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Archive: 2016-2018

Thank you for your support in 2018!

Happy New Year! 

Because of You...

Over the past seven years SCCF has worked with our community to produce meaningful impact across the Plateau by...

  • providing grants to the Mountain's nonprofit organizations

  • co-hosting an AmeriCorps VISTA program that provides support at eleven nonprofit sites across the Plateau

  • offering assistance for capacity building initiatives in the communities of the Plateau

...and in 2018, contributions from donors like you have made it possible for SCCF to

  • allocate $125,675 in grants to 22 Plateau nonprofits

  • offer four workshops for nonprofit leaders throughout the year

  • sponsor Make A Difference Day, supported by more than 400 volunteers at eight elementary schools

  • support an early reading initiative in Grundy County schools

...all in recognition of SCCF’s vision that “the South Cumberland Plateau be a place of hope and prosperity for all its residents and communities.”

If you haven't already, there is still time to make a year-end gift - thank you!

We look forward to the coming year and further collaboration with the communities of the Plateau and our donors in this special place that we call home.

See you in 2019!

Thank you to all the contributors who made a donation to SCCF by purchasing holiday cards. We are pleased to list the names of the many individuals who were honored by these donors - thank you!

SCCF is Lighting Up Lives this Holiday

South Cumberland Community Fund and its nonprofit partners are lighting up lives across the South Cumberland Plateau through their collaborative community development work. You too can light up lives this holiday season through a gift to SCCF.


For every $10 donation made to SCCF the donor will receive a Lighting Up Lives holiday card to honor someone who has lit up their life. The donor has the option of submitting the names of honorees to SCCF, to be added to a listing that will be featured on the home page of SCCF's website. Please click on the button below to make your purchase and to indicate the names of your honorees. You will also have the option of indicating whether you would prefer to have your card(s) mailed or delivered to you.


Thank you for your support of SCCF and for joining us in our vision to make the Plateau a place of hope and prosperity for all its residents and communities.

Once Upon a Time on the Mountain:

Storyteller Leader Workshop Provides Inspiration for the Nonprofits of the Plateau

A community fund, a university, and a group of nonprofit leaders in a room with an humanitarian innovator is the start of a story that occurred on December 6th on the Plateau. South Cumberland Community Fund, in collaboration with the University of the South Office of Civic Engagement, sponsored a Storyteller Workshop led by Buddy Teaster whose active participation methods helped attendees engage in open communication and shared experiences. Over the course of the day Buddy provided steps for building stories to relate the impact of nonprofit organizations and to engage others in their work, increasing their communications capacity. Participants were asked to describe their organizations in six words, which provided them with the opportunity to mold specific stories that addressed the various aspects of their work. Overall, workshop attendees were brought to a better understanding of their organizations through this productive and collaborative engagement.


“Storytelling can be challenging, and it is really great to have a framework that I can use in crafting stories. This Storytelling Workshop focused on communicating ONE effective story thread, in contrast to the 30+ stories that we sometimes feel we need to tell.” - Stephanie Kelley, Interim Executive Director, DuBose Conference Center

Nonprofit leaders interested in participating in similar creative workshops will have plenty of opportunities coming up in 2019. Check SCCF’s website for upcoming workshops, which are always free for all participants. Subscribe to the SCCF newsletter and like the SCCF Facebook page to stay up to date with the Fund’s community development work.

Join SCCF for Storytelling Leader Workshop with Buddy Teaster!

The Storytelling Leader

Date: December 6

Time: 9:30am-2:30pm

Venue: University of the South - EQB Building  

Instructor: Buddy Teaster

Bio here: https://buddyteaster.com/


CNM consultant Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles4Souls, will conduct a workshop aimed at helping nonprofit leaders understand the power of storytelling and how it is used in making organizational change, branding, and fundraising. In addition, Teaster will help participants learn the structure of a clear, concise, and powerful organizational narrative; and assist them in creating their own organizational narrative.

If you’re a leader, you’re the narrator. Today, more and more organizations are recognizing the power of narrative and story as a core leadership discipline. Are you developing the organization? Tell a story. Spearheading the change process? Tell a story. Are you looking for powerful ways to preserve your culture, archive knowledge, and engage your people and your marketplace? Tell a story! 


Topics addressed: communication, leadership, management, human resources, developing others, self-awareness. 


2018 Philanthropy Internship Program Grant Recipients

The Philanthropy Internship Program provides University students with meaningful and direct experience in philanthropy and expands the grant-making capacity of SCCF.


The internship program is directed by Nicky Hamilton, Director of Community Development for SCCF and the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE), with the valuable assistance of Kai Koopman, OCE office coordinator. The following University students participated this year in the Philanthropy Internship Program: Hollis Adams (C’19); Emily Badgett (C’20); Malicat Chouyouti (C’20); Morgan Jennings (C’20), Olivia Lu (C’20); Loring McDonald (C’19); and Wint Thu (C’19).

