New Resources Available to Enhance Poverty-fighting Philanthropy

Slingshot Memphis Provides New Resources to Help Year-end Philanthropy Create More Benefits for Those Experiencing Poverty

Approximately a third of all annual philanthropic giving occurs in December. In 2021, $180 million was given to Memphis-area organizations through just the area’s two largest community foundations. With so much philanthropy seeking to address Memphis’ inequities, Slingshot Memphis offers new resources to help these funds achieve the desired impact.

Slingshot’s website now contains materials on over 40 organizations, providing a consistent way to understand a nonprofit’s effectiveness at alleviating poverty. This includes a visual grid that summarizes the impact of a nonprofit, with those receiving impact results of “At Least Strong” or “Very Strong” having the greatest evidence of impact, according to Slingshot’s proprietary methodology. Viewers can also review the details of a nonprofit’s programs and learn how those programs create poverty-fighting benefits.

“How often do you make a donation that you hope makes Memphis a more equitable city, but then wonder if that donation actually made a difference?” said Jared Barnett, CEO of Slingshot Memphis. “We don’t need to wonder anymore. Slingshot’s evidence-based process measures poverty-fighting impact so we can support what is effective. As we objectively understand what is working and why, we can meaningfully affect Memphis’ level of poverty.”

Slingshot is a nonprofit that has built a team of talented professionals to implement its innovative methodology. This team combines experiences from organizations like the World Bank, McKinsey & Company, Teach for America and several nonprofits to help accurately measure impact. Slingshot works alongside nonprofits to analyze the improvements in health and income they create, research the best practices for their programs, identify ways they can more effectively use data in decision-making and evaluate how they help create more equitable systems.

As Slingshot works with a growing number of organizations, it learns the factors that produce the best outcomes. For example, research concludes that most programs across the United States that help people reenter society from the criminal justice system are not effective, i.e. do not help reduce recidivism or increase financial stability. This is because many of these programs focus primarily on helping people obtain a job. Effective programs require more funding to enable a more holistic approach. Specific services that have evidence of being effective include employment retention support, individualized mentoring and mental health services.

“Through Slingshot and learning what is working and what is not, we’ve been able to narrow our philanthropic gifts,” said Scott Crosby, community ambassador and lawyer at Birch, Porter, & Johnson. “We’re now more informed, and what is working should have more of our dollars.”

Slingshot provides a way for people to directly support impactful poverty-fighting organizations. Each year, Slingshot raises money from the community through its Accelerate Impact Fund and allocates 100 percent of these funds at the end of the year to the organizations it works with. These funds are allocated based on the effectiveness of the organizations, with more funds allocated to organizations with the evidence of being more effective. In 2021, every $1.00 contributed to the Accelerate Impact Fund produced $1.90 in estimated poverty-fighting benefits.

“Slingshot is a revolution,” said Gretchen Wollert McLennon, founding Slingshot board director and CEO & President of Ballet Memphis. “It is rewriting, in real time, the poverty-fighting narrative in Memphis. Slingshot provides a way for us to collectively transform our community in a unique and distinctive way.”

About Slingshot Memphis:

Slingshot Memphis is a poverty-fighting center of influence that’s igniting a movement to revolutionize the way we fight poverty. To turn its mission into reality, it works alongside poverty-fighting organizations to study their effectiveness, identifies opportunities to enhance their outcomes and invests directly to amplify high-impact programs and services. To learn more about Slingshot, visit

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