BRIDGES 2018 Annual Report


Celebrating 30 years of Bridge Builders







We Should All Be Bridge Builders

Over three decades, BRIDGES’ commitment to three goals has never wavered: developing leadership skills, fostering

appreciation of diversity, and encouraging community action in young people. But even as we celebrated our 30th

anniversary milestone in 2018, our focus has remained on the next 30 years. In April 2018, the world turned its eyes to

Memphis for MLK50, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, and we

repeated his stirring refrain: “Where do we go from here?”

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that youth have the answers. Throughout 2018, all across the country, young people

showed themselves to be smart, capable, strategic leaders. They modeled the transformative power of deep, meaningful

relationships with peers from diverse walks of life. And they showed their commitment to turning ideals into reality and

transforming their communities.

Today’s youth are challenging us to be more inclusive, more passionate, and more engaged with the world around us.

They’re reminding us that we should all be Bridge Builders.

In Memoriam

Rev. Donald E. Mowery

Beginning in 1963, Father Don’s

(b. 1931-d. 2018) leadership

of Youth Service Inc., the

precursor to BRIDGES,

spanned more than 30 years, and

it’s because of his incredible heart

for youth that we celebrated the 30th anniversary

of the Bridge Builders program in 2018.

Richard White


A BRIDGES board member

since 2014 and former Bridge

Builder parent, Richard

(b. 1954-d. 2018) was an incredible

friend to our organization and

a passionate supporter of youth

leaders. We are so grateful for his years of

service and commitment.

BRIDGES 2018 Highlights

• Founded by Becky Wilson in 1988, the Bridge Builders program

reached its 30th anniversary in 2018. We marked the occasion

with “30 for 30”—an entire year of alumni re-engagement events,

culminating with our Alumni Awards and Anniversary Celebration.

• In February of 2018, BRIDGES hosted its first national event. The Bridge Builders Youth Action Summit (YAS),

a national convening by and for youth leaders for social change, welcomed more than 100 youth organizers from coast

to coast and another 60 local youth, all of whom represented a diverse mix of non-profit organizations and missions.

• Over the summer, VP of Bridge Builders Dana Wilson and CHANGE Fellowship graduate and intern Becca

Folkes-Lallo embarked on a national tour to further cultivate many of the organizational relationships forged at

YAS and to create the Youth Action Storytelling Project (, an audio-visual and writing project

that shares the experiences, challenges and best practices of experts in the youth-led social change field.

“Bridge Builders has influenced me as a person in a way that I

cannot completely describe. It’s helped me care about others and think

about what others may care about. When I decide to do something,

I think about others. When I say something, I think about how it will

affect others. With BRIDGES, I know that I can be a positive influence

inside and outside of my community, and that is what I strive to be.”

— a 2018 Bridge Builders COLLABORATE student

Bridge Builders By The Numbers

In 2018,

Bridge Builders

celebrated its




young people

have become

Bridge Builders

since 1988.


total youth

participated in FY18,




and youth-serving

organizations and


different zip codes.

BRIDGES is a learning organization.

Our full-time evaluator conducts rigorous

assessments of our programming yearround,

which allows us to make nimble,

participant-informed improvements in

real time. This data also helps us craft

smart and strategic long-term goals and

track the ongoing impact of the Bridge

Builders experience on our alumni

into adulthood.

For more information on BRIDGES

methodology, outcomes, and improvement

areas, contact Evaluation Manager Beth

Head at

Revenue FY18







BRIDGES Foundation

Training fees



$ 1,199,782

$ 684,563

$ 450,062

$ 309,767

$ 44,436

Expenses FY18








$ 457,379

$ 297,516

*Combined BRIDGES USA and BRIDGES Foundation.

For more information about BRIDGES’ financials, contact VP

of Finance and CFO Anne Dixon at

One Program, Three Paths:

Bridge Builders CONNECT

Facilitated by BRIDGES’ AmeriCorps service members,

CONNECT gives students in grades 6-12 a taste of the

Bridge Builders experience.