Thanks to funds provided by a generous donor, Philanthropy Internship Program students awarded a total of $31,566 to seven organizations in the fall 2018 grants cycle.

Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic: Grant for $1,002 to support a 6-week reversing diabetes seminar and A1C tests to track participants’ progress.


Mountain T.O.P.: Grant for $3,855 to support the development of a pilot, low-cost, new construction housing program in collaboration with Rural Studio, a design-build architecture studio run by Auburn University.


BetterFi: Grant for $5,000 to support a website and Facebook domain purchase, a new online payment system, and software integration for their low-interest loan program.


Morton Memorial United Methodist Church: Grant for $1,987 to support a motorized pallet jack to move heavy inventory in their food pantry.


Coalmont Elementary School: Grant for $4,879 to support the conversion of a special education classroom into a sensory room.


The Town of Tracy City: Grant for $5,000 to install parking curbs and landscaping as part of a larger renovation of Tracy City Old Roadhouse Park into greenspace.


Mountain Heritage Preservation Society: Grant for $4,843 to create indoor handicap-accessible restroom facilities in their building.

Grundy County Historical Society: Grant for $5,000 to install new wiring and light fixtures as part of the renovation of its President’s Room.

Join Us in Honoring our 2018 Philanthropy Internship Program Grantees 

November 15, 2018

5:00 p.m.

Convocation Hall

The University of the South

Join SCCF on

South Cumberland Community Fund
is proud to be participating on
November 27, 2018
in this global giving movement!


#GIVINGTUESDAY, an international event which is celebrated the Tuesday following the U. S. Thanksgiving, represents a day of giving back to the community fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Giving Tuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.


Through its community development work and in a unique partnership with the University of the South, SCCF provides grants for area nonprofits across the Mountain, hosts a vibrant AmeriCorps VISTA program, and offers assistance for capacity building initiatives in the communities of the Plateau. Even if you have already made your gift to SCCF this year, please consider making additional impact on Tuesday, November 27th by clicking on the donate button below and joining millions of others across the globe as they give thanks on this special day.    

SCCF Announces Spring 2018 Grant Recipients

South Cumberland Community Fund has approved grants to 14 organizations across the Plateau totaling just over $94,000. With this year’s grants, SCCF has awarded more than $692,000 since 2012. Both new and past grant recipients were recognized at the Celebration for the Plateau held at Dubose Conference Center on July 1, 2018.


"We are proud that the 14 applicants chosen for this round of grants will mainly focus on building our sense of community, strengthening the economy, and conserving our local history," said Jeff Sholey, SCCF grants committee chairman. "We hope funding these organizations will not only bring our communities together socially but also promote economic growth across the Plateau."


The following organizations received grants in the 2018 spring cycle:

  • Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic – $9,846 for a dental chair and compressor for their new dental suite, the first and only in Grundy County

  • BetterFi – $9,932 to expand their financial assistance program and capacity to lend funds to in-need borrowers by supporting their loan fund and their loan-loss reserve

  • Coalmont Elementary – $7,023 for multimedia equipment for the school’s auditorium, including a projection screen, projector, and microphones and speakers for their PA system

  • Grundy County Department of Education –  $9,966 for musical instruments to support the music programs at Grundy County elementary schools and professional development for teachers who want to incorporate music into their curriculum

  • Grundy County Swiss Historical Society – $9,820 for seven replacement windows for the historic Stoker-Stampfli Farmhouse Museum

  • Life Choices Pregnancy Support Center, Inc. – $8,533 for the “Earn While You Learn” curriculum, a class that teaches parenting skills to new parents

  • May Justus Memorial Library – $5,600 for a special “Ready to Read” leveled book collection at the library to support building early, independent reading skills for children

  • Monteagle Elementary – $5,562 for multimedia equipment for the school’s auditorium, including a screen, LCD projector, and cart

  • Morton Memorial United Methodist Church – $9,050 for an electric pallet jack to allow volunteers for the church's food ministry to move 12,000+ lbs. of food safely and efficiently for monthly distribution

  • Mountain Goat Trail Alliance – $10,000 for design planning, engineering, and inspection for six miles of trail between Ingman Farm and DuBose Conference Center, the third and final piece of MGTA’s Go Grundy County campaign

  • Mountain Heritage Preservation Society – $2,457 for an all-weather roof and lighting and electrical outlets for their outdoor stage

  • Mountain T.O.P. – $4,020 for “Home Ownership Mastery Education” workshops for homeowners focused on weatherizing their homes, home safety issues, financing their homes, and DIY home inspections

  • S Double A Ranch – $1,200 for gardening supplies and tools to begin a community garden for the sober living program

  • Sewanee Community Chest – $1,100 for musical instruments, art supplies, and wobble chairs for Sewanee Elementary School.

