Houses at University Place

Livable Communities

Grantmaking through the Livable Communities program area is organized around three major impact levers. We believe that by (1) creating a strong urban core, (2) connecting people, and (3) supporting thriving neighborhoods, we will transform Memphis into a city of livable communities that are economically vital, offer great quality of life, and attract and retain citizens.

A Strong Urban Core
where people live, work, and play

When Memphis prospers, so does the Mid-South region. A weak city undermines the region's ability to compete and grow economically. The Foundation's trustees are unapologetically focused on strengthening Memphis's urban core. We seek to increase the number of citizens living and working in the neighborhoods ringing the North, East, and South Parkways and the Mississippi River as well as those neighborhoods prioritized by Community LIFT--Binghampton/Heights, Frayser, and Soulsville. Neighborhoods in the core are some of the most financially productive areas of the city as measured by tax revenue per square mile, yet many new public investments are made at the edge of the city at the expense of the core historic neighborhoods.

We choose to reinvest in the core because we believe that it offers the greatest opportunity for positive impact given its mixture of neighborhoods, which range from thriving to stable to blighted. We seek to leverage existing assets to drive reinvestment in the urban core and apply incentives to encourage public/private investment in core city neighborhoods. We support the Memphis Medical District Collaborative's demand-driven strategy that leverages educational and medical anchor institutions to encourage people to Live, Buy, and Hire in the Medical District and core city. We support partnerships that create affordable, quality housing and stimulate workforce and business development in the urban core. The desired outcome of this place-based economic development strategy is that in addition to working and being educated in the core, more people from outside Memphis and Shelby County will choose to own and rent homes in this area. In addition, neighborhoods will improve for and thus retain those residents already living in the core. Over the long-term, we also seek to increase retail businesses, cultural placemaking activities, and other services and assets that are found in and contribute to a vibrant urban domain. While these activities will benefit existing and new residents of the urban core, the entire city reaps the benefits of increased population and density in the core. A greater tax base allows the city to invest in infrastructure and services for all residents over time, creates efficient services for all, increases amenities, and improves social interactions leading to creativity and innovation.


Connected People
via a network of green assets, streetscapes, and transit opportunities

We know that accessible green infrastructure--like parks, community gardens, trails, and walkable and bikeable streets--and reliable transit are key to excellent quality of life in an urban center. These assets physically connect people to jobs, homes, schools, and other destinations as well as to each other, by increasing human interaction and often offering respite from the bustle of daily life. They support increased physical activity, improved environmental conditions, and numerous health benefits.

Under Impact Lever 2, the Hyde Family Foundation target initiatives that result in regional amenities and systems; strengthen and expand neighborhood parks, community gardens, trails, and streetscapes in the urban core; and improve public policy to support both system anchor and neighborhood level projects of this nature. Our grants fund activities that implement master and operating plans in excellent parks; advance citywide park advocacy and planning; build the capacity of community garden programs and local food distributors; expand trail and bike facilities; improve sidewalks and streetscapes; and strengthen transit infrastructure and service delivery. Desired outcomes from these activities include more people enjoying parks and accessing community gardens and locally grown food, increased walking and biking, and greater utilization of transit in our city. The Foundation prioritizes projects that can measure not only the public's use of this infrastructure, but also the resulting health and economic impacts. While "system anchor" projects may fall outside of the defined urban core, smaller-scale neighborhood projects must be located in this geographic area.


Thriving Neighborhoods
through inside out leadership and engagement

The Foundation believes in the power of individuals to shape their communities. Residents know their neighborhoods better than any outsider knows, and should define livability and quality of life for themselves. Under Impact Lever 3, the Hyde Family Foundation targets efforts that empower and support neighborhood stakeholders to affect community change in urban core neighborhoods. We dedicate grants to activities that support neighborhood-based planning and capacity building, educate citizens on best practices in city building, and implement projects driven by community priorities. Outcomes sought by the Foundation include more civically active and engaged citizens, increased citizen knowledge and skills for empowered change, and improved neighborhood livability and quality of life--as defined by neighborhood representatives themselves. We envision a city of neighborhoods with distinctive characteristics and proud citizens that together equal one unified Memphis.

The trustees and staff of the Hyde Family Foundation are committed to measurably improving Memphis through our grantmaking. Thus, we seek data-driven projects and programs that utilize quantifiable indicators to track progress toward our mutual outcomes. Evaluation occurs on an ongoing basis, enabling us to not only measure our partner organizations' impact, but also allowing us to adjust our programmatic strategies over time to truly deliver the long-term impacts we seek for Memphis: economic vitality, improved quality of life, and talent attraction and retention.