The Memphis-based motivational speaker has been honored nationally
by Toni Lepeska
The title philanthropist means so much more than someone who gives money away. At least, that’s how Don Hutson sees it. Everyone has three things to give, he says, and only one of them is money. Earlier this year, the National Speakers Association bestowed Hutson with its “Philanthropist of the Year” award.
Hutson, 71, is a salesman, prolific author, and nationally recognized speaker who helped found NSA in 1973. He is a founding member of the Memphis Society of Entrepreneurs and a past president. He also is CEO of U.S. Learning, which provides corporate training to businesses all over the nation. The client list includes local businesses such as FedEx, International Paper, and Medtronic.
Born in Oklahoma while his father served in the Navy, Hutson landed in Memphis because of his parents’ roots in Mississippi. “I didn’t care for Oklahoma so I moved to Memphis when I was 6 months old,” he says. He pauses. “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.”
by Richard J. Alley
Anyone who has traveled across the country has Kemmons Wilson and his Holiday Inn concept to thank for a good night’s sleep. And if you were to look at the boardroom rosters of many nonprofits across Memphis today, odds are you’ll see the name Wilson listed there.
Just as the Kemmons Wilson Companies, with its global reach, has remained firmly entrenched in Memphis, the children of Kemmons and Dorothy Wilson have kept their hearts and interests close to home.
A look at the 2015 annual report of the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation — its guiding principles include engaging family, faithful stewardship, and building legacy — shows that gifts were bestowed on West Cancer Center ($500,000), Shelby Farms Park Conservancy ($250,000), Exchange Family Club Center ($20,000 over two years), and Teach for America ($150,000 over three years), among many others. A total just shy of $1.8 million saw its way into the coffers of some of the area’s most solicitous institutions.
by Richard J. Alley
As many Memphians make their way each morning from home to work, traveling west down Union, Madison, or Poplar, they may not even realize they’re passing through one of the largest economic engines of the region. Passersby will notice students everywhere with white coats, hospital scrubs, and backpacks; unused trolley tracks; a city park with its controversial statue; and construction seemingly at every corner. This is the Medical District, an area defined by Poplar to the north, Vance to the south, I-240 on the east, and Danny Thomas to the west.
Located between Midtown and Downtown, the District is home to institutions such as the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Sun Studio, and the Bioworks Foundation. The District is where 24,000 employees and students spend their days.
As upgrades to the hospital and university campuses began to swell, the need for a unifying organization became apparent. The Memphis Medical District Collaborative is the answer to that need and is supported by eight anchor institutions.
At the helm of this collaborative is Tommy Pacello, formerly of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team and lately a special project manager with U3 Advisors. With the Innovatino Delivery Team, Pacello pioneered events such as MEMFix and MEMShop, relatively small buy-ins that showed what a fallow neighborhood might become.
Paul Young was appointed director of Housing and Community Development (HCD) last December by Mayor Jim Strickland. The HCD is the city’s tool for community revitalization and takes an interest in the neighborhoods that make up the Medical District. Young was previously administrator for the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability, whose Sustainable Shelby Implementation Plan oversaw building codes, land use and development, neighborhood rebirth, and transportation and traffic.
To learn more about the needs and plans for the Medical District, I sat down with Pacello and Young at High Cotton Brewery in the heart of what is known as the Edge District, the neighborhood just to the west of the Medical District. High Cotton, once home to a century-old carriage house for nearby Victorian Village, opened its public taproom in 2014. It has since been held up and admired as a success story in an otherwise desolate neighborhood looking to be revitalized by the MMDC. As the conversation progressed, the after-work crowds came in and the taproom filled with talk and laughter — an impressive example of a neighborhood in rebirth.
A trip down memory lane with the torchbearers of
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