A legacy can take on many forms. It can take the shape of a building named in someone’s honor or it can be a memory that’s shared amongst loved ones. In the case of beloved and visionary Memphis restaurateur Jay Uiberall, his legacy lives on in the charitable foundation that bears his name. The Jay Uiberall Foundation (JUF) was formed in 2010 with a mission to improve the lives of Memphians—primarily youth—by supporting programs that improve critical thinking and provide life and job skills-building and training.
Jay, who was a leader in the Beale Street business community and was co-owner of Automatic Slim’s, Alfred’s on Beale, Dyer’s, Ubee’s and Catering for U, got his start in the restaurant business while in high school. JUF originally started as a scholarship for students attending the University of Memphis’ Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management; it has grown much larger over time into the grant-making organization we know today, allocating over $350,000 annually to nonprofits in need, including Memphis Athletic Ministries, Harwood Center, P.U.R.E, Knowledge Quest and more. Preference is given to programs that demonstrate significant, measurable, long-term impact on the Memphis community, while honoring Jay’s legacy.
“I think that he [Jay] was very unassuming in the ways he gave back to the community,” Jill Shanker, Jay’s sister and JUF board member, reflects. “He wasn’t one to attend high-profile events and give in that way. He did it in a way that made significant differences through real personal connections, and I think that is something we have tried to continue as well.”
Historically, JUF has raised funds through its annual Play for Jay Golf Classic and its Sustainability Club, consisting of donors who donate a minimum of $1,000 annually over the course of three years. However, this holiday season, JUF will be rolling out a new fundraiser appropriately titled “Memsgiving.” Similar to the popular concept of Friendsgiving, Memsgiving is an opportunity for young professionals— typically 40 and under—to get together, purchase a table and spend a day with friends while enjoying great food and listening to live music.
“We asked how can we reach a younger audience who has really no idea who Jay Uiberall is, and didn’t know him personally, but want to be a part of the cathartic giving within Memphis?,” Cindy Brewer, JUF board member and LEO Events principal, says. LEO Events, along with Carolina Watershed, is hosting the event.
Memsgiving will be held Saturday, November 23 at Carolina Watershed. Tickets for this “feast with friends” are available in two pricing tiers, $75 for the Best Friends Brunch and $50 for general admission. The Best Friends Brunch starts at 10:30am and includes tableside brunch favorites, two drink tickets and a choice of bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys, along with access to the venue that features games and entertainment for the entirety of the event. Tables for eight also are available for $600. The general admission “Friend Feast” has a slightly later start of 12:30pm and runs through 4:30pm. It includes a food buffet, two drink tickets and access to the venue and entertainment as well. It’s an all-ages, dog-friendly event, however guests must 21+ to purchase and consume alcohol. To learn more about Jay Uiberall Foundation and Memsgiving, visit jayuiberallfoundation.org and memsgiving.org
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