WFGM – 38126 COVID-19 Response Project Event Assists More than 500 Families in the 38126 Zip Code

Today we salute the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) for coordinating a 38126 COVID-19 Response Project event providing 500 families residing in the 38126 zip code with food and other direct resources. Since 2015, this community has been a major focus of the Women’s Foundation Vision 2020 Strategic Plan to reduce poverty and improve the overall economic wellbeing of families living in South City.

Based on the assessments conducted by grantee partners, they identified a great need for basic essentials, “Many of the economic gains made by residents in 38126 in the last few years through the WFGM Vision 2020 Strategic Plan has been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ruby Bright, President, and CEO, WFGM. “This 38126 COVID-19 Response Project is a way to help the families in 38126 to stay positive and let them know that we are standing with them and supporting them.”

The WFGM team and volunteers distributed food to 500 families, 1,000 household products and personal hygiene packages, and 200 bottles of hand sanitizers.

“We were fortunate also to receive a generous donation of 2,000 face masks from AutoZone for families that were distributed with the hygiene kits,” said Shante K. Avant, Vice President, WFGM. The residents also received packets of information on the COVID-19 virus, testing locations, financial literacy, domestic violence, health and wellness, and employment opportunities.

WFGM partnerships made this project a success. FedEx donated hygiene kits along with Heart to Heart International and International Medical Corps to help Memphis families as part of its FedEx Cares 50 by 50 initiative. The company’s goal is to positively impact 50 million people by the company’s 50th anniversary in 2023. “In times of crisis, we mobilize our network quickly to help the communities where we live and work, and we are proud to be able to do that in our headquarter city,” said Adrian Pomi, director of Global Citizenship, FedEx. “At FedEx, keeping the world connected, in good times and during periods of great need, is who we are and what we do every day.”

“International Paper recognizes that our corrugated boxes are essential for our community organizations, which are casting a wide safety net for those most in need during this pandemic,” said Dynisha Woods, global citizenship coordinator, Community Engagement, International Paper. “We are pleased to mobilize our products to address this community need, and we are proud to support the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.”

Other partners include the Mid-South Food Bank, Heart to Heart International, Shelby County Schools, Bare Needs Diaper Bank, Urban Strategies, International Medical Corps, RISE Foundation, SCORE South City, Emmanuel Center, and First Baptist, Lauderdale.

 ABOUT THE WOMEN’S FOUNDATION FOR A GREATER MEMPHIS For 25 years, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis has been uniting women and helping break the cycle of poverty through philanthropy, leadership, and collaboration. The mission of the WFGM is to encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that engage women and children to reach their full potential.

BlueCross warns of Coronavirus scams: Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails regarding testing kits, vaccinations

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee warns members that scammers are taking advantage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to be alert of potential scam activity.

Reported scams include unsolicited phone calls that could be an attempt to fraudulently gain personal information. BlueCross is urging members and customers not to give personal information to these callers.

“We want to advise all of our members to be wary of phone calls or emails asking for their health plan and personal information for coronavirus testing kits and vaccinations,” said Julie Boerger, vice president and chief compliance officer. “BlueCross will not call you to schedule testing or vaccinations for the coronavirus – and if you receive a call, it’s a scam.”

According to a Fraud Alert issued by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, there has been an increase in reports of fraudulent schemes related to the coronavirus. Examples of possible scams include:

  • Phone calls asking members for their subscriber ID/bank account information for free testing and/or services to cure or prevent coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Door-to-door solicitation for coronavirus testing and prescribing products to cure or prevent COVID-19
  • Bogus advertisements for vaccinations or medications to treat COVID-19
  • Phishing emails from impersonators of the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to solicit personal information
  • Advertisements offering health products such as teas, supplements or oils that are ineffective against COVID-19

As of March 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for COVID-19 testing at home. 

BlueCross has shared this alert on our COVID-19 resource website, bcbstupdates.com. Anyone receiving a suspicious call should report it to the BlueCross Fraud Unit at 1-888-343-4221.

Members may visit cdc.gov or tn.gov/health for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.

About BlueCross®

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.5 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and is celebrating its 75th anniversary of bringing peace of mind to its members and local communities. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at bcbstnews.com.

