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Community Impact Fund Monthly Spotlight

July 2021 - Walk Bike Nashville

 
The 2nd Annual Plateau to Percy Bike Tour (P2P) will take you on a 225-mile journey through some of Tennessee's most scenic roads. This ride will raise funds for Walk Bike Nashville to support its Families for Safe Streets Program (FSS). FSS is an advocacy and support group for victims and family members of traffic violence. 
  
The entire bike ride will last 4 days and will begin in Dunlap, TN, and end in Nashville at Percy Priest Lake. We'll spend days 1 and 2 cycling through the Sequatchie Valley, one of Tennessee's most coveted bicycle riding destinations. The valley floor is filled with rolling hills, rivers, and farmlands. The plateaus boast beautiful views and the vast landscapes of Eastern Tennessee. On days 3 and 4 you'll cycle into Middle Tennessee, getting the opportunity to explore quaint towns, man-made lakes, and local breweries. Each night, we'll stay in a different state park - Fall Creek Falls, Cumberland Mountain, and Edgar Evins. Cabins at each state park come with double beds, provided linens and heating/ac. 
 
We'll complete our ride at Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, TN. Here we'll have a ride completion celebration, as well as hear from some Families for Safe Streets members about the importance of the group and the impact of your fundraising.
For more information and to register click here.  To learn more about the Walk Bike Nashville visit https://www.walkbikenashville.org/.

June 2021 - Nashville lgbt Chamber 

 
Advocate, Educate, Connect

“We advocate and educate on behalf of our individual, small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share the values of promoting equity and diversity in business and society.” 
 
Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce is the premier advocate of the Greater Nashville Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender business community representing more than 400 businesses, community groups, and individuals in Nashville and the surrounding area. The Chamber champions the work of LGBT individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits, to amplify diverse voices and stories.
 
On June 4th, the Nashville LGBT Chamber will hold the annual Pride in Business Awards, the annual fundraising event supporting the Nashville LGBT Chamber Foundation.  The event includes a Who’s Who of Corporate leaders, small business owners, civic leaders, and professionals.
 
The Nashville LGBT Chamber Foundation educates, inspires, and empowers individual, small business, corporate, and nonprofit members, and the community-at-large, who share the values of promoting equality and diversity in business and society.
 
The 2021 goals are to provide professional development education and programming for LGBT business professionals, provide programming for LGBT entrepreneurs and small business owners, advocate for contracting opportunities for LGBT business owners, fund a scholarship for an LGBT entrepreneur to participate in local programs, and offer scholarships for LGBT candidates to attend classes at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Launch Tennessee, and other programs.
For more information about the Nashville LGBT Chamber visit nashvillelgbtchamber.org.

May 2021 - Greenways for Nashville

May is Vanderbilt Employee Health and Fitness Month and one way to celebrate the month is by getting outdoors and walking, bicycling or skating along one of Nashville’s many greenways. 
 
 
 
“Greenways for Nashville is a conservation organization that works to ensure equitable access to a safe and inviting network of greenways.”
 
Greenways are parks and trails that connect neighborhoods to schools, parks, transportation, shopping and work. Often located along natural landscape features like streams, rivers and ridges, or along built features, such as railroad corridors and scenic highways, greenways provide valuable greenspace for conservation, recreation and alternative transportation.
Greenways provide all citizens barrier-free access to natural resources and recreational opportunities.
Nashville’s greenways are primarily based along our eight major water corridors: the Cumberland River, Browns Creek, Harpeth River, Stones River, Mill Creek, Richland Creek, Seven Mile Creek and Whites Creek.
With nearly 100 miles of greenways, 9 out of 10 Nashvillians live within two miles of a greenway, and 6 out of 10 live within one mile from one.
 
Below is information about the two closest greenways to the Vanderbilt campus.  You can also find your closest greenway with the Nashville Greenways map!
 
