Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. A5.4 Conclusion


The SC2 team in Memphis demonstrated several of the intended goals of the SC2 pilot, including improving the relationship between local and federal government, partnering for economic growth, and enhancing local capacity. In the first 18 months of the pilot, the SC2 team established itself as a valued resource for the mayor’s staff and for individuals and organizations working in the city on economic development. The team achieved many small-scale “wins” for the city by cutting through federal bureaucracy and assisting with problem solving. The SC2 team lead also made a major contribution in helping to bring the city’s numerous strategic plans into alignment with key mayoral priorities.

During the first 18 months of the pilot initiative, the SC2 team in Memphis was not able to make progress in encouraging regional collaboration nor was it able to enhance city government’s internal capacity for economic development in a lasting way. The team’s effectiveness was limited by the turnover in its membership and the fact that part-time members were challenged to free up sufficient time to work on the initiative. Another challenge to regional coordination was the widespread perception in Memphis that the SC2 pilot was a city initiative and not necessarily one that required participation by the county or state. Nevertheless, the first 18 months of the pilot demonstrated the value of the initiative to the city and laid the groundwork for further accomplishments under the leadership of the second full-time SC2 team lead.

The Memphis SC2 team was exemplary in its ability to navigate the city’s complicated and often chaotic bureaucratic system, adding enhanced staff capacity, speeding up timelines, and even helping to set priorities in combining all 42 strategic plans. The SC2 team lead, who acted as a one-stop hotline for any federal question, was widely appreciated for her ombudsman role.

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