SCCF, in partnership with the student Philanthropy Internship Program at the University of the South, will make additional funds available in the fall. All organizations who submitted an application in the spring are eligible to apply for this second round of grants by either extending their proposals or applying for a new project that meets SCCF’s grant priorities.

Art of Leadership Workshop

On October 25, 2018 SCCF hosted an Art of Leadership workshop at the University of the South’s EQB House. The workshop was led by Center for Nonprofit Management consultant Deb Palmer George. George led the discussion by focusing on the four fundamentals of leadership: hope, trust, stability, and compassion. Members of the workshop learned ideas on how to pave the way for performance and satisfaction in others based on their natural strengths and interests. Leaders left the workshop feeling empowered and knowledgeable about best practices to lead their organizations as well as methods to establish productive work environments in nonprofits on the Mountain.

Photo: Mountain T.O.P.'s Program Manager Rachel Osborne and Associate Director Julie Keele with Deb Palmer George (center), CNM consultant.

Marguerite Kondracke Returns to the Mountain

"To realize prosperity, people must first have hope. To have hope, people have to feel supported, to feel that somebody believes in them...To have hope, people have to believe they have a future. This is exactly the kind of impact that South Cumberland Community Fund is making on the Plateau."

                                                     - Marguerite Kondracke

Marguerite Kondracke, internationally renowned child and family advocate, 2011 University of the South honorary degree recipient, and former Mountain resident spent the weekend of September 14th through 16th with her husband, journalist Mort Kondracke, visiting with University students and interacting with community leaders at several events on the Mountain. The Kondracke’s visit culminated with An Evening with Marguerite Kondracke, held Saturday at “Good Knight Cottage,” the lovely home of Anne and Claude Stuart in Monteagle, at which she addressed the importance of the collaborations between SCCF and the communities of the Plateau. Please click on Marguerite Kondracke Speech under the "Events" tab to view Marguerite's remarks. 

SCCF is pleased to announce that we have sold out for An Evening with Marguerite Kondracke on September 15, 2018. We thank everyone who has bought tickets for, made a donation to, or expressed interest in this event.

Thank you so much for your support of South Cumberland Community Fund. Please be sure to visit www.southcumberlandcommunityfund.org after September 15th to view pictures of this wonderful event.

Announcing the Philanthropy Internship 2018 Grants Cycle

South Cumberland Community Fund invites all applicants from the Spring 2018 Grants Cycle to apply to our 2018 Philanthropy Internship Grant Cycle. 

A partnership between SCCF and the University of the South, the Philanthropy Internship will award $30,000 in grants, ranging in size from $1,000 to $5,000 this Fall. 

For more information, click here or email grants@southcumberlandcommunityfund.org

Application Deadline: August 20, 2018

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of Robert M. Ayres, Jr., former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South and stalwart supporter of SCCF, on June 19th. Bob believed strongly in the mission of SCCF from its infancy and provided support for various administrative positions for the organization through his family foundation. His friendship and counsel will be deeply missed by SCCF and all who knew him.

Bob and Pat Ayres with Vice-Chancellor John McCardell in November 2016

Photo: Courtesy of the University of the South

SCCF Follows Up With Tracy City Elementary School Sensory Room Grant

May, 8, 2018

Caroline McCullough, Speech and Language teacher at Tracy City Elementary School, is a strong proponent of the school’s new sensory room, which was funded through a grant from SCCF. Watch below to see how this innovative learning environment encompasses emotion regulation and grounding techniques!

Betterfi executive director, Spike Hosch, describes his innovative answer to predatory lending practices

May, 3, 2018

AmeriCorps VISTAs Host Community Summit

April, 27, 2018

AmeriCorps VISTAs Caroline Bell and Evelyn Ahnrud hosted a community summit on April 27th that focused on chronic absenteeism and family engagement in Grundy County schools. Caroline and Evelyn have been working on these pressing issues since August 2017 through a partnership with SCCF and the Grundy County Department of Education. The research they shared included a community survey completed by 900+ teachers, students, and parents. The event also featured panels made up of state and local officials and community representatives. Many thanks to Caroline and Evelyn for their hard work and to those who came out to support their efforts.

Local and state officials made up the Panel for April 27th, 2018 Community Summit


Long-awaited Nonprofit Justice Enterprise, BetterFi, Opens in Coalmont

April, 12, 2018

40+ supporters turned out Thursday, April 12th, to celebrate the opening of the BetterFi pilot office in Coalmont, Tennessee. BetterFi was created in partnership with the University of the South's Babson Center, and spearheaded by former VISTA Spike Hosch. This nonprofit justice enterprise seeks to provide equitable financial services and coaching as a pathway out of the predatory loan system.

