We didn't do this because it was Black history month. We didn't do this because of a personal connection to this neighborhood. We did do it (just a little bit) because it was a cool way to give back to Memphis - and we, of course, like doing that sort of thing.
The main reason we did this was because I met pastor Roger Brown last October on a photoshoot for American Cancer Society. As I got to know him, I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of the passion, love and energy that he had for his community.
I knew that I wanted to help him.
These days, Memphis is all about campaigns and opportunities to serve the community, ways to lift Memphis to new heights. All of these things are fantastic and are doing very positive for Memphis. But, none of them work without amazing people who care a great deal about the cause and are champions of that cause everywhere they go.
Pastor Brown and James Nelson, the newly hired director of The Stone Community Development Corp., have decided that they are going to redeem their little part of Memphis located just west of Soulsville - it serves as the gateway from the south part of downtown into the rest of Soulsville and South Memphis. They know that they can't change the entire city but they can definitely make a huge impact on their sphere of influence. Whitestone Baptist Church has been on the street, in this community for 100 years and has only had four pastors before Pastor Brown. They obviously have a long line of caring leaders - through a long and crazy history. The people of this church love their city, love their little neighborhood, and love the people that call it home.
The zeal for change that I felt when I was around them was contagious. It was so strong that FedEx, Lehman Roberts, and Servicemaster all decided to join in on the fun. A great beginning was accomplished and we are excited to be a small part of telling their story.
There are some amazing people and companies in Memphis who have the resources to make a difference. And the moral of this story is that the difference they make can be profound.
We are just now at stage-one of the multi year project. Can’t wait to see where this goes!