Established in 1998

This initiative, dedicated to harnessing the energy, enthusiasm, and resources of young Nashville residents, started like many other great ideas, sharing a beer with friends around a kitchen table.

The Tomorrow Fund, established in 1998, has officially completed its twentieth year of operation. This initiative, dedicated to harnessing the energy, enthusiasm, and resources of young Nashville residents, started like many other great ideas, sharing a beer with friends around a kitchen table. When a young Casey West sat with his friend, Jay Williams, to discuss ways to make a positive impact in our community, they didn’t expect all the friendship, sense of purpose, and project longevity the idea they imagined would create and endure. But that’s what happened.

The group that they formed, The Tomorrow Fund, became centered around three tenets: social participation, active community service, and financial contribution to our community.  According to that young Foundation President, Casey West, “the three tenets of The Tomorrow Fund are really intended to feed off one another– members will want to contribute financially because they are out in the community volunteering and learning more about nonprofit organizations, they’ll continually be encouraged to volunteer and contribute because of the friendships they’ve formed with others who do the same.”

When we sat down with Jay Williams some twenty years later, he is now co-head of the WME office here in Nashville.


Community Fundraising Events

In the early years of The Tomorrow Fund, the founding board knew that they needed to come up with innovative ways to raise money for the fund that didn’t exhaust their members’ resources. They found that path with an annual community event, and in its first years hosted a Mardis Gras-themed party at Marathon Village. The event included a 9-piece band, straight from New Orleans, providing their crowd of 250 people that upbeat ambiance that only traditional New Orleans jazz and high energy hip-hop can provide. Party-goers also enjoyed tasty Cajun fare of red beans & rice, shrimp gumbo, and other traditional dishes. Between eating and dancing, guests spent their time bidding on silent auction items and chatting about the early good works of the Tomorrow Fund board. These first events provided the template to what the events have become today, and in all, provided the funds they needed to sustain the financial growth of the Fund and impact the fund members were hoping to create through grantmaking to the nonprofit community serving children.

In the following years, members decided to keep the energy of their community events fresh by changing them up. This allowed for transitioning in and out of event formats as the members of the Board’s interest also shifted. In 2005, the ArtisTree event was launched. ArtisTree was an art show that featured paintings, prints, and jewelry by local artists, paired with wine and light refreshments for its guests.

In 2011, The Battle of the Food Trucks event was born, the same year that Zagat’s newest edition included the category of “Food Truck” as its own separate category. The event boasted upwards of 20 restaurants from the burgeoning Nashville food truck scene, where attendees were invited to sample bites and then vote for their favorites in a friendly foodie competition.

Lastly, in 2013, the event that the Fund currently throws today, Red, White & Brew was launched. Red, White, and Brew is an over the top, America-themed party, complete with costume and karaoke contests. It’s the only event in Nashville where you may hear one of your pals singing Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” dressed as Dolly Parton. Though the location has changed throughout the years from Sevier Park, the old stomping ground of Paradise Park, and this year’s event location Nashville Urban Winery, the sentiment is still the same, a good ‘ole ‘merica-yelling good time.


Granting

The Tomorrow Fund logo, created by former member Lou Chancellor, is the oak tree seedling, and this seedling represents the fund’s philosophy and mission succinctly. The metaphor often used to describe endowment funds with a Community Foundation is planting seeds for community betterment. By setting aside money in an endowment fund and allowing it to grow, early Tomorrow Fund changemakers were ensuring that their community impact, which started with small yet meaningful grants, would transform over time into strong and vibrant support for the nonprofit community.

Today, thanks to its generous supporters and volunteers, as well as the hard work of The Tomorrow Fund board throughout these twenty years through their annual events, The Tomorrow Fund has granted over $88,000 to organizations that provide services to children, predominantly focused in Middle Tennessee. It is the continued hope that members grow the fund through innovative use of social media, event planning, and networking in order to amplify the impact local young professionals are able to make by being a member of the Board or participating in one of The Tomorrow Fund events.


