Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Advance Memphis: Expanding Its Community and Connections

Advance Memphis, a nonprofit in South Memphis, recently announced the expansion of their programs to the 38106 zip code in addition to 38126. They’ve also got their annual fundraiser and all around classy function Art for Jobs. Hear from one person who’s been able to connect via the work of Advance.

A Quick Update on Advance Memphis:

By expanding to a second zipcode this summer, Advance Memphis will give more South Memphians the access to GED classes, fork lift training, jobs search help, money management classes, reading tutoring, counseling, and entrepreneurship advising!

When Advance opened 18 years ago, they decided to focus on the 38126 zip code which had just been listed as the 3rd poorest urban zip code in the country. After seeing so much success over the last 18 years, they want to open their doors to their neighbors and the friends and family of those who they work with in the 38106 zip code.

Photo: Advance Memphis

Meet Mike Shaw:

Mike Shaw decided to Choose901 many years ago when he moved to Memphis to work for Advance. Since starting at Advance, he has seen changes in South Memphis which have impacted the entire city of Memphis and his life as well.

See our excerpted Q&A with Advance’s Program Manager, Mike Shaw, below:

C901: Why did you choose to move to Memphis?

Mike: I came to Memphis because I needed work, and I was excited to be working with a friend. But I have stuck around because of the community I have found here where I live, at my church, and through my job.

Photo: Advance Memphis

C901: Why do you love Memphis and the community you live in?

Mike: I feel that Memphis is always at the forefront of new ideas and creative interventions in regards to encouraging healthy communities and people, and I’d like to think that Advance is a strong leader in that ingenuity. It’s refreshing to be a part of an organization that interacts with people in a way that recognizes and restores dignity and autonomy to neighbors without the hoops and lines and impersonal giveaways.

C901: Why do you and Advance want to invest in 38106 in addition to 38126?

Mike: When the Cleaborn Homes came down, and now that the Foote Homes are empty, we found that we lost many neighbors and friends when that population was scattered throughout the city. This gives us a chance to reconnect with many of those folks, and hopefully to meet and serve their extended families or friends who have always been a part of that larger South Memphis community even if their mail wasn’t addressed to a specific zip code.

C901: What outcome and change do you strive to see as a result of your work?

Photo: Advance Memphis

Mike: We want to see this neighborhood change from the inside out. We want to see folks reach goals that they’ve dreamed and achieved for themselves through their own hard work, and then we want to see them stay put. We want to be a place where next-door neighbors, cousins, friends, and former class-mates learn and change together through encouraging and challenging each other.

C901: What impact have you seen in South Memphis and around the city you call home?

Mike: In 2016, people working through our staffing company earned over $1 million in gross wages, not counting the numerous folks who found work on their own or earned money through legitimate entrepreneurial practices. We have also seen companies all over the city thrive because they’ve learned that South Memphians make excellent employees.

If you would like to support the work of Advance Memphis, then check out their annual fundraiser, Art for Jobs, on September 28th.

If you would like to volunteer at Advance Memphis, please email Cindy Chapple at

For more information on Advance Memphis and their programs, please visit

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