BlueCross Foundation Giving $3.25 Million to Tennessee Food Relief Efforts

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation is donating $3.25 million to multiple food banks across the state.

The financial gift will help Tennessee food banks meet the needs of the communities affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Food banks can often purchase supplies at a much lower cost than individuals can, stretching to provide as many as four meals for each dollar they receive in cash donations. 

“Every day, families count on local food banks for help — and that’s especially true now,” said JD Hickey, M.D., chairman of the BlueCross Foundation. “Tennesseans can get through these challenging times by coming together, and we’re expanding our support for food banks statewide as another way to bring peace of mind to our neighbors.”

The BlueCross Foundation will distribute food relief funds to the following organizations:

  • $750,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank (Nashville)
  • $750,000 to Mid-South Food Bank (Memphis)
  • $500,000 to Chattanooga Area Food Bank
  • $500,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Knoxville)
  • $500,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (Tri-Cities)
  • $250,000 to Regional Inter-Faith Association (Jackson)

The state of Tennessee declared a state of emergency to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19, a global pandemic, on March 12. And due to the coronavirus outbreak, the demand for food assistance is expected to increase with school closures and time away from work.

Community members who want to help can find and donate to their local food bank by visiting www.FeedingAmerica.org.

As the philanthropic arm of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which has offices in Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, Knoxville and Johnson City, the BlueCross Foundation also provided financial and volunteer support for Middle Tennessee relief efforts after a devastating tornado swept through the region earlier this month.    

For more on how BlueCross is responding to COVID-19, visit BCBSTupdates.com.

About BlueCross®

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.5 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and is celebrating its 75th anniversary of bringing peace of mind to its members and local communities. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at bcbstnews.com.

About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc., was established in December 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation provides funding for the BlueCross Healthy Place program, which creates active, healthy spaces across Tennessee.

River City Capital Investment awarded $225,000 by U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund, which will help local Memphis businesses grow

 River City Capital Investment (RCC), an affiliate of Community Lift, was awarded $225,000 from the U. S. Department of Treasury as a part of their community development financial institution (CDFI) Fund. 

“This is flexible, no-cost capital that RCC can use to increase the volume of its products and services,” said Babacar Thiaw, Lending Executive in Residence at River City Capital.  “This is great not only for us as an organization, but also for the city of Memphis.  We go beyond traditional lending, and this is an opportunity for us to help people in underserved communities.”

The award is intended to expand economic opportunities via CDFIs in economically distressed and underserved areas.  RCC plans to use the funds to help businesses in Whitehaven along with other communities in the city.  As such, they have been working with organizations like the Greater Whitehaven Economic Redevelopment Corporation (GWERC) to identify businesses that may benefit from their services.  

“Economic opportunities like RCC helps GWERC to remain true to our commitment of helping the Whitehaven community to reach its full potential through the revitalization and redevelopment of businesses and the promotion of economic development in the area,” said Trey McKnight, Executive Director, GWERC.  

For more information about River City Capital Investments, visit www.RiverCityCapital.org

About River City Capital Investment: 

River City Capital Investment Corp., an affiliate of Community LIFT, is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Our mission is to increase economic development in underserved neighborhoods by attracting and leveraging investment capital for community revitalization.

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The Downtown Memphis Commission and Other Local Businesses Sponsor the Best in Black Awards

The Best in Black Awards (BIBA) are back for the 8th year. The local business community is sponsoring this great event. Some of the businesses include the Downtown Memphis Commission, AARP, Oteka Technologies, Complete Computers Services, Sims Financial Group, The Wharton Law Firm, Regional One Health, Methodist Healthcare, Crumpy’s, A1 Printing, Spotlight Productions, and Pete Mitchell Insurance.

The awards have become an anticipated event among black-owned businesses in the Mid-South. BIBA is a vehicle for hundreds of individuals and businesses to receive recognition for their hard work while advertising their products, services, and talents before thousands.

The mission of the Best in Black Awards is four-fold:1) To celebrate African-American owned and operated businesses and professionals in the Mid-South;2) To identify those businesses most supported by the African American community;3) To serve as a marketing and recognition platform and; 4) Encourage aspiring business leaders.

