Non-profit pulling out of Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A non-profit organization focused on keeping kids out of gangs is pulling out of Memphis..

G.A.N.G., Inc. was based out of the North Frayser Community Center for 13 years.

"It saddens me that we came to this point," said founder Joe "Uncle Joe" Hunter.

His non-profit focused on keeping kids out of gangs through mentoring, tutoring and worship.

It was housed in a neighborhood where gangs, poverty and violence is widespread.

In the past three months, more than 300 crimes were reported within a square mile including murder, shootings, robberies and carjackings.

"If it was top of the list, certainly this location would get much attention, much funding, much help," said Hunter.

He said the city hasn't cooperated and didn't help him with funding to make his program successful. He said it's been that way for years.

"Don't expect the people who have been scuffing long before you got into office to bow down to you for resources these citizens should be getting anyways," said Hunter.

Mayor Jim Strickland's staff talked to WREG on the phone and said the mayor and Hunter met. They had about an hour long meeting not long ago, and the mayor enjoyed it, but he never got a proposal with a price tag.

The mayor's staff said they supported Hunter by giving him free rent and utilities, and went on to say typically, non-profits go to the city council to ask for funding, and Hunter never did that.

"If any of them wanted to get something done, they could without going to city council. Give me a break," he said.

Hunter said G.A.N.G., Inc. helped many teens succeed by going to college, becoming MPD officers and having successful careers.

"The kids have been right next to me in this whole fight. They know the reason I fight is for them," said Hunter.

Hunter said he will keep his same number, so kids in Memphis can always reach out.

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