About Us

In 2008, CEOs for Cities, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and comprised of Fortune 500 CEOs and U.S. mayors, introduced City Vitals, extensive research that outlined three vital areas important to cities — talent, poverty and the environment. CEOs for Cities touted one clear-cut fact about the talent dividend: Higher education economically differentiates cities. With Memphis being ranked 48th out of the 51 largest metropolitan areas with regard to the percentage of the population with a college degree, David Williams, Leadership Memphis president and CEO, asked the Leadership Memphis board of directors to launch the Memphis Talent Dividend: College Attainment Initiative (MTD). Leadership Memphis has been the organizational home of the MTD program since it was established in 2010.

The resulting initiative is a collaboration of 130 stakeholders in Memphis and Shelby County and surrounding areas working together to increase the number of college graduates with a high quality degree, credential or certification to meet the current and future workforce needs.

The focus of this work is on both the traditional and non-traditional student:

Traditional (Youth):

  • Access – Helping students prepare for and successfully enroll in college
  • Persistence and Completion – Ensuring support services are available to students to help students stay in college and complete their degree or other post-secondary credential.

Nontraditional (Adults):

  1. Re-Entry – Helping adult workers return to college or vocational/technical school
  2. Persistence and Completion – Helping adults stay in college and complete their post-secondary credential

Memphis Talent Dividend’s roles consist of:

Convener – assemble willing community partners together to address local challenges and share best practices related to college access and attainment

Collaborator – work with community partners to define, plan, implement and evaluate strategies that lead to increased college access and attainment

Coordinator – align like efforts of community partners to have a greater community wide impact

Communicator – share progress of the collaborative work with the community at large.

At the end of the 2014 calendar year, Leadership Memphis was awarded a two-year grant by the Kresge Foundation to advance existing activities of Memphis Talent Dividend with a focus on increasing post-secondary attainment in Memphis 3% annually by 2025 and increasing the FAFSA completion rate by 3% annually until 2025.

TO SUPPORT MEMPHIS TALENT DIVIDEND