For the School of Music Joy In Knoxville, it looked like the pandemic was going to take those special moments to the heart of her mission: the delicious exchanges between experienced mentors and enthusiastic newcomers.
But like countless other organizations, the association has had to adapt. The school has grown from helping nearly 220 children per week at home to a fully Zoom-based school. And, thanks to a lot of hard work, everyone has flourished.
The dedication to helping the community during an unprecedented time is why the nonprofit is one of five in East Tennessee to be honored with 2021 A thriving community grants from Gannett, the parent company of Knox News.
“It means a lot to us to get that kind of support. Especially in times like these, kids can feel really isolated,” Joy of Music executive director Francis “Frank” Graffeo said. “Music is a great way to stay focused, have purpose, and accomplish something right from the seat of your own home.”
The Joy of Music will receive $ 10,000 from Gannett, which Graffeo says can help serve at least 20 students.
“This grant from the Gannett Foundation gives us hope,” said Graffeo. “And of course that gives us a lot of practical help.”
A Community Thrives, a $ 2.3 million national initiative, supports organizations that tackle a range of social issues. This year, those issues included homelessness, mental health care for LGBTQ people, reproductive care and girls’ education, to name a few. Since 2017, A Community Thrives has distributed $ 17 million in grants and donations to community organizations.
All grant recipients have raised funds through crowdfunding prior to receiving a grant.
The five East Tennessee nonprofits selected for a grant all share a common goal: to serve their local communities to the best of their ability.
Another recipient is Knox Area Rescue Departments, a faith-based organization that works to help the poor and needy of Knoxville. The association will receive $ 2,500.
“We know we are not going to solve the problem of homelessness, but we know that we are called to do what we can and serve the men and women who walk through these doors,” said Karen Bowdle, Director communications and public relations.
KARM hopes to use the money to help provide accessible healthcare and for some of its programs, like LaunchPoint, which gives hope by reconnecting individuals to dreams they once had but were lost when their lives got out of hand. and Barea, which is a 9 to 12 month program that teaches participants how to serve through 200 hours of hard work, 200 hours of learning, and 36 hours of community service.
Bowdle said the grant will help the healthcare center provide the opportunity to be evaluated by healthcare professionals. Bowdle says the grant can help the organization make updates to the facility that will ultimately cut costs for medical providers to come to the center.
For the third consecutive year, Mooresburg Community Association receives a grant of $ 5,000. The only delivery service of its kind in the western part of Hawkins County, the association provides needed services to the elderly and disabled. The objective of the association is to allow the elderly to live as independently as possible, as long as possible and to avoid unnecessary travel in nursing homes.
Mooresburg Community Association executive director Priscilla Rogers said the organization wanted to use the money to continue its hilltop meal and pantry bag programs. Meals in the Hills serves around 80 to 90 people per week, and the Pantry Bag program brings groceries and food to local mobile homes.
“It’s difficult in a rural area to be able to get the funding to provide this type of service and expand what we’ve been doing over the years. We started with five people 20 years ago in our Meals in the Hills program and here we are now, ”Rogers said. “Whenever we see an opportunity to get help from a company like Gannett, we apply and it really helps us. It’s like you really are something to be recognized by a national entity.”
Boobs Connect will receive a $ 10,000 grant to enable Knoxville women diagnosed with breast cancer to become their best advocates on their cancer journey. The group connects patients with relevant information, resources and friendships.
The latest nonprofit to receive a grant is Center for a sustainable future, which enables individuals and communities to improve health and resilience by fostering a cooperative and empowered learning community using the principles of permaculture. The organization will receive $ 2,500.
Grants are chosen by the leaders of Gannett’s USA TODAY Network, made up of more than 250 newsrooms in 46 states.
“Across the country, A Community Thrives grants connect the brands in the USA TODAY network to the communities in which we operate and beyond,” said Sue Madden, director of the Gannett Foundation. “Our journalists work every day to enable communities to thrive, and this program helps achieve that fundamental goal.”
For the full list of beneficiaries, go to www.gannettfoundation.org/act.