440 Greenway
1.25 miles, paved.
A 1.25-mile-long trail paralleling I-440 that links Elmington Park to Centennial Park and the Metro Parks Headquarters. This is the first of a 7-mile corridor along I-440 that will provide green space recreation and meaningful transportation options while connecting numerous neighborhoods that are currently divided by interstates 40 and 440.
 
Elmington Park: 3531 West End Ave
Park Plaza: 2565B Park Plaza
 
Richland Creek Greenway
The Richland Creek Greenway runs along Richland Creek, a recovering urban stream located in Sylvan Park and the Nations. The greenway offers an outdoor experience that connects the neighborhoods of Sylvan Park and Cherokee Park. The meandering trail and scenic creek crossings also connect users with shopping centers, entertainment areas, and schools. The greenway consists of three segments:
 
West Park: 1.1 miles
Paved trail loop located in and around West Park
England Park: 1.0 miles
Paved segment reconnecting neighborhoods north of I-40 to shopping centers and the West Police Precinct on Charlotte Pike
 
McCabe Park: 4.1 miles
4.1 miles of paved trail connecting McCabe Park and the Sylvan Park neighborhood with shopping centers along White Bridge Pike and Harding Roade, and Nashville State Community College. Rail history buffs will want to stop at the White Bridge Road trailhead, where this a historical marker for Dutchman’s Curve, the site of the Great Train Wreck of 1918, one of the worst rail accidents in the country’s history.
 
West Park: 6105 Morrow Rd
 
England Park: 811 Delray Dr
 
West Precinct: 5500 Charlotte Pike
 
McCabe Park: Old White Bridge (Publix): 230 Kenner Ave N
 
White Bridge Road: 22 White Bridge Rd
 
Lion’s Head (Target): 26 White Bridge Rd
 
Wyoming: 5215 Wyoming Ave
 
PDF
 
More information and resources can be found at https://greenwaysfornashville.org/

 

March 2021 - Frist Art Museum

Vanderbilt University has had a longstanding partnership with the Frist Art Museum, most notably through our “Food for Thought” program, a series of lunchtime conversations with Vanderbilt professors, Frist curators and other community members. 

February 2021 - OneGen Away

Vanderbilt University Partners with OneGen Away to Provide University Neighbors with Access to Healthy Food

Members of the Vanderbilt Women's Club Anna Walker, Loretta Saff and Lydia Howarth, and Lynn Maddox, Vanderbilt Division of Government and Community Relations  

The Vanderbilt Office of Community Relations joined One Generation Away, the Friends of Fort Negley Park, and the Community Resource Center to distribute food to families in the Midtown, Edgehill, and Chestnut Hill areas on Saturday, January 23.  Over 25,000 pounds of fresh and healthy food was distributed and sorted by over 100 volunteers including members of the Vanderbilt Woman’s Club and the Vanderbilt PHAmbassaDores.  

January 2021 - Nashville Strong Initative

In the aftermath of the tragic bombing on historic Second Avenue in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day, the nonprofit community has rallied together once again to play an important role by aiding those who worked or lived in the impacted area.  Catholic Charities’ Nashville Strong is leading these efforts, below is a list of the services and resources available.

C
atholic Charities: Nashville Strong 2021
 - The local chapter of Catholic Charities was chosen to manage finances from the Federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). Approved applicants can get help with rent, utilities, food, lost wages, trauma, and replacement technology needed for work or school. Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville, is providing emergency and long-term assistance to employees and residents impacted by the bombing. The assistance is made possible by a $2 million grant from the (VOCA) fund and is part of the Nashville Strong initiative involving a number of government and non-profit organizations in response and recovery efforts.


HUB Nashville: Historic Downtown Response and Recovery  - Get up-to-date information and assistance regarding the Historic Downtown Response and Recovery.

United Way of Greater Nashville: Restore the Dream  - Funds are available to help individuals and families meet their basic needs. This will also include employees who are out of work due to the blast and residents whose homes were destroyed.

