Choosing Memphis right path for Carroll

The Memphis Daily News/The Memphis News

Nov. 28, 2013

Although John Carroll didn’t grow up a part of Memphis, the city has become a part of him.

The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native moved here in 2004, and has become a force for good with his City Leadership consulting group and Choose901 initiative.

After attending Union University in Jackson, Tenn., to study public relations, he returned to Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee State University for a Bachelor of Science in political science and business administration. Work took him to Dallas, where he met his wife and stayed for four years.

Nine years ago, wanting to take a career path that was for-profit, but also benefited society in some way, he came to Memphis as vice president of Ugly Mug Coffee, the company with a conscience that worked in organic and fair trade goods.

He also was a part of a movement of people from around the country who relocated here for the church Fellowship Memphis. He worked as operations director, overseeing building, finances and programming.

During his first week with Fellowship Memphis, Carroll was approached by someone looking to start a homeless ministry.

“I thought, ‘that’d be great, we should do that,’” Carroll said. “And about five minutes later someone walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, can you help me out, I’d be really interested in starting a tutoring ministry.’ I realized in that moment that I wasn’t going to be able to manage all those kinds of things.”

Instead of starting a group of individual ministries, Carroll and others on staff sought to create a system where their church could “help and be a part of, and significantly engage in other nonprofits,” he said. “There are too many nonprofits in Memphis not to engage in them.”

He went to these organizations to collect information on where and how to send and train volunteers, and what other resources they might need that Fellowship Memphis could help them acquire. They were working with close to 40 nonprofits and the church began City Leadership Residency, hiring people to work specifically with those nonprofits . . . (read more)