The Tomorrow Fund has distributed:

  • $34,665 toward the education of Middle Tennessee students, including supporting several reading initiatives and easier access to early education resources for low-income families.
  • $24,905 toward human services programs, including providing beds for those coming out of homelessness, food for food insecure families, and school uniforms to low-income families in need.
  • $18,246 toward the health & safety of Middle Tennessee youth, including providing access to swim lessons for low-income families, family nutrition and wellness courses, and accessibility of expensive medications to medically vulnerable populations.
  • $8,915 to support disaster relief organizations, including victims of the major 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake disasters.
  • $2,000 to support art workshops to at risk youth living in poverty during school breaks.

OrganizationGrant AmountYearProgram Description
Sweet Sleep$50002018To provide beds and bedding for up to 500 children coming out of homelessness in Middle Tennessee.
Community Care Fellowship$25002018To provide affordable, full-time preK childcare to low-income families in the James Cayce homes and surrounding neighborhoods.
Lutheran Services of Tennessee$20002017To provide community arts workshops to 80 at risk youth living in poverty during school breaks.
Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing$25002017To encourage early language development and healthy bonding for families of young children aged birth to 5 years of age.
Book'em$27002017To provide pre-literacy skills training for 300 low-income Pre-K children to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.
The Well Outreach$49802016To provide supplemental meals for 500 children/youth during the scheduled academic breaks to provide coverage throughout the 2016-2017 school year
Book'em$22202016To provide pre-literacy skills training for 100 low-income PreK children to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.
Salama Urban Ministries, Inc.$11002015To provide daily, year-round academic support with a literacy emphasis for up to 75 underserved youth, primarily K-8th grade.
Nashville International Center for Empowerment$11002015To provide standard school attire for 50 low-income refugee children who recently arrived in the United States.
Mother to Mother, Inc.$25002015To provide a safe sleeping environment for low income, vulnerable infants in Nashville and surrounding areas.
Global Education Center$25002015To offer nutrition education, healthy cooking classes with recipe modifications and active lifestyle opportunities to 80 preK students and families
Assistance League of Nashville$20002014To provide new standard school attire to underserved elementary students in Metro Schools.
Community Care Fellowship$20002014To offer educational services for children.
Girls on the Run Nashville$6002014To provide 70 girls with the opportunity to participate.
Nashville Dolphins$20002014To expand programming that builds swim skills.
Backfield in Motion$20002013To provide tutoring after school.
Hands On Nashville, Inc.$20002013To support 300 youth in making healthy lifestyle choices.
McNeilly Center for Children$16002013To provide classroom books.
East Nashville Hope Exchange$24502012To improve reading ability and character development of at-risk children.
Project for Neighborhood Aftercare$24502012To provide homework and tutoring services for 56 students.
A.B.L.E. Youth, Inc.$20002011To teach independent living skills to thirty-five youth who are confined to wheelchairs.
Foundation for Tennessee Chess$3502011To provide chess classes for 35 underserved youth, ages 5 to 12, at a local community center.
IKE Services$7502011To provide summer academic tutoring, hot meals, transportation services to 30 children, grades K-4.
In Full Motion, Inc.$7502011To improve ACT scores/graduation rates of students at Pearl-Cohn, Whites Creek, Stratford & Maplewood.
Our Kids$7502011To underwrite the cost of post exposure prophylaxis medication to prevent patients from contracting HIV.
Assistance League of Nashville$16352010To provide new standard school attire to underserved elementary students in Metro Schools.
Friends of Tennessee School for the Blind$23652010To teach independent living skills to thirty-five youth who are confined to wheelchairs.
Global Ministries$26882010Benefiting Haiti Earthquake Relief efforts.
Galaxy Star Drug Awareness$43002009To expand the peacemakers program to HS students with a history of suspension/juvenile court involvement.
The Next Door$49002008To provide children's services in the Freedom Recovery program.
Rejoice Ministries$24962007To provide adolescent girls with the tools for personal development.
First Steps, Inc.$30002006To create an indoor therapy playground program for children with special needs.
KIPP Foundation$5102005Benefiting the Library for KIPP Academy Nashville.
King's Daughters Day Home$23502005To provide books, videos, & CD's to help teachers develop better curriculum for children at the Center.
Save the Children$36002005Benefiting Asian Earthquake/Tsunami Fund.
Reading is Fundamental$15002004To supplement the purchase of 8500 new paperback books for 1600 at-risk children.
Hands with Heart Foundation, Inc.$17002003To provide materials for hearing impaired classrooms, home use, & camping trips.
Preston Taylor Ministries$16902002
American Red Cross - Nashville$3002001
American Red Cross - Nashville $23272001
Fannie Battle Day Home for Children$16202001
Project Reflect$9502000