Salvation Army  - The Salvation Army is available to serve those evacuated after the bomb struck on Christmas morning, and will be there to serve them as they recover. A limited supply of gift cards will be available for immediate cash assistance for those affected.

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee: Nashville Neighbors Fund  - The CFMT has established the Nashville Neighbors Fund,  in partnership with WTVF-NewsChannel5, to support those impacted from the Christmas morning catastrophe. Grants from the Fund will be made to nonprofits providing services for both the immediate and long-term needs arising from the explosion.

Red Cross of Tennessee
 - Assistance is available for those displaced from their home, apartment, or townhouse.

S
econd Harvest Food Bank  -  Second Harvest’s Find Food tool to locate the nearest food distribution, including Emergency Food Box sites in Davidson County.

Hands-On Nashville :  Second Avenue Volunteer Projects - HON is recruiting volunteers to help with disaster relief and recovery efforts, including cleanup and distribution of essential items to survivors and first responders. 

December 2020 - Support Resilience During This Giving Season

2020 also saw the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.  In August, the Nashville Public Library celebrated the virtual grand opening of the Votes for Women Room the first of its kind in the nation to spotlight women’s suffrage history and the ongoing journey for women’s empowerment.

The Equity Alliance continued to foster voter education, registration, and participation throughout the state during a presidential election year. The Equity Alliance and  Conexion Americas led a community needs assessment and shared with the Nashville Mayor’s Office,  Our Fair Share which addresses the most pressing needs faced by Black and Latinx residents.



Nashville Public Education Foundation led efforts to support Metro Nashville Public Schools as they worked to provide virtual learning resources to the district’s students.  NPEF facilitated efforts to address digital access disparity and shine a bright light on the need for equity in education.   

The arts and cultural community demonstrated its creativity and ability to pivot programming into an online format.  The Frist Art Museum made all their current exhibit content available online and continued to present exhibit talks.  Since closing their theatre doors, the Tennesee Performing Arts Center launched its new Salon Series and continued the longrunning InsideOut programs which are now all done on a virtual platform.

These are but a handful of the many organizations that pivoted and rose to combat the many challenges Nashville and its citizens face.  Above all, our community partners demonstrate their resilience beyond measure.

During this season of gift-giving, there are many ways to continue to support our resilient local nonprofit organizations.  To learn more about ways to give, please visit the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at  https://www.cfmt.org/giving-and-investing/become-a-donor/ or visit Hands on Nashville,  https://www.hon.org/  to find a volunteer project.

November 2020 - Martha O'Bryan Center

Martha O'Bryan Center - Our Future Champions Web Series

  MarthaObryan

Vanderbilt University is proud to support the work at Martha O’Bryan Center, a vital resource in our community for people seeking the education, career, and family support resources they need to rise out of poverty. 

Click here OurFutureChampions.org, to watch episodes of Our Future Champions, a new web series about their work in Nashville.

NPL Literary Award Gala

Vanderbilt University will again proudly serve as a Platinum Sponsor of the NPL Literary Award Virtual Public Lecture and Stay-at-Home Gala on November 14.  It is always an exciting weekend, but this year is particularly special. 

Historically, the NPL Literary Award weekend honors a renowned author, and the free Public Lecture provides an opportunity for the entire community to hear the author speak about their body of work. This year, library patrons will be in the spotlight, sharing personal stories about how their lives have been transformed by Nashville Public Library. 


2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, and we are looking forward to coming together with hundreds of people in Davidson County and beyond for an inspiring celebration of the power of literacy and learning. 

For learn more about The Nashville Public Library Foundation click here.  

October 2020 - Dismis

Dismis

For 46 years, Dismas House of Nashville has served as a beacon of hope for formerly incarcerated men looking for a second chance. Their mission is to foster community awareness and understanding of the challenges and obstacles formerly incarcerated men face upon reentry by providing a system for personal transformation and growth.  Studies show that the clients who have successfully completed the Dismas program have a 20% recidivism rate while the overall recidivism rate in Tennessee is nearly 50%. 

