Tyre Nichols: A Message from The Carter Malone Group’s President/CEO Deidre Malone

Tyre Nichols: A Message from The Carter Malone Group’s President/CEO Deidre Malone

As a mother of two adult African-American sons and a grandson, I am saddened beyond words at the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Nichols. His mother, Mrs. Wells, has shown strength beyond measure as she fights for justice for her son. His senseless death is a reminder to all of us that real police reform is essential. For those who feel that police reform should be managed at the state level, I disagree. Passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will provide a national standard that all police departments can follow. One aspect of the proposed bill creates a national registry, the National Police Misconduct Registry, to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It also establishes new reporting requirements, including regulations on the use of force, officer misconduct, and routine policing practices.

I attended a church service on Sunday where the pastor referred to how events happening here in Memphis have forced us into the national and international spotlight. The first was the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and now the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols. My hope and prayer is that through our grief, despair, and advocacy, finally federal laws are enacted to prevent another mother from grieving over the senseless murder of her child.

Rest in Peace Tyre.

Deidre Malone
The Carter Malone Group

Shante K. Avant named new President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis

Shante K. Avant named new President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis

(January 4, 2023 – Memphis, TN) The Board of Directors of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) is pleased to announce the selection of Shante K. Avant as its new President and CEO effective January 1, 2023. Avant, WFGM’s Vice President, will succeed Ruby Bright who retired on December 31, 2022, after leading the organization for 22 years.

“It goes without saying that after a five-month national search and interviewing many candidates, I and the members of our Board of Directors are absolutely thrilled that we determined that Shante was the most qualified candidate to serve as our new President and CEO,” said Marcia Bowden-Marche’, M.D., Co-Chair of the WFGM Board of Directors.

Avant has served the nonprofit sector for more than 26 years. She joined the Women’s Foundation as the Director of Grants and Programs in 2008. In 2011 she was promoted to Vice President and played a critical role in overseeing day-to-day operations, building relationships with community partners, and collaborating with local and national partners.

“In Shante K. Avant, we have chosen a proven leader with a deep understanding of how the Foundation operates and clear vision for the future. Shante possesses the qualifications and expertise to grow the Women’s Foundation into an even greater, more successful organization to create a lasting impact in the Memphis community,” said Gina Brewer, Co-Chair of the WFGM Board of Directors.

As President and CEO, Avant will oversee fundraising, operations and programming to ensure the organization is fulfilling its mission of encouraging philanthropy and fostering leadership among women while supporting programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential.

“I could not be more grateful to accept the position as President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. WFGM is an important resource for women and children in our community. We have supported thousands of Memphis residents and watched so many thrive. I am honored that I was chosen to lead this organization into the future,” said Avant. “Each morning, I wake up thinking about new ways to help the organization as we work towards ensuring economic securities for the women and families in Memphis. I am committed to working with our staff and board to take the organization to the next level.”


Shante K. Avant is a native Memphian and holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.S. in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is affiliated with the Women’s Funding Network, Ford Foundation Fellowship, and a member of the University of Memphis’ Social Work Community Advisory Board. Avant currently serves as a Shelby County Commissioner representing District 5. She previously served on the Memphis-Shelby County School Board for nine years and was elected board chairman in 2017.


For more than 26 years, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) has played a major role as a backbone organization aligning people, securing resources, and coordinating community-based services through a Two-Generation Approach to reduce poverty. The mission of WFGM is to encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential.

Bank of America Names Memphis Urban League as Neighborhood Champion, Providing $50,000 in Grant Support and Leadership Training

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Urban League has been named a 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Champion for their work in the Memphis community, removing economic barriers and advancing economic opportunity. Programs and services that are addressing Memphis’ workforce and economic development will expand, helping more people chart a path toward economic opportunity with help from a multi-year grant from Bank of America.

As a Neighborhood Champion, the Memphis Urban League will receive $50,000 in grant support and virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector on topics like human capital management, increasing financial sustainability and storytelling.

“Nonprofits like the Memphis Urban League are the backbone of our community as they are on the ground working closely with individuals and families to understand the obstacles our community is facing and develop programs and services that will help alleviate or eliminate these barriers,” said Trevia Chatman, president, Bank of America Memphis. “It’s important that we direct not only capital but also the necessary resources and training to help position this nonprofit and their leadership team for long-term success.”

The Memphis Urban League’s mission is to assist African Americans, the underserved and economically disadvantaged, to expand economic opportunities and secure equality, power and civil rights. The Memphis Urban League provides direct services and features programs focusing on professional development and soft skills training.

One of their programs, Save Our Sons, is especially meaningful to Memphis Urban League’s President and CEO, Tonja Sesley-Fifer, after the passing of her brother. The Save Our Sons programs primarily targets African American males, ages 18 to 34, in Memphis and Shelby County. The purpose of the program is to advance workforce readiness by providing life skills, workforce training, financial literacy, family building, and health and wellness resources.