These workshops bring meaningful topics to life, from effective

leadership and community connection to racial, environmental,

educational, and economic justice, and they deliver outcomes like:

• Stronger relationships through teamwork

• Increased empathy and respect for different viewpoints

• Passion for exploring root causes of systemic problems

• Tools for transforming and resolving conflict

In the 2017-18 school year, our CONNECT team partnered with 45

groups and schools to reach 3,775 students. In addition, 2,347

youth experienced Bridge Builders CONNECT via large-scale

events like our MLK50 Youth Summit, Bridge Builders National

Youth Action Summit, and Bridge Builders YOUnified youth festival.


Evaluation Highlights


of teachers said

they’d recommend


workshop to others.


of students said


workshop helped

them learn what

they have in

common with

their peers.

“I learned that different leaders excel in different areas, and bringing them

together creates a powerful group.” —a CONNECT workshop participant

One Program, Three Paths:

Bridge Builders COLLABORATE

In its 30th season, our yearlong legacy program level,

COLLABORATE, brought together 1,108 diverse 7th-12th

grade students from across the Mid-South.

COLLABORATE starts with a five-day immersive summer

conference and continues through the school year with six

trainings, community actions, and electives.

All activities are built around an experiential learning cycle:

hands-on challenges followed by debriefings that allow

students to reflect on what they just did, what they learned,

and how they can apply these lessons to their lives.

COLLABORATE yields an enriching, thought-provoking

experience that students themselves often refer to as



Evaluation Highlights



students said their

leadership skills improved.


said they’ve increased their

appreciation of diversity.


improved their

community engagement.

“I learned so much about people who are different

than I am. It helped me see the world with a better

perspective and better understanding of my diverse

peers.” —a COLLABORATE program participant


of parents say they’d definitely

recommend COLLABORATE to

others (rating 10 on a scale of 1-10).

One Program, Three Paths:

Bridge Builders CHANGE

Situated on the forefront of the global youth-led social change

movement, CHANGE is Bridge Builders at its most intense.

CHANGE Fellows research, plan, and execute strategies to

improve the lives of all Memphis-area youth by leading other

young people and influencing leaders and policy.

In its seventh year, the CHANGE program level included

38 student organizers from 22 schools in five youth-selected

issue cohorts: The Memphis Youth Union (advancing youth

voice in civic decision making), Youth Justice, Gender and

Sexuality Equality, Educational Justice (advocating for restorative

justice policies in schools), and Memphis Against Sexual

Harassment and Assault.

In February of 2018, BRIDGES hosted the inaugural Bridge

Builders National Youth Action Summit, drawing youth organizers

from more than 40 organizations across the country.


Evaluation Highlights



Fellows improved their

scores across all

leadership indicators.


said they increased

their community investment.

“[CHANGE] has impacted me by showing that I can make a difference.

I have gained so many more skills, such as S.M.A.R.T. planning and how to

make community partners. My communication and leadership potential have

increased, and I have met really wonderful people full of passion who I know

are going to change the world.” —a CHANGE Fellow

How We Build Teams

Effective teams don’t just happen. That’s why we have

an entire department of experiential learning experts

called Team BRIDGES.

When they’re not facilitating Bridge Builders youth

programming, our Team BRIDGES staff work with

corporate groups, professional development programs

and community organizations to provide fully

customized team-building experiences in a supportive

and fun “challenge by choice” atmosphere.

Utilizing everything from on-the-ground icebreaker

activities to physical and mental challenges 30 feet

up in the air on our rock walls or high ropes courses,

every Team BRIDGES experience is designed to help

the individual discover his or her leadership style

while the group hones key skills like critical thinking,

problem-solving, goal-setting, and communication.

Give us a group, and we’ll give you a team! Get started

today at TEAMBRIDGES.ORG or call 901.260.3776.

Help Us Build BRIDGES

If you believe in the relational, transformational power of Bridge Builders, make

a commitment today to help us train our second generation of youth leaders.

