Non-Profit National: A Memphis non-profit group raises eyebrows for use of grant funds

Hill says a portion of the grant funds were used to host the event along with funds from private donors.

Markus Winkler

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A local non-profit One Memphis One Vision hosted an event over the weekend, and their talent was a no-show. Now, questions are being raised about how the talent was funded.

Local activist Devante Hill, the founder of the group, is looking to set the record straight on how grant funds were used for a testing event for young, homeless Memphians living with HIV.

“We were when we went to the table, very transparent with the city on how we were looking to deal with this matter and what exactly we were looking to do,” said Hill.

The event, held over the weekend at Soul Train Lounge was set to feature music artist Saucy Santana.

Hill says Santana was paid a $14,500 deposit to perform and would have been paid an additional $10,000, but never showed.

“That talent missed his flight for a personal reason and then arrived to Memphis, not even the event, and arrived to Memphis 20 minutes as it was about the end,” said Hill.

Hill says the funds from the event would have been used to turn blighted homes into “safe spaces.”

The City of Memphis has its own concerns about how money was used to pay the artist.

“I don’t know where the money originated, but it came through the city’s housing and community development,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “HCD (Division of Housing and Community Development) gets a lot of federal grants. I don’t know if it originated in the federal government or the city side, but I know HCD is looking into all of that.”

In a statement to Action News 5:

“One Memphis One Vision was given a grant for their Juneteenth Weekend through the Department of Housing and Community Development for HIV testing and to rehab two blighted homes to combat homelessness among youth 18-24 who test positive for HIV as part of a matching grant with Lowes. This grant was not intended to hire entertainment for the event.

We have since asked Mr. Hill to provide documentation for how the funds were spent and a report of the impact including the number of people tested, the testing company used, and the number of people who indicated the need for counseling or assistance with housing. We have also asked for an update on the Lowe’s build project.”Allison Fouche’ Chief Communications Officer

Hill says a portion of the grant funds were used to host the event along with funds from private donors.

“I think that we have been transparent across the board,” said Hill. “I can’t see the city having any other additional concerns from what they would’ve already known.”

Santana tells entertainment website TMZ, he offered to still come to the event or an after-party, but plans fell through.

Hill told Action News 5, they are looking to reschedule with Santana and working to send documentation on how money was used for this event to the city.


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