The Power of Presence – CFGC Annual Report 2021

Page 1

Welcome back. 2021 was a year of growth, grace, challenges, and changes. Work that we launched early in the pandemic to improve housing security and support small businesses gathered momentum that we could not have expected. National resources are now at the table, and the rest of the country is again paying attention to Chattanooga and the South to see what we can show them about collaboration and responsiveness. Of course, we are still learning as well. Every achievement only lights the way for the next steps in our journey. From housing to health care, entrepreneurship to education, we remain focused on the work we have left to do, using the voices of our community and the trust placed in us by our donors to guide us. Across so many aspects of what we do, we find ourselves at the center of strong, cross-sector partnerships that have the potential to disrupt and repair systems of inequity and injustice. The stories we are sharing in this report show the awesome breadth and depth of the partners that make our work possible – the leaders, institutions, and ideas throughout our city that we have been fortunate to support. Their good work is a testament to how far we have come. We’re inspired about where we can go next.


Generosity Transforms.


Letter From Board Chair and President & CEO Dear friends, Reflecting on the last twelve months, it’s hard to not feel a curious sense of deja vu. Time is both moving faster than ever – and staying still all at once. A year ago, we were cautiously coming out of our homes after an extended period of lockdown, hopeful that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic was behind us and eager to get back to normal. Multiple variants of the virus had other plans, and through 2021 and into 2022, we found ourselves unable to pivot from the pandemic quite as quickly as we had hoped. Yet there can be no ignoring the seismic ways in which our community - and our world - have changed forever. For instance, our staff is permanently transitioning to a hybrid work schedule and still growing quickly; working remotely, we’ve found new ways to adapt and, in many ways, remain closer than ever to our work. Looking outward, we’re excited about the new initiatives and partnerships that may not even have happened but for the events of the last two years. Our increasing work to prevent catastrophic evictions and support entrepreneurs of color, more of which you’ll read about in these pages, are among the ambitious new projects where we are devoting more of our time, resources, and energy. All of these efforts have put us in contact with you - friends, partners, and neighbors, old and new - and remind us daily that collaboration is key to creating a Chattanooga in which all can thrive. Over the last year, our donors, board members, advisory groups, nonprofit partners, and staff found seemingly endless ways to innovate, create, and adapt to the challenges that surround us. We were fortunate to end our fiscal year in the strongest position in our history, serving more donors than ever, creating new opportunities for connection, and poised to make more impact across a variety of sectors. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Chattanooga will never be the community we were before. We have seen too much, endured too much, and learned too much, about both the disparities that were already present here – if not fully understood – and our capacity for addressing them. 4

Therefore, we look ahead, not with timidity, but certainly with humility. We are still learning and still working. Just as we cannot know what the future holds, the past few years have shown us exactly what we can count on: the generosity of Chattanoogans, our talent for collaboration, our impatience with injustice, and our courage. We’re so honored to share these stories and eager to see where we go next, together. Your friends,

Maeghan Jones

CFGC President & CEO

Charlie Brock

CFGC Board Chair


Our Purpose

(... it’s you!)

We believe in a vibrant community where everyone has the resources, opportunities, and relationships we need to achieve our full potential and thrive, regardless of place, race, or identity. Together with our community and partners, we transform generosity into lasting change toward a prosperous and just Chattanooga where all can thrive and achieve their full potential.

Our Theory of Change We invest in:

Strong Leaders Grassroots leaders are catalytic forces for systems change in our community.

Strong Anchors Our city is stronger with strong organizations leading the way for systems change in our community.

Strong Stories Stories have the power to advance or disrupt systems that perpetuate poverty, inequity, and injustice in our community.

Strong Ideas Our biggest challenges have solutions right in our own community. 6

Our Approach Across four key focus areas, the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga works to address root causes of intergenerational poverty and racial disparities in major life outcomes, build lasting change, and support a community of donors who are committed to impact and change in our community.

