City leaders, foundations and nonprofits will celebrate 40 years of providing information to the community and 10 years of the 2-1-1 information and referral service this weekend at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue in Memphis, TN.
The “Get Connected Memphis” celebration will take place Saturday, August 22 from 10:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m.
Mayor A C Wharton and United Way Vice President of Community Impact Diana Bedwell will speak, along with representatives from our friends at The Plough Foundation. You can read the City of Memphis’ official media release as a Microsoft Word document here.
The Library’s information and referral operation, called “LINC,” has been operating since the mid-1970s. LINC was used to help provide information from resources available at the library. Over 10 years ago, United Way of the Mid-South brought funding resources to the Memphis Public Library to help “birth” the 2–1–1 operation here in the Memphis area.
2–1–1 helps citizens “cut through the red tape” of looking for the right agency or program during a time of need. The program staffs a team of trained volunteers to listen to people’s stories of need and suggest local partners who can help. Without 2–1–1, a person looking for nonprofit help can make as many as eight calls before reaching an organization that can actually help, and many will give up rather than continuing their search according to data at United Way Worldwide.
United Ways across the nation support 2–1–1 information and referral networks, but few have partnerships with their local Public Library systems like we do in Memphis. It’s a natural partnership “fit” – after all, people count on the Library to provide information, and people count on United Ways to provide networks to address community issues.
Nationally, United Ways are the largest private funder of America’s entire 2–1–1 network.