It all started when…
The Bridge was founded in 2013 by three Rhodes College students; Evan Katz, Caroline Ponseti, and James Eckenstedt. They were inspired by the incredible work of Nashville’s street paper, The Contributor, and following in the footsteps of our predecessors, where society saw a liability, they saw an opportunity. Opportunity to give back to the local community in a meaningful, sustainable way. To help some of the most deserving people reclaim their dignity and their lives in a way that wasn’t a handout, or a once-and-done volunteer gig. And especially in Memphis, the most charitable city in the country, people are constantly looking for ways to give back. It was the perfect fit.
Together, they got to work putting a team together and securing an initial investment of $20,000. A few months later, in March of 2013, they released the first issue called “Origins”, becoming the first street newspaper in the world run entirely by students.
At the time our staff consisted of 20 students and about 25 vendors, and they sold 1000 copies the first month. Two months later, the staff and readership had tripled, and The Bridge became the first student group to be accepted into a Memphis-based social entrepreneurship program to accelerate small business ventures. By April of 2014, the organization had gained 501(c)(3) status as a fully-functioning nonprofit organization.