Philanthropy By helping donors connect their passions to purpose, we are growing a community of donors who are committed to transforming their generosity into lasting impact in the greater Chattanooga region. Through relationships and philanthropic support, a commitment to operational excellence, maintenance of a high-performing team, and meeting or exceeding market returns, we can continue to affect change for generations to come.

Impact We support and invest in diverse and collaborative partners and leaders by developing and supporting their narratives, stories, and ideas, to realize lasting change that will disrupt intergenerational poverty, create opportunities for prosperity, advance racial equity, and decrease disparities in outcomes for communities of color.

Equity Equity is the lens through which we view and assess our own work. Equitable access to opportunity is at the heart of our vision of a Chattanooga where all residents have access to the resources and relationships they need to thrive regardless of their race, gender, identity, or the zip code where they were born.

Stewardship We are committed to being excellent stewards of community resources. That’s why, across all areas of our work, we prioritize trust, humility, intentionality, and proximity.


Our People

When you think Community Foundation... ...what comes to mind? What is a community foundation? Community foundations are unique philanthropic entities, generally focused on improving the lives of people in a specific geographic area through strategic grantmaking. By combining the financial resources of individuals, families, businesses, and the public sector, community foundations can deliver critical support to nonprofit agencies and other organizations working to drive impactful, sustainable, and equitable change. As a tax-exempt, 501c3 nonprofit organization itself, your community foundation is also a trusted and valued partner to generous donors and their financial advisers. Foundation staff often play a significant role in many households’ long-term financial planning because of their community relationships, financial expertise, and other personalized services they offer to their donors. Nationally, community foundations grew in popularity in the late 1950s after changes in federal laws that govern the tax-exempt status of specific philanthropic entities. The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga was chartered in 1963 by a group of local civic and business leaders with a significant investment of time, money, and expertise. Today, CFGC is one of more than 700 community foundations across the country, with assets under management exceeding $250M. It is with these resources that we transform generosity into lasting impact in service of a more prosperous and just city for all Chattanoogans.


Values That Guide Us

CFGC Staff

From Left: • • • • • • • • • • • • • 10

Keely Gilliland – Special Projects and Operations Manager Marisa Ogles – Sr. Director of Donor Services Catherine Coker – Staff Accountant Robin Posey – Director of Community Impact Dr. Stephanie Young – Director of Scholarships Chris Adams – Donor Services Associate Maeghan Jones – President and CEO Ashley Bice – Receptionist and Financial Assistant Dwayne Marshall – VP of Community Investment Woodson Carpenter – Manager of Communications and Strategy Rebecca Underwood – VP of Finance and Administration Caroline von Kessler – VP of Philanthropy Rebekah Gouger – Community Impact Associate (left the Foundation in 2022)






justice FAITH


integrity impact







personal growth






Our Board 12

From Top, Left:

Not pictured:

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Barry Large (rolled off in 2022) Dallas Joseph Cheryl Key Gene Geiger Dr. Le Andrea Ware Skip Schwartz Dr. Ruth Liu Lorie Runge Ansley Moses Andrea Hardaway Maeghan Jones Daniela Peterson Greg Willett

Charlie Brock Dr. Dave Battacharya Rondell Crier Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste Ben Brown Julie Stowe (ex-officio) Ray Ryan


Councils, Committees, and Cohorts Community Response and Resilience Fund (CRRF) Begining in early 2020, the Community Response and Resilience Fund (CRRF) was a huge opportunity for us to support our neighbors during the pandemic. Recognizing the disproportionate health and economic impacts of COVID-19 on already vulnerable communities, we realized that the work of CRRF required a collective lift from leaders most proximate to the challenges at hand. In addition to unprecedented support and trust from responsive Foundation donors, this work would not have been possible without the tirelessness of our CRRF Committee, a cross-sector coalition of dedicated community leaders who led our grantmaking and included: • • • • •

Chris Ramsey Chris Sands Dr. Kelly Arnold Jermaine Freeman Esai Navarro

• • • •

Carmen Davis Criss Grant Sylvia Ramos Dr. Michele Pickett

With the expertise, energy, and intention of Foundation Staff and the support of generous donors, CRRF grew to over $2M. These dollars supported dozens of local frontline nonprofits, helped more than 10,000 people, and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors. While CRRF officially closed in early 2022, the relationships and commitment to equity and responsiveness remain.


