Driving The Dream (DTD) envisions a Mid‐South in which all people have equitable access to resources and supports needed to achieve their hopes and dreams by fostering a community where the people we serve are hopeful, resilient, and self‐sufficient.

DTD is leading a movement. Together with our partners, we are building the infrastructure to bridge across service silos and tear down systemic barriers that have prevented equitable access to resources for all Memphis families.  Our collective goal is to help families move out of poverty towards a future of their choosing.

Recognizing that families come in all different shapes and sizes and that challenges facing one family member have a direct impact on the experiences and outcomes of other family members, we have adopted a two-generational (“2Gen”) whole family service delivery model. As part of this effort, we are promoting best practice models proven to move the needle on root cause issues that perpetuate poverty.  We are equipping our partners with the tools and resources they need to change both culture and practice for the better.

Why is this so important for Memphis?

Multi-generational poverty impacts the lives of children and families who live in poverty; it also affects our community overall. Research shows that limited opportunities for individual families lead to fewer opportunities for us a city and region.

The many barriers imposed by living in a poor neighborhood make it that much harder for residents to move up the economic ladder, and their chances of doing so only diminish the longer they live in such neighborhoods. Moreover, in regions where the poor are more segregated into poor places, the dampening effect on mobility extends beyond distressed neighborhoods to lower economic mobility for the region as a whole. ~ Brookings Institute Report 

We know that many families in Memphis don’t have access to the same resources. In 2017, over 24 percent of individuals and 39 percent of children were living at or below the poverty line. Access to affordable safe housing, reliable healthcare, high-quality education, job training, and reliable transportation are not a reality for a large percentage of our community.  

While our local human services sector offers many services to assist under-resourced families, a fragmented and uncoordinated delivery system creates challenges and barriers that prevent families from successfully maximizing these much-needed supports.