The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) is pleased to announce the creation of its newest affiliate fund, the Community Foundation of Rutherford County.
The Community Foundation's affiliate funds are designated to support a particular geographic area, be it a county, a community, or a specific region.
Each affiliate is overseen by a board composed of local leaders charged with educating their neighbors about creating a "charitable savings account" to benefit the community and making decisions about grant distributions based the affiliate's priorities.
Founding chair of the Community Foundation of Rutherford County's Steering Committee is Steve Flatt, Chief Executive Officer of Murfreesboro-based National HealthCare Corporation. Flatt is a member of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Board of Directors.
Founding donors of the Rutherford affiliate include: Robert and Susanne Adams, the Honorable Don and Rita Ash, Conrad and Allison Camp, Gerald and Joanne Coggin, the Honorable Bob and Diane Corlew, Don Daniel, the Honorable J.S. "Steve" and Lara Daniel, Steve and Patsi Flatt, John and Gina Floyd, Jimmy and Donna Jobe, the Honorable Susan Melton, National HealthCare Corporation, National Health Investors, Bob and Marie Parks, Pinnacle Bank, Mark and Anita Pirtle, Ted and Gloria LaRoche, Rick and Amy Sain, Kristi Sallee Gaines, Rick and Charlotte Swafford, the Swanson family, and former State Senator Andy and Cherry Womack.
County affiliates benefit from the administrative support, guidance and philanthropic expertise provided by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, as well as the dedication and vision of local leaders within the communities being served.
"We are grateful that Rutherford County is one of the fastest-growing counties in America. However, with that rapid growth comes challenges," Flatt said. "For example, almost 15% of our county's population lives below the poverty line, and that percentage will rise as our county grows.
"Our community is blessed with an array of nonprofit organizations that enhance the quality of life for thousands of our citizens," Flatt continued. "The Community Foundation of Rutherford County will help ensure that these vital organizations will have a dependable funding source in perpetuity.
"Our goal was to raise at least $250,000 for the Community Foundation of Rutherford County by year end so that grants could be made to local nonprofits in 2018. I'm pleased we've met that goal and expect more gifts by year end."
"Forming and operating the Community Foundation of Rutherford County under the 'umbrella' of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee makes all the sense in the world," said Judge J.S. "Steve" Daniel, another founding donor and Steering Committee member. "We can utilize their considerable administrative, marketing, and investment resources for a fraction of what would be spent if we formed this organization independently."
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which began in 1991, has been administering and distributing funds that benefit organizations in Rutherford County ever since. These distributions have represented donor-advised fund grants, scholarships to support students attending Middle Tennessee State University, annual agency endowment distributions, and discretionary grants through the annual grant application cycle.
The Community Foundation of Rutherford County will be the first fund whose proceeds will be entirely dedicated to Rutherford County, however.
"Creating the Community Foundation of Rutherford is like establishing a charitable savings account for this community," said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. "Funds are given by an ever-expanding group of people who love Rutherford County and who are eager to protect the quality of life they enjoy for the benefit of this and future generations.
"The funds come in, are invested, and the community continues to reap the returns for generations to come," Lehman continued. "But for creation of a fund like this, dedicated to place, fewer people would have the opportunity to have more money remain 'at home' and less be sent off to the IRS, now or after they die.
"We are honored to help Rutherford Countians invest in their future. We know that when people come together to invest in their community, important things happen."
Existing affiliates and the years they began include The Cheatham County Community Foundation (1998), The Community Foundation of Dickson County (1999), The Goodlettsville Area Community Foundation (1999), The Tullahoma Community Foundation (1999), the Cumberland Plateau Community Foundation (1999), The Community Foundation of Christian, Todd and Trigg Counties (2003), The Community Foundation of Clarksville/Montgomery County (2007), and The Community Foundation of Wilson County (2014).