strategies. The coalition engaged community members through culturally relevant activities: using art, poetry, music, and storytelling to build trust and strengthen relationships. The community organizers of The North Memphis V.O.I.C.E. Coalition also engaged residents in efforts to improve local parks, homes, and neighborhoods. Unique examples include addressing soil health, transforming blight, and conducting healthy home inspections.
SPARCC resources supported nine different capital projects in North Memphis, including Community Land Trust (CLT) incubators. CLTs designate land for long-term leases to residents and businesses, allowing community groups to increase affordable housing opportunities and stabilize households across disinvested and gentrifying neighborhoods.
This case study explores a variety of the coalition’s successes in resident leadership, influencing policy and practices changes, and moving forward community-centered capital projects. Collectively this case study illustrates how SPARCC supported improvements in the health and well-being of North Memphis communities.