(L-R) Nick Babson, Spike Hosch (Betterfi executive director), Sandra Lloyd, Jay Fisher, and Nicky Hamilton celebrate opening of Betterfi April 12, 2019.

SCCF Joins with University of the South for Philanthropy Project

March 04, 2017

The University of the South will expand its current partnership with South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF) to develop a program that gives Sewanee students the opportunity to learn first-hand about community-based philanthropy. Working through the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE), the two organizations are initiating a Community Partnership Philanthropy Internship, also known as CPPI, thanks to a major gift received by the University to support the Office of Civic Engagement and to develop student philanthropy.


“This project adds a new dimension to the programs currently available in the Office of Civic Engagement,” said professor Jim Peterman, OCE’s director. “Already our students can participate in outreach trips, community-based learning and internships with partners across the region. Now they will be able to learn about philanthropy by observing South Cumberland Community Fund’s grant-making program and then using their knowledge to make grants on their own.”


SCCF has conducted an annual grant program on the Plateau since 2012, investing more than $450,000 in nonprofit organizations on the Mountain. As part of the CPPI, a selected group of Sewanee students will be introduced to issues in philanthropy through readings, visits and local speakers. They will then shadow SCCF’s Grants Committee as it reviews and evaluates proposals in the spring.


SCCF’s maximum grant amount is currently $10,000. CPPI will allow the possibility for an organization to receive up to $20,000 in support. Organizations that receive funding from SCCF in May will be invited to submit a related proposal to CPPI in the fall. Working with SCCF staff, CPPI will have up to $30,000 a year to award in grants.


“We believe this is an excellent way to expand the funds available to our community partners and an opportunity for SCCF to share what it has learned about grant-making on the Plateau,” said Margaret C. Woods, SCCF board chair. “We are delighted to partner with the University and are grateful that they want to invest in the community in this new and innovative way.”


The application process for students is underway. Beginning in January, the students selected for CPPI will learn about the history of philanthropy, learn about different types of charitable giving, and learn from guest speakers. They will attend SCCF’s grant information sessions to learn about proposal writing and observe SCCF’s Grants Committee as it deliberates. In the fall, CPPI will review the invited proposals and make recommendations to SCCF’s board for grants that will be awarded in November.


“This is a unique opportunity to engage students’ interest and participation in philanthropy by embedding them into the process of evaluating and making grants funds to nonprofit organizations right here in our community,” Peterman said.


CPPI expands an already existing and vibrant partnership that was started in 2014 when the University and South Cumberland Community Fund joined in an application for Americorps/VISTA. Nicky Hamilton currently serves at both organizations: as Senior Associate Director of Civic Engagement at the University and as Director of Capacity Building for SCCF, through which she oversees the VISTA program and capacity building work for SCCF.


Established in 2012, South Cumberland Community Fund works to improve the quality of life across the Plateau by increasing philanthropy and supporting leadership of the area’s communities, schools, and nonprofit organizations. It works to ensure that the Plateau is a place of hope and prosperity for all its residents and communities. 

For more information about the Office of Civic Engagement go to http://www.sewanee.edu/civic-engagement/.

SCCF Announces 2016 Grant Recipients

July 19, 2016

  Eleven area nonprofit organizations will receive a grant from South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF) at a ceremony on July 31 that will also honor the VISTAs who are completing their service on the Plateau. The event will begin at 4 p.m., Sunday, July 31, at the Big Red Barn in Beersheba Springs. All are welcome at the free event.

Picnic for the Plateau

June 26, 2016

South Cumberland Community Fund hosted a Picnic For the Plateau on June 26 to honor the generous contributions of Madeline & Howell Adams and Pat and Bob Ayres. SCCF board chair Margaret Woods offered lovely words about the impact that these two families have had on our community. To read her remarks, click here.

Fruits of SCCF Grants

July 15, 2016

SCCF's grant to the Grundy County Sheriff's Office for a community garden is yielding results -- literally -- as Sheriff Clint Shrum and VISTA Dana Rasch deliver fresh vegetables to Otey's Community Action Committee (CAC). SCCF has also supported CAC's mission to feed the hungry on the Mountain.

This is just one of the community gardens supported by South Cumberland Community Fund. Others include garden clubs or programs at Swiss Memorial Elementary School, Coalmont Elementary School, Sewanee Children's Center, and a fruit orchard at Sewanee Elementary School.

Summer Meal Program

June 13, 2016

Click here to read "Let's Do Lunch," an article published by Sewanee about South Cumberland Community Fund's partnership with the University of the South and the VISTA program: the South Cumberland Summer Meal Program. 

Grundy Schools Awarded Grant For Reading Program

April 19, 2016

Grundy County Schools was awarded a $7,500 grant from the South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF) for the schools' summer Reading Initiative. The program will take place at Coalmont and North elementary schools in June. 
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