Here Comes the Neighborhood – JLM Embraces Issue-Based Community Impact Model
Junior Leagues everywhere have been noticing a trend lately. Because our members are so dedicated to helping their communities in whatever ways they can … and because several other community organizations find value in being associated with their local Junior League, we as members often find ourselves involved in every corner of the community. While this has never been thought of as a bad thing, there have been discussions lately about narrowing our local focus in order to make a more targeted, measurable impact.
Several Junior Leagues, therefore, are moving to a new model for project and partner selection – we refer to this as Issue-Based Community Impact. Junior League of Memphis (JLM) has spent the last couple of years doing research in our community and within our membership to determine where we are needed, where we could make the most impact, and where our volunteers wanted to dedicate their time and effort. From three top issues – Early Childhood Education, Literacy and Neighborhood Revitalization – the membership voted on where they would like to see the JLM focus.
The focus area chosen by JLM was Neighborhood Revitalization. Our Community Task Force presented a compelling case for each of the issues, but our membership responded readily and excitedly to focusing on Neighborhood Revitalization.
Now that JLM has selected an issue to focus on, members and task forces will continue to define what falls under the auspices of Neighborhood Revitalization, and how we can best make a difference in this area. Most importantly, the JLM Board of Directors will be working hard to implement measureable tactics and develop a plan for ongoing analysis of the organization’s impact. But, for the short term, it is certain that JLM members are excited about exploring this new direction and are ready to make a difference in the Memphis community – one neighborhood after another.
What is Neighborhood Revitalization?
The Junior League of Memphis is committed to revitalizing neighborhoods in and around Memphis through the development of, and participation in, programs that positively impact the environments where people live, work and play.
How, specifically, will JLM revitalize neighborhoods?
The possibilities for making a positive impact on Memphis neighborhoods are endless; specifically, JLM will revitalize neighborhoods through programs and partnerships, hands-on service and advocacy. JLM hopes to play a strategic role in facilitating conversations among community organizations, leaders and other stakeholders, in order to determine how JLM can address the unique needs of each community we serve. And the day-to-day work in these communities could include everything from beautification to tutoring to meal service, or any other activity that improves and enhances the daily lives of Memphians.
Is Neighborhood Revitalization a new thing for Junior League of Memphis?
JLM is shifting from a project-based focus to this issue-based community impact model in order to have a deeper and more enduring impact on our community. And although many of our projects and programs are already geared largely toward this area, this paradigm shift will move our focus from meeting immediate need to making a long-term impact.