“The Memphis Urban League is grateful for Bank of America’s generosity in helping our organization to provide direct and wrap-around services through a variety of programs to those in need of our services,” said Sesley-Fifer. “We use a hands-on approach to meet people where they are, offering career counseling and trainings, while addressing barriers to employment. This grant from Bank of America supports our mission as we assist underserved and economically disadvantaged communities to expand economic opportunities and to continue our work of empowerment.”

In Memphis, three nonprofits have been selected as Neighborhood Champions since 2019, with the bank investing over $460,000 into these local organizations.

The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and organizations are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past Neighborhood Champion honorees.

The Neighborhood Champions program is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders®, the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. Through 2021, Bank of America has invested $6.3 million in 126 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program.

Bank of America  

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 68 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 56 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Former TV Anchor Marybeth Conley Starts New Project Flip My Life

Former TV Anchor Marybeth Conley Starts New Project Flip My Life

(Memphis, TN – October 10, 2022) Marybeth Conley has been a fixture in the Memphis media market for 37 years. Recently, she retired from WREG-TV as co-anchor of Live at 9 to marry her childhood crush, Rick Woodall, and start a new project called Flip My Life. Today on her social media platforms, Marybeth starts sharing information about her new life and the new project. Rick, the building contractor and Marybeth, the television news professional, have not just teamed up for life, but for restorative justice.

“Today we start a short video series sharing information about the new Flip My Life series,” said Conley. “My husband Rick and I are committed to rebuilding abandoned houses and sharing those properties with those who need a second chance.”

The couple will take houses off the tax rolls and renovate them for people who are returning to their communities from prison. The Flip My Life series will tell the stories of good people who have done bad things and are working to redeem their lives.

Rick explains, “the pilot gives you an idea of what the series will be once it launches. It will explore issues in a returning citizens’ family life and history that contributed to incarceration. And we’ll cover how the people have held themselves accountable and are turning their lives around. Our goal is to help them in some small way by providing a place for them to stay while they’re doing that work.”

This week on Marybeth’s Facebook page  Marybeth Conley | Facebook they discuss why they started this project. Here is a link to the pilot of Flip My Life Pilot.

The first renovation will turn a dilapidated house in Frayser into a transition house to be run by longtime re-entry non-profit Lifeline 2 Success. The cost to renovate the house and produce the first web series is budgeted at about $150,000. One major sponsor is assisting with material donations. Sponsorships and individual donations can be made available at the GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/flipmylife.

WHYY’s Animated Series Your Democracy Explores the U.S. Constitution’s Impact on Everyday Lives

WHYY’s Animated Series Your Democracy Explores the U.S. Constitution’s Impact on Everyday Lives

PHILADELPHIAWHYY presents a new five-part, animated series Your Democracy all about the Constitution. Hosted by acclaimed constitutional lawyer and professor, Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, the series takes a “Civics 101” style approach to the text and can be found at whyy.org and on WHYY’s YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/3L9DZLc.

With episodes on criminal justice, citizenship, immigration and states’ rights, Your Democracy explores the U.S. Constitution and how it continues to impact our everyday lives. Whether viewed by students or adults in search of contemporary and relevant explanation of our laws, Your Democracy offers scholarly expertise constructed for everyone to grasp.

“We created “Your Democracy” to empower people,” says Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, a Professor of Constitutional Law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). “Knowing more about our Constitutional rights is crucial to living in this country.”

“Series like Your Democracy allow WHYY to do what we do best: dive deeper into important topics to unveil the nuances and lesser-known facts that complete the story. As with other WHYY podcasts and digital series, Your Democracy offers a robust and representative foundation that informs early and lifelong learning,” said Terri Murray, Chief Content Officer for WHYY. 

Your Democracy is produced by Greater Philadelphia’s PBS/NPR affiliate WHYY and presented by The Sutherland Family Foundation.

About WHYY:

WHYY is the leading public media organization in the Philadelphia Region, including Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and beyond. As an NPR and PBS station based in Philadelphia, WHYY produces more than a dozen local programs, such as Fresh Air with Terry Gross and Radio Times, while also bringing you long-time national favorite programs such as Antiques Roadshow, Morning Edition, and more. WHYY provides trustworthy, fact-based, local news and information and world-class entertainment to everyone in our community.

About Professor Gloria J. Browne-Marshall:

Professor Browne-Marshall teaches classes in Constitutional Law, Race and the Law, Evidence, and Gender and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). Prior to academia, Gloria litigated cases for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Community Legal Services, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. Gloria J. Browne-Marshall has spoken on issues of law and justice in Ghana, Rwanda, England, Wales, Canada, South Africa and before the United Nations in Geneva.

