Athens Federal announces community grants

Special to the Banner
Posted 1/6/19

Over the last eight years, the Athens Federal Foundation has been making investments in the community. The return on that investment is simply too valuable to put into terms of dollars and …

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Athens Federal announces community grants

Over the last eight years, the Athens Federal Foundation has been making investments in the community. The return on that investment is simply too valuable to put into terms of dollars and cents.

Forty-seven local charitable and nonprofit organizations in Athens Federal Community Bank's service area received just over $171,000 in funds from the Athens Federal Foundation during an awards and recognition luncheon in mid-December. Those organizations carry out work ranging from helping the uninsured receive proper medical care, to providing warm meals for those who might not otherwise receive one.

“As we consider the work being accomplished in our communities, we recognize this is a powerful group willing to face trouble and hardships head-on,” said Athens Federal Foundation President and CEO Jeff Cunningham. “We not only thank you, but we are proud to support you. Your deeds do not go unnoticed and, on behalf of the Athens Federal Foundation, we are truly honored to be your partner.”
"The need does not radically change from year to year as our area continues to experience a crucial shortage of basic life essentials, including food, shelter, and adequate healthcare," Cunningham said. "The foundation is committed to helping overcome those adversities and inspiring others to continue endowing our communities."
One organization touched by the generosity of the foundation is Miracle Lake. Founder Jack Bryan established the Christian training center 40 years ago as a residential facility to rehabilitate men struggling with addition. Byron Goodman, a 12-year graduate of the program, now serves as the organization’s administrator. According to Byron, “Miracle Lake saved me and continues to save men like me every day. It is one of the most affordable residential faith-based addiction programs of its kind thanks to the generosity of organizations like the Athens Federal Foundation that help offset costs for necessary food and other supplies.”
Likewise, Samantha Mull shared her personal testimony of how the foundation’s more than $23,000 in grants to Women at the Well over the last six years supported her transformation from a 13-year addiction to a sober and productive member of society. According to Samantha, “(Women at) The Well taught me structure, perseverance, basic life skills, and most importantly the path to God. Because the program never turns anyone away who cannot afford to pay, support from grants like the Athens Federal Foundation continue to help women overcome and rise above addition.”
Similarly, The Grace House in Athens shelters and supports the needs of men who are homeless as a result of drug and alcohol addiction. Walter Dotson benefited from the spiritual program after suffering from addiction for 37 years. “When there is no where else to turn, The Grace House teaches you to turn to God. Men come into the program with nothing – homeless, broken, alone – and leave as leaders with a reason to live.”
This was the eighth round of grants presented since the foundation's 2011 inauguration, with total fund distribution in excess of $798,000.
As part of Athens Federal Community Bank’s recent partnership with CapStar Bank in Nashville, Beth Alexander, CapStar Marketing and Communications Manager, announced a $1.5 million commitment to the Athens Federal Foundation. Alexander presented Lyn Thompson, Foundation Chairperson, with the first $500,000 installment of the gift during the luncheon.

“What a joy to be here today and truly feel the impact of the Athens Federal Foundation. Like Athens Federal, CapStar is dedicated to community service and civic responsibility; we are honored to contribute to the good works of the Foundation,” said Alexander.
All nonprofit organizations in Athens Federal's service area (Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, and Loudon counties) were eligible to apply.
The Athens Federal Foundation was established by Athens Bancshares Corporation, the holding company for Athens Federal Community Bank, and its shareholders as part of the Bank's 2009 stock conversion. The foundation was created to provide funding and support for charitable causes within the bank's market. In conjunction with the initial stock offering, Athens Bancshares Corporation contributed $1 million of Athens Bancshares Corporation stock and $100,000 in cash to the foundation.
2018 recipients included:

Homeless Management of Monroe County, Habitat for Humanity of McMinn County, Coordinated Charities Inc., Helping Hands Ministry, Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, The Grace House of Athens, Good Shepherd Center, Outreach Across America Restoration Center,m Etowah Community Food Pantry – Wesley Memorial UMC Helping Hand, Niota United Methodist Church (Christian Co-Workers Children’s Aid), Lift & Redemption Ministries (DBA The Caring Place), Grace & Mercy Ministries, Englewood Goodwill Workers – Daily Bread Food Ministry, Miracle Lake, Love Thy Neighbor Project (Tennessee Wesleyan University), Better Living Center, Nourish One Child – Outreach of Keith Memorial UMC, New Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, Good Faith Clinic Inc., Monroe County Health Council, Love Nancy, Inc., New Hope Pregnancy Care Center, Full Circle Medical Center for Women. 

Monroe Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department, Englewood Rural Fire Department, McMinn County Emergency Rescue Squad, Family Promise of Bradley County, Family Cornerstones Inc., Tri-County Center, Women at the Well, McMinn County Educational and Community Foundation, United Way of the Ocoee Region Imagination Library of Bradley County, Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area, Boys & Girls Club of the Ocoee Region, Let’s Read 20,  Lee University (English Language Center),  Athens-McMinn Family YMCA, Y-CAP (YMCA community Action Project), The House that Mercy Built, Child Advocacy Center of the 9th Judicial District, The HOPE Center Inc., CASA Monroe, CASA of Bradley County, CASA Corridor of East Tennessee, McMinn County Senior Citizens Inc, Etowah Area Senior Center, Benton United Methodist Church, and Straightway Ministries.


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