Community Service

By 2005, members had donated more than 4,000 hours of community service to non-profit organizations such as The Salvation Army, Second Harvest Food Bank, Warner Parks, Ronald McDonald House, Renewal House, The American Red Cross and many others. Since then, our Tomorrow Fund board, friends, and alumni have lost count, but the members still maintain that community service events are a capstone item in what the Tomorrow Fund provides to the local community.


In 2008, The Tomorrow Fund launched a new project called the Giving Tree. By reaching out to their own social networks with a $100 ask in the months of November and December and partnering with local childcare providers, members were able to fill a need by supporting local low-income families with their holiday shopping.

To date, The Giving Tree initiative has supported over 800 families amounting to $80,000 of assistance, and the initiative has become one of fund members favorite activities of the year. During collection week, Tomorrow Fund members and staff at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee get a special sense of satisfaction trying to fit all of the items collected from the Nashville community into a UHaul that seems to shrink every year. In the years to come, The Tomorrow Fund plans to continue to develop relationships with local businesses who also want to share the holiday spirit, allowing them to support even more families in Middle Tennessee.


Membership

The Tomorrow Fund has been a starting place for many young Nashville philanthropists just getting their start in this great city. Below is a list of The Tomorrow Fund’s current and alumni members, who in their earliest years of adulthood found it important to make their mark in Nashville through the use of their time and resources toward efforts providing community service, civic leadership, raising dollars for the local nonprofit community, and sharing their time with the other community-focused friends they would meet along the way:

