Throughout the years, while using federal, state and local taxpayer dollars, a number of community development functions in Memphis and Shelby County have been outsourced to 501c3 non-profits. To that extent, given the local data in poverty, crime, sluggish economic and workforce development efforts, the data in this site attempts to measure the effectiveness of some of those efforts with a special focus on the Memphis Corporate Community Leadership Complex (MCCL). The MCCL consists of Memphis Tomorrow, Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) and a growing web of 501c3 non-profits.  With a special focus on the Memphis Tomorrow Executive Committee Fast Forward initiative, the measurement occurs in a common language ALL can understand and that is “dollars” and benefits to taxpayers.

The standard for measurement is this site occurs in 4 ways: 1) Against Shelby County peer averages as identified by The Memphis Economy from 2010/11 to the most current date 2) taxpayerupdate-062218Measurement since 2010/11 against Shelby County itself, 3) Against taxpayer grant requirements and/or 4) Fundamental accounting procedures and common sense assumptions. Given this standard for measurement, the table on the right provides the results of the measurement in tax dollars for the benefit of Memphis and Shelby County Taxpayers which informs the conversation as to why the Memphis ecosystem has experienced decline. The math and the assumptions used to derive the amounts can be found on this site by accessing this link .

When applying the above measurement standard, a $124,000,000 estimated recurring annual tax revenue shortfall has resulted based on deficient public safety, economic and workforce development efforts when compared to peer averages, grant requirements, common sense accounting / assumptions and/or overall decline since 2010/11. To see what $124M in recurring revenue community benefit looks like, click this link.

$124M in additional Memphis and Shelby County tax revenue fully funds needed police for safe streets, pre-k and vocational programming, adequate public transit and state of the are community centers.

To the extent that the site is designed to inform honest conversation. Aggressive critical feedback with regard to the data is wanted and will be deeply appreciated either through email or comments on the page. Appropriate comments will be noted and changes where needed will occur. 

nonprofitsAnd finally, the Memphis MSA leads the nation in non-profits per 10,000 population as shown in the table on the left. Below, information regarding some of the entities that are being researched can be found and additional information can be ascertained by accessing the hyperlink of the organization:

Memphis Tomorrow – Memphis Tomorrow, founded in 2001, is a community development organization represented by the top Memphis CEOs focused on public safety, economic and education / workforce development. Many of Memphis Tomorrow initiatives are implemented through a local and growing web of often taxpayer supported 501c3 non-profits. Some of these non-profits include the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE), Memphis Crime Commission and The Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) among others. The effectiveness of EDGE and GMACW will be examined in this site and came about as part of Memphis Tomorrow’s  Fast Forward initiative in 2011.

Memphis Chamber of Commerce – For nearly 180 years, the Greater Memphis Chamber has been the lead economic development organization for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,200 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals. The Memphis Chamber also hosts the Chairman’s Circle which has adopted a number of community development initiatives entitled “Moon Missions”. The Chairman’s Circle consists of over 100 local business leaders.

EDGE – Created in 2011 through a joint resolution of the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission, EDGE is the economic development agency for the City of Memphis and Shelby County Government. EDGE provides and coordinates public resources to drive economic development in Memphis and Shelby County. EDGE leverages the benefits of economic development incentive programs to foster public/private partnerships that create jobs, grow the economy, revitalize neighborhoods, attract investments, spark innovation, and encourage entrepreneurship.

GMACW – The Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACWorkforce) was created to build a pipeline of high-skilled workers to address the needs of businesses in the Mid-South area. It was born out the the Memphis Tomorrow Fast Forward initiative to address the heavily cited need to improve the Memphis workforce in order to support regional economic development efforts.

Click here to see the SOLUTION.


Data is updated with annual data publications. The below are the updates since the site was originally published on 3/3/18:

  • 6/22/18 – Updated with BLS Quarterly Census of Employment Wages (QCEW) 2017 Annual Averages data release. Update resulted in an increased tax revenue shortfall due to below peer average total wage growth
  • Below is a chart that shows Shelby County total wages paid percentage growth rate vs Shelby County municipal peers average growth rate accelerating over time