Accelerator Loan Fund One of the ways we work to open pathways for upward economic mobility at the Foundation is through our Accelerator Loan Fund (ALF) — a collective initiative shared among the Foundation, LAUNCH Chattanooga, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, and generous donors. We need to fully engage the diverse talent in our community to create a vibrant, sustainable, and competitive local economy. Small businesses are key to this, but entrepreneurs of color face unique and significant challenges — especially with capital. For example, Black — owned businesses are roughly twice as likely to be denied approval for loans, lines of credit, and cash advances compared to their white counterparts. To combat these troubling statistics, the ALF — stewarded by a diverse committee of CFGC board members, donors, and community members — provides low-interest rate loans to entrepreneurs of color who would otherwise be unable to find the capital to start, grow and thrive. In addition to the dollars, ALF recipients are paired with mentors who can provide advice, technical assistance, and access to valuable professional networks. The ALF works to center equity and unlock the genius all around us, including: Briana Garza – Chatt Taste Food Tours

Brandon Ellis – Chatter Box Cafe

Ella Livingston – Cocoa Asante

Kenyatta Ashford – Neutral Ground Chattanooga

Mahogany Hudgins – Wings Top Tots

These entrepreneurs have won national competitions, delivered TED Talks, and increased their scale all during a pandemic. We hope to see successes like theirs become the rule — not the exception — in our area.


Scholarships To thrive in a rapidly changing global economy, young adults need access to postsecondary education, be it a technical, 2-year, or 4-year degree. These opportunities can play a significant role in unlocking upward economic mobility. However, student loan debt associated with higher education can be an overwhelming burden for many students and their families — particularly for students of color, first-generation college students, and those from rural communities. The generosity of the Community Foundation’s donors has helped ease that burden for over 5,000 local students through our portfolio of scholarship funds. This financial assistance strengthens the foundation of our regional economy by unlocking potential and preparing students for success. The Together We Can (TWC) Scholarship Fund, a need-based, renewable scholarship for low-income, first-generation students is the largest of these funds. Since 1992, more than 1,500 Hamilton County students have received more than $6 million from the Together We Can Scholarship. “Winning this scholarship has a very deep meaning to me,” says Riya, a TWC recipient and Tyner Academy graduate who will matriculate at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Fall 2022. “My parents have worked really hard in raising me and I feel like I finally got an opportunity to support myself and relieve their burden. I wanted to make them proud and now I feel like I have!” As she begins her journey, Riya joins the ranks of scholarship recipients from all over our area creating positive change across the country and the world. 16

“The Together We Can Scholarship reduces the stress of the financial barrier. With this scholarship, I can maximize my education because I wouldn’t have to spend hours working. Instead, I have more time to volunteer and gain knowledge.” Anthony Do

Together We Can Scholarship Recipient


Community Advisory Council (CAC) At the Community Foundation, we’re building deeper relationships and incorporating the lived experience of those most impacted by systemic inequities into our work every day. That’s why, in December of 2021, we began a new journey with our Community Advisory Council (CAC) to provide feedback on emerging community investment strategies and initiatives. The CAC is a diverse body of local leaders deeply committed and proximate to the most pressing challenges in our area, and the inaugural cohort includes: Councilwoman Raquetta Dotley

Chris Sands

Net Resources Foundation

City of Chattanooga

Paul Hutson Solórzano

Christian Shackelford

Reginald Yearby (not pictured)

DeJuan Jordan

A Medida Communications Reach One Teach One

Vivian Lozano-Sterchi La Paz

Greenspaces LAUNCH

Lori Bell

Chattanooga Area Food Bank

These leaders work closely with our team to amplify marginalized voices by: • • •

Guiding the implementation of our strategic plan Sharing opportunities to strengthen community-driven solutions Helping CFGC staff and board advance our community engagement aptitude and gathering resident-informed feedback. Their consistent presence has been invaluable to the work of the Foundation, and we look forward to what we can continue to accomplish together.


