MIFA was founded in 1968. Today, we serve more than 40,000 people annually. MIFA partners with corporations, foundations, congregations and faith groups, donors, and volunteers to support our programs for seniors and families.
Our vision is uniting the community through service.
- Our mission is supporting the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis through high-impact programs.
- Our values are to welcome and respect all people, act with integrity, value individual initiative and ability, serve individuals and the community as an act of faith, and balance humanitarian goals with sound business practices.
- An Appeal to Conscience, 1968. Written by the Memphis Ministers Association and published in The Commercial Appeal.
- Diversification and Unity: 1968 - 1988. Researched and written by Selma Lewis, edited by Jeanne Tackett and Ellen Abbay.
- Offering a Hand Up to Our Neighbors in Need: 1968 - 1998. Researched, written, and edited by Selma Lewis and Marjean Kremer.
- Conscience of Memphis for Forty Years, 1968 - 2010. Researched and written by Gail S. Murray, based on earlier histories and published articles, board minutes, in-house publications, and interviews with current and former MIFA employees.
The following articles were published in honor of MIFA's jubilee year in 2018:
- MIFA celebrates jubilee year, Elle Perry, Daily Memphian.
- 'Memphis Miracle': MIFA celebrates 50 years of service, Katie Fretland, The Commercial Appeal.
- MIFA celebrates 50 years of service, Michael Finger, Memphis Magazine.
- The famed 'Memphis Miracle' arose from distress of 1968, The Commercial Appeal. Written by Rabbi Harry K. Danziger, chair of MIFA’s board of directors from 2002 to 2004, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel.
- Longtime group still showing its faith in Memphis, The Commercial Appeal. Written by Rev. Dr. Dorothy Sanders Wells, chair of MIFA’s board of directors and rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Germantown
- Helping Memphis meet basic needs, The Commercial Appeal. Written by Gregory M. Duckett, member of MIFA’s board of directors and senior vice president and chief legal officer of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation.
- Good neighbors share acts of kindness, The Commercial Appeal. Written by MIFA President and CEO Sally Jones Heinz.
MIFA’s FY20 strategic plan, called Serve More, had three goal areas: People, programs, and partnership. Work on the plan began in the fall of 2019, when we completed a number of significant projects in a short time. Through a process called MIFA Refresh, we completed a minor restructure to define job categories, clarify roles, and establish clear expectations for all job roles; the MIFA Refresh team, composed of people managers, continues to evaluate strategies that benefit all staff. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to rapidly adapt, particularly in the areas of innovation and technology, to equip staff for remote work and continue delivering services that traditionally have been provided in person; we also completed facility upgrades to make the office environment safer for on-site staff.
The changes we implemented in a short period of time during FY20 and FY21 led to the creation of a bold plan for FY22, taking the lessons we learned about our resiliency and responsiveness during the pandemic and building an even stronger organization in its aftermath.
Sustain, grow, and innovate MIFA Meals on Wheels. Sustainability for meals independent of government funding has been a goal of MIFA’s for many years. Thanks to especially generous community support during the pandemic, we have an opportunity to create the MIFA Senior Hunger Innovation Fund, to provide stable funding for meals, eliminate the local waiting list, and allow the flexibility to invest in technology and innovative solutions to meal delivery. This area of the plan also includes steps to recruit, reengage, retain, and recognize volunteers and to support advocacy for the key issues that drive MIFA’s programs.
Customer results and experience at the center. For the first time during the pandemic, we moved our client interactions in family programs entirely online. After a year of observing those processes, the team identified ways we could improve our approach to customer service, including the implementation of a help desk for client calls, streamlining the online application process, and providing staff with improved tools to prioritize their work. For senior programs, we plan to create a senior service navigator position and to explore partnerships to establish a continuum of care for seniors. Strategies for donor and volunteer stewardship, interfaith engagement, and customer service training and resources for staff are also included in this area of the plan.
Refreshed, vital, and healthy culture. This plan area includes steps to help many staff safely return to in-office work and to recommit to high standards of internal and external
MIFA is proud to serve the Memphis community with a high level of professionalism and service. Over the years, our high-impact programs have received various accolades at the local and national levels. An overview of those achievements is listed below.
2021 | House Rules Committee Senior Hunger Roundtable Participant. MIFA President & CEO Sally Heinz participated in a senior hunger roundtable convened by House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern.
2017 | CEO Culture of Health—Memphis Business Group on Health. Creating and sustaining a culture of health that promotes the health of employees and supports our community's economic vitality.
2016 | Healthier Tennessee Workplace—Initial Certification. Active commitment to encouraging healthy behaviors among staff and visitors in an effort to build a healthier Tennessee.
2015 | SPARK Award. Positive impact in greater Memphis through philanthropic leadership, volunteerism, and activation.
2015 | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Be the Dream Community Leadership Award. Ongoing commitment to the people of Memphis and its advocacy for equality and empowerment of all citizens.
2014 | Beacon Award from the Memphis Shelby County Homeless Consortium. Excellence in service to the homeless in our community.
2013 | Methodist Healthcare Foundation Living Award. Recognition in the category of Community Inspiration in Faith and Health.
2012 | Meals on Wheels America Magnet Accreditation. Prestigious recognition for MIFA Meals on Wheels for organizational accountability and high standards in program quality, safety and efficiency.
2012 | Certificate of Recognition from City of Memphis. Outstanding and Meritorious Contribution to Our Community.
2011 and 2010 | Hope for the Homeless Award from Community Alliance for the Homeless. Extraordinary contribution to Memphis/Shelby County Continuum of Care Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing.
2010 | Voice of America. National recognition for MIFA Meals on Wheels and Emergency Services.
2005 | Mayor’s Annual Community Development Award. Outstanding Service – Handyman Program.
2004 | VOX Award. Excellence in Public Relations – Annual report design/print.
2004 | City of Memphis and Shelby County Joint Proclamation. To the Senior Companion program for its participants and application of humanitarian principles.
2001 | Downtown Pioneer Award. In recognition of contributions to Downtown Memphis.
2001 | Award of Excellence in Renovation—910 Vance Avenue headquarters. From American Institute of Architects.
1999 | VOX Award. Excellence in Public Relations—Print media/direct mail for No-Go Gala.
1999 | Best of Hands Award. Outstanding Community Service Organization.
1998 | Carnival Memphis Award of Excellence. Outstanding Achievement and Service to the Community.
1988 | U.S. News and World Report. Acclaimed as a national leader in work with Memphis area homeless population.