The 2020 BIBA theme is “Stepping Up.” The public is invited to join us Thursday, February 6, 2020, at the Central Station Hotel, located at 545 S Main St. The V.I.P.  Reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. followed by the awards show at 7:00 p.m. Radio Personality Stan Bell will serve as the Master of Ceremony for the event.

Tickets are still available for $45.00, includes admission into the V.I.P. Reception, and can be purchased at the event.

About Best Media Properties

Best Media Properties is the parent company of The New Tri-State Defender, which is one of the longest continuously, published African-American newspapers in the South. Under the leadership of its Board of Directors, it has evolved into a progressive multi-media business with a distribution that includes print newspaper, digital publications, website/social media pages and events. TSD’s mission is to inform, inspire and elevate the quality of life of its growing audience while serving as the primary vehicle for reaching African Americans in the Greater Memphis market. The New Tri-State Defender multi-media platform reaches 85,000 people weekly. Visit us at www.tsdmemphis.com

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TVA Partners with the Mid-South Food Bank to Reduce Food Insecurity through the Healthy School Pantries Program

Six Shelby County Schools and more than 250 families will benefit from this partnership.

The Tennessee Valley Authority made a contribution to Mid-South Food Bank to create six Healthy School Pantries in local schools. More than 22% of children in Shelby County live in food-insecure households. The $100,000 contribution will assist in feeding more than 250 families. Students and their families will receive 50 pounds of nutritious food, the equivalent of 42 meals.

“This is such a meaningful partnership for TVA,” said Mark Creech, TVA Memphis executive director. “We are helping families who need nutritious meals, and our TVA associates can rollup their sleeves and help create the food boxes that the students and families will receive.”

This contribution from TVA also includes the purchase of a minivan necessary for food bank personnel to deliver the food for distribution to the school pantries and emergency supplies.

“The Mid-South Food Bank is thrilled to have TVA as a partner, and the volunteers are a needed bonus,” said Cathy Pope, Mid-South Food Bank, president & CEO. “This donation will help feed so many families that need healthy food. We truly appreciate this new partnership.”

Like Mid-South Food Bank, TVA is committed to service. It is TVA’s mission to make life better for the people in Memphis – and for the people it serves across the region.

The six schools receiving the new food pantries are: Northaven Elementary, Ross Elementary, A. B. Hill Elementary, Kipp Memphis Academy, Kirby Middle School and Wooddale Middle School.

Attending today’s announcement were TVA Board of Directors John Ryder, Ron Walter, and representatives from each school receiving a TVA Healthy School Pantry.

About Tennessee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

About Mid-South Food Bank

Mid-South Food Bank serves a 31-county area in west Tennessee, north Mississippi and east Arkansas by providing food through a network of partner agencies and programs.  Last fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed more than 16.7 million pounds of food. 

WFGM to Announce 3rd Year, $1.2 million Investment in Zip Code 38126

More than 35 grant partners will benefit from this award cycle.

The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) will announce its 3rd year investment of $1.2 million into zip code 38126 at a news conference on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 10 a.m. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. More than 30 new grantee partners will be announced at this news event.

The investment is part of WFGM’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan to reduce poverty by five percent in zip code 38126, the poorest area in the City of Memphis. The plan focuses on case management, employment training, early childhood education, youth development, and financial literacy to achieve the five percent reduction. Since launching Vision 2020 in 2015, the Women’s Foundation has directly touched the lives of more than 10,000 people in the area including but not limited to:

  • $4.7 Million invested in 38126
  • 1,084 people placed in jobs
  • 76 individuals started a business or micro-enterprise
  • 49% increase in average household income

In April 2016, WFGM awarded its year one investment of over $1 million to 22 grantee organizations to support programs provided in 38126. In April 2017, WFGM awarded 1.2 million to 27 grantee partner organizations.

The 2019 grantee partners and investment areas are:

Case Management &Wraparound Services

Catholic Charities of West Tennessee

Family Safety Center

Hope House Day Care

Knowledge Quest
Metropolitan Interfaith Association

Neighborhood Christian Center, Inc.
Urban Strategies Inc.

