Board Chair and President & CEO
Several years ago, we began using the phrase “generosity transforms” to describe the Community Foundation’s philosophy. We believe that giving not only transforms our community into a more vibrant, just, and sustainable place but also transforms the giver. Our role is to make the connections that catalyze these transformations – connecting donors to nonprofits, resources to worthy causes, and aspirations to opportunities.
Of course, the last several years have been a period of intense and often unpredictable transformation all around us. As recently as a few years ago, we might not have believed that we would be pursuing issues like eviction prevention, civil court modernization, or minority entrepreneurship, but these initiatives are now essential to our work. We are grateful that our growing network of donors and our remarkable staff have risen to the challenge, over and over, to ensure that we can respond to the many ways we have been called to serve and support.
As we work more deeply on these issues, we turn our attention upward at the same time. We are compelled to address the root causes of problems like poverty and racial disparities that keep parts of our community from achieving the full measure of prosperity and happiness they deserve. Economic mobility, educational attainment, public health, housing – our donors have made significant commitments to these areas and many others, while also asking us to help them see how generations of inequality create and perpetuate these very same needs. This is another way in which we work to answer the community’s call.
More than sixty years ago, we were founded to serve as a vehicle for the community’s trust. We believe that model is more essential now than ever. We will continue to trust our donors to share their hopes, concerns, and dreams for our city; we will continue to honor the trust they place in us.
We will continue to listen carefully to the ways our community calls us. Because of your support, we will continue to respond in every way possible.Maeghan Jones President & CEO Dallas Joseph Chair, Board of Directors
Some of our donors have Tennessee roots that stretch back hundreds of years. Others are newcomers to the region. Still, others may be longtime Chattanoogans who find themselves in the fortunate position to give back. What they share is an abiding love for our community and an eagerness to make a difference here.
For generations, Chattanooga’s families have relied on us to identify the needs that are aligned with their values, ensuring that their charitable giving is strategic, efficient, and transformative in its impact. We’re honored to walk alongside individuals and families on every step of their philanthropic journeys. Customized programs like these connect with donors of every age and stage of life: Next Gen
Building a philanthropic community around a shared commitment to generosity so that emerging leaders and growing families can meet Chattanooga’s challenges for generations to come.
Bringing children and younger family members into meaningful, age-appropriate conversations about what giving means and how it impacts their lives.
Connecting women in our area who play a heightened role in shaping our community’s future and who believe in the power of generosity to transform.
“Through the WE Project, we were able to connect not only with new friends and colleagues from different backgrounds but with our own sense of purpose for giving back to the city we love. We’re grateful to the Community Foundation for helping us and dozens of other women increase our awareness about Chattanooga’s challenges, as well as our confidence about what we can dotogether - to make it a better place for everyone.”Cheryl Key and Terri Holley 2022-2023 WE Project Participants
Michelle and Trae Vaughan
“My grandmother had an ‘open door policy’ when it came to helping those in need,” explains Trae Vaughan when asked about the people who shaped his thinking about giving. He also points to colleague and mentor Mark Brock’s belief in “giving until it hurts.” The influence of beloved friends and family prompted Trae and his wife, Michelle, to give more serious thought to how they could help others.
The Vaughans are working closely with the Foundation’s team to align their values with local nonprofit organizations. Their initial curiosity has deepened into an eagerness to learn more about how they can effectively support neighbors.
In addition to being a useful vehicle for managing their own giving strategies, their donor-advised fund (DAF) at the Foundation is also a tool for sharing these lessons and values with their children. Their goal is to pass forward a sense of what it means to be a good citizen, a responsible steward of resources, and a thoughtful contributor to the community in more ways than one.
As Michelle puts it, “We look to the Community Foundation to help us...find opportunities to build community with other families and teach our kids about it.”
In this way, Michelle and Trae are not only doing good right now, but they are also honoring the people who have inspired and influenced them so much - and in doing that, making sure that a strong legacy of learning and giving is passed forward to another generation.
“The whole team at the Foundation have made us feel really welcome and appreciated. They’ve kept us updated on what’s going on in the nonprofit sector, which they know is important to us.”
