Letter from the Editor
by Richard J. Alley
I’m writing this letter right on deadline, just as we’re preparing to send the pages off to the printer. I had a letter ready to go, but it went out the window, flew away sometime around midnight last night as the presidential election results began to shine a light into a darkened corner of the electorate’s psyche that I never would have guessed was there. This morning confirmed what I’d hoped was just a bad dream.
But the show must go on and this letter must be written, the last piece to our 64-page puzzle. Luckily for me, and for all of us, this is the Philanthropy Issue.
To get my bearings, I took some time to reread recent issues of our publications here at Contemporary Media, Inc. The November issue of Memphis magazine features a story on Dr. Donald Pinkel, the man who created the medical culture at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and put it on the map with what would eventually become a 90 percent survival rate for childhood leukemia. The issue previous focused on the theatre arts and WEVL, Memphis’ nonprofit, volunteer radio station, as well as a large section on the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and its battle against breast cancer. The Memphis Flyer in issues past has continued its focus on the arts, taking a look at the Indie Memphis Film Festival, as an example, as well as the impressive turnaround of the Urban Child Institute. And Memphis Parent featured pieces on the Memphis Humane Society and the St. Jude Kids Marathon in its pages.
It made me feel better. We’re looking out for each other, for our mental and physical health. It’s no doubt that philanthropy is strong in Memphis — our publications are full of stories of nonprofits and the companies and individuals that support them. In the October issue of Inside Memphis Business, we presented our Innovation Awards and there you can read about nonprofits Code Crew, BRIDGES, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center — winners all.
We do good things here in Memphis. No, we do great things. We’ve shown the world a better way to ship, shop, and shake. The advances made by our myriad medical institutions are redefining how people are cared for, and Memphis is one of only two cities whose citizens give more than 5 percent of their income to charity (Salt Lake City is the other).
And that won’t change. We’ve had our struggles, and we’ve been at the forefront of cultural and political shifts in our past. We’ve learned from them, and they’ve only made us stronger and wiser and more empathetic.
The recent election season has been a tug-of-war, and earlier last month the rope broke, leaving tattered ends that, hopefully, will be repaired over time. It left a bad taste in my mouth and a lot of bad news on the page. But there are a lot of good and caring individuals and institutions locally with the sole purpose of helping us heal. Their stories are out there, all you have to do is look for them.
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