Becoming a monthly sustainer is quick, easy, and incredibly rewarding. For the price

of your Netflix subscription or a few cups of Starbucks per month, you can change the

lives of thousands of Memphis-area youth. Automatic monthly donations help us set smart,

sustainable goals for the future, and they allow you to make a significant long-term impact,

no matter your budget.

The real cost of a year of Bridge Builders COLLABORATE programming is $1,000

per student, but we’re committed to providing these life-changing experiences to youth from

every background, no matter their family’s financial resources. No student is required

to pay the full cost, and many qualify for waived fees.

Whether you commit $5 a month or $100, your sustaining support of BRIDGES

will ensure thousands more youth get the chance to learn and live out the

Bridge Builders pledge: “I am a Bridge Builder. I am a leader who can lay aside

individual, social, economic, and cultural differences to work for the benefit of all.”

Visit BRIDGESUSA.ORG/GIVE today to explore our many giving options.

Questions? Contact Vice President of Development Melissa Whitby


BRIDGES Management

Cynthia Ham

President and CEO

Anne Dixon*

Vice President of

Finance and CFO

Melissa Whitby

Vice President of


Dana Wilson

Vice President of

Bridge Builders

Jon Grizzle

Director of Team BRIDGES

Mario Hendrix*

Senior Director of

Bridge Builders

Tosca Nance-Jones

Director of

Community Engagement

Kat Netzler

Director of


#AmeriCorps Works


*Bridge Builder alumni

Passionate, dedicated service members

play a vital role in our work at BRIDGES,

facilitating two of the three Bridge Builders

program levels. Our 35 total AmeriCorps

members contributed 21,750 hours

of service!

BRIDGES 2017-18 Full-Time

AmeriCorps Service Team

Jasmine Clinton

Isabel Harger

Synthia Hogan

Cayla Jones

Adam Pani

2017-18 Bridge Builders Leadership Council

Carrington Body

White Station High School

Taelen Boyd

Hollis F. Price Middle

College High School

Analyse Capodiferro

Houston High School

Zahra Chowdhury

Pleasant View School

Taylor Gladney

Bolton High School

Amaya Gray

White Station High School

Carolyn Lane

St. George’s

Independent School

Bennett Matson

St. George’s

Independent School

Garrett McFadden

Christian Brothers

High School

Alexa Pangonas

St. Benedict at

Auburndale High School

Charles Patterson

Christian Brothers

High School

Daniel Peoples

Grizzlies Preparatory

Charter School

Jada Powell

Ridgeway High School

Rebecca Price

Lausanne Collegiate School

Priscilla Ramirez

Horn Lake High School

Navy Smith

White Station High School

Destiny Sobotka

Center Hill High School

Emille Taylor

White Station High School

Bridget Weldon

St. Agnes Academy

Nicholas Winkler

Bartlett High School

2018 Board of Trustees

Executive Committee


Kevin Woods*

BlueCross BlueShield

of Tennessee

Vice-Chairman Dan


E. Ritter & Company



Brandon Arrindell**


Asset Management


Webb Wilson**

Kemmons Wilson Co.


At-Large Trustee

Nancy Averwater

Baptist Memorial

Health Care

At-Large Trustee

Neil Gibson*

FedEx Services

Kim Cherry

Cherry & Co.

Public Relations

William Derwin


Car Wash Group

Tony Dudek

AutoZone, Inc.

Cynthia Ham


President & CEO

Sam King*


Financial Partners

Luther Mercer

Whole Child


Ross Peters

St. George’s

Independent School

Danish Siddiqui

Hilton Worldwide

Richard White*


FedEx Express

Thomas L. Williams*

Merrill Lynch

Amy Wright

Macro Solutions

Not pictured: Robin Orgel, Community Volunteer

* Bridge Builder parent

** Bridge Builder alumnus

BRIDGES unites and inspires diverse young people to become confident

and courageous leaders committed to community transformation.

477 North Fifth Street Memphis, TN 38105 901.452.5600

Printing generously provided by directFX

EIN #23-7081488

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