The Dismas programming model includes providing housing and basic needs for the men exiting prison, providing a family structure to the residents, clinical support, case management, life skills development, and financial management.

In 1974, Father Jack Hickey, a Catholic chaplain at Vanderbilt, and a group of students came up with an idea. What if, they asked, we could create a haven where we could share a home with formerly incarcerated individuals transitioning out of prison — a place that would build a deeper sense of community for both parties.  Vanderbilt University has partnered with Dismas House since its founding and this relationship is woven throughout Dismas’ 46-year history. Over that time, Vanderbilt students have contributed to Dismas House by participating consistently in community dinners and as student residents and tutors.

Recently, members from the Vanderbilt community had the opportunity to join a global audience at the 2020 Virtual Forgiveness Luncheon where Dismas’ recent expansion project was spotlighted.  Moving from the Music Row location, the new Dismas House campus opened in April 2020 at 2424 Charlotte Avenue - a 4-story, 22,000 sq. ft. facility.

For more information please visit the Dismas House website.

Newdismishouse

September 2020 - Conexion

Conexion

Conexión Américas is dedicated to serving the Latino and immigrant communities of Middle Tennessee.  Their mission is “to build a welcoming community and create opportunities where Latino families can belong, contribute and succeed.”  Conexión Américas assists more than 9000 families each year with economic development, civic engagement, education resources, entrepreneurial opportunities, and a long list of other programs and services offered.

The 2000 Census showed a 446 percent growth of the Hispanic population in Nashville between 1990 and 2000. Public agencies and nonprofit organizations were dramatically challenged by this exponential growth in newcomers. The founders María Clara Mejía, José González and Renata Soto were professionals in nonprofit, business, and social development and understood that void and its challenges.

In 2002, the co-founders teamed up with an existing small nonprofit group, the Hispanic Family Resource Center (HFRC), that was exclusively dedicated to providing information and referral services on health-related matters. The merger, which broadened services allowed for the implementation of a holistic approach to help Latino families.

Conexión Américas is the first Hispanic Non-Profit Organization serving the Hispanic Community in Middle Tennessee in a comprehensive way. The organization is fully staffed with bilingual / bi-cultural professionals.

In past years during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), members from the Vanderbilt community would gather to celebrate Conexión during the annual Latin Party.  An evening of live music, dancing, and scrumptious food from the Mesa Komal commercial Kitchen vendors.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s party will be virtual and Conexión has tailored its focus to helping Latino, immigrant, and minority families which remain especially vulnerable due to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.  In Davidson County, the highest number of COVID-19 cases are clustered in Southeast Nashville.

According to Tara Lentz, senior director of Strategic Growth at Conexión Américas, “our holistic approach to COVID-19 response focuses on providing food security, educational resources, health access, economic assistance, and small business support for Latino and immigrant families and students across the state. Conexión Américas is working closely with the Metro Nashville Health Department to staff the region’s Spanish-language COVID-19 hotline. Since March 2020, we have distributed 5,956 food boxes and distributed 1,900 hot meals to families in partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank, Feed the Front Line, and World Central Kitchen.”

To learn more about Conexión Américas, visit https://www.conexionamericas.org/

August 2020 - LiveIt Nashville!

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce has a new campaign LiveIt Nashville a guide to living, working, and playing in the Nashville region.  This campaign will also provide valuable information to businesses to recruit talent to Middle Tennessee.
 
For more information view the LiveIt Nashville Guide here

February 2020 - Civil Rights Society

crcs-logo

              

Vanderbilt University has had a longstanding relationship with the Nashville Public Library and its many valuable programs to advance knowledge and literacy in the city. One specific initiative that the Community Impact Fund supports is the Civil Rights/Civil Society program, an important resource launched in 2015 that has helped thousands of groups in Nashville and around the country to talk openly about the complex issues affecting civil rights today. The program uses the archival resources and materials in the Civil Rights Room, a special collection in the Main Library, to inspire these conversations.

