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The Legendary Generosity of Memphians

There’s no questioning that Memphis is known for it’s generosity.


Whether it’s Ja tipping $500 or the lunch lady taking care of you when you forget your lunch, Memphians from all walks of life are known for their generosity. We give from the heart—checking on elderly neighbors, donating clothes for a family in need, dropping food off for someone who is sick.


Generosity like that doesn’t show up in a database, but we all see it across the city, and we don’t need statistics to show us it’s real.


But sometimes it’s fun to see the numbers add up, and to be wowed by the difference we’re making. Check it out:

Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others? - Martin Luther King, Jr. (generosity)

The Data

Giving Tuesday Graph representing the monetary donations received from Memphians

On the latest #GivingTuesday, November 30, 2021, people across the Memphis metro area gave $2,945,653—a 10% increase over 2020, and each year, Memphis gets even more generous.

Generosity in volunteer odyssey.

From 2016-2020 Volunteer Odyssey facilitated service hours for almost 18,500 volunteers who gave more than 350,000 hours for an economic impact of around $9.4 million.

Does Memphis face serious problems common to all large urban areas: homelessness, crime, poverty? Absolutely. Our strength comes in how we tackle these problems, and Memphians show, time and again, that they care deeply about giving generously of their time, talent, and treasure, in order to build a better Bluff City.

Showing Generosity in memphis:

NBA star Dwyane Watson generously carries boxes of food to a food bank.
Photo: @grizzcommunity
A generous woman is preparing food for a large group of people.
Photo: @volunteerodyssey

Below we’ve shared just a few ways that the selfless citizens of our city step up to sow the seeds of change. These organizations do AMAZING work in Memphis and need generous people like YOU year-round.

  • Give901 – Give901 is a City Leadership campaign focused on creating opportunity for Memphis kids through innovative education solutions. Give901 partners with organizations such as Teach for America, Memphis Teacher Residency, Grizzlies Prep, Memphis Athletic Ministries, Streets Ministries, New Hope Christian Academy, Soulsville Charter School, Collegiate School of Memphis, Stax Music Academy, and the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation.

  • Giving Tuesday – Created in 2012 as a day to encourage people to do good. Each year many organizations participate in Giving Tuesday in hopes that generous people, like the ones in the city of Memphis, are feeling generous to support their causes.

  • Volunteer Odyssey – a volunteer center working to connect generous people to meaningful volunteer opportunities . Volunteer Odyssey also supports other non-profits to help them recruit volunteers, as well as track their impact.

  • Give 365 – You give $1 a day for a year to make our community better, then once a year together decide which organizations you want to receive grants. Give365 allows generous people to get involved and stay engaged in meaningful contributions that allow other organizations doing good work to continue doing good work.

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