Everett and Kathy
“My goal in life is to leave the world a little better place,” Everett Whitaker explains, admitting that he doesn’t necessarily think of giving in terms of “philanthropy.” For his wife, Kathy, giving has meaning through its potential to change a person’s life. She enjoys supporting literacy causes and organizations that connect people with nature - an extension of her commitment to nurturing happiness and personal growth wherever possible.
When the Whitakers approached the Community Foundation, they did so with a distinct vision in mind. The couple has no children, so they had already begun to think about their legacy and the impact they hoped to make. In addition to helping them plan their legacy giving, the CFGC team also introduced them to the concept of a donor-advised Fund (DAF) to support their lifetime giving.
The Whitakers’ DAF has been an ideal tool for them. They can make contributions to the fund at times that are strategically advisable from a tax perspective and control charitable distributions to the causes and institutions that resonate most deeply with them. Perhaps most importantly to Kathy and Everett, the DAF will be a way for the Foundation to better understand how to best steward their legacy gift when they’re gone.
The couple credits the Foundation’s philanthropy staff for being invaluable partners, providing critical counsel about specific organizations as well as the fit, flow, and timing of their giving.
“With the Foundation’s help, we’ve been able to structure our legacy in a way that aligns with our values and our desire to make a difference - one person at a time.”
Attorneys, wealth managers, and other professional advisors are essential collaborators in our work to transform generosity into lasting impact. Our deep expertise in the local nonprofit landscape and understanding of tax-savvy giving strategies are among the benefits that our professional advisor partners can offer to their clients and our donors.
We work hand-in-hand with advisors to deepen relationships and ensure we can continue to affect change for generations. Thank you to the following who referred their generous clients to the Foundation last year as part of our Professional Advisor Program:
• Ashlee B. Patten, CFA, CEO
The Patten Group, Inc.
• Bobby Futch, CIC, CRPC
Patton, Albertson, and Miller
• Buddy Werner
Senior Vice President/Investments
Stifel Investment Services
• David Queen, CPA, ChFC, AIF®
Queen Financial Services Corporation
• Donald Lutomski, CFA, CMA
Principal, Financial Advisor
• Donna Robinson
FESP Client Manager
• George Skonberg
Senior Vice President–Wealth Management
Union Square Group
• James C. Perez, CFP®, CIMA®
Managing Director | Wealth Management
Senior Portfolio Manager | Private Wealth Advisor
Perez Wealth Management Group
• Jones Krogh, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®
HHM Wealth Advisors, LLC
• Kristin McCamish Bell, CFA, CFP® Director, Southeast
Simon Quick Advisors
• Matt Kerr, CFA®, CFP®
Patton, Albertson, and Miller
• Montague “Cosmo” Boyd, CFP®
The 680 Group
• Raymond V. Ryan, CFA
President, CEO, Portfolio Manager
Patten and Patten, Inc.
• Richard Park, Senior Vice President
Reynolds and Park Wealth Management Group
• Shelton Swafford Chambers, J.D., CPA
Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.
• Tom Hammel, C(K)P, CFP®, CRPC, CIMA®, CPFA
Pressman, Pollock, Hammel, Kezdi & Associates
• Travis Hutchinson, CFP®
HHM Wealth Advisors, LLC
• Ward Petty, Managing Director
Benjamin F. Edwards Chattanooga
• Will Clegg, MBA
Henderson Hutcherson & McCollough, PLLC
• Will Hunt and Laura Knight, CFP®
Hunt & Knight Group
• Zach Hurst, CFP®, AIF®
The Trust Company of Tennessee
The way Matt Kerr describes his job is deceptively simple: “Financial planning and wealth management are about helping people meet their goals. We’re here to help people.”
To Matt’s way of thinking, philanthropy is an integral part of any family’s wealth management program. He often collaborates with the Foundation to combine sound financial planning and meaningful charitable giving into one thoughtful strategy.
Trust is critically important in these client conversations. It’s a resource not unlike financial wealth that has to be earned, protected, and hopefully grown over time.
An introduction from Forrest Simmons, longtime professional advisor and Foundation partner, led him to connect with the Foundation in 2020. Since then, he has continued to work closely with us to not only increase his clients’ giving but focus it more intently on their hopes for the community and incorporate it into actionable financial management plans. Most of his clients are charitably inclined, so the concept of giving emerges early in their conversations. Many of them prefer to support local nonprofit partners, which makes the Foundation’s unique insights into the community particularly valuable.
