Memphis Branch NAACP Executive Director Vickie Terry, and Van Turner Jr., board president. (Screen captures)

Ten Memphis-area nonprofits have netted a Community Lift Grant through the partnership connecting the Memphis Branch NAACP, Kroger and The New Tri-State Defender.

The award recipients were announced earlier this week (July 1) during a virtual ZOOM meeting.

LaDell Beamon acknowledges the Community Lift Grant award to the Heal The Hood Foundation. (Screen capture)

Among the groups tapped to receive the $3,000 grants was the Heal The Hood Foundation, founded by LaDell Beamon, the CEO. The nonprofit provides positive outlets for youth of all ages and young adults through singing, dancing, art, acting, motivational speaking, screen writing and modeling.

Beamon said without such grant support Heal The Hood could not do what it does. Going forward, he said, involved “doing the work…rolling up our sleeves… I am excited.”

NAACP Executive Director Vickie Terry said 100-plus nonprofits submitted applications for the third year of grants.

“Each year we have awarded grants to organizations working to reduce crime, eliminate blight or improve our communities in some way,” said Terry. “This year, we chose 10. And these nonprofits are all over the city: South Memphis, Whitehaven, Hickory Hill, Frayser, North Memphis. We care about all our communities.”

Teresa Dickerson (Screen capture)

Teresa Dickerson, corporate affairs manager for the  Kroger Delta District, referenced the special challenges that have come in 2020.

“It was more important to help this year, particularly,” she said. “We wanted to help the community. Please continue to uplift the community. Memphis is a special place, and we all want Memphis to do well.”

Van Turner Jr., president of the Memphis Branch NAACP, noted Kroger’s trust in the local branch being able to funnel the grant aid to groups that have shown their commitment to uplifting the community.

“All of the non-profits that have been awarded these grants are commendable in their various fields,” he said. “Personally, I can verify and attest to the fact that they are doing great work.

“It’s not all the time something we see in the spotlight, in the media. But they do the work when the cameras are off and the lights are off. And (the work) is still out helping the community…they are honest and transparent about what they are doing.”

Karanja A. Ajanaku, Associate Publisher/Executive Editor of The New Tri-State Defender, put the grant awards in a historical context, noting that the 69-year-old newspaper was created to serve the African-American community and was familiar with the community’s challenges.

“In that history of challenges, these are challenging times, particularly so. People are stepping up to meet those challenges. Some people are new to the battlefield; others have been there for a while. The people we are acknowledging today have been on the battlefield for a while,” he said.

“And we know this about these groups…they know how to take a little and do a whole lot with. We are glad to be able to extend this ‘little’ with the idea of making it grow. We expect hundreds and perhaps even thousands of people by extension will be affected in a positive way by this.”

Grateful for the grant support, Stevie Moore, founder of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives, pitched for keeping an eye on the challenge of crime amid the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges.

“We gave to continue this fight,” he said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to crime.”

The Community Lift Grant recipients:

  • A Fresh Start to a New Beginning
  • African Heritage Trail of Memphis
  • Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives
  • Greater Whitehaven Economic Revitalization
  • Heal The Hood Foundation
  • Hyde Park Homeland Community Development Organization
  • Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South
  • Pathway to Dignity Re-Entry Program
  • Rock Development Corporation
  • Vance Avenue Youth Development Center

The application window for next year’s grants will open in a few weeks, Terry said. For more information, call: 901-521-1343.