Six Tennessee Students Selected for $10,000 BlueCross Power of We Scholarships

Six Tennessee Students Selected for $10,000 BlueCross Power of We Scholarships

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has selected six students from around the state as recipients of its 2022 BlueCross Power of We Scholarships. Since 2013, the BlueCross Foundation has awarded the scholarship to help increase representation in Tennessee’s health care workforce and address health disparities minority groups face. Each of this year’s recipients will receive $10,000 toward school tuition. To date, the foundation has awarded $345,000 in scholarships to 38 students.

“The BlueCross Power of We Scholarship is one way we’ve been working toward health equity,” says Ron Harris, vice president of corporate workforce diversity at BlueCross. “We are proud to support some of our state’s brightest students, and we hope they will use their unique insights and experiences to help deliver high-quality care for all Tennesseans.”

This year’s recipients are:

Destiny Bryant – Nashville
Senior, Nursing Major
University of Memphis

Audra Grace Crutchfield – Memphis
Junior, Nursing Major
University of Memphis

Brionna Cunningham – Jackson
Senior, Biology Major
Middle Tennessee State University

Bryson Hartsell – Knoxville
Junior, Therapeutic Recreation
University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Tzipora Hunter-Davis – Nashville
Senior, Nursing Major
University of Memphis

Zennia Nesmith – Chattanooga
Junior, Psychology Major
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The Power of We Scholarship is one of several education programs supported by the BlueCross Foundation, including:

  • $1 million investment in the HCS EdConnect initiative in Hamilton County, which provided no-cost internet access to underserved students on free and reduced lunch, ensuring they could participate in virtual learning opportunities during the pandemic
  • $500,000 to establish the BlueCross Technology Academies at Soddy Daisy and Red Bank High Schools in Chattanooga
  • $500,000 provided over three years to STEP-UP Chattanooga to offer internships and job readiness training for students

The BlueCross Foundation will begin accepting applications for 2023 BlueCross Power of We Scholarships later this year. Recipients are selected in partnership with the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) – Memphis Chapter.

For the full stories and a video about this year’s BlueCross Power of We Scholars, visit BCBSTNews.com.

About BlueCross®
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.3 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. 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.

Dwelling Place International Church Moves to New Location with a Grand Opening Revival

Dwelling Place International Church Moves to New Location with a Grand Opening Revival

(Memphis, TN – August 18, 2022) Dwelling Place International Church (DPIC) is celebrating its Grand Opening with a revival that starts this Friday, August 192022, at 7 p.m. (CST).  The church is staying in Collierville but has moved to 114 East U.S. HWY 72, Collierville, TN, 38017. The church originally opened its doors in 2008 and continues to grow due to the members shared values of Love, Glory, Prayer, and Transformation. Apostle Ken Toney and Pastor Carolyn Toney are the founders and senior leaders at the Dwelling Place International Church.

 “We have been blessed as a ministry to move into this new church location to continue to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Apostle Ken Toney. “Our ministry takes nothing for granted. As we celebrate the grand opening of our new church, we realize our mission is to bring people into the body of Christ. We welcome the Collierville and surrounding communities to join us during our revival starting Sunday, August 19 through August 26, 2022, at 7 pm nightly.”

Apostle Stephen Garner is the Toney’s pastor and offers these comments about their ministry “Intentional actions must be implemented to grow in grace. One of the ways this can be done is by pursuing relationships that are connected to purposeThe DPIC is connected to purpose.

The Grand Opening Revival speakers include Bishop Gerald Coleman, Prophetess Tylonda Leavell, Apostle Stephen Garner, Prophetess Yolonda Garner, Apostle Larry Pratcher, Pastor Kelvin Givens, Pastor Chris Conlee, Pastor Greg Wright and Pastor Carl IronsThe revival is free and open to the public to attend.  

About the Dwelling Place International Church

The Dwelling Place International Church gathers, engages, equips, and sends disciples of Jesus to transform lives and culture in the home, community, marketplace, and nations. Founded in 2008 by Apostle Ken Toney and Pastor Carolyn Toney, DPIC is committed to reaching the lost and working with ministries in the DPIC network to plant churches, develop leaders and engage in prayer around the world. Visit the website at www.dwellinginhim.org

Shining a Light on Wrongful Convictions: Tennessee Innocence Project’s First Memphis Event

Shining a Light on Wrongful Convictions: Tennessee Innocence Project’s First Memphis Event

(Memphis, Tenn.)  The Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) formed as a statewide non-profit in 2019. Since its founding the organization has exonerated four individuals, who spent a total of 95 years in prison, wrongfully imprisoned. On Thursday, September 22, 2022, the organization will host its first event in Memphis to shine a spotlight on wrongful convictions. The guest speaker will be Mr. Anthony Ray Hinton and the event will be held at the National Civil Rights Museum.

