Going Forward…..

From the desk of Dr. Steve Stone

Dear faithful supporters, whether by prayers, deep thoughts, kindred spirit, financial means or all of the above: Thank you for your ongoing partnership with us on the Friendship Park of Memphis project.

Here’s where we are up to this point: we have the finest advisors a non-profit foundation could ever hope for, a well-developed business plan, a beautiful and informative brochure (posted on the website).  We continue to receive offers for interviews and speaking engagements to share the story of the ongoing and ever deepening friendship between the Memphis Islamic Center and Heartsong United Methodist Church (check out the GivingBack podcast-episode 100, “Heartsong Church & The Memphis Islamic Center Welcomes You”).  We are garnering the support of such influential people as Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks, International), Dr. Habib Sedeghi (Founder of the Lovebutton.org movement), Anne Eleanor Roosevelt (Chair of the Roosevelt Foundation) and Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba (the ambassador from the United Arab Emirates to the US), and many others.  We are one major donor away from launching a capital campaign to fully fund the 11,000,000+ project, and are about to hire our first Executive Director to shepherd the project to completion.

At this point we are still taking on Lead Scouts.  Once we reach 120 Lead Scouts there will be no more.  At this writing there are slots for only 24 more Lead Scouts for Friendship Park of Memphis.  A Lead Scout is one who donates $1000 to the project.  The names of the Lead Scouts will be printed on a beautiful art piece that will forever hang in the open area of the park administration building as a means of honoring those who first joined us in making the park happen.  You may donate the entire $1000 at once, or make monthly payments of $100.   If you want to claim one of the remaining 24 Lead Scout positions, please contact Dr. Steve Stone (sstonesr@gmail.com), Dr. Bashar Shala (bshala@yahoo.com), or our Treasurer, Mr. Jeff Lee (jlee@kmbs.konicaminolta.com), or call (901)3371346.

We are making some real headway!

We are making some real headway these days. Welcome to our newest board members, Pam Beasley, Director of Parks for Germantown, and Farooq Qureshi, a member of the Memphis Islamic Center who has a deep passion for the Friendship Park project matched with a great amount of experience and creativity. Pam will be working with Steve Stone, our president, on the Capacity Building Team which will seek to build partnerships between MFF and individuals, other non-profits, businesses, corporations and foundations. Farooq will be the co-leader with Michelle Worth of our Marketing Team.

We also welcome Mamie Shannon to the Friendship Park project. Mamie is widely known as the host of Local Color on WKNO, and well as being a much sought after event organizer and leader in the greater Memphis community. It is in her capacity as Professional Fundraiser that Mamie will lend her expertise to the park project. She will work with the Capacity Building Team to find partnerships and funding for our work. Already, Mamie has written a grant which could add some much needed funds to us.

We also welcome a partnership with PlayCore. Tom Norquist, the Vice-President of their GameTime division, charged with the leadership of product development, sales and marketing has joined the Friendship Park team as a full partner and consultant. Tom has extensive experience in the art and science of play, and numbers among his projects the playground at the White House. He has already led the board in an imaginative planning process and is ready to lead us to the next steps of program and features development, site preparation and construction of the park.

Recently we have partnered with the University of Memphis, Department of Architecture. Dr. Michael Hagge and Dr. Jennifer Barker led a field trip of design and architectural student to visit the site of the park. Their assignment was to design features for the park based on our mission to create opportunities for building friendships between people of all races, cultures and faiths. We have seen some of their work and it is remarkable and creative. In early May we will receive a book that includes the work of all the students in the class.

In the next few days the survey on the land across the road from what MFF already owns will be done. That four acre tract is owned by Heartsong Church who has gotten permission from their bank who holds the mortgage on that property to sell it at a deep discount to the foundation. As soon as we know what the final cost will be we will communicate it to all of our supporters