During the first meeting of the 37208 Special Committee, one resident summarized the experience of living in 37208 by stating: “You either die or go to jail.” Despite this reality, there is a web of love at work everyday in North Nashville. Neighbors that have a little more buy groceries for neighbors that have a little less. Artists organize community bike rides, workshops and outings for neighborhood youth. Community leaders stitch together summer and after-school programs on prayers, hope and grit. Quiet and consistent acts of love are plentiful in North Nashville, if you know where to look and you know how to listen.
What would happen if neighbors, artists, and organizers didn’t have to self-fund solutions to food insecurity, lack of childcare and mass incarceration? What would happen if they could be liberated from the endless cycle of fundraising?
“With the launch of the 37208 Fund, we’re hoping to find out,” said community organizers.
This privately-funded participatory grant making model will empower people who live, work, and minister in 37208 to distribute funding to those making a difference in their own community. It was one of several recommendations of the Special Committee Report, designed to bring “reparations and justice” to North Nashville.
The 37208 Fund was created over an 18 month period and initial funding was provided by the Healing Trust and the Frist Foundation. Corner to Corner, a North Nashville-centered organization dedicated to educational equity, economic equity, and spiritual growth, has graciously agreed to serve as the fiscal agent.
“The work that Corner to Corner and the 37208 Committee are doing is valuable, responsive, and well-timed to meet the needs of the residents of Nashville’s most historically excluded and under-resourced community,” said Healing Trust President/CEO Kristen Keely-Dinger. “Whitney Pastorek and M. Simone Boyd took a recommendation from the 37208 Special Report to start a fund that supports North Nashville and made it a reality. This collaboration and model provide a unique and necessary opportunity for the community’s residents to use their wisdom to best meet its own needs.”
“We are so excited to be partnered in this work to amplify the many great things that are happening in North Nashville,” said Shana Berkeley, Corner to Corner director of the Academy. “We believe the 37208 Fund is going to have a tremendous impact as it becomes an invaluable resource in the community.”
The 37208 Fund’s guideposts have been set by the founding team, but further decisions (including distribution of grant funding) will be entirely left to the newly-formed 37208 Fund Committee. Consisting of an invited cross-section of residents, artists, pastors, business owners, and youth representatives, the Fund Committee will make all further choices independently. Their first meeting was held virtually on August 14.
Philanthropic professionals and community stakeholders generously contributed their time and wisdom throughout this process, including Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, Council members Brandon Taylor, Freddie O’Connell, and Bob Mendes; Alisha Haddock and The Housing Fund; Judy Orr and Catholic Charities at C.E. McGruder; Kim Carpenter Drake and the Middle Tennessee Donors Forum; the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; and Dr. Phyllis Hildreth of American Baptist College.
To apply for funding, complete the 37208 Fund Application by visiting <forms.gle/2AYD6nWG7j5aEqJa8> or contact Louis Holiday at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or call 615-248-9811.
To contribute, mail checks to Corner to Corner, P.O. Box 60646, Nashville, TN 37206. Designate 37208 Fund in the memo line. Further information about digital donation will be forthcoming.
37208 Fund guideposts
The 37208 Fund’s purpose is to support and uplift the work already happening in North Nashville.
Guiding principles for the committee:
- Funding is limited to organizations, businesses and individuals that live or work in 37208.
- Funding is limited to organizations, businesses and individuals with a documented history of serving North Nashville.
- Funding recommendations will be made at the discretion of the committee, after reviewing proposals from the community. No funding will be dispersed without going through the committee proposal process.
- In order to maintain accountability, the committee must report progress to North Nashville residents via word of mouth, social media, and/or events twice per year.
- At the end of each calendar year, the committee will decide whether to continue another year.
- We will fund things for the culture: mentally, spiritually, economically, educationally, socially, etc.
- We will support organizations, businesses and individuals who are tapping into creativity to uplift this community. We recognize that failure is often part of the creative process, and we welcome those willing to aim high.
- When in doubt, put kids first.