Your vote could help local nonprofits win grants

Betsy PickleAround Town, Feature

The good news is, 77 Knoxville area organizations (52 from Knox County alone) are vying for $250,000 in grants from the First Tennessee Foundation.

The, um, challenging news is, they’re in a group of more than 160 nonprofits from throughout East and Northeast Tennessee, and that’s but one area in a group of nine covering Tennessee (including the Middle and West Grand Divisions), Florida, North Carolina, Northwest Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.


The “25 Years of Giving Video Contest,” marking the 25th anniversary of the First Tennessee Awards, now needs the public to weigh in on which groups they want to win the grant money, which will be distributed in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

“We have been amazed by the amount of enthusiasm we’ve seen from participating organizations in just the first two days of voting,” said Dave Miller, First Tennessee’s East Tennessee region president. “Social media and email have blown up with organizations making their advocates aware of the contest and appealing for their votes. We couldn’t be happier with the excitement the First Tennessee Foundation’s contest is generating and the attention it is bringing to the fantastic work these organizations are doing in our communities.”

People are encouraged to visit here to watch videos created by the organizations and vote for their favorites. To cast a vote, users will need to create a new account (this is a one-time process and does not have to be repeated for each day of voting). Participants may vote on multiple videos each day but cannot vote on the same video twice in the same day. Votes will clear each night at 11:59 p.m. CST.

The top 30 videos will advance and be reviewed by a panel of judges; 25 recipients will be chosen. Friday, Aug. 31, is the last day to vote. Winners will be announced on Monday, Oct. 1.

The videos run the gamut from low-budget to professional looking, hilarious to poignant. Some use cute kids and adorable animals (or both). Others boast celebrity supporters such as Phillip Fulmer, Bob Kesling, former city council member and Vice Mayor Duane Grieve and teacher Ernie Roberts of East Tennessee PBS’s “Mathline.”

Some are earnest, and some might surprise you. East Tennessee Technology Access Center submitted a sweet music video. The Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, Knoxville Chapter, produced a playful video sure to inspire laughs.

Many groups are widely known; others are obscure. Some praise the First Tennessee Foundation for its past support. The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center points out that many First Tennessee Bank employees volunteer in its programs.

Here are the Knox County groups hoping you’ll vote for their videos:

  • 91.9 FM WUOT
  • A Step Ahead Foundation of East Tennessee
  • ALPS Adult Day Services
  • Alzheimer’s Tennessee
  • Appalachian Ballet Company
  • Appalachian Black Bear Rehabilitation & Release Center Inc. (DBA: Appalachian Bear Rescue)
  • Arc of Knox County/Sunshine Industries
  • Asian Culture Center of Tennessee
  • Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, Knoxville Chapter, Historic Ramsey House
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
  • Bijou Theatre Center
  • Blount County Community Action Agency
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains
  • Bridge Refugee Services Inc.
  • Carson-Newman University
  • Carson-Newman University: Appalachian Outreach
  • Catholic Charities of East Tennessee
  • Children’s International Summer Villages Inc – Smoky Mountain Chapter
  • Children’s Ministry Outreach/YWAM Knoxville
  • Clinch-Powell RC&D
  • Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking
  • Dogwood Arts
  • East Tennessee Kidney Foundation
  • East Tennessee PBS
  • East Tennessee Technology Access Center
  • Emerald Youth Foundation
  • Family Promise of Blount County
  • Friends of Hospice of the Lakeway Area Inc.
  • Friends of Literacy
  • Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs
  • Friends of the Smokies
  • Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians, Inc.
  • Girls Inc. of The TN Valley
  • Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center
  • Greater Grace Ministries
  • Hamblen County Foundation for Educational Excellence and Achievement
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center
  • Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation
  • Hope House
  • Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley
  • InterFaith Health Clinic
  • Jefferson Rural Clinic Inc. DBA Joining Hands Health
  • Knoxville Academy of Medicine Foundation dba Knoxville Area Project Access
  • Knoxville Entrepreneur Center
  • Knoxville Habitat for Humanity
  • Knoxville History Project
  • Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
  • Koinonia Foundation of Tennessee
  • Ladies of Charity Knoxville
  • Lakeway Area Habitat for Humanity
  • Legal Aid of East Tennessee
  • Make-A-Wish East Tennessee
  • Maryville College
  • MATS Inc. (Ministerial Association Temporary Shelter)
  • Mooresburg Community Association
  • National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., Greater Knoxville Chapter
  • Newport-Cocke County Senior Center Seniors Social Services
  • Remote Area Medical – RAM
  • Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center of the Smokies
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee
  • Sevier County Partners in Progress Education Foundation
  • Shangri- La Therapeutic Academy of Riding
  • Shora Foundation
  • Sunshine Ambassadors Inc.
  • Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness Inc.
  • The Children’s Center of Knoxville Inc.
  • The East Tennessee Community Design Center
  • The Gate – Gateway to Independence
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Tennessee Chapter
  • The Muse Knoxville
  • The University of Tennessee Medical Center
  • Triangle Park Association Inc.
  • United Way of Greater Knoxville
  • Volunteer Fire Department of Seymour Inc.
  • Volunteer Ministry Center
  • Young-Williams Animal Center
  • YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley

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