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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.

Interested in becoming a DTD network partner?

We’re currently connecting community-based organizations across the Mid-South. Fill out the form to request to join the DTD network or to learn more about our services, if you are an organization administrator, supervisor, or decision-maker. If your organization is currently utilizing DTD services and you would like to become an authorized user to receive additional training, please reach out to your representative to ask about gaining access.


  • 2Unique Community Salvation Foundation
  • Agape Child & Family Services
  • Alliance Healthcare Services
  • Alpha Omega Veteran Services, Inc.
  • American Red Cross, Mid-South Tennessee
  • America Works
  • Anaya Partnership/Youth Villages
  • Bethany Christian Services
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mid-South
  • BlueCare Tennessee
  • Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, Inc.
  • Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Center for Transforming Communities
  • Church Health Center
  • CMI Healthcare Services
  • Collective Blueprint
  • Collierville Literacy Council
  • Communities In Schools
  • Community Legal Center
  • DeNeuville Learning Center
  • Dress for Success Memphis
  • Early Success Coalition
  • Economic Opportunities
  • Families Matter
  • Frayser Community Development Corporation
  • Freedom, Healing, Wholeness INC.
  • Freeman Outreach Center
  • Goodwill Homes Community Services, Inc.
  • Grace House of Memphis, Inc.
  • Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center
  • Good Shepherd Pharmacy
  • Harwood Center, Inc.
  • HopeWorks
  • Integrated Addiction Care
  • JIFF, Inc.
  • Kindred Place
  • Knowledge Quest
  • Latino Memphis
  • Le Dujour H.E.R.O. Village of the Mid-South, Inc.
  • Libertas School of Memphis
  • LifeLine to Success
  • Literacy Midsouth
  • Madonna Learning Center
  • Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc. 
  • Memphis Child Advocacy Center
  • Memphis Crisis CenterT3
  • Memphis Public Library & Information System (211)
  • Memphis Jewish Community Center
  • Memphis Urban League, Inc.
  • Methodist Lebonheur Community Outreach
  • Meritan, Inc.
  • Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA)
  • Mid-South Veteran’s Helpdesk
  • Mind Renewals, Inc. 
  • Neighborhood Christian Centers, Inc.
  • New Ballet Ensemble & School
  • One by One Ministries
  • Pathways In Education
  • Porter-Leath
  • Progeny Place
  • Promise Development Corporation
  • Raleigh Community Christian Child Care Center
  • Refugee Empowerment Program
  • RISE Foundation
  • Room in the Inn
  • Seedco
  • Shelby County Schools
  • Shelby County Schools (Office of Early Childhood)
  • Shelby Residential Vocational Services (SRVS)
  • STS Enterprise Corporation
  • Synergy Treatment Centers
  • Tech 901
  • The Excel Center
  • The Salvation Army
  • Thistle & Bee Enterprises
  • TN Voices for Children
  • United Housing, Inc.
  • Urban Strategies, Inc.
  • WorkSteady Works, LLC
  • YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South
  • YWCA of Greater Memphis

*Current as of May 2021



2Gen for Tennessee

Driving The Dream is aligned with the two‐generation (“2Gen”) whole family service delivery model that has  been implemented within the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Known as ‘2Gen for Tennessee,’ this approach is consistent with the 2Gen service delivery model, which focuses on creating opportunities  for and addressing the needs of both adults and the children in their lives together. The 2Gen approach recognizes that families come in all different shapes and sizes and that families define themselves.  Our goal is to implement the 2Gen framework within the DTD partner agencies client intake and service delivery model, where all DTD programs are aligned and in synch – ensuring 2Gen tactics are applied when working  with all customers in all aspects of case management and service delivery.

How it works and the expected impact

United Way estimates roughly 20,000 people in poverty can be promptly impacted by Driving The Dream in its early stages if we receive the support we need from donors, grantors, and other sources of philanthropy.

A coalition of local businesses who are all focused on investing in innovative poverty reduction solutions and economic growth strategies will create opportunities for us all. That means nearly 10% of Mid-Southerners in poverty can receive support now, and be connected to resources and opportunities to free them from generational cycles of poverty.

Families and individuals in poverty work with the Driving The Dream providers to create a “map of their dreams,” charting the order of steps, programs, and services necessary to help escape poverty and live the life of their dreams.

Leadership - System Advisory Team

Driving the Dream is guided by the System Advisory Team, which is comprised of leaders from the local health and humans services sector.  This guiding body was established to inform and influence system level practice and policy with the goal of addressing structural inequity that has perpetuated poverty in Memphis/Shelby County.

The DTD mission is to foster a DTD 2Gen community of practice where the people we serve are hopeful, resilient, and self‐sufficient.



ALL DRIVING THE DREAM PARTNERS are trained to employ the Transitions to Success® care model and utilize the Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix (learn more & see the matrix here). Partners also centralize information, access client data, track client progress, and make/receive referrals through CoactionNet (a local, shared, web-based database).

Care Coordination Hubs

DTD Care Coordination Hubs are agencies in the network that employ care coordinators. These Care Coordinators work with individuals to create the “Map of My Dreams”  (care plan), refer families to appropriate services, and provide overall service coordination, coaching and support. The Hubs are housed at partner agency sites alongside their core programs, which increases access and eases stress for families seeking DTD services. The 2020 Care Coordination Hub partner agencies are Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, CMI Healthcare Services, Communities In Schools of Memphis (CIS Memphis), Neighborhood Christian Centers, Meritan, and Porter-Leath.

Referral Network Partner Agencies

The DTD Referral Partner network is comprised of human services agencies that agree to adhere to  DTD guiding principles, adopt a common referral platform, participate in an enhanced online shared customer data system, and follow formalized policies and procedures for customer referrals and warm hand‐offs. Their primary responsibilities include informing individuals of services available at the Hubs, referring appropriate individuals to the Hubs, referring individuals to other DTD Referral  Partners, and accepting eligible individuals referred through the DTD network.

Outreach and Education Partner Agencies

Outreach and Education service partners actively reach out to individuals who could potentially benefit from Driving The Dream, educate individuals about DTD and related resources, and connect individuals to a Care Coordination provider. Partners include agencies that frequently interface with clients, such as government agencies providing benefits or direct client services, 2‐1‐1, hospitals, childcare providers, schools, first responders, crisis centers, outreach coalitions, etc.

Driving the Dream is comprised of a number of partners
Funders and Supporters


Twana Whitlock

Associate Director, Agency Relationships, Driving The Dream

LaShondra Hill

Manager, Projects & Operations, Driving The Dream

Candace Sanders

Associate, Data & Quality Improvement Analyst , Driving The Dream

Chelsea Brock

Associate, Data & Quality Improvement, Driving The Dream

Karlescia Brookins

Senior Associate, Agency Relationships, Family & Social Capital, Driving The Dream

Terrell Clayton

Senior Associate, Agency Relationships, Economic Supports, Driving The Dream

Jennifer Richardson

Senior Associate, Agency Relationships, Health & Well-Being, Driving The Dream

Ariana Young

Administrative Assistant, Driving The Dream