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Meet a Neighborhood Change-Maker: William Downey

Editors Note: Center for Transforming Communities (CTC) is grounded in the belief that every Memphis neighborhood includes people who have dreams for their neighborhood and who are willing to invest themselves in those dreams. Throughout 2018 we will profile some of these change-makers so you can get a glimpse of the incredible people CTC works alongside.

Since attending one of CTC's earliest Communities of Shalom trainings in 2010, Mr. Downey has been one of the longest serving Shalom Zone leaders and change agents in South Memphis.

Mr. Downey has lived in South Memphis for 60 years!

Heeding a calling to positively impact future leaders, Mr. Downey is making a difference in the lives of youth through baseball training, mentorship and life skills training such as landscaping and fishing. He says that investing in youth in South Memphis is investing in the future of the neighborhood itself. Through his baseball training alone, he has impacted over 200 youth. He also mentors and guides aspiring change makers, pastors and entrepreneurs. His proudest accomplishment is getting people involved in the community.

Mr. Downey knows better than most that you ​can't have community without good food! He started an annual BBQ cook-off, helped launch an urban farm, and gives food freely whenever he can. One of his dreams for the neighborhood is for all of the empty lots to become vibrant again – and he’s making it happen! Using his gift of cooking, this year he plans to host community dinners at least once a month in one of the empty lots.

Mr. Downey says that CTC accelerated his ability to give his gifts and assets to the community and we say here at CTC that Mr. Downey demonstrates for us what it means to strengthen a neighborhood from the inside out!

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