Tomorrow Fund Board Member Name, Year Joined

Annie Bachman, 1999Katye Hughes, 2004Christi Gibbs, 2010
Sarah Barr Johnson, 1999Brad Northcut, 2004Liz Hanandez, 2010
John Bass, 1999Katie O'Brien, 2004Tamra Jordan, 2010
Dierks Bentley, 1999Chandi Patel, 2004Samantha Oaks, 2010
Abbay Blankenship, 1999Cynthia Price, 2004Kurt Snyer, 2010
Sid Chambless, 1999Zac Shoemate, 2004Jason Tucker, 2010
Jay Cook, 1999Mary Katherine Simmons, 2004Kimball Tyson, 2010
Jennifer Cook, 1999John Sisco, 2004Chris Walker, 2010
Aimee Epler, 1999Chris Strickland, 2004Tobey Williams, 2010
Martin Jones, 1999Marisa Adair, 2005Kayla Clayborne, 2011
Shawna Kahlo, 1999Aaron Armstrong, 2005Kerry Conley, 2011
Edith Kirkland, 1999Alex Brandau, 2005Heather Dixon, 2011
Miles Kirkland, 1999Chris Dowdy, 2005Stephen Garrett, 2011
Leslie Levy, 1999Joy Duong, 2005Julie Haag May, 2011
Fielding Logan, 1999Doug Finke, 2005Dave Haddock, 2011
Lauren Lunsford, 1999Taylor Gudeman, 2005Ben Shuster, 2011
Bridget Mikysa, 1999Emily Hudson, 2005Mike Stewart, 2011
Leslie Norman, 1999Kimmie Huggins, 2005Margaret Baker, 2012
Sarah Roberts, 1999Katie Jackson, 2005Ally Parsons, 2012
Grant Sechul, 1999MacKenzie McCracken, 2005Abby Sasser, 2012
Ashley Smith, 1999Carly McNeill, 2005Scott Bannach, 2013
Rob Smith, 1999Brad Northcut, 2005Jennings Harlan, 2013
Jay Williams, 1999Ross Powells, 2005Leah Glover Hayes, 2013
Kerry Wilson, 1999Cayce Publow, 2005Cara Sweeney Ince, 2013
Shawn Wilson, 1999K.J. Schumacher, 2005Amanda Kerns, 2013
Carter Wood, 1999Monica Wallis, 2005John Rader, 2013
Frances Bailey, 2000Ashley Welch, 2005Stephanie Gambill Simkin, 2013
Jay Bradford, 2000Tiffany Buntin, 2006Grace Sweeney, 2013
Emory Calhoun, 2000Joe Burchfield, 2006Concetta Wilson, 2013
Lou Chancellor, 2000Karen Gooch, 2006Brady Adams, 2014
Patrick Hale, 2000Meredith Hendrickson, 2006Anna Gernert, 2014
Andy Johns, 2000Allison Koch, 2006Sydney Hester, 2014
Amy Lee, 2000Chris Koch, 2006Natalie Lester, 2014
Clay Neuman, 2000Jessica Martin, 2006Paige Maynor, 2014
Kelly Parish, 2000James Rupley, 2006Caitlin Robbins, 2014
Katherine Scott, 2000Robin Shilling, 2006Cale Schmit, 2014
Noel Anne Summar, 2000Dowell Squier, 2006Amy Culpepper, 2015
Jeff Tarumianz, 2000Amy Tankley, 2006Adria DeLaune, 2015
Amy Zimmer, 2000Dave Carlson, 2007Laura Delgado, 2015
Heath Acuff, 2001Ted McKinney, 2007David Garrett, 2015
Kevin Holmes, 2001Jeff Moats, 2007Ann Harlan, 2015
Kipp Kranbuhl, 2001Amy Atcheson, 2009Michael King, 2015
Jim Pinna, 2001Emily Banks, 2009Jamie Voelker, 2015
Lisa Quillman, 2001Oliver Banks, 2009Sharica Brookins, 2016
Margaret Bass, 2003Allison Bates, 2009Stephen Duckworth, 2016
Sara Heyburn, 2003Jane Lynch Crain, 2009Jeremy Duke, 2016
Patrick Hitt, 2003Caitlin Doty, 2009Julie White Garrett, 2016
Mary Katherine Husser, 2003Brandon Keane, 2009Nathan Harris, 2016
Presh Killebrew, 2003Mary Katherine Martin, 2009Hannah Krimm, 2016
Lauren Lane, 2003Nicholas May, 2009Noah Krimm, 2016
Erik Larsen, 2003Brandon Miller, 2009Addison Old, 2016
Lou Marchetti, 2003Brianna Morant, 2009Florence Sudduth, 2016
Julie North, 2003Katherine Pace, 2009Teade Tagaloa, 2016
Brad Northcut, 2003Katie Pickens, 2009Dani Ward, 2016
Andrew Publow, 2003Annie Smart, 2009Ella Watkins, 2016
Austin Ray, 2003Katie Summers, 2009Tyler Graham, 2017
Lauren Sims, 2003Brook Sutton, 2009Katlin Pendleton, 2017
Casey Stribling, 2003Addison Thompson, 2009Jamie Starling, 2017
Michelle Villere, 2003Patrick Walsh, 2009Kelli Bradbury, 2018
Andy Ward, 2003Mary Katherine Barranco, 2010Christine Locke, 2018
Julie Adams, 2004Akadius Berry, 2010Jeff Logston, 2018
Marisa Adams, 2004Amy Bowland, 2010Gabrielle Mees, 2018
Amy Elson, 2004Grace Bullard, 2010Scott Meltzer, 2018
Leigh Fitts, 2004Josh Burgener, 2010Melissa McWilliams, 2019
Lauren Gable, 2004Lindsay Burgener, 2010Meredith Taylor, 2019
Stratton Huggins, 2004Heath Carver, 2010