The Center for Community Research and Evaluation (CCRE) is a proud partner of GROWWTH, a UofM-led community partnership that is driven to improve the well-being of low-income families in West Tennessee. 

CCRE is proud to have worked with its GROWWTH partners to secure a Tennessee Opportunity Pilot Initiative Implementation Grant in the amount of $25,000,000, the largest grant received by the University of Memphis to date. Working closely with a consortium of University research centers and community agencies, CCRE served as GROWWTH's primary research partner, ensuring that GROWWTH's program design is both evidence-based and driven by the needs, wants, and ideas of GROWWTH's target population of West Tennessee households. Leveraging years of experience in informing poverty-related community interventions, CCRE researchers coordinated key efforts to inform the development of GROWWTH's program design using a mixed-methods approach, including:

  • The development and implementation of a field survey of 451 residents of West Tennessee, encompassing all 21 counties of West Tennessee, to learn about the needs, wants, and ideas of the target population;
  • Administration of two focus groups of community-facing stakeholders;
  • Training of community partners to conduct and report on five focus groups with TANF-eligible householders; and
  • A rigorous examination of demographic information using the American Community Survey's Public Use Microdata Sample targeted at understanding major trends and geographical variation with respect to the target population.

Pairing our findings with employer-driven research by the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, CCRE partnered with the Center for Regional Economic Enrichment to shape the alignment of the intervention and ensure that the GROWWTH pipeline was aligned with the needs, wants, and ideas of the target population. The proposed pipeline encompasses client-driven, trauma-informed, and high-intensity case management services supported by rigorous wraparound services in childcare, transportation, and mental health, in addition to protection from benefit cliffs, setting the stage for effective and diverse workforce development programs that are driven by the dreams of program participants. The GROWWTH model is an intensive set of interventions that is targeted to help 2,500 participants move from a life of surviving to a life of thriving. 

CCRE looks forward to working with its GROWWTH partners to utilize strategic analytics to facilitate the quality improvement process in the coming months to ensure that the program works effectively to change the lives of those whom it serves.

GROWWTH is the second major community initiative in recent months informed by CCRE research. Delta Health Alliance was recently awarded a five-year, $30 million grant to build a Promise Neighborhood -- a cradle-to-career educational pipeline -- in Greenwood, Mississippi and surrounding Leflore County. CCRE's 92-page March 2021 needs assessment of the county, rigorously surveying economic, educational, community, and healthcare dimensions salient to the proposed pipeline, was critical to Delta Health Alliance's successful award.