In 2019, the City of Memphis and Shelby County will celebrate our 200th anniversary and embrace our next 100 years- our New Century of Soul. We’re inviting the world to join us as we honor our story and the next chapter that is about to be written. We’re engaging our next generation of innovators, artists, and leaders to create our region’s future. And that includes you.

The New Century of Soul Challenge exists to fund lasting physical improvements to public space in the city of Memphis and Shelby County. The New Century of Soul initiative is focused on the four pillars of:

  1. Culture
  2. Education
  3. Innovation
  4. Service

Participating projects should relate to one of these pillars in some way. When you share your project idea with ioby, please briefly explain in your own words how you see your project idea relating to one or more of these areas.

To be eligible for match funding through the New Century of Soul Challenge, projects must:

  1. Be based within the City of Memphis or Shelby County.
  2. Be available to the entire community, and provide a publically accesible benefit.
  3. Create a permanent upgrade to physical space. For example, a bench, an art installation, community garden, pocket park, or another object or installation in this spirit. Projects that only include a programming component are not eligible.  Projects that include a some programming expenses related to the physical upgrade are allowable. For example, funds for a youth program that results in the creation of a new mural or funds to hold park volunteer events that result in new park landscaping.
  4. Projects are funded at the sole discretion of the Memphis Brand Initiative and they reserve the right to deny funding to any project that does not fit the goals of the New Century of Soul initiative.

Examples of eligible projects:

  1. Mural on the outside of a privately owned building. (Please note: murals on public property are not currently allowable). 
  2. Public art in a park or plaza.
  3. General costs for establishing a new community garden.
  4. New fences, benches, signage, tools and toolsheds, etc for an existing community garden.
  5. Capital improvements to a publically accesible space such as a new entryway for a community center, or an improved dance studio within a local nonprofit dance venue.
  6. General costs for establishing/enhancing a new pocket park.
  7. Physical improvements to a park space, such as additional plantings, improved signage, playground equipment, exercise equipement, improved walking trails, additional seating, lighting, or trash bins.

Examples of ineligible projects:

  1. Temporary physical space upgrades such as: pop-up event street furniture not intended to stay in place long term, chalk murals or other ephemeral public art. 
  2. Murals on the inside of a building that is not open to the general public.
  3. Street furniture on private property that is not available to the general public.
  4. Costs for adding public programming (cooking classes, nature education, community events, etc) at a park or community garden.
  5. Costs for new afterschool programs, charitable activities, neighborhood clean-ups, community events, etc.
  6. Projects that promote division between Memphis residents and are not open and inclusive to all. 


Questions about eligibility?  Contact Contact Memphis Action Strategist, Chris Jones, at or 901-410-3650.

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