“During the 1950s and 1960s, Nashville was the scene of dramatic social change when African American citizens took bold action to integrate the public schools and protested with sit-ins at segregated lunch counters. Today, the Nashville Public Library Civil Rights Room, with its replica lunch counter and dynamic photographic displays, has become a powerful space for reflection and conversation about the issues that to challenge our communities” (CRCS brochure)

In sessions that can last a couple of hours or over a few days, participants examine historic photos, and other documents from the Civil Rights Room Collection. The Room’s staff, trained in facilitative techniques, guide participants in examining challenging narratives and questioning assumptions- with the desire that connections are made between past and current events and the path to a more equitable future is envisioned.

The Civil Rights Room is open to the public during regular library hours.

Groups must make special reservations to visit the Civil Rights Room. Staff members can provide a guided tour of the space, interactive activities, and film viewings. Tours can be tailored to any age group and are typically 1 - 2 hours long.

To learn more about the Civil Rights Room and the CRCS program, please visit https://library.nashville.org/research/collection/civil-rights-room.

civil-rights-1   civil-rights-2   civil-rights-3

January 2020 -

 

December 2019 - 

Community impact and the giving season

As 2019 comes to a close, rather than spotlighting a single nonprofit organization, we thought we would take a few moments to highlight the work of the Community Impact Fund and offer recommendations on how we as individuals, as a group can have impact during this season of giving.

Since July of this year, Vanderbilt University’s Community Impact Fund has provided contribution dollars to almost 40 nonprofit organizations with the overall goal to support the nonprofits and causes that improve the lives of those living in the Metropolitan Nashville area and those which are aligned with our institutional identity and values.

The CI Fund (as we refer to it) has as its mission to participate in the life of the community in meaningful ways. Although our funding is limited, Vanderbilt works to contribute to valued, effective and impactful not-for-profit programs that benefit the Nashville community. 

So far this year, the CI Fund has worked diligently to uphold this mission by providing support to a variety of organizations doing a plethora of things like:

  • nurturing creativity and artistic expression in school-aged children
  • working to improve the local public-school system and foster a thriving environment for all children
  • addressing adult literacy
  • helping new Americans acclimate and thrive in their new home city
  • protecting and preserving the natural environment
  • championing civil rights and strengthening community
  • creating safe spaces for women and children
  • enhancing the lives of senior and older adults

During this season of gift giving there are many ways to give and opportunities to participate in giving to the broader community. Volunteering with a local nonprofit, offering professional expertise through nonprofit board service, making a donation to a local church or charity, providing tangible goods to a nonprofit’s Christmas Store or a Holiday Gift List are just a few of the many ways we can all participate in making our local community better and foster our own individual impact.

To learn more about ways to give, please visit the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at https://www.cfmt.org/giving-and-investing/become-a-donor/. Or visit Hands on Nashville, https://www.hon.org/ to find a holiday volunteer project.

 

November 2019 - YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee

YWCA  

 

The YWCA’s primary focus is empowering women and girls, to raise awareness of violence against women and girls and to diminish the incidence of violence and racism perpetuated against them. The YWCA offers several programs to facilitate its mission- Domestic Violence Services, Girls Inc, Dress for Success, Family Learning Center and Re-new at the YWCA.

One specific YWCA program that Vanderbilt supports is AMEND Together which is their primary prevention initiative. Vanderbilt graduate and VP of External Affairs, Shan Foster directs AMEND Together and is dedicated to ending violence against women and girls by engaging men and boys to change the culture that supports violence. The program seeks to be a change agent and challenge the culture that supports violence, cultivate healthy masculinity in men and boys, and change the future for women and girls. AMEND Together partners with Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide AMEND clubs across the city where hundreds of boys are provided a safe space to talk about healthy masculinity and gender-based violence. To learn more about AMEND Together and other YWCA programs, please visit https://www.ywcanashville.com.

