March indeed came in like a lion this year. First came the tornadoes. Then the pandemic just days later. Then the free-falling economic disaster that threatens to outlast them all. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) went into high gear, beginning its duties as a disaster recovery partner with Metro Nashville’s Office of Emergency Management in the early hours of March 3, as well as with officials in Wilson and Putnam counties, among others. Additionally, agencies such as the United Way of Greater Nashville and others have partnered with Mayor John Cooper’s office to establish the COVID-19 Response Fund.
“We will fight back, and we will heal,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “Together as one.”
CFMT and its partners have been working tirelessly on multiple fronts during the pandemic. Generous donors to CFMT’s Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund have raised more than $12 million to help with the area’s relief and recovery. Gideon’s Army, The Equity Alliance, Martha O’Bryan Center, Nashville General Hospital Foundation, Nashville Food Project, Northwest Family YMCA, and Westminster Home Connection have been some of the scores of area nonprofits that have benefited from the Fund.
To celebrate Black Philanthropy Month in August, CFMT’s initiative Give Black, Give Back hosted a virtual events series and published several stories highlighting the history of Black philanthropy in Nashville while wrapping in stories of Black suffragists to celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote. For more information, go to www.cfmt.org/community-leadership/community-initiative/give-black-give-back/black-philanthropy-month/
The pandemic has crushed Nashville’s celebrated hospitality industry, with its many nightclubs, concert halls, restaurants, bars, hotels and meeting places. The Tennessee Action for Hospitality Assistance Fund has been established at The Community Foundation to work with restaurant owners and chefs to connect our hospitality workers as a united front to expedite the protection, relief and welfare of and for hospital workers at a local, state and federal level. Go here to give: www.cfmt.org/giving-and-investing/become-a-donor/give-to-a-fund/tennessee-action-for-hospitality-assistance-fund/
A longtime initiative of CFMT is capturing the details of postponed and canceled events to help inform both residents and visitors, as well as posting and updating the many streaming events that are being improvised by the creative members of our community. Get details on their website: NowPlayingNashville.com,
Thanks to a statewide grants program, families and their children can still have child care to return to as the state gradually begins reopening during the pandemic. Administered through a partnership by CFMT’s initiative ChildcareTennessee and the Tennessee Department of Human Services, the COVID-19 Loss of Income Grant allows any child care provider licensed with the state to apply for lost income if their agency closed because of the pandemic. There are other grant opportunities to support agencies experiencing reduced attendance and elevated operating costs due to the pandemic. Licensed TDHS child care agencies interested in applying for either COVID-19 grant should visit www.childcaretennesee.com.
Community Voter registration and Census drive
The Urban League of Middle Tennessee (ULMT) partnered with the Insurance Boys BBQ, the Mayor’s Office, Amazon and Mt. Zion Baptist Church to provide 500 free hot meals and masks to the Antioch community. While driving-up guests were able to get registered to vote (update their registration) and complete the 2020 Census as the both came to an end on Monday, October 5th.
The Meals and Masks drive-thru event was open to the public, free, limited to four per family, one per individual while available supplies last. It was designed to assist those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic that has shutdown businesses and created hardships for the Nashville community. Drivers who showed up were asked to remain in their vehicles while volunteers wearing masks and gloves handed out the meals and masks.
Metro Schools food programs
Metro Schools is providing meals in order to meet the nutritional needs of students in the district. Following school closures in March, Metro Schools provided more than 550,000 meals to students throughout Davidson County at 16 school and 41 bus stop locations through the Seamless Summer Options meal program.
“For some students, their meals at school are the only meals they will eat during the day, so we are greatly expanding our efforts to provide a nutritious, balanced diet for all students throughout Metro Schools,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle. “Our nutrition services and transportation teams will all be working … to meet the needs of our students and remove any barriers to access.”
The meals are provided free to qualified recipients, and at low cost to others. The food program continues to operate while the MNPS is phasing in in-school instruction this month.
October 5, 2020 marked the third anniversary of the public launch of hubNashville, Metro’s comprehensive customer service system. The primary mission of hubNashville is to provide equitable, efficient access to non-emergency Metro services and information while also providing data to Mayor John Cooper, Metro Council and Metro departments in order to support data-driven decision making in city government. hubNashville has taken in more than 10,000 reports of COVID-19 violations for Metro Public Health to date. hubNashville provides non-emergency services and can be reached online at hub.nashville.gov, by downloading the hubNashville 311 mobile app, or by dialing 311 from within Davidson County or 615-862-5000, Monday-Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
These are only a few of the many programs and services offered throughout Nashville by various agencies, businesses, churches, schools, and other institutions.