Community Advisory Council (CAC)

“We can’t create solutions from a distance. Decide to get closer to people who are suffering, marginalized, disadvantaged, poor. Only in proximity to those who are suffering can we change the world.” Bryan Stevenson

Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative


Our Friends

Collaborators Get Vaccinated Chattanooga In early 2021, a small network of concerned neighbors reached out to us at the Foundation about COVID-19 vaccinations. During the early stages of the local vaccination rollout, many vulnerable communities experienced challenges with access to and accurate information about their options. These challenges reflected those related to equitable testing opportunities in 2020, where another diverse coalition volunteered to create mobile testing sites at 12 Black churches, testing over 7,000 people. To ensure those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 were equitably vaccinated as well, a coalition of leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, private, public sectors, and faith communities launched Get Vaccinated Chattanooga (GVC), a vaccine education campaign funded by us at the Foundation, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Lyndhurst Foundation, and Benwood Foundation. Together, this dedicated and proximate group of leaders engaged dozens of partner vendors, hosted 10 block parties across the county, vaccinated over 5,500 people, and educated many more.

To learn more about the work of GVC, click the link or scan the QR code to read the GVC Final Report.

GVC Final Report


Eviction Prevention Initiative (EPI) In 2019, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that nowhere in the United States is it possible for someone making minimum wage to afford the rent on a typical two-bedroom apartment. We know that this is the case in Chattanooga; as our population grows, housing prices and rents have climbed for years, even as real earnings for most residents have flattened or dropped. As a result, the threat of eviction looms large for many families in our community, even those who are gainfully employed. People facing eviction confront significant long-term obstacles to housing, family security, and economic mobility, and we know that access to justice matters. That’s why in early 2020, the Foundation and its partners created the Eviction Prevention Initiative (EPI). EPI provides free legal representation to households that are facing eviction proceedings and supports them with a social worker and additional services to stabilize their financial situation long-term. Between June 2020 and March 2022, the EPI has helped 212 households, representing 464 individuals, avoid eviction. This includes 252 children who may have otherwise lost their homes. More, EPI has helped local landlords secure nearly $400K in federal resources to help them mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. When an unrepresented Hamilton County tenant faces eviction and negotiates with their landlord or their landlord’s attorney in court, they receive a money judgment eviction against them 71% of the time. However, when a represented Hamilton County tenant faces eviction and their attorney negotiates with the opposing party, they receive a money judgment eviction against them only 12% of the time. This program works humanely with families facing eviction, honestly and fairly with landlords who are entitled to rent, and collaboratively with numerous partners who are invested in its success. Moreover, it offers us a point of entry to help hundreds of families who are struggling financially, and provides an opportunity to move them from crisis to stability.


EPI Collaborators

From left to right: Top: • • • •

Alexa LeBoeuf - Cosette Consulting Benjamin Danford - Legal Aid of East Tennessee Woodson Carpenter - CFGC Marisa Ogles - CFGC

Bottom: • • • •

Dwayne Marshall - CFGC Maeghan Jones - CFGC Elizabeth Riley - Habitat for Humanity Anne Boatner - Legal Aid of East Tennessee

Not Pictured: • Ian Evatt - Cosette Consulting • Jens Christensen - Habitat for Humanity • Kerry Hayes - Coeo Consulting

Learn more about EPI, how it works, and who’s involved clicking the URL or scanning QR code.


