As The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee winds down its 25th year, I’ll be turning 60 and will begin my 10th year of association with the Foundation. And as all of these personal planets align at one time, I do find myself looking at both the future and the past a little differently.

I’ve started thinking about maintaining the things I’ve built, and the things that have helped build me.
Kerry Graham, 2016-2017 Board Chair of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

My appreciation for The Community Foundation began with a friendship with Ellen Lehman and a handful of board members, then quickly broadened as I saw how many organizations and lives The Foundation was willing and able to touch. From those in need, to those who’ve felt the need to do what they can to make Nashville and the Middle Tennessee area a better place for everyone who lives here. In very personal and heartfelt ways.

We’ve heard The Community Foundation’s tagline so often on NPR now that its true essence is perhaps in danger of being lost or forgotten. But I’d like to make sure that never happens. “Connecting generosity with need” is far more than a slogan. It is the living, breathing legacy of this Foundation that has found its way into the DNA of our city.

From playing a role as the protector of philanthropy for thousands of people who want their charitable intents to outlive them exactly as they intended, no matter what that charity might be. To arming our nonprofits with the tools, techniques and talents to fulfill their missions boldly, and often in synergy with each other. To pulling the human capital and energy of our city and our region together for far greater good than any of us could have imagined possible.

I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. I’ve benefited from it in many ways. And I live it every day I wake up in this magical city of Nashville, Tennessee.

But until everyone in our city can say these things, our work is not done.

As we wrap up the 25th year of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, yes, we’re proud of what we’ve done. I’m constantly amazed at the mountains our staff move every day. I’m inspired by Ellen’s vision, creativity and energy. And I’m energized by the incredible people who so enthusiastically say yes to joining our board and giving their time, treasure, talents and ideas in service of the philanthropic needs of Middle Tennessee.)

Development, commerce and growth fuel the economy of this city and region. But the compassion and generosity of our people fuels its heart. (If you’ve taken the time to read this, you know.) And I hope you will join us in our incredibly rewarding mission of connecting generosity with need for the next 25 years.

— Kerry Graham, Board Chairman, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee