On April 25, 2016 in the West Meeting Room of United Way of Blount County, the initial advisory board members signed a document to establish East Tennessee Foundation’s (ETF) Blount affiliate fund. Ed Harmon, local community leader and philanthropist, demonstrated his commitment to Blount County and charitable giving by providing the lead gift. In appreciation to Mr. Harmon for his lead gift and as a demonstration of the foundation’s confidence in the future success of this fund for Blount County, ETF matched his initial donation. “It is important that the community know these funds have been dedicated to support and benefit all the citizens of Blount County and will continue to do so,” shared Mike McClamroch, ETF President & CEO.
On April 12, 2017, I attended a community forum hosted by ETF and the Blount Community Fund advisory board to update and discuss their progress since the fund was established. First, Trudy Hughes, ETF Director of Regional Advancement, emphasized this fund is not meant to compete with other Blount County organizations for charitable donations. Jennifer Wackerhagen, Executive Director, United Way of Blount County, further explained this fund is to provide philanthropic dollars to be invested for the future unmet needs in Blount County where there may currently be “gaps” in services provided.
For example, through the advisory board’s research, children ages 3 to 4 years of age need additional services available in the areas of literacy and parental education. They are currently exploring ways to approach this issue. Additionally, the board encourages Blount County citizens to get involved in the opportunity to improve the quality of life here. You can suggest a project, volunteer to serve on the board, or make a donation.
To identify ways to build a stronger community and better lives in Blount County, please contact Trudy Hughes at (865) 524-1223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.