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Habitat News

Memphis Habitat Receives $125,000 from Wells Fargo for Uptown Rehab Program

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis recently was named the recipient of a $125,000 Leading the Way Home® Priority Markets Initiative grant from Wells Fargo. The grant will support Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) rehab/repair program in the Uptown neighborhood where the affiliate plans to construct 50 new homes and complete 100 critical repairs/rehabs.

Teresa Morris, District Manager at Wells Fargo, made a presentation to Memphis Habitat Executive Director Dwayne Spencer on Nov. 19 during a tour of Uptown. The tour was a part of Memphis Habitat’s 30th anniversary celebration, and Habitat supporters, board members, community members and representatives from Habitat for Humanity International were on-hand for the presentation. 

Teresa Morris (center), District Manager at Wells Fargo presented Memphis Habitat Executive Director Dwayne Spencer and Pat Lichterman-Bates, Memphis Habitat Board Member, with a check for $125,000 to support Habitat's rehab/repair work in Uptown.

“The expansion of Memphis Habitat’s mission to include rehabs is a recent development, and I was thrilled that the announcement of this grant award came as we celebrated our 30th anniversary. What better way to honor how far we’ve come than to announce an exciting next step!” Spencer said. “Partnerships help ensure the success of programs like NRI, and we are grateful to Wells Fargo for this recent award, as it’ll allow us to help even more local families in need.” 

Habitat selected Uptown as its NRI neighborhood based on need. When first evaluated, approximately 130 owner-occupied single-family homes in the neighborhood were in dire need of repair. Rehab work began in early 2012, and to date, work has been completed on 61 commercial, historic and single-family properties. New home construction began in Uptown in spring 2013, and 13 new homes have been completed. 

Memphis Habitat was one of 67 nonprofits nationwide to receive a Leading the Way Home® Priority Markets Initiative grant and the only organization in Memphis to receive funds. Wells Fargo gave $6 million in priority markets grants overall.

This award marks the second Leading the Way Home® Priority Markets Initiative grant Memphis Habitat has received. In 2010, Wells Fargo became one of Memphis Habitat’s first NRI partners with its grant of $100,000, which provided funds for repairs on 15 Uptown-area homes owned by low-income families. The majority of families assisted by the Wells Fargo grant were elderly or disabled, many earning less than $10,000 per year, and much of the work focused on repairing roofs and other exterior repairs needed to make the homes water-tight.

“Despite these families’ limited incomes, they were staying current on property taxes, but their homes needed repairs that simply exceeded their financial ability,” said Julie Romine, director of development and strategic partnerships at Memphis Habitat. “Through the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, we are making strides to extend the life of these properties. With our next phase, we hope to tackle some of the interior issues caused by leaks and expand our program to more families.”

Wells Fargo also has supported Memphis Habitat in other ways, including bringing volunteers to both an Uptown Community Cleanup Day in April 2012 and landscaping day of the 2012 Memphis Home Builders Blitz and serving as the hospitality sponsor for Home Builders Blitz that same year. 

Since 2009, the Leading the Way Home® Priority Markets Initiative grant program, funded through the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, has provided more than $25 million to nearly 100 communities. Wells Fargo’s Leading the Way Home® community outreach program helps local markets stabilize their current housing situation while advancing homeownership to build strong communities into the future. 

Memphis Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative partners include the Memphis and Shelby County Community Redevelopment Agency; Wells Fargo; The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Inc.; the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati; and Memphis Area Association of Governments.

The Commercial Appeal recently wrote a piece about Habitat’s work, “Habitat for Humanity Helping Revive Uptown.” Click to read that story!

And, watch this video for a look at the story of Memphis Habitat’s work in Uptown! 


While much work has been completed in Uptown, there is more work to be done, and Memphis Habitat is seeking further support for the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. To learn you can support this important program, contact Julie Romine at 901.322.3506 or

Posted by Jessica Hord at 10:01 AM
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