Community Collectives Ed Johnson Memorial

Ed Johnson Project To share a home is to share a history. We can find much to celebrate about Chattanooga’s history - a vibrant cultural community, a strong regional economy, and a generous philanthropic sector. However, when we apply a racial equity lens to that history, we are also confronted with reasons to mourn; we see deep wounds yet to be healed. Building a future Chattanooga in which all can thrive urges us toward a shared memory of the past. To get there, we need work like the Ed Johnson Project (EJP) calling us all to truth, racial healing, and reconciliation. The Ed Johnson Project is named after a young Black Chattanoogan who, in 1906, was wrongfully convicted and mob lynched on the Market Street Bridge after receiving the first ever stay of execution by the US Sumpreme Court for an African American. Over a century later, EJP realized a major victory in honoring Mr. Johnson’s life, the tireless defense of his attorneys, and the countless other lives taken by lynching when they erected the Ed Johnson Memorial at the site of his murder. This effort was the result of dozens of neighbors, local leaders, artists, funders, and activists coming together to guide the design, fabrication, and dedication of the memorial itself, along with a detailed narrative about Johnson’s case and its aftermath.

More is on the horizon for EJP, but in the meantime, follow the QR code or url to learn more.


The Lighthouse Collective at the Boy’s Leadership Summit

The Lighthouse Collective LaDarius Price, Montrell Besley, Troy Rogers, and Chris Sands have decades of combined experience engaging the community and making positive change in the Chattanooga area, but it took a nudge from the late Chris Ramsey, Sr. to bring them together in their work. “Chris passed the torch to us in that way,” the members reflect. “He reinforced the importance of showing how Black men can come together and how we could scale our work as a collective.” Encouraged by their elder, the four men became The Lighthouse Collective – committing to a shared effort to provide mentoring and life skills training to young people in our area, especially those in the Black community. Over the past year, the collective has learned that being a lighthouse, steadfastly present, comes with its challenges and disappointments – negative perceptions, greater accountability, and economic uncertainty. Despite the challenges, they persist. From fostering leadership at the Boys Leadership Summit to creating opportunities for safe summer fun at No Smoke Sundays, the collective is passing the torch and lighting the way for the next generation. 26

To learn more about The Lighthouse Collective, follow the link or scan the QR Code.

CALEB In a year marked by presence and collaboration, Chattanoogans in Action for Love Equality and Benevolence exemplified the theme. Also known as CALEB, their purpose is to bring together an institutional coalition of faith-based, labor, and other community organizations in order that their constituents gain a powerful voice in public affairs and issues in the wider community. Since 2017, CALEB has been working on three broad issues: criminal justice, economic mobility, and education reform - representing 16 member organizations and at-large members from across the area. During this time, the school to prison pipeline - a phrase coined to describe the ways children, especially children of color, those with disabilities, and those living in poverty are chronically and disproportionately pushed from the education system into the criminal justice system - became a major focus. CALEB, with support from Southern Adventist University, answered the call and began work with Orchard Knob Middle Elementary School to pilot a school-wide restorative practices program. In the first year, the program contributed to an over 50% reduction in suspensions.

To learn more about CALEB, follow the link or scan the QR Code.


“We don’t spend much time thinking about legacy. We’re more focused on the urgency of now – supporting people and meeting needs in the present. Our long history with the Community Foundation gives us the ability to be responsive and specific in our giving.” James McKissic and Shane Morrow CFGC Donors

Donors and Financial Advisors 28

James McKissic

Shane Morrow

James McKissic and Shane Morrow James McKissic and Shane Morrow give from the root of philanthropy – a love of humankind. With this motivation, the couple pours into their community by devoting their treasure, time, energy, and voices to the people and causes they care about – taking a comprehensive approach. Giving individually and as members of Sankofa, James and Shane have felt the regular adjustments that come with a focus on the present. One of the greatest of these adjustments came in 2020 after the loss of their nephew, Langston, who they helped raise from childhood. At the time of his death, Langston – a lifelong learner, community servant, and student of Black history – was pursuing a Master’s Degree in History at Tennessee State University. In response to this great loss and to honor Langston’s memory, James and Shane started the Langston D. Carter Memorial at the Community Foundation. The scholarship, led by his sister Zora, supports other Black scholars interested in history.