“Working with the Community Foundation is a joy. They magnify our impact and the meaning of my work.”
Community change happens because we make it happen together. That’s why we work to identify diverse and collaborative leaders, support strong ideas and stories, and invest in anchor organizations. The Fund for Chattanooga is supported with gifts from generations of generous Chattanoogans who want to ensure that the Foundation can continue to respond to new challenges far into the future.
Through planned and current gifts, donors to the Fund for Chattanooga have created an endowed fund to support essential work in Chattanooga. We recognize the need to care for our most vulnerable neighbors today while also removing chronic barriers to economic mobility and equity.
Donors and nonprofit leaders alike long advocated for more unrestricted support so that organizations can focus on what matters most: carrying out their missions. That’s why our grantmaking programs, such as our Caring & Inclusive Communities Grants allow us to make unrestricted grants to nonprofits helping more Chattanoogans attain economic stability. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Grants respond to organizations that have asked for more support to help identify opportunities and make changes to become more inclusive and accessible.
Similarly, our Strategic Initiatives committee guides a flexible, collaborative, and proactive grantmaking process built around strong partnerships that address the root causes of challenges in our area. Currently, we’re working to address homelessness through the Eviction Prevention Initiative (EPI), which supports families facing eviction with legal counsel and case management.
More and more, the kind of jobs that create lasting economic security require a college diploma or specialized training. Our Scholarship Program helps students of all backgrounds, get on this path. Entrepreneurship is another powerful way to achieve economic mobility. Together with our local partners, we created Impact Investing Funds to remove barriers for people of color who struggle to access capital, which in turn supports the full participation needed for our shared economic growth.
Simply put, partnership at all levels is needed to realize our vision for Chattanooga – a place where intergenerational poverty is ended, opportunities for prosperity are available everywhere, and communities of color can thrive.
LifeSpringKathryn Briggs, LifeSpring’s Development Director,
and her colleagues work to make care more accessible by providing transportation, aiding in healthcare navigation, delivering services in multiple languages, and ensuring affordability. LifeSpring’s staff does everything from administering routine preventative care to educating parents with a child at risk of type 2 diabetes to offering integrated mental health services. Throughout everything they do, their patients’ trust and understanding is paramount.
The continued support of the Foundation and other funding partners comes at a critical time: since January 2021, LifeSpring has doubled its staff size, prompting urgent - and costly - upgrades to its facilities, technology, and communication systems. While the COVID-19 pandemic may be officially behind us, the strain it placed on LifeSpring and other community health agencies will be felt for years to come.
As a faith-based provider, LifeSpring’s leaders look for divine signals that their mission is working, and they see that in the quality of caregivers who have dedicated themselves to the work. “We are constantly blown away by the people God calls to work at LifeSpring,” says Kathryn.
In the years ahead, with more support from the community, LifeSpring will expand its mental health services and find ways to serve more families. Every moment and method of care breaks down another barrier, bringing more Chattanoogans into a healthy, resilient future that benefits our entire community.Kathryn Briggs Development Director
“Every day, there are children in Chattanooga who are going without adequate medical care because of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic barriers. We are a group of healthcare champions who want to do something about that.”
Local entrepreneurs like Ella Livingston bring so much to our community: a strong family legacy of creativity and hard work, an uncommonly keen talent for storytelling and branding, and astonishing skills as a gourmet chocolatier.
Her business, Cocoa Asante, has had a wildly successful couple of years, as her vibrant social media presence has brought her mouthwatering chocolates to the attention of hungry customers across the country. The Accelerator Loan Fund (ALF), the Foundation’s initiative to connect entrepreneurs of color with the capital they need to thrive, has been a significant part of Ella’s journey.
Bob Bosworth, a highly respected and now retired local executive, was paired with Ella early in the program. “What I see in an entrepreneur is somebody with real vision, real commitment… real resilience and a real persistence to work through tough situations,” says Bob.
To an extent, these qualities can’t be taught, but they can be cultivated with commitment and the kind of close, strategic guidance that the ALF enables. This continues to show up for Ella as she enters the growth phase of her business, all while managing the other factors that impact her life as a mother, wife, and woman of color.
