Earn While You Learn


Meaningful work. Earn while you learn. Thanks to our partnership with Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) and MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, 14 adults became certified and graduated from Autonomous Maintenance Training(AMT) on March 8, 2018.  Each graduate has gained skills that can be stabilizing assets to help them earn a livable wage.  Learning a marketable skill furthers the dignity of work, offers sustainable income and provides an opportunity for meaningful work.

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Meet Rhoda

Rhoda, like so many other graduates of Advance Memphis, has worked extremely hard to maintain a job in an under-resourced neighborhood where over 65% of people are not currently employed.

The newest board member at Advance Memphis is an old friend, a graduate of many Advance Memphis programs, and an important leader in her 38126 community (South Memphis).  Ms. Rhoda Baines recently agreed to join the Advance Memphis board, which culminates a relationship which spans years. Rhoda first came to Advance in 2012, when she participated in the Jobs for Life (now Work Life) class. She subsequently completed the Faith & Finances course and the IDA matched-savings account. Over the last few years, Rhoda has worked at FedEx and as a home health specialist.

In 2016, Rhoda found herself in a difficult living situation, to say the least. She lived in a house where the landlord would not pay to fix the broken heating system during the winter, and her family was affected by the presence of hazardous lead paint. Because of these issues, along with the lack of viable options in the neighborhood, she was forced to move away from her community.

Despite all of the challenging forces that kept her from being able to have a safe living space in her own neighborhood, Rhoda took active steps toward purchasing her own home. After a long process of saving, paying off debt, and building her credit, Rhoda was able to rent and finally purchase a home back in 38126 in May of 2017.  Currently Rhoda uses her home to host a weekly community group from her church, Downtown Presbyterian Church.

Rhoda is a hero to so many people in her family and neighborhood. Rhoda, like so many other graduates of Advance Memphis, has worked extremely hard to maintain work in an under-resourced neighborhood where over 65% of people are not currently employed. She bought a home in a neighborhood where only about 16% of homes are occupied by the owner and where many long-standing systemic forces make it particularly difficult for people to purchase homes.  In addition to providing a home for her family, Rhoda walked through numerous family trials over the past year and has remained a strong help for her loved ones.

We can’t tell Rhoda’s story without talking about two ladies who have become close friends with her over the years. Suzanne Greer was Rhoda’s Champion in her Jobs for Life class five years ago and Diane Davis initially got to know Rhoda as her GED tutor. These volunteer roles turned into long-lasting friendships for Diane, Suzanne, and Rhoda. Suzanne and Diane helped Rhoda navigate several difficult situations over the years and used their social capital to support the steps that Rhoda has worked hard to achieve. Likewise, Diane and Suzanne have each learned from and grown through their relationship with Rhoda, and all three have expressed deep gratitude and joy that the Lord allowed their paths to cross.

Advance Memphis desires more relational mentor volunteers like Suzanne and Diane.  These connections transform the lives of everyone involved.  Please consider partnering with us as a Work Life Champion or Faith & Finances Ally in our next classes.  Click here to volunteer.


Downtown Church’s Good Friday Message Catered by Elnora’s Angels

Elnora Angel’s Catering, one of Advance Memphis’ LAUNCH start-up businesses, is providing a southern home-cooked meal for Downtown Church’s Good Friday luncheon served with a Good Friday message: Embrace: A Pursuit of Love & Justice.  The event will be held at Clayborn Temple from 12 to 1pm on April 4, 2018. Cost is $10. Register here.


Advance Memphis 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We are grateful for each story represented in our 2017 Newsletter, and for the many relationships that these stories reflect. Please take just a few minutes to read and get updated on some of the work that God is doing in our lives, and also in the lives of our neighbors in South Memphis.







Please consider making a gift to continue our relational work in South Memphis, and become a part of stories like these. You can join our community of monthly donors and partners in 2018 by selecting “Recurring Gift.”



Thank you for investing your time, talents, and money to grow God’s Kingdom and support our neighbors.

Merry Christmas!


Top 10 Ways to Get Involved Before the End of the Year

Here are the 10 best ways you can make an impact at Advance Memphis before 2017 ends:


#10: Bring a Meal

A meal gives neighbors energy to maximize their time in class while building relationships.

Where? Advance Memphis Office: 769 Vance Ave.


#9: Mentor Neighbors Seeking Employment

Build a relationship with a small group of Work Life participants as they seek to make life changes.

Where? Advance Memphis Office: 769 Vance Ave.


#8: Join our community of Monthly Donors

Your $25 per month funds one Work Life student to move toward stable employment through building job skills.