To learn more about Sankofa, follow the link or scan the QR Code.

James and Shane also lead two of our nonprofit partner organizations – ArtsBuild and RISE Chattanooga, respectively and are founding members of Sankofa. 29

Ashley and Ward Davenport

“We prefer making unrestricted gifts to nonprofit organizations and relying on the expertise of the practitioners closest to the challenges our neighbors are facing. By investing in the mission, we’re also investing in and trusting the people doing the work.”

Ashley and Ward Davenport For the Davenports, the importance of giving back is a lesson passed from generation to generation – one taught early, often, and in earnest. As young people, Ashley and Ward were surrounded by the philanthropic examples of their elders who gave their time, energy, and attention as well as treasure. The last two years have reinforced the importance of these early lessons by placing the opportunities to support vulnerable communities under a microscope. Already in the habit of dedicating time to the causes they care about, they’re doubling down on their commitment to do the hands-on work of philanthropy. The Davenports trust the community expertise of the Foundation to facilitate relationships that make that work possible, introducing them to new organizations, ideas, and opportunities to engage. Now with three children of their own, the couple sees the power of generosity in the next generation as their oldest daughter encourages them to join her volunteering at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen with more opportunities on the way.


“I’m always eager to recommend the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga to families and individuals who want to learn how they can make a difference on the issues that matter to them most. At a time when people can be practically overwhelmed with information and ideas, what they really need is guidance they can trust from professionals with experience. That’s exactly what the Community Foundation has been doing for families in our region for nearly six decades aligning values, vision, and investments in ways that benefit everyone.”

Ashlee Patten, CFA The Patten Group


Our Resources

Finances Total Assets:

$251 Million Total Grants Distributed:

$22 Million

Increase in Assets from 2020:

$39 Million Total Amount in Scholarships Awarded:


Total Gifts to the Community Foundation:

$41 Million

Grants by Investment Area Health and Human Services: 34% Educational: 27% Faith and Community: 17% Other: 11% Environmental: 7% Arts and Culture: 3%





Cash, Cash Equivalents



Other Assets



Total Assets






Grants payable, accounts payable, & other liabilities



Funds held as agency endowments



Total Liabilities





Total Net Assets



Total Liabilities and Net Assets



*2021 Numbers reflect unaudited financial statements.


Our Horizon

Looking Forward At the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, we’re reminded daily of the extraordinary potential for realizing a vibrant local community where everyone - no matter who they are or where they come from - can thrive. As we work to build positive and lasting change around issues of intergenerational poverty, barriers to prosperity, and racial equity, we do it humbly. We found ourselves in challenging times in 2021. Some of these challenges were old, some new. But every challenge we face as a community, from the small to the systemic, is a call to commitment - to our neighbors, our home, and our shared future. As we look to that future, we do it with hope. In unprecedented times, we have seen unprecedented resilience and collaboration. We have built stronger relationships. We have clearer vision. We will continue to invest in strong leaders, anchors, stories, and ideas, which means we will continue to invest in you - our donors, partners, and neighbors. We are your Community Foundation. Thank you for your trust, passion, time, and presence. As always, we invite you to reach out if you have any questions or want to get involved in our work. Get in touch with us at or 423.265.0586. We look forward to getting to know you.


The production of this report was supported by: Brandon Denney

Justin Brickler

Kerry Hayes

Herman Prater

J. Adams

Adams Lithographing


Communications Consultant Photographer

Photographer Photographer Printer