Adult Education, Training, & Entrepreneurship
Advance Memphis
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis

DeNeuville Learning Center

Dress for Success
HopeWorks, Inc.
Karat Place, Inc.
Memphis Urban League

Shelby County Chapter of the Links, Inc.
Southwest TN Community College Foundation
YWCA of Greater Memphis

Early Childhood Development
Early Success Coalition

Families Matter
Kindred Place (former Exchange Club)

Porter-Leath

Southern Avenue Charter School of Academic Excellence

Youth Development & Employment

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mid-South
Booker T. Washington Middle & High School
Emmanuel Center, Inc.


Girls Scouts Heart of the South
Girls Incorporated of Memphis
Memphis Inner City Rugby

Mid-south Peace and Justice Center
Mustard Seed, Inc.
New Ballet Ensemble and School
STREETS Ministries
U of M, Herff College of Engineering
Vance Avenue Youth Development Center

Financial Education & Asset Building

RISE Foundation, Inc

South City a Community of Opportunity Revitalization Empowerment (SCORE CDC)

Information about each of the grantee partner programs and the investments in those programs will be available at the news conference. There will also be opportunities to interview grantee partners.

Immediately following the news conference is an opportunity to interview the 2019 Annual Tribute Luncheon keynote speaker Women’s National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Terri Carmichael Jackson. The Tribute Luncheon is the WFGM’s signature fundraising event. It is Thursday, April 25 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. The presenting sponsor is FedEx.

ABOUT THE WOMEN’s FOUNDATION FOR A GREATER MEMPHIS

For more than 20 years, The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) has been uniting women and helping break the cycle of poverty through philanthropy, leadership and collaboration. The mission of the WFGM is to encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that engage women and children to reach their full potential. #WomenEmpowerWomen #wfgm

Women’s National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Terri Carmichael Jackson will be the Keynote speaker at the 2019 WFGM Annual Tribute Luncheon

Women leading the Leadership Roundtable Committees Announced


Good negotiator, creative marketer, executive leader, and all around fixer is how the leader of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) is described.  Terri Carmichael Jackson is the Executive Director for the WNBPA and is the 2019 keynote speaker for Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis Annual Tribute Luncheon. The luncheon this year is April 25, 2019 at the Memphis Convention Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. FedEx is the presenting sponsor of this event. 

“Terri is dynamic, engaging and a powerhouse who has a track record of supporting young women and women’s issues,” said Ruby Bright, WFGM Executive Director. “She embodies this year’s Tribute Luncheon theme – Empowered Women, Empower Women.”

In her role at the WNBPA, Jackson oversees board relations, executive leadership, financial governance and stakeholder outreach. She is an attorney and married to former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Jaren Jackson and mother of Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson, Jr.

The volunteer corporate leaders working with WFGM to develop these annual fundraisers are dedicated to the Vision 2020 strategic plan to reduce poverty by five percent over five years in the 38126 zip code.

“I’m proud to serve with these incredible women on the Leadership Roundtable for the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis” said Brie Carere, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, FedEx Corporation and Corporate Sponsorship Chair. “The success of these two events provides critical support for the families living in the 38126 — one of the poorest zip codes in the city.

At FedEx, we are focused on connecting people with possibilities, and supporting the Foundation’s Vision 2020 is an example of how we can move the poverty needle and connect people with a brighter future right here in Memphis.” 

The WFGM Leadership Roundtable Committee Co-Chairs also includes: Dr. Marcia Bowden-Marche’, Owner/Founder, Bowden Internal Medicine and Denise Carpenter,

Vice President & Managing Director of Development/NW Region, Hilton Worldwide are co-chairs for the Legends Award Reception; Teresa Dickerson, Public Affairs Manager,

The Kroger Co., Delta Division is the Marketing and Public Relations Chair; and Toni Boland-Evans, Manager, Global Community, Nike, Inc., serves as the Logistics Chair for both events.

The Legends Award Reception is scheduled for Thursday, April 11, 2019 at The Columns at One Commerce Square from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The award recipients will be announced in two weeks. The presenting sponsor is Baptist Memorial Healthcare. 

