Whether our staff and volunteers are in our nation's capital or half a world away in the warzone that we work in, people are always surprised to hear that we call Memphis, TN home. It makes sense: many organizations that do international work are based on the east or west coast in easily recognizable cities like Washington D.C., New York City, or Los Angeles. Not us.
September 1 is #901Day. For our supporters outside of Memphis who are reading this, 901 is the Memphis area code, but it's a number that has a lot more meaning than how to call someone who lives here. The 901 is our home. Our city even has a really cool campaign built around this very special number.
Over the years as we have continued growing, people around the United States and world (yep, we have supporters in 17 other countries) have asked us why we are headquartered in Memphis and what it's like living here. This is why.
10 Reasons We #Choose901
1. We're Memphis born and raised. Most of our mainly millennial staff grew up on the world's best barbecue, lazy, hot, and humid summers, and awesome people. Memphis is a destination city for all 3 and much more. Our city has been declared as a top spot for the millennial generation to live for a lot of awesome reasons.
2. Memphis is generous. As a nonprofit, we rely 100% on the generosity of people, companies, and churches to keep moving our mission forwards. Memphis is literally one of the best places in the country to do that. In fact, it's one of the top 3 cities in the country for charitable giving. Memphians care about a lot of important causes, be it here at home or in Sudan where the bulk of our programs are.
3. The work/live/play balance is top-notch. Last year Forbes ranked Memphis as the second most affordable city in the United States to live in. Add in the growing food, music, microbrew, community, and entertainment scenes and that's a huge win.
4. Authenticity is at the heart of our city. Every city has it's problems, but not all will freely admit and deal with them. Over the past several years, Memphians have started tackling the issues it has been openly criticized for. You could say that there is now a war on blight across the city as innovative solutions such as the Crosstown Concourse Development (which we are right around the corner from) and Tennessee Brewery continue to pick up steam. The spirit of entrepreneurism that began as tiny seeds in our start-up initiatives has spread to the general public. People are noticing too.
5. We really do have the best barbecue. Sorry Kansas City, St. Louis, and the Carolinas, but we win. Not only do we have the best barbecue, we've taken the concept to some pretty crazy, delicious places (i.e. barbecue spaghetti, pizza, and nachos). There's 80+ places in the 901 that specialize in the land of barbecue.
6. Memphis is about to have the greatest urban park in the country. After years of threats from commercial development and disputes over land use, Shelby Farms Park hasn't just survived, it is now poised to become one of the greatest urban parks in the country. Underneath the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, which raised a whopping $70 million to rebuild and enhance the Park, construction is underway on thousands of acres to make it the green gem of the city.
7. The food and beverage scene is growing. Memphis is getting national attention for being more than just barbecue central, our microbrewery and restaurant scene is ever-expanding. Check out some of our top restaurants here and microbreweries here.
8. The revitalized Overton Square area is the place to be. One of the city's most iconic areas has made a roaring comeback in the past few years. It's where we take out-of-towners to have a good time. Waiting for a seat at any of the several restaurants that call Overton Square home is worth it.
9. Music is coming back. We're known for blues and rock 'n' roll thanks to Beale Street, Sun Studio, Graceland, and Stax Museum. While Nashville may be called the Music City, the actual birthplace of awesome music is and always will be Memphis. You can find our jams from major venues to the smallest of festivals. And there's always something new to find or old to rediscover.
10. Memphis is a city on the move. Sure, Memphis has problems like every other city. Some are small, some are big. There are no overnight solutions for most of them, but that hasn't slowed down the people living here. We're proud to call Memphis home and can't imagine being headquartered anywhere else.
Memphians are taking to social media all day today to talk about why we love Memphis. You can join us or see more about our city by checking out the #901Day hashtag.