How to Give Back: Charities in Nashville
Getting involved and giving back has never been easier — our collection of Nashville charities doing the selfless work in our city and making it even stronger.
Written By: Nashville Lifestyles & Erin B. Murray
Founded by the multi-platinum, GRAMMY Award-winning band, Jars of Clay, Blood:Water Mission began as a call to personalize the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Blood:Water Mission has raised millions of dollars through the creative efforts of tens of thousands of individuals seeking to make a difference, providing for the completion of the 1,000 Wells Project at the end of 2010. To date, they have partnered with more than 1,000 communities in Africa, providing life-saving water and health care for over 600,000 people in 13 different countries.
Meet co-founder Jena Nardella in our Nashville Heroes feature.
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee
Make a Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical condition to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Fulfilling a child’s wish provides a joyful and meaningful experience that benefits both the child and the family. The Middle Tennessee chapter volunteers are part of a nationwide network of nearly 25,000 caring people dedicated to making wishes come true.
See party pics from the most recent Waiting for Wishes event!
Famous Dave’s Annual Birdies, Bogeys and Bones Golf Tournament (Fall) and Kevin Carter's Waiting for Wishes Celebrity Waiter's Dinner (Spring)
Don't miss an event, MiddleTennessee.Wish.org
Founded by 19 year-old Katie Davis in 200, Amazima is based out of Brentwood and feeds, educates, and encourages orphaned and vulnerable children and the poor in the country of Uganda. In the Lugandan language, Amazima (uh-mahz-i-muh) means "truth." Amazima desires to reveal the truth of God's unconditional love through Jesus Christ to the Ugandan people. Amazima ministers to the Ugandan people through Education Sponsorship, Masese Outreach, Community Outreach, Vocational Projects, and Discipleship.
More at Amazina.org
Our Nashville Heroes features Katie Davis — read more now!
The Salvation Army of Nashville
This faith-based nonprofit has been in existence in Nashville since 1890 and offers a resource for families in great need. Serving nearly 30,000 citizens of Nashville, the Salvation Army is an international mission that focuses on empowering individuals through faith, hope, and love.
The local Bridge to Bridge walk takes place every December, featuring a four-mile course that connects three bridges. The Salvation Army also accepts vehicle donations on a regular basis and during the holidays, runs the organization's iconic "Red Kettles" campaign as well as the Angel Tree program, which identifies and helps fulfill the needs of local children.
Give back to those who give so much at salarmy-nashville.org
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
A promise from one sister to another launched this global breast cancer movement that has invested almost $2 billion to end breast cancer. In 1992, the Greater Nashville Affiliate held their first Race for the Cure at Centennial Park. In the two decades since, they've grown to include a staff, a Board of Directors have provided more than $3 million in screening, treatment and educational services to the women of Middle Tennessee.
The annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure takes place every year in October.
Give your girl power to the group in Nashville, visit their site KomenNashville.org
Second Harvest Food Bank
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee opened its doors in 1978 with commitment from several community leaders. The purpose of the organization was to provide a central distribution center for companies, groups and individuals who wished to help provide food for hungry people in Middle Tennessee. Second Harvest's mission is to feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in our community. Second Harvest was designed to collect food that would otherwise be wasted, inspect and sort this food, and distribute it to soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters serving the hungry.
The Harvest Moon Ball is a socialite dream each November featuring a night of dining and dancing.
Help end hunger in Middle Tennessee, check out SecondHarvestMidTN.org
Tender Loving Cakes
There are any number of ways to support the Second Harvest Food Bank but one of the most delicious is through Tender Loving Cakes. The concept is simple: When you order one of their locally made coffee cakes, they donate a second coffee cake to the Middle Tennessee Second Harvest Food Bank. The cakes, in sour cream blueberry or cinnamon pecan, make deliciously sweet corporate and hostess gifts
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 840 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 21 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $600 million to community programs and institutions.
