Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence Kicks off 20th Anniversary with Open House

The Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence Thursday, Jan. 26, will host an open house from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at its office, 5100 Poplar Ave., Suite 502, to kick off the organization’s 20th anniversary year.

The Memphis-based Alliance serves nonprofits in more than 30 counties in Eastern Arkansas, Northern Mississippi and West Tennessee.

Also, Open Doors, the Alliance’s blog, recently posted some helpful information for nonprofits regarding the best websites for organizations to post nonprofit job opportunities, how to help employees improve their personal financial wellness, last-minute grant writing tips and more. Check it out here.

Cohen on the House Floor – “Red Tails”

Memphis congressman Steve Cohen spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, giving remarks within the context of “Red Tails.”

That’s the new movie from executive producer George Lucas about the famed black Tuskegee Airmen of WWII.

Here are Cohen’s remarks:

St. Agnes: 160 Years in Pictures

In today’s special emphasis edition on education, I wrote a story on St. Agnes Academy’s 160th anniversary Mass, celebrated Friday, Jan. 20.

Well, lucky for all of you TDN blog readers, I’ve got connections at the Academy and have some alumni-insider, old school (pun intended) photos that I’d like to share:

Original St. Agnes building at Vance and Orleans, taken in 1926

Current St. Agnes building at Walnut Grove and Mendenhall, taken in 1951

St. Agnes graduating class from 1923

I also asked Ginger Jordan, director of communications and alumnae relations at St. Agnes-St. Dominic, about the “St. Agnes” street sign off Union Avenue, eastbound before South Hollywood Street.

She said St. Agnes had bought that property, but when the school decided to move from the original location at Vance and Orleans in 1951, they determined that the area on Union had already begun to become commercialized! St. Agnes then sold that property and bought the land it currently sits on at 4830 Walnut Grove Road.

In 1951, Walnut Grove and Mendenhall was the eastern boundary of the city.

Gasol Named Western Conference Player of the Week

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has been named by the NBA as the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 22. This marks the first player of the week honor in Gasol’s career.

Gasol (7-1, 265) averaged 19.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.50 blocks on .673 shooting (33-of-49 FG) while leading Memphis to a perfect 4-0 record for the week. The four wins are part of the Grizzlies’ current six-game winning streak, the team’s longest since a seven-game run from March 14-26, 2006.

The 26-year-old posted three double-doubles, starting with a 19-point, 10-rebound effort on Jan. 16, as Memphis defeated Chicago in the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Game. After the win over the Bulls, Gasol then turned in two impressive performances on the road, recording a season-high 22 points, 12 rebounds and a season-high tying seven assists on Jan. 18 at New Orleans and collecting 17 points, six rebounds and three assists on Jan. 20 at Detroit.

Gasol finished the week by posting 20 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and a career-high tying six blocks in a 33-point home win on Jan. 21 vs. Sacramento, which tied the second-largest margin of victory in franchise history.

Gasol’s field goal percentage this week (.673) ranked third in the NBA, one spot behind teammate Mike Conley (.696), as Memphis exploded out of the gates in all four games, combining as a team to shoot .671 in the first quarter and .630 in the first half over that span. As a result, the Grizzlies never trailed by more than four points during the week.

The Barcelona native, who re-signed with Memphis to a multi-year contract on Dec. 14, is averaging career highs in points (15.2), rebounds (10.6, T-6th in the NBA), assists (3.1) and blocks (franchise-record 2.60, 3rd) in his fourth NBA season. He also is tied for sixth in the league in double-doubles (9) and ranks seventh in field goal percentage (.544) and ninth in minutes (37.5).

Gasol now joins Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol as the only Grizzlies to win Player of the Week.

The Southwest Division-leading Memphis Grizzlies will begin a four-game Western Conference road trip Monday, Jan. 23 against Golden State at ORACLE Arena at 9:30 p.m. on SportSouth. The four-game road swing matches the team’s longest of the season.

Lipscomb and Harris

Much of the attention in Civic Center Plaza these days is on the Shelby County Commission which is having a deep and wide political dispute that is more of a political realignment. It’s also the moment at which Justin Ford, a commissioner since Sept. 1, 2010, has stepped into the political spotlight.

We’ve written about what’s at stake here and we’ll be writing more.

But we didn’t want to ignore another political entrance across the plaza at City Hall.

It came last week as the Memphis City Council approved Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s slate of division directors — none of them a change from Wharton’s first two years in office although some have different roles than they did before.

When it comes to roles, Robert Lipscomb has had many during his tenure as director of the city’s division of housing and community development. He is also the executive director of the Memphis Housing Authority. MHA and HCD both exist primarily on federal funding, primarily from the federal Department of Housing and Community Development. But they are separate agencies and Lipscomb is paid a separate salary for each for a combined salary of $250,000 that is more than the mayor himself makes. And both salaries are federally funded.

For a time, Lipscomb played a third role as the city’s chief financial officer during the Herenton administration when Herenton conceded the city’s finances had become so tangled that he didn’t have an accurate read on where the city was going financial.

As the council vote neared on Lipscomb’s reappointment last week, council member Lee Harris, the only new member of the council in the 2011 city elections, made his stand.

He said Lipscomb’s pay was an “extremely high salary.”

“I think there are plenty of reasons we might choose not to go down that path,” he added. “I cannot be a part of extravagant salaries.”

Lipscomb had a hard time getting recognized to answer because of the other council members responding.

“I don’t think we pay director Lipscomb enough for everything he does,” said council member Reid Hedgepeth citing the federal grants to the tunes of hundreds of millions of dollars that have come the city’s way.

“If there is anything to criticize about this man it is that he works too hard,” said council member Myron Lowery who along with other council members cited Lipscomb’s 16-hour work days.

“There are other folks that work hard and I don’t think this is a substantial rationale to explain the huge gap in salaries,” Harris said. “I just don’t believe that there are 16-hour work days. That’s a pretext more or less for an extravagant salary.”

Lipscomb has had the two jobs at HCD and the MHA for 12 years. He started getting the dual salaries in 2009.

“I would submit to you the city owes me money for the years I got this dual responsibility,” he told the council. He also said the first nine years with one salary were a “travesty.”

Wharton responded later and in general.

“There are 16 hour workers back here,” he said pointing to the row of division directors seated behind him. “I know that for a fact.”