Online votes could help 15 nonprofits receive $5,000 donation
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Mar 25, 2014 | 935 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fifteen local nonprofits have the opportunity to receive $5,000 each during First Tennessee Bank’s 150 Days of Giving, but they need help from supporters to win the money.

In celebration of 150 years in service, the First Tennessee Foundation will give away $5,000 to a different nonprofit, starting today. The result will be $750,000 in awards spread across Tennessee. Winners will be determined by online voting.

Kim Cherry, executive vice president of corporate communications for First Horizon, the parent company of First Tennessee, explained the opportunity is a way for the bank to show gratitude.

“This is a way to celebrate our anniversary by giving back to the communities we serve,” Cherry said. “We support the health and prosperity of our communities, because our success depends on their success.”

Cherry added, “The 150 Days of Giving is a way to say thank you, to celebrate our shared history and look ahead to a bright future.”

Votes can be cast at According to the website’s list of rules, 10 votes can be made on one device. However, an organization may only receive one vote per device. Additional platforms, e.g. smartphones, tablets or another laptop, will allow more votes.

A person could realistically vote as many times as desired in a day, provided multiple devices are utilized for the action.

There are a total of 948 nonprofits in the running for the 150 awards of $5,000. Only nonprofit organizations which have been supported by First Tennessee since 2008 — through either a direct grant or matching gift for an employee — are eligible. Local nonprofit organizations include: 

- United Way of Bradley County

- Cleveland State Community College Foundation

- Boy Scouts of America - Cherokee Area Council

- Lee University

- Cleveland Family YMCA

- Cleveland Bradley Chamber Foundation

- Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region

- Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation

- Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland

- Museum Center at Five Points

- Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland

- Bradley Initiative for Church and Community

- 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc.

- Tri-State Exhibition Center

- Foundation for Cleveland Public Library

- Cleveland Rotary Foundation

Organizations can be found either by alphabetical order or typing the name in the search box at the top of the page. These two methods will help voters bypass the 79 pages of nonprofits currently on the website.

More than 200,000 votes have been cast for the almost 1,000 organizations since voting opened March 10.

Representatives from 100 BMBC, Junior Achievement and BCPEF expressed their appreciation for the opportunity and urged local supporters to start voting.

Ronnie Arnold, president of the 100 BMBC, said First Tennessee has always been a good sponsor to the local organization.

“I just admire them for what they are doing. A lot of companies are not giving away money. The guy on top is hoarding the money,” Arnold said. “That just lets me know they are trying to be a very good partner with society. They are spreading the wealth.” 

He said money donated to 100 BMBC affects not only the students in the program, but those who come in contact with the young members.

Explained Arnold, “Because sometimes students talk better to other students than they do adults.”

BCPEF director Lynn Voelz said it is no small thing to get supporters to go online and vote every day. She said organizations will really have to work for the chance to receive the $5,000 award.

Supporters who vote might be surprised at how quickly their votes can be cast online. However, Voelz explained it would still require people remembering to go to the website.

She expressed her appreciation for First Tennessee’s investment in the local communities.

JA of the Ocoee Region board chair Rick Platz described the 150 days as a “great” and “wonderful” opportunity.

According to Platz, the money, if awarded, would most likely be used to purchase kits used to present information about economic literacy and workforce preparation to students in elementary, middle and high schools.

He said the common theme of the five-hour kit courses is the basic message to “stay in school.”

First Tennessee Cleveland Community President Mike Griffin said the 150 Days of Giving allows the bank to live up to an old slogan of “Serving our customers one opportunity at a time.”

He said he is thrilled with the way the bank has chosen to celebrate its anniversary.

“That is one thing I am very proud of ... is all we do for our community,” Griffin said. “I think the whole concept is neat.”