The Community Foundation now has Giving Cards for holiday shoppers looking for an alternative to traditional gifts. Giving Cards, like any retail gift card, are loaded with a dollar value by the purchaser, but this is a charitable gift card – Giving Card recipients redeem 100% of the value of these cards as donation to any charity of their choice, anywhere in the U.S.
Visit their site now to purchase a Giving Card.
Cheekwood Society contributors join peers and community leaders in an effort to maintain the established tradition of philanthropy and involvement that has been at the heart of financial support for Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art. Cheekwood Society is an essential resource for the continued success and expansion of our collections, programs, exhibitions, and activities through unrestricted and restricted gifts.
The Swan Ball is is a white-tie gala, attended by 850 prominent middle Tennesseans and their guests. The annual gala occurs on the second Saturday of June. The Ball benefits—and is held on the grounds of—Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art.
Consider joining the society, Cheekwood.org
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers and the team behind Linda's Hope is driven to find ways to end the disease as well as to raise awareness and support for those who have been affected by it. They provide education and outreach and also find creative ways to raise funds.
More from the 2012 Linda's Hope event on our Party Pics Page!
The annual Chili Cookoff takes place in November and welcomes chili "teams" to compete with their own pots of chili. The money raised goes toward an endowment for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
Read up about this great organization at lindashope.org
Cumberland River Compact
Clean and abundant water are a finite resource that provides so much for us, including drinking water, agricultural irrigation, recreation, and manufacturing, to name a few. Chances are you can’t name one endeavor that doesn’t use water in the process. The Cumberland River group works to ensure clean and abundant water sources throughout the Cumberland River Basin (both in Tennessee and Kentucky).
The Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival is held in September is a lively experience for participants and spectators. Whether you're working hard with your team of rowers or enjoying the view from Riverfront Park downtown—you're improving our community. The long tradition of dragon boat racing with a cultural festival is unlike any other in Music City.
Find out more at CumberlandRiverCompact.org
Tennessee Voices For Children
Tennessee Voices for Children, Inc. (TVC) was organized in 1990 by Tipper Gore as a statewide coalition of individuals, agencies and organizations working together as a Steering Council to promote children’s health and education services. TVC has progressed to become a statewide and national source of referral, support, and advocacy for families and the systems that serve them. In the past fiscal year, TVC has reached more than 150,000 parents/caregivers, family members, and professionals (providers, educators, other advocates, etc.).
More at TNvoices.org
National Humane Association
The Nashville Humane Association (NHA) is one of the oldest service organizations in Nashville, looking out for animals in Davidson County since 1946. You can assist in their mission through adoption or just going in to spend quality time with a dog or cat. The Humane Association offers services including: Pet Adoptions, Animal Resource Center, Lost and Found Pets, Humane Education, Community Outreach and Spay/Neuter, Volunteering, and Foster Care.
Unleashed: Dinner with your Dog is a fabulous and fun dinner with your dog and pet fashion show featuring local fashion designers, jewelry designers and interior decorators who have created custom “canine couture” pieces for the runway. The event takes place every January.
More at nashvillehumane.org
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country.
Team Rio is the walk/run team representing Big Brothers Big Sisters during the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon, held every April. There is also a youth team that partners with local schools to teach and encourage a healthier lifestyle and assist kids with their training for the Kids Marathon.
See how you can get involved at MentoraKid.org
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
LLS hosts a number of events each year including the Light the Night Walk, where thousands of participants gather in October to walk 1.75 miles holding illuminated balloons. In its 11th year, the leisurely Light the Night walk features live music, food and children's activities.
More on this local charity at lls.org
Mobile Medical Disaster Relief
MMDR is a 501(c)(3) Christian humanitarian organization that exists to help meet the needs of the poor and under-served people in the United States and throughout the world. MMDR is a faith-based nonprofit organization, ministering to the oppressed, serving the medically vulnerable, supporting neglected children, providing pure water and enabling self-sufficiency through micro-entrepreneurship.