On October 24th, Vanderbilt University was present for the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s annual Academy for Women of Achievement which honors a select group of women and one organization dedicated to improving our community and the lives of women, children, and families living in it. This year one of the honorees is our colleague, Gail Carr Williams, Associate Director of Community Relations. 

Congratulations to Gail and the other 2019 Academy for Women of Achievement Honorees: Beth Chase, Senior Managing Director at Ankura; Hon. Ana Escobar, Davidson County General Sessions Judge – Division 3; Mendy Mazzo, Corporate Senior Vice President at Skanska; Dr. Consuelo Wilkins, MD, Vice President for Health Equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Vicki Yates, News Anchor/Reporter for WTVF-TV NewsChannel 5 and AWA Corporate Honoree, Bank of America.

 ywca-award

Pictured left to right: Norma Clippard, Gail Carr Williams, Samantha Williams and Luisa Braden (Photo: Office of Community Relations) 

 October 2019 - Center for Nonprofit Management

center for nonprofit management             

With a core mission of amplifying the impact of nonprofits and their partners, the Center for Nonprofit Management builds nonprofit capacity. The Center offers consulting services, educational workshops and trainings, collective impact programming, networking opportunities, special events, and member resources. Later this week, exemplary nonprofit organizations and their leadership will be honored when CNM holds its 27th annual Salute to Excellence awards program. Two 2018 Salute award recipients the Tennessee Justice Center and the Nashville Food Project are examples of organizations Vanderbilt supported through the Community Impact Fund.

Salute to Excellence brings together more than 1,100 leaders in local business, community, and nonprofit sectors for the country’s largest nonprofits award ceremony. Thirty-nine finalists organizations will be recognized in 13 award categories ranging from an Innovation in Action Award that recognizes organizations that have developed innovative ways to carry out their missions, either on a large or small‐scale to the Community Impact Award that recognizes a collective group of organizations working together to alleviate poverty by impacting multiple dimensions of a system, including policy, practices, power dynamics, and relationships. Honorees receive monetary awards for their excellence provided by award sponsors.

In addition to Salute to Excellence, CNM launched earlier this year an Equitable Opportunity: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Learning Series that Vanderbilt’s Division of Government and Community Relations sponsors in partnership with the university’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Vanderbilt is committed to supporting the nonprofit sector through its support of events like Salute or the Equitable Learning Series to enhance these organizations which provide services to our city’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens.

Created nearly two decades ago, the Community Impact Fund was established to provide contributions to Nashville’s 501(c)(3) community-based organizations. Vanderbilt University is dedicated to participating in the life of the local community in meaningful ways. Although the funding is limited, the University works to contribute to valuable not-for-profit programs that benefit the community, programs like those offered by Center for Nonprofit Management members.

To learn more about CNM and its work to amplify the capacity of the nonprofit sector, please visit cnm.org.

 

September 2019 - Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition

TIRRC

The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is a coalition of immigrants, refugees, and allies working to foster fundamental American freedoms and human rights and build a strong, welcoming, and inclusive Tennessee. Since its founding in 2003, TIRRC has grown from an informal network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind. One of the events TIRRC puts on is the annual InterNASHional Food Crawl - an event the Division of Government and Community Relations has participated in for several years. MORE

The 7th Annual InterNASHional Food Crawl was held on Saturday afternoon, August 31. Members of the Vanderbilt community boarded an air-conditioned bus for a curated tour to explore some of the international restaurants and markets throughout the city’s most diverse neighborhoods in South Nashville.

The InterNASHional Food Crawl emerged from TIRRC’s Welcoming Tennessee initiative and aspires to engage in cross-cultural dialogue in a fun and innovative setting. The purpose of the event is to increase Nashvillians’ familiarity with immigrant-owned businesses and to build relationships and community. Since its inception, the Food Crawl has had approximately 5000 Nashvillians participate.

