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Early child development and education programming have proven to be effective investments in both young children and the communities in which they live. An international body of research points to strong evidence that high-quality early child development and early education policies, with appropriate standards and accountability, yield many more benefits than costs through the use of finite community resource dollars. Not only do young children acquire important social-emotional skills that yield long term benefits to both society and individual families, but the early years are the greatest opportunity to develop cognitive skills for optimal brain development, healthy habits, and lay a foundation for years of future academic success. Employers also capture short and long-term benefits for their local firms when early care and education is supported. Yet many communities, including Nashville-Davidson County have not made concentrated, comprehensive efforts to support robust and aligned early care and education efforts to ensure the sustained healthy development and success of their youngest citizens.
What would have to happen for the city of Memphis to reduce poverty by 10% within 10 years – lowering it from 27% to 17% – and fundamentally shift economic opportunity and well-being for low-income residents? Today, there are 180,741 Memphis residents living below the poverty line ($23,550 for a family of four). Achieving a 10 percentage point reduction means moving 64,000 individuals out of poverty. It will require a combination of more and better jobs; better access to areas of job growth; lower household expenses for energy, transportation and water; and opportunities for economic advancement that are built on public safety, education, health, supportive services, and affordable housing. This report outlines key improvements that must be made in jobs, resource efficiency, transportation, and social services that Memphis must make to achieve this goal.
Mephis, TN's instant runoff voting ordinance for local elections.
Suffering from years of disinvestment and persistently high rates of poverty, this case study shows how Memphis city officials joined forces with the private and nonprofit sectors to have a collective impact on some of the city's most pressing social issues.