The Community Foundation’s Heart of Nashville series revisits stories of donors and active community residents who have stepped up to ensure that our region continues to be one of the very best places to call home.

Since its inception, The Big Payback has always welcomed nonprofits and schools. What may not be so well known is that religious institutions also have always been a part of our 24-hour giving event, and with much success.

For instance, with only about 70 members the Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ may be small, but its community is strong. Several years ago the congregation formed Preserve Lindsley Avenue Now, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to the historical preservation of the crumbling building its community gathers in. With the help of The Big Payback and the generosity of donors, more than $100,000 has been raised for Lindsley Avenue in order to help replace roofs, fix water damage, and rebuild towers.

As another example, Fashioned In His Image (FIHI), founded by Kiwanis Hockett in 1982, serves as the women’s ministry for the Born Again Church on Trinity Lane. Located in an 18,000-square-foot building in Nashville, Fashioned In His Image Total Women’s Center provides space for staff, counseling sessions, classes and even summer camps to support thousands of women and girls through all parts of Middle Tennessee. By educating girls, FIHI hopes to build stronger communities, healthier families, and brighter futures.

The Community Foundation recently sat down with Kiwanis to discuss her work and how The Big Payback has made an impact on her community and nonprofits.

Tell us about Born Again Church and how you and your husband [Bishop Horace Hockett, its pastor] got involved.

We are an Inner City Ministry, and we started in East Nashville. My husband taught at the University of North Carolina, and while we were coming back home and seeing the conditions and the hearts of many people, we wanted people to get a clear understanding of who God is. And all God is is unconditional love. It’s not based on denominations. We’re a safe place for people to come and share and help them grow. And they don’t have to stay with us [in the congregation] — they can fly. We reach people from every walk of life. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve done or what you’ve been into, we’re going to be there to help you understand the way we believe how God loves and touches everybody. Born Again is about becoming who you were called to be.

Describe Fashioned In His Image as a nonprofit. What’s it about?

Fashioned In His Image has been in existence a long time. At least 38 years. We only became a nonprofit about 20 years ago. What we do, we really care about women and girls. And when you have women and girls, you take on families. So we train, we educate, we build mentoring programs, we teach them about everyday living. Also in that: Who they are. Now what I mean is not just gender, but who they are as people and what contributions they can make in life. We see women from all levels of life, and we have programs centered around helping them educate their children and being involved in their community.

Can you talk about the collaborative efforts with other nonprofits since The Big Payback?

Since The Big Payback, our confidence has been increased. In that what we do is important and that there are others and what they do is important. Hearing others talk about their efforts has taught us certain things that we can add to our program. It’s encouraging that somebody hears me, somebody sees me, and they care.

What do you do to prepare for The Big Payback? How did you let your supporters know you were participating?

We used the web to share a lot. We had a lot of our supporters share their hashtags. Also, we made a short video. I was throwing up this [play] money that you all had down at the Convention Center. It was really, really cute. It was a lot of fun for us to do. So we shared those videos, and we sent out different types of communications. The main thing is we want to reach more people. It’s time for us to do that. We’ve even had friends that I’ve told about The Big Payback that are now doing it and other churches that have joined in since we’ve just shared it and talked about it. So to me, it’s a good thing.