Representative Vincent Dixie, Councilman-at-Large Bob Mendes and Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain were just a few of the many guests who joined Vice Chancellor Nathan Green and his team for the afternoon of culinary delight – sampling Turkish, Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian and Caribbean cuisine. By all accounts, the food was delicious and despite the heat, everyone enjoyed themselves and even noted favorites that they plan to return visit.

To learn more about the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition please visit, https://www.tnimmigrant.org/.

interNASHional-Food-Crawl

Vanderbilt Government and Community Relations team and guests posing under the Frida Kahlo mural at Plaza Mariachi, the last stop of the 2019 InterNASHional Food Craw. (Photo: Vanderbilt University)

August 2019 - The Equity Alliance

Equity-Alliance

African dance and drumming, spoken word, an annual update and an awards presentation (to two influential women leaders- former Representative Johnnie Turner and Freda Player-Peters) were hallmarks of the recent 2nd Annual Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch hosted by the Equity Alliance. The Black Women’s Empowerment brunch provided an opportunity for many civic and community leaders to come together to support the work the Equity Alliance has been doing over the last year.  

A Nashville-based nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Equity Alliance was founded nearly three years ago by Charlane Oliver, VU'05, and Tequila Johnson to proactively advocate for African Americans and other communities of color.  Through civic engagement, voter registration and voter education the work of the Equity Alliance centers on creating a more inclusive, informed and stronger democracy.

Recognizing a need in Middle Tennessee for a new approach to black voter engagement and education, the founders set out to create through year-round civic engagement, an organization which cultivated relationships with voters and non-voters in new, nontraditional ways. Some of the achievements include developing the #VotingIsLit campaign to insert black culture into outreach strategy and energize voters to be a proud participant of the political process; establishing partnerships with existing organizations and key leaders in the community; and organizing at churches, nightclubs, public housing projects, community events, and through professional and civic organizations.

The Equity Alliance's Accomplishments (2018 – 2019)

  • Recruited 269 volunteers for voter registration, GOTV and voter protection activities
  • Built a coalition of 25 grassroots and statewide organizations through the first-ever statewide Tennessee Black Voter Project
  • Traveled more than 8,000 miles to 56 counties to register 91,000 black voters
  • Knocked on 654,932 doors across the state and made over 230,000 contacts
  • Sent 130,419 text reminders to low-propensity black voters
  • Made 10,000 phone calls to registered low-propensity black voters
  • Deployed 50 volunteers and attorneys to Shelby (Memphis), Rutherford (Murfreesboro), Montgomery (Clarksville), and Madison (Jackson) counties for our voter protection program on Election Day
  • Published the Nashville Voter Guide, resulting in 5,357 digital downloads and 2,660 hard copies distributed
  • Launched a statewide marketing campaign consisting of social media advertising, billboards, in-kind and paid radio air time, print advertising, and marketing collateral totaling more than $20k
  • Launched Black Women for Tennessee, a coalition of 25 black-women-led organization and over 600 black women voters across the state to boost voter turnout for the November election- this coalition is currently 32 organizations and 1,200 women
  • Hosted 22 events, including a gubernatorial debate and town halls on police oversight, faith-based political engagement, and expanding Medicaid- were currently at 54 events
  • Engaged and organized 43 churches through our Souls to the Polls voter engagement program (62 churches statewide) we also analyzed voter data for 25 churches so far

Partnered with Tumblr to host the third #VotingIsLit Community Block Party at the Southeast Library early voting precinct, which attracted more than 250 voters

For more information about the Equity Alliance, please visit https://theequityalliance.org/.

     Ad-ML-Equity

 (from right to left) Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Relations Alfred Degrafinreid, Chief Community Impact Officer Midori Lockett, and the Equity Alliance Co-Founder Tequila Johnson
 

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