BetterFi: $1,680 project
BetterFi will add an online borrower’s portal to their new loan platform, Down Home Solutions. Currently, clients must call the BetterFi office to receive information about their loan and ask questions. Giving clients immediate access to this information will slow down the number of calls BetterFi employees receive and allow them to dedicate more time to financial assistance programs across the plateau. Immediate access should also decrease missed payments, thus saving clients’ money on resulting fees. This portal will allow borrowers the opportunity to independently keep track of their BetterFi loan data, see the current amount owed on their loan, make payments, and view an updated amortization schedule. Adding an online borrowing portal will also build financial autonomy for the clients, but most importantly build dignity as credit information can be privately accessed without the need to talk to an employee. This ability to access loan information electronically will be beneficial for clients after they repay their BetterFi loan and move to community banks and credit unions as they will already have familiarity with online banking portals.
Folks at Home: $561 project
Folks at Home seeks funding to implement a lending library that will provide readings on a variety of preventive health topics. Folks at Home supports its members through home and health support for its members, and this lending library, with readings from Harvard Health, will help improve the wellness of the members of Folks at Home.
Grundy County Food Bank: $5,000 of a $6,791 project
The funding from this grant will allow the Grundy County Food Bank to purchase stainless steel tables for the building. In doing so, this will create a sanitary environment for the distribution of groceries. The Grundy County Food bank works diligently to serve roughly 156 households per month. With the winter months approaching, the food bank will see an influx in clients by approximately 20%. It is important for the food bank to continue to improve the services that many residents in the community rely on monthly.
Housing Sewanee: $5,000 of a $47,000 project
Housing Sewanee is currently on track to build their 20th home since 1993. Their development, Sherwood Springs, is a neighborhood to multiple homes already, and includes volunteer-built infrastructure like a trail around the perimeter. Their current project, which SCCF has the honor of supporting, is the third home in the neighborhood that they have created, and will stand out as highly energy efficient. Housing Sewanee has shown sustained passion and interest in supporting community members though safe and affordable housing.
MARC (Marion Animal Rescue Connection): $1,627
The funds will be used to purchase live traps and pet crates. The traps will allow the expansion of MARC’s successful feral cat spay/neuter program by increasing the number of feral cats that can be trapped. The pet crates will enable MARC to place additional dogs into foster care while awaiting adoption. Animal cruelty and animal neglect were issues identified as a concern by participants of the 2022 SCCF focus groups. Helping to control the cat and dog population and
securing homes for feral cats and abandoned dogs contributes to the health, financial stability and quality of life for people on the plateau.
Monteagle Elementary School: $3,123.00 of a $4,678.00 project
Capitalizing on the strengths of the highly rural community’s access to land for hunting and fishing, Monteagle Elementary School will implement an archery education program to encourage physical education for a wide student population. The low impact sport is an upstream approach that is positive and inclusive for children of all levels, and serves as a gateway to scholarships that would otherwise be inaccessible. The National Archery in Schools Program has agreed to provide a partial grant of $1,500, and the South Cumberland Community Fund will complement these funds with $3,123, the full amount that Monteagle Elementary School requested. The Philanthropy Internship Program endorses this initiative because we believe that the project improves the quality of life on the Plateau through the focus area of education, proposes an innovative solution to enhance community capacity, and uses survey data to prove that it builds on the strength of the area's people, communities, and natural setting.
Mountain Goat Trail Alliance: $3,009 of a $6128 project
The funding from this grant will allow the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance to install cameras along the Mountain Goat Trail in Tracy City and Monteagle. In doing so, the trail alliance will be able to document the trespassing and vandalism that discourages residents and visitors from using the trail. Connecting communities through 12 miles of trail, attracting 60,000 people in 2022 alone, and providing five million dollars in economic benefit, protecting the Mountain Goat Trail is protecting the surrounding communities.
Mountain T.O.P.: $5,000 of an $81,000 project
Mountain T.O.P. is collaborating with the Grundy County High School residential and commercial construction program to build a one-bedroom house for a housing insecure person in Grundy County. The home will be sold to the home buyer at a low interest rate, and the proceeds will pay for the materials cost for the next home. Mountain T.O.P. has repaired homes for nearly 50 years, and this type of housing project is their first venture in new home construction for low-to-moderate income people. There is an ongoing housing crisis in Grundy County, and this program will provide workforce training for high school students while also helping to tackle the housing crisis in Grundy County. The initiative has garnered the interest of TCAT, and they are now providing additional funding for the project.
Town of Tracy City: $5,000 of a $6,350 project
Tracy City plans to purchase and install sun shades in Roundhouse Park. The shades will be placed over the play area and playground equipment in order to keep direct sunlight off the children. The afternoon, when the sun is the brightest and directly overhead, is when the fewest children use the park due to the lack of shade. The installation of sunshades will protect children from extended periods of unhealthy exposure to direct sunlight and allow them to play outside longer. This will allow families to gather together for longer periods, promoting greater connection with neighbors, building resilience, and promoting health.
Photo: Beginning of construction on Mountain T.O.P. collaboration with the Grundy County High School residential and commercial construction program.