By Sheree Stubblefield

We can all unequivocally agree that Midtown is where’s it at. Midtown Memphis Development Corporation basically exists to make sure it stays that way. That’s not exactly their mission statement but it’s pretty close. They promote local businesses and organizations, foster social awareness and protect Midtown from developments that don’t vibe with the historical integrity of the neighborhood.

In that vein, they are having their 5th annual Mojo Awards Celebration, basically a big party honoring “the best and brightest” in Midtown. There will be plenty of food and drink along with music, rubbing elbows and overall revelry. Read on to find out who MMDC will be celebrating and who you should be supporting too. (Plus how you can join in on the fun).

Ballet Memphis

Ballet Memphis “I Am”

Raise your hand if you were all smiles when the ballet moved from Cordova to Midtown. Led by Dorothy Gunther Pugh, they’re breaking down ballet walls, embracing diversity and inviting us to explore their non-hallowed halls. They are being rewarded not just for who they are but who they are going to be.

First Congo Church

First Congo Service

They are killing it more ways than one! They provide over 400 free meals a week and use their space to partner with multiple organizations. No one gets turned away from First Congo. Their mission is to serve the city and serve it well which is why they were chosen this year.

Dr. Mike Kirby

V&E Greenline

Dr. Mike (along with VECA) led the way in repurposing an abandoned railroad which is why he is being honored this year. What was once an unofficial trash dump is now the V&E Greenline used for walking, biking and gardening all thanks to volunteers who had faith in what it could become.

Onie Johns

Caritas Village Cafe

Caritas Village is widely known in these parts. MMDC is proud to recognize Onie Johns for founding Caritas Village and its “presence of community” in a neighborhood that doesn’t get much positive press. They are a haven for those in need and provide a diverse community space that welcomes everyone.

Otherlands Coffee Bar

Indoor seating at Otherlands

25 years! That’s how long ago Karen Lebovitz opened the well-known coffee shop/cafe/gift shop. That’s reason enough for MMDC to award everyone’s favorite spot for cinnamon toast and meeting friends on the patio.

Overton Park Conservancy

Volunteers at Overton Park

If you didn’t know who this group was, you definitely did after the Save the Greensward “incident.” Between Day of Merrymaking and Field Day, they give a lot to the Midtown and Memphis community. Fun fact: It’s the only old growth forest in the Southeast. For those reasons and more OPC, led by Tina Pierce Sullivan are receiving a Mojo Award!

The Mojo Awards are happening Wednesday, March 27 at 6pm at Playhouse on the Square and you’re invited! Tickets can be purchased here. Send your questions to

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from the Cooper Young Community Association.

You have Successfully Subscribed!