 In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton, was mowing his front yard in Birmingham, Alabama when police arrested him, charging the then, 29-year old black man with two counts of murder, crimes he did not commit. He survived on death row for nearly 30 years before finally being exonerated in 2015. Since his release, Hinton has traveled the world sharing his story and discussing the changes that need to be made to prevent similar injustices from happening to others.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, there have been more than 3,100 wrongful convictions since 1989. Tennessee has seen only 30 exonerations – five from Shelby County. Jessica Van Dyke is the Executive Director and Lead Counsel for the Tennessee Innocence Project. “We are proud of our successes, but we know there is still significant work to be done across the state, and especially in Shelby County,” said Van Dyke.  “For our current clients, as well as their families, we often represent their last hope for regaining the life that was taken due to a wrongful conviction.”

The event will include a 45-minute presentation in which Hinton will share his journey to exoneration and freedom, followed by a 15-minute question and answer session. In 2018, Hinton published, “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and is a New York Times bestseller. Copies of Hinton’s book will be available for purchase from the Museum’s store. The presentation is free and open to the public and starts at 7 p.m.

 The Tennessee Innocence Project will also host a meet & greet reception before Hinton’s presentation at 6 p.m. The organization does not charge clients for their services and depends on funds from community support to support this important mission. Tickets to the reception are $100, and the ticket holder will receive reserved priority seating for the presentation and a signed copy of Hinton’s memoir. This event is supported by Horizon Companies, JustCity, The Carter Malone Group, LLC, The Downtown Commission, Lee Investigative Services, LLC and Josie Holland. Sponsorship opportunities for the event are still available. Tickets are sold online, and RSVPs for the presentation are highly encouraged at www.tninnocence.org/events

Spirit Airlines launches service at Memphis International Airport

Spirit Airlines launches service at Memphis International Airport

MEMPHIS, TENN. (April 20, 2022) –Spirit Airlines has launched its inaugural service at Memphis International Airport (MEM), with daily flights between MEM and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) starting today. Tickets are on sale at www.spirit.com.

Headquartered in Miramar, Florida, Spirit Airlines becomes the ninth airline serving MEM. The airline will operate 182-seat Airbus 320 aircraft for its flights.

“It feels great to be back in a city I loved living in earlier in my career and come back to celebrate our new, nonstop service that will make it easier for travelers to discover all the culture, music, and history Memphis has to offer,” said Ted Christie, President and CEO of Spirit Airlines. “Growing our presence in Tennessee also means more high-value travel options for our new Memphis Guests looking for convenient flights to some of the nation’s most popular leisure destinations.”

“This is a great day for MEM’s passengers, as Spirit will provide daily nonstop options to two very popular destinations,” said Michael Keeney, Chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. “We are excited about the potential for Spirit’s long-term growth at MEM.”

Faith-Based Leaders Gather in Memphis to Discuss the Ministry Today and Beyond at the Bishop Charles H.M. Patterson, Sr. Symposium on Saturday, March 26, 2022

Faith-Based Leaders Gather in Memphis to Discuss the Ministry Today and Beyond at the Bishop Charles H.M. Patterson, Sr. Symposium on Saturday, March 26, 2022

(Memphis, Tenn. – March 15, 2022) On Saturday, March 26, 2022, area faith-based leaders will convene at Pentecostal Temple Church of God In Christ for a panel discussion on “Ministry Today & Beyond – Where Are We Now and How Will We Be Effective in the Future?” The Bishop Charles Harrison Mason Patterson, Sr. Symposium is sponsoring the event that is free and open to the faith-based community and the general public. Masks are required for attendees.

The panel of dynamic religious leaders include the following: Pastor Keith Norman, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church-Broad; Pastor Bartholomew Orr, Senior Pastor, Brown Missionary Baptist; Bishop Linwood E. Dillard, Senior Pastor and Evangelist LaShun Dillard Berry, Citadel of Deliverance Church of God in Christ; Bishop Ed Stephens, Senior Pastor, Golden Gate Cathedral and Bishop Darryl D. Woodson, Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Churches of Christ and Pastor of Mount Gilead the Cathedral of El-Shaddai.

Some of the topics the panel will tackle include:

  • How to manage the lack of confidence in the church?
  • How to meet our congregations where they are since the pandemic?
  • How do faith-leaders re-establish church relevance in their communities?

The religious leaders participating in this discussion were brought together by Bishop Patterson to have a candid discussion around what the church and their members need in this new environment.

“I look forward to this discussion with this great woman and men of God as we explore how to be more effective leaders to the church and the communities we serve,” said Bishop Patterson.

The symposium will begin at 9 a.m. on March 26, 2022 and will be held at Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ at 229 South Danny Thomas Blvd, Memphis, TN, 38126. For more information about the symposium call 901.527.9202