Meet the folks behind MMDR in our special section on Nashville heroes.
This community based AIDS service organization provides education, advocacy, and supportive services to anyone infected by HIV and AIDS. They have educated 10,900 teenagers about HIV prevention, provided 161,300 meals to 1,480 people with HIV/AIDS (PWAs), helped 1,200 clients find and keep housing and supported many others with financial and therapeutic resources.
Under The Big Top turns Marathon Music Works into an 1800's circus with over-the-top décor, acrobats, and fire breathers each November.
Don't miss any of the action, NashvilleCARES.org
Brown Dog Foundation
Founded in 2006 in memory of Chocolate Chip, a chocolate Labrador retriever that touched many hearts in his short, ten-year life, the Brown Dog Foundation is a 501c3 public charity that provides funding to families who find themselves with a sick pet that would likely respond to treatment, but due to an unforeseen circumstance, there is not enough money immediately available to make it happen.
The annual We Salute the Animals Dinner takes place in October and features a four-course dinner with all proceeds benefitting Tennessee families in crisis whose pet requires life-saving veterinary care.
Autism Society of Middle Tennessee
ASMT is the voice of the autism community in Middle Tennessee. Offering an extensive collection of resources from monthly workshops and support groups to educational and legislative advocacy. And that's the short list. Their mission is to enrich the lives and experiences of individuals on the spectrum, their families, and their surrounding community through support, advocacy, and education.
Be a part of the ASMT conference each fall (November), where guest speakers and health care experts come in to encourage and enlighten attendees. In addition, ASMT hosts many events for members, most of which require advance registration.
Check their website for more details: tnautism.org
Renewal House is Nashville’s comprehensive, family-centered treatment and recovery community for women and their children, offering both residential and outpatient services. In a community with addicted women and their children, Renewal House fosters healing, resiliency and continuing recovery to enhance family health.
A Women's Thanksgiving is a celebratory dinner held in November to benefit the Renewal House and showcase the stories of the program's Graduates. The women share how time at the Renewal House changed their life and the lives of their children by giving them the tools and support needed to live a healthy, drug-free life.
Listen to these stories and more at RenewalHouse.org
American Heart Association
Cardiovascular diseases and stroke are the No. 1 cause of death in Tennessee. Learn about the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association in Tennessee. They’re building healthier lives where you live and work — in the community, health care, education and research.
The Nashville Heart Gala is one of the city’s most engaging and passion-filled evenings and celebrates the work, mission, donors, volunteers, and most importantly the lives saved and improved because of everyone’s efforts. Additionally, the Go Red event in February is National Wear Red Day (Feb. 1), when everyone wears red to “speak up” about women’s fight against heart disease.
More at heart.org
Giving Back Made Easy: Working together, the Nashville Go Red for Women movement and King Jewelers have teamed up to design and manufacture an exclusive Go Red charm bracelet. Proceeds raise awareness and assisting the organization in their mission for 2013. The official Go Red Charm Bracelets are available online or exclusively at King Jewelers. Take a look!
Songs for Sound
Songs for Sound's core mission is to improve the quality of life for profoundly deaf children worldwide by providing resources to give them the chance at a mainstream life. They work with the deaf community and provide resources for cochlear implants and rehabilitation, including speech/audiology services, to children in need.
Each spring, their fundraising Denim and Diamonds event is held in Franklin with an amazing lineup of live music. Learn more at songsforsound.com
See Party Pics from the most recent Denim and Diamonds event.
Pet Community Center
Founded in 2011, the Pet Community Center is a volunteer-led group of advocates who have extensive experience in animal welfare. Their mission is to create a community where pets are valued and treated as members of the family and to eliminate the need for euthanasia. They are always looking for volunteers to join their cause and to help educate the community.
Team Feline Fix, a running team that supports Pet Community Center runs in Nashville's half marathon every spring. The money raised by the racers helps facilitate spays and neuters through the Feline Fix program. Find out more about the Pet Community Center.