Ella leverages Bob’s business acumen and corporate insights to streamline her operations, navigate market fluctuations, and improve her financial management. Bob, in turn, gets to invest the most precious resource he has to share: his expertise, forged over many years at Chattem and other successful endeavors.
Their partnership is a powerful demonstration of collaboration that spans identities. While Ella remains her business’s best brand ambassador, she’s clear that Bob’s wisdom and patient counsel are essential to keeping her fundamentals intact as Cocoa Asante achieves national scale.
“What I didn’t realize was that our relationship was going to be the best part… He cares about me as an individual and as a person, and always makes sure that I’m doing ok even before the business. That holds social capital.”
Isaiah Slaughter is wise beyond his years.
Raised in South Chattanooga, Isaiah graduated from Brainerd High School in 2020 - a full year ahead of schedule. His dream has long been to pursue a career in public service through law enforcement, ideally through the federal Fugitive Task Force, and that year, he moved in with his father, who staunchly supported a traditional college education.
Long driven by an internal desire to protect and serve others, Isaiah began to see college as the path to making a great difference while making a good living. Beginning at Austin Peay University and later transferring to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga made him the first person in his family to attend college. Always thinking ahead, he hoped to find new connections in a larger city, with the same career focus.
The challenges faced by many of Isaiah’s generation are daunting: the financial burdens of college, the intricacies of obtaining financial aid, and the need to hold down a job alongside their studies – not to mention the unique disruption of a global pandemic.
In Isaiah’s case, a set of unexpected family health crises dealt even more blows to his academic performance. At one point, Isaiah temporarily lost his HOPE scholarship.
Isaiah is undeterred and amid many challenges, the Foundation has been by his side since his time at Dalewood Middle School. Our scholarship resources and close guidance were lifelines during the toughest times of the past few years. The constant communication and steadfast support of Dr. Stephanie Young, Director of Scholarships, made all the difference.
Isaiah grew up without seeing a clear example of what it meant to attend college, but he’s now determined to set that kind of example himself. His path may not be easy or even necessarily straightforward, but he’s got a goal in sight and is committed to getting there, one step at a time. Dr. Young and the Community Foundation will do whatever it takes to help him along the way.
“Having Dr. Young, as busy as she is, listen to me shows that people do care. You have to have that kind of support to make it anywhere.”
We are committed to being excellent stewards of community resources. That’s why we’re committed to operational excellence, maintaining a high-performing team, and meeting or exceeding market returns in order to ensure we can continue to affect change for generations to come.
Total Assets: $217 Million
Total Grants Distributed: $23 Million
Total Gifts to the Community Foundation: $27 Million
Change in Assets from 2021: -$34 Million*
Total Amount in Scholarships Awarded: $657,463
Total Nonprofits Supported: 50+
Grants by Investment Area
Faith and Community: 27%
Health and Human Services: 25%
Arts and Culture: 4%
• Maeghan Jones
President & CEO
• Rebecca Underwood
VP, Finance and Administration
• Caroline von Kessler VP, Philanthropy
• Marisa Ogles
Senior Director of Donor Services
• Stephanie Young Director of Scholarships
• Chris Adams Donor Services Coordinator
• Dallas Joseph Chief Financial Officer
• Charlie Brock
• Cheryl Key
John P. Franklin Funeral Home
• Dr. Ruth Liu
• Lorie Runge
• Ansley Moses Attorney
Miller & Martin
• Dr. Dave Bhattacharya
University Surgical Associates
• Ray Ryan
President, CEO, Portfolio Manager
Patten & Patten, Inc.
• Robin Posey
Director of Community Impact
• Keely Gilliland
Chief of Staff
• Joe Wood Executive Assistant
• Catherine Coker
• Woodson Carpenter
Manager of Communications and Strategy
• Lindsey Cross Philanthropy Assistant
•Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste
Vice Provost of Academic Outreach
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
•Daniela Paz Peterson
Founder and Partner
Tax and Estate Planning Attorney
Chambliss, Bohner, & Stophel
CPA and Entrepreneur
President and Founding Partner
•Dr. Le Andrea Ware
The Howard School