Where? Go to our donation page, and click 'Make a Recurring Payment.'


#7: Hire a LAUNCH Graduate

LAUNCH Graduates work hard to start and grow their businesses, and you can be their next new customer!

Where? Visit our LAUNCH Entrepreneurs Page.



#6: Tutor a GED Student


Achieving a GED is an essential piece of attaining economic self-sufficiency for many of our neighbors. Help someone by working with them toward this goal.

Where? Advance Memphis Office: 769 Vance Ave.



#5: Purchase art to support Advance

We still have art available for sale from our annual fundraiser, Art for Jobs. Your purchases help to support our programs as we walk with our neighbors toward economic self-sufficiency.

Where? From the comfort of your home, on our online sales platform.


#4: Sign up to be a Faith & Finances Ally in January

Plan to learn and walk alongside neighbors who are looking to live healthier financial lives in our Faith & Finances class.

How? Email Bryce by clicking on the button.


#3: Use your skills to help a business owner

You have skills that can help LAUNCH business owners succeed! You may do graphic design, be good with spreadsheets, or write well. Or, you may be in an industry where you write bids, provide insurance, or manage property. All of these skills (and many others!) can be creatively used to help LAUNCH business owners.

How? Email Bryce by clicking on the button.


#2: Place your work into our Warehouse

Do you have light warehousing or production needs that can be placed in our warehouse so our grads can walk to work and have on-the-job training as they transition into the workforce?

How? Email Mark if you are interested in this opportunity.



#1: Pray for Graduates

Our graduates are working hard to overcome big obstacles. You can support them through your prayers.

How? Receive our periodic prayer email.


Thank you for the impact you create through your involvement!


Sneak Peak of Don Morgan’s Artwork

Don Morgan is a self taught artist who has had his work shown at Perrynicole Gallery, David Smith Gallery, Harrington brown Gallery, and Arts Company Nashville. His piece above will be available for purchase September 28th from 5:30-8:30 at Art for Jobs.


Sneak Peak of Stacey Saed Ferguson’s Artwork

Stacey Saed Ferguson is an extremely inspired native Memphian and a mother of three sons. Her painting style is primarily self-taught and reflects her love for color, movement and texture. With a 50th birthday approaching, Stacey has taken a non-conventional road to find her highest artistic expression; including high school and college art classes which planted the seeds that would bloom much later into her present expressions within her arts community. Being an artist is a dream deferred for Stacey and she approaches the canvas with the same wholehearted energy that she does her life.

This piece will be available for purchase September 28th between 5:30-8:30 at Art for Jobs.


Sneak Peak of Glenda Brown’s Artwork

After years of painting on canvas, Glenda discovered the remarkable experience of painting on copper. As she researched the qualities of copper, Glenda discovered that copper, unlike canvas or wood, is a very durable support that cannot be affected by humidity or temperature. Glenda sands, grinds, cleans and cuts heavy gauge copper sheets for each of her paintings. The colors in her paintings lay close to the smooth surface with tiny sparkles of copper peeking out. Paintings on copper will last generations and are unique expressions of the fine art talents and creativity of Glenda Brown.

The two paintings above will be available for sale September 28, 2017 from 5:30-8:30 at Art for Jobs!

Glenda’s work can be seen at her studio, Gallery 202 Franklin Tennessee, Portraits Inc. Birmingham Alabama. You may contact Glenda at 901 606-1692, or


Sneak Peak of J.E. Gillentine’s Artwork

J.E. Gillentine is a native Memphian who has had a love for art since the third grade. As an abstract artist she serves clients across the Southeastern United States, creating unique commissioned pieces for homes and offices. Her work over the last nine years has included oil, ink, and mixed media. J.E. Gillentine combines her love of art and her love of Memphis by partnering with philanthropic initiatives that make Memphis a better place to live and thrive. Her works may be purchased locally at Bingham & Broad.

All art seen here will be available for purchase at Art for Jobs on September 28, 2017 from 5:30-8:30 pm




Art for Jobs 2017 Sponsor: Frazee Ivy Davis

Frazee Ivy Davis, a Silver level Art for Jobs sponsor, is a CPA firm in Memphis dedicated to focusing on the financial matters which affect businesses and families in the Memphis area.  They provide complete accounting and advisory services for private companies, families, individuals, executives, and legal and financial advisors.

Visit their website to learn more.

Thanks to companies like Frazee Ivy Davis, we are able to continue our work in the 38126 and 38106 communities!

To learn more about Art for Jobs, please click here.