Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. A5.1 Context


The city of Memphis was hit hard by the 2007–2009 recession and is still struggling to recover. The city also faces historic levels of racial and economic disparity. These conditions, in addition to declining municipal revenues, have hindered the city’s ability to make inroads into lowering its 20 percent poverty rate and combating the challenges of serving a low-income, under-educated population.

Notwithstanding these challenges, Memphis and its downtown are in the midst of a resurgence. The city is home to a growing number of medical and health care employers, as well as a significant number of anchor institutions, philanthropies, and universities. Memphis is known for its contributions to arts and culture, and city government is also seeking to build upon Memphis’s historic and cultural assets. This work is being championed by a talented and enthusiastic mayor who brings connections to key decision makers at the county, regional, and national level.

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