Group aims to keep Fountain City forward

Beth KinnaneFountain City, Our Town Neighbors

On the cusp of a pandemic isn’t exactly the best moment to kick off a new non-profit. Of course, there was no way for Charlie Pratt to know that Covid-19 was just around the corner when he and Blake Foote brainstormed a new organization to promote Fountain City businesses.


Pratt and Foote are both financial advisors with Modern Woodmen of America, where Foote is also a managing partner. Their fledgling organization is Fountain City Forward (FCF), which is hyper focused on networking and business relationships. The group also participates in quarterly community service projects. Many of its members are also involved in the Fountain City Business and Professional Association.

Charlie Pratt

“There is definitely overlap there,” Pratt said. “The FCBPA is a great group doing great things in our community. With FCF, this group is focused on building those business relationships and getting those referrals to our community.”

The idea formed in late 2019, and FCF had its first official meeting in January of last year. Just in time for people to not do much gathering together within a short two months. But they pressed on, Pratt said, doing online meetings and still managing to build membership and participate in service projects.

This year, the FCF’s projects have included a blood drive and collecting a mountain of canned goods for the Fountain City Ministry Center. The fourth quarter project happens this Saturday at Fountain City Park.

The BOOFest Concert in the Park kicks off at 3 p.m. with Trick or Treating for the kids and area vendors. At 5 p.m., local band Ducktown Mission takes the stage to perform. BOOFest is organized by Fountain City Forward, Fountain City Business and Professional Association and Knox TN Today. The event is free to the public, but proceeds (and any donations) go to benefit the Fountain City Lions Club, which has been through a lot of changes in the past year after handing over the park and lake to the city of Knoxville (see those stories here and here). Within days of the transfer, the park was closed for much needed upgrades.

That closure put a delay of game on several events planned at the park, including an annual summer concert series. But Pratt said after several possible dates kept not working out, things came together just in time to tie it in to Halloween.

“Our participating business will be giving out candy for the kids,” he said. “We’re going to have a great band. We hope to be participating in these types of events more often.”

Pratt said it was especially important to be a part of supporting the Lions Club.

“This is a way for us to help them moving forward. So much of their fund-raising has been delayed by Covid,” he said. “And they have supported this community for years and years. So, we hope to see lots of people on Saturday.”

Fountain City Forward meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month with guest speakers at Sam and Andy’s in Fountain City. To learn more about the organization, go here.

Beth Kinnane is the community news editor for KnoxTNToday.com

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