About UCI

Our Mission

The Urban Child Institute (UCI) is dedicated to promoting the education, health, and well-being of young children in Shelby County.

Our History

The Urban Child Institute was created in 1995 as a result of Methodist Healthcare's purchase of LeBonheur hospital.  Federal law requires that the funds available from the sale of a not-for-profit be viewed as community funds and, as such, must continue to be used to benefit the entire community.  During negotiations of the purchase terms, it was the desire of Gene Cashman (Le Bonheur CEO at that time) to take the proceeds of the transaction and infuse them into the Memphis community Specifically to improve the health of women and children.

As a result, a new 501(c)(3) organization was created and registered to operate as a 509(a)(3)- an organization that carries out its exempt purposes through other exempt organizations. The three organizations chosen specifically -  but not exclusively  - to help carry out the mission were LeBonheur Children's Hospital for children's health, UT UTHSC (or University of Tennessee Health Science Center) with the focus on health education and research and U of M (or University of Memphis) due primarily to capabilities in leadership training, business principles and nursing.

Over the years, the focus of UCI’s work has been modified, but it has always been an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in Shelby County. UCI has worked with the three support organizations and other community not-for-profits to carry out a mission that now views children 0-8 years of age as our top priority with concentration on insuring all economically disadvantaged children are ready for kindergarten and can read on grade level at the end of third grade.  

UCI’S support and partnership with Memphis not-for-profit to move the needle on these outcomes for children 0-8 is holistic and inclusive of the child’s family and environment.