NNIP Welcomes Innovate Memphis as its Newest Partner

Announcement by Urban Institute
January 27, 2021

Innovate Memphis   (Memphis)

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership is pleased to announce the acceptance of the nonprofit Innovate Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee as the newest Partner organization. Innovate Memphis's mission is to develop initiatives, nurture partnerships and incubate solutions to move Memphis forward and deliver impactful, sustained change. The organization serves the community as "Memphis's civic innovation team" and provides data tools, training and technical assistance to nonprofits, community development corporations, and place-based organizations. They are trusted collaborators and work with many other local organizations, agencies, and funders on projects to build the capacity of residents and organizations to use data and advance their community goals.

Innovate Memphis was ready to support their community when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They have taken on a range of projects to assist local government, philanthropy, and nonprofits to directly help residents and target resources. For example, they provide data collection, cleaning, and analysis to support the eviction settlement fund, which was established in mid-2020 and is led by Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. (NPI). The effort includes both the City and County, University of Memphis and multiple non-profits. The data have been used to show where illegal evictions have occurred and to continuously monitor filings and court schedules. With its weekly reports, Innovate Memphis helps NPI ensure attorneys are present in Court to negotiate on behalf of the tenant. Innovate also shares the filings are still occurring, despite the eviction moratorium. A six-month summary report will soon be released, tracking impact of the effort from late June to the end of 2020. Additional projects during the pandemic include:

  • Creating a COVID-19 socio-economic vulnerability index to help identify Memphis communities that are most vulnerable to the socio-economic effects of the pandemic.
  • Partnering with the COMMONS, a coalition of eight community organizations in primarily African American neighborhoods, to gather qualitative data and understand how COVID-19 has affected neighborhood housing stability.
  • Partnering with Seeding Success to help provide the context on neighborhood conditions and internet access for the education challenges and realities of COVID-19. This work was used by the local school district to negotiate with the utility company to keep utilities on for students learning from home whose families were struggling to make payments.


For several years, Innovate Memphis collaborated with NPI, the University of Memphis, and local agencies to deliver data and information on property and neighborhood conditions to community organizations through the Bluff City Snapshot, the Memphis Property HUB, and other projects. This information is used by community development organizations seeking to rebuild their communities equitably, by local agencies as a tool to access disparate data sources in one place, and by neighborhood associations and civic groups for policy advocacy and to hold property owners accountable. Understanding the importance of building data capacity across institutions, in 2019 Innovate Memphis convened the quarterly Civic Data Forum as a space for data users and providers to come together to build a culture of data sharing, to celebrate efforts to open data and to improve data quality. They hope to continue and expand participation in the forum and continue to build data capacity in their community.

For more examples of Innovate Memphis’s efforts in democratizing data, visit their NNIP Profile. One of the roles of the NNIP network is to promote the development of local data intermediaries in new cities. Learn more about becoming an NNIP partner.