Mayor Madeline Rogero welcomed officials from First Tennessee Bank to the Change Center on Tuesday morning. The bankers brought a ceremonial check for $100,000, signaling a five-year commitment to support the daily operations of the Youth Entrepreneur Center.
The bank’s community development grant was supported by Joshalyn Hundley, community development manager; Courtney Potts, community investment coordinator; and Carla Mounger, relationship manager in commercial lending.
Nicole Chandler, executive director for the Change Center, said she hopes to open in late spring 2018. The center is located adjacent to Overcoming Believers Church at 203 Harriet Tubman Street. Chandler has hired Dr. Kathy Sims as interim HR director. Sims said hiring has begun.
Bruce Charles, chief financial officer, said 40 young people will be hired part-time every six months and 15 full-time jobs will be created. With six months of work experience, a drug-free young person has a choice of jobs in the community, Charles said.
Rogero endorsed the Change Center as part of her Save Our Sons initiative. It is a safe, strategically located, center-city partnership that provides relational, recreational, leadership development, and job initiatives for teens and young adults.
Rogero said it would take $2.9 million to open the Change Center. The city contributed $500,000 of capital funds to the project. The Haslam Family Foundation, Pilot Corporation and Cornerstone Foundation donated another $500,000. The Haslam Family also pledged $250,000 over five years for operating expenses.
Several community members were present on Tuesday including former UT football player Sterling Henton and attorney Ursula Bailey.