Legacy gift honors Thomas Roddy

John CrooksFeature

When Alexandra Roddy considered how she could effect change in honor of her late husband, Tom, three priorities came to mind: faith in Christ, youth and Knoxville.


Through a generous gift of $271,000 shared by Emerald Youth Foundation, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Young Life, Alexandra is investing in the next generation of godly leaders in greater Knoxville.

“Tom knew the biggest decision in life is to know your creator – God – and that He is the one who became a man so that we may have life and have it abundantly,” Alexandra said.

The gift will be used for:

  • Young Life – Continued funding for current staff, care and training for 200 volunteer leaders, and taking more than 400 youth and leaders to Young Life summer camp.
  • InterVarsity Christian Fellowship – Supporting graduate students, faculty and undergraduate students at the University of Tennessee with creative approaches to ministry which expand the engagement of faith-based ministries with UT’s academic community and develops apprenticeship training for local volunteers and staff.
  • Emerald Youth Foundation – To further ministry efforts to raise up a large number of city youth who love Jesus and want to renew their community. Funds will help Emerald toward its goal of producing 200 promising, godly young adult leaders for Knoxville.

Following graduation from Baylor School, Tom Roddy attended the University of Tennessee where he was active as a Young Life leader and regularly participated in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Both ministries deeply impacted his life.

Tom and Alexandra married in 1958, and he followed his call to ministry earning his doctorate from Columbia Theological Seminary. He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church USA, served as a missionary in Brazil from 1966-1969, and was an associate pastor at North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. In the early 1990s, Tom founded The Atlanta Resource Foundation, which fulfilled his vision for people of lesser and greater means to work and grow together.

“It was so important to Tom that others would come to know Christ and have people in their lives to help them know God’s love and care. He would be very happy with this gift,” Alexandra said.

“This is an instrumental investment in Knoxville’s young people from (Alexandra) Roddy. Our city is a place where the community loves children deeply and individuals are willing to invest in their future,” said Steve Diggs, Emerald Youth Foundation president and CEO.

John Crooks is director of communications for Emerald Youth Foundation.

Book reflects on life journey

Tom Roddy was born July 17, 1936, in Knoxville. His grandfather was J.P. Roddy, who owned the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in East Tennessee and parts of Kentucky. His parents were J.P. Roddy Jr. and Lois Wright Roddy. His siblings were J.P. “Pat” Roddy III and Mary Ellen “Sis” Mitchell. He and Alexandra had three daughters. His book, Wandering Home, is available from Amazon. He died May 5, 2017, in Atlanta.

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