Sponsorships and tickets are still available for the Tribute Luncheon and Legends Reception. Tickets can be purchased at www.wfgm.org.

About WFGM

For more than 20 years, The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis has been uniting women and helping break the cycle through our philanthropy, leadership and collaboration. Our mission is to encourage philanthropy, foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential.

Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis Names Four Dynamic Women as 2019 Legends Award Honorees

The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis is pleased to announce its 2019 Legends Award Honorees. This year’s honorees are Meri Armour, Rev. Cheryl Beard, Claudia Haltom and Dr. Indurani Tejwani. The Honorees will receive unique recognition at the Legends Award Reception on Thursday, April 11, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at The Columns at One Commerce Square, 40 South Main Street.

The Legends Awards pay tribute to women whose visionary and innovative work embodies the mission of the Women’s Foundation. This year marks the 10th anniversary of recognizing legendary women who have made an impact in the community.

The Legends Awards recipients will be honored through one-of-a-kind works of art and prose that exemplify their accomplishments and contributions to the community. The works of art and prose created in their honor will be unveiled for the first time at the Legends Award Reception.

“We are proud to honor four women who have made it their life’s work to make Memphis a better place,” said Ruby Bright, Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. “This year we are honoring a trailblazer in education, a champion for social justice, an advocate for children and a committed philanthropist. Each Legend is very deserving of this honor.”

Cheryl Beard will receive a Catalyst Award. Beard is a minister of the Olivet Fellowship Baptist Church and has been a passionate, tireless advocate for children and families for more than 30 years. 

Claudia Haltom will also receive a Catalyst Award. Retiring after 17 years in the juvenile court system, Haltom founded A Step Ahead Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to provide safe, long-term, reversible contraceptives to women without the means to afford them.

Meri Armour will receive the Innovation Award. Armour is the President and CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. She has been committed to children, believing that all children deserve a healthy and safe childhood with the promise of a bright future.

Dr. Indurani Tejwani will receive the Philanthropy and Leadership Award. Tejwani has supported women and children in Memphis through over 50 years as a philanthropist, obstetrician and gynecologist. She is also a founding member of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.wfgm.org.

About the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis

For more than 20 years, The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) has been uniting women and helping break the cycle of poverty through our philanthropy, leadership and collaboration. The mission of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis is to encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential.

Aspire Memphis Slated to Become Independent, Locally-Operated Charter Management Organization

The Aspire Public School’s Board of Directors voted today to make its Aspire Memphis region an independent, locally-operated charter management organization.

Over the next 12-18 months, with continued support from the Aspire home office, all operational responsibilities at the four Memphis schools–Hanley Elementary, Hanley Middle School, Coleman Elementary and Aspire East Academy–will be transitioned to a new nonprofit organization and managed by a local board of directors. The schools will officially transition at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. During the transition period, the schools will remain part of Aspire.

“Our team, our scholars and I have gained so much from the affiliation with Aspire Public Schools and their leadership,” said Dr. Nickalous Manning, Superintendent, Aspire Memphis. “The time is right to begin this transition and we believe it will benefit all of our scholars and families to have an organization fully based here in Memphis managing our four schools.”

Aspire Memphis serves approximately 1,600 predominantly low-income African American scholars across three neighborhoods: Raleigh, Orange Mound, and Hickory Hill. Academic achievement in math and reading across the four schools currently paces schools serving similar students in Tennessee.

“We have every confidence in Dr. Manning and the local team and look forward to seeing these Memphis schools continue to thrive,” said Mala Batra, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Aspire Public Schools. “Dr. Manning and his team have shown a deep commitment to high-quality academic instruction and have developed incredible relationships within the Memphis community. They are well positioned to take these schools to new heights in service of scholars and families.”

About Aspire Public Schools

Aspire Public Schools operates 40 high-performing, college-preparatory public charter schools serving 17,000 scholars in underserved communities across California and Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1998, Aspire is one of the nation’s largest open-enrollment public charter school systems serving predominantly low-income students, delivering a rigorous College for Certain education across grades TK-12. Currently in its 19th academic year, Aspire is one of the nation’s first charter school systems. Visit Aspire Public Schools at www.aspirepublicschools.org.