Love, equity, access, choice: A spotlight on The Collective Blueprint

This Memphis-area nonprofit is making an impact in the lives of young adults across the community.

Collective Blueprint Leader Class 25

As part of our pledge to the Black community, Raymond James committed $1.5 million to support racial equality, financial literacy and empowerment, and volunteerism opportunities across the country. The firm selected 12 organizations across 10 U.S. markets to receive funding from the pledge – among them, The Collective Blueprint.

“The Collective Blueprint is filling a void by providing pathways to prosperity for some of our most overlooked and underserved neighbors,” says Raymond James Complex Manager and The Collective Blueprint board member Field Norris.

Collective Blueprint leaders at workshop tables
About The Collective Blueprint

The mission of The Collective Blueprint is to increase socioeconomic mobility for “opportunity youth” by building pathways to thriving careers. The organization provides relationships, resources and a network of support to help young adults discover and develop their unique talents in order to advance their personal and professional objectives. 

“Through our intensive Schools Program, The Collective Blueprint prepares young adults for post-secondary education and employment,” says co-founder and CEO Sarah Lockridge-Steckel. “We provide training to prepare for school, followed by streamlined enrollment in certification programs like IT and EMT programs, and then placement in a career or internship."

The Collective Blueprint also offers a Careers Program, which targets young adults who have not been able to secure ongoing employment. The young adults are connected to job opportunities via the organization’s corporate partnerships and supported by The Collective Blueprint to ensure success in the first years of their careers.

The Greater Memphis area has more than 45,000 young adults, aged 16-24, who are out of school and out of work. Nearly half of these young adults are in poverty, and only 1% will be on the path to a living wage by the time they are 28. The Collective Blueprint aims to change that. 

The Collective Blueprint and Raymond James
Collective Blueprint leaders virtually present projects to Raymond James associates

Raymond James associates have had the opportunity to volunteer as mentors for The Collective Blueprint’s Schools Program participants – called “leaders” – primarily by listening to and evaluating their assigned presentations and projects.

“The culmination of the Schools Program training is for our leaders to present “school success plans” – their ideas on how they’ll be successful in school and how they’ll reach their goals,” says Lockridge-Steckel. “Receiving constructive feedback on these presentations from experienced professionals in the community is extremely beneficial for our leaders.”

“Our associates leave the mentoring sessions with new perspectives and a renewed commitment to service,” says Norris. “It is impossible to quantify the value of time spent mentoring another human being…but both the leaders and our associates understand the great impact they are having on our community.”

In addition to mentorship, Raymond James IT and HR professionals are working with The Collective Blueprint to identify hiring opportunities.

“We support Collective Blueprint’s mission and are excited about the opportunity to explore pathways into technology careers within Raymond James,” says Evetta Davis, Relationship Manager, IT administration. “Our goal is to foster an inclusive workforce, and partnering with an organization like The Collective Blueprint expands our reach to talent that is passionate about STEM and supports our neighbors in the Memphis community.”

Change is collective

The Collective Blueprint is focused on building a movement toward a more economically equitable Memphis by positioning young adults as leaders and advocates – and partnering with companies like Raymond James to achieve their goals.

“Our associates have a long history of being invested in Memphis,” says Norris, “but this partnership allows us to have a more personal impact on the future of our community."
Learn more about The Collective Blueprint at

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