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Memphis Fast Forward

Group of youth collaborating


The City of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee have developed three interwoven violence prevention initiatives—Operation: Safe Community, the Memphis Youth Violence Prevention Plan, and the Defending Childhood Initiative.

Key components that support the structure of these initiatives include

  • developing a strong, representative board of directors and diverse community partners to support implementation;
  • involving an independent intermediary to coordinate plan implementation;
  • establishing multiple layers of leadership to manage plan implementation;
  • outlining clear strategies and objectives in a strategic plan to guide and structure implementation;
  • integrating violence prevention and crime reduction approaches within policies to support buy-in and sustainability; and
  • limiting overhead costs to provide majority of funding to partners implementing the strategic plans.

The best practices include

  • collaborating across initiatives in order to minimize duplication of effort and maximize results;
  • involving the highest levels of government and law enforcement ;
  • developing a message that connects violence prevention and economic growth;
  • creating a unifying mission for collaborations and coalitions that were already in place;
  • creating transparency and eliciting feedback from the community;
  • developing data-driven initiatives by using data to develop strategic plans, share information with the public, and support implementation;
  • coordinating with other initiatives to support sharing data across agencies; and
  • conducting both national and local evaluations.

To work collaboratively and minimize violence, Memphis and Shelby County have discovered it is important to

  • incorporate an additional layer of leadership to translate the board’s vision to ground-level implementation;
  • utilize strategies to keep a large group of stakeholders continuously engaged;
  • continuously inventory community assets; and
  • have a clear message about the coordinated initiatives to share with the public and stakeholders.

Find additional resources and information about the collaborative work occurring in Memphis and Shelby County.