Martha O'Bryan Center
711 South 7th Street
Nashville TN 37206-3895
Mission Statement
On a foundation of Christian faith, Martha O’Bryan Center empowers children, youth, and adults in poverty to transform their lives through work, education, employment, and fellowship.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Board Chair Mr. Clay Richards
Board Chair Company Affiliation naviHealth
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1951
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Expenses $6,159,269.00
Projected Annual Revenue $6,159,269.00 (2016)
Statements
Mission On a foundation of Christian faith, Martha O’Bryan Center empowers children, youth, and adults in poverty to transform their lives through work, education, employment, and fellowship.
Background

Martha O’Bryan Center is an anti-poverty non-profit with longstanding history and deep community roots, founded on tradition and strengthened by innovation. Our mission began in 1894, when Miss Martha O’Bryan, a retired teacher, organized the Gleaner’s Society at First Presbyterian Church, to support widows and orphans in North Nashville. Less than a generation removed from the civil war that divided our country, Miss O’Bryan sought to heal the divisions created by poverty in our city. The tradition of serving vulnerable families continued after her passing, and in 1948, we built our current location at the top of the hill in Cayce Place, an enclave of 716 public housing units with more than 2,000 residents. This is where we continue in service, creating a “new normal” of attainment and positively shaping future generations.

Experience and results tell us that it takes multiple interventions over a lifetime to empower those living in poverty to transform their lives, their families, and their community. To this end, we have built a cradle-to-career continuum of programs, made up of four integrated investments: a) early learning and parent education; b) expanded K-8 educational opportunities; c) pathways to college and career; d) wrap-around social-emotional supports. This continuum connects families and schools, service providers and policy makers, community members and corporate volunteers to strengthen whole families, beginning with children as young as six weeks old and continuing through adulthood. We serve more than 10,000 annual clients across this continuum, through our Early Learning Center (early childhood education), East End Preparatory and Explore! Community School (K-8 charter schools), THRIVE (academic, social-emotional, and STEM/arts enrichment programming for K-8 students at eight sites), Academic Student Unions (academic, social-emotional, enrichment, and college access programming for high school students), Post-Secondary Success (transitional coaching, mentorship, and service referrals for college students), Chapter Two (job training and employment placements for youth ages 16-24), Adult Education (high school equivalency diploma preparation), Tied Together (parenting education), Family Support Team (crisis support, case management, trauma-informed care, domestic violence prevention), and Joyful Noise (community-driven fellowship and outreach).
Impact

Accomplishments

In January 2015, we began implementation of our Nashville Force for Good project, funded via a three-year U.S. Department of Justice grant. Through Force for Good, we are partnering with Metro Nashville Police Department to implement a place-based strategy to address interpersonal and domestic violence in Cayce Place, including targeted community outreach, violence prevention, and trauma-informed care.

 In May 2015, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designated Martha O’Bryan Center one of 15 international Brain Science Cohort members. As part of this cohort, we partner with other high-performing non-profit agencies across the U.S. and Canada to identify and address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in vulnerable populations, sharing best practices and research.

In June 2015, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools approved our application to expand our inaugural charter school, East End Preparatory, from a K-5 to K-8 school, positioning us to give students an uninterrupted, single-site elementary and middle school experience.

Throughout 2015, we continued to develop our Chapter Two program, to provide youth 16-24 with job training supports and employment placements. We have served 130 youth to date this year, including 80 who completed an eight-week paid work experience, 74 who gained employment, and 51 who have maintained employment for three or more months.

Goals

Expand Clinical and Community Services: hire talented social workers to support students and families at our charter schools, out-of-school-time program sites, and Southside Community Center; build staff competencies to better support families dealing with intense trauma.

Deepen Youth and Adult Employment Services: develop robust employment partnerships through Chapter Two programming (for youth ages 16-24); begin implementation of our Ready, Set, Work! employment program in Napier/Sudekum (for adults, funded by a four-year Jobs Plus grant received in December 2015).

Refine, Integrate, and Scale Programming: refine program models; expand Academic Student Union programming to two additional high school sites and Post-Secondary programming to support twice as many first-generation college students; bring additional services to the Napier/Sudekum community.

Needs

Our highest priority at Martha O’Bryan is ensuring that children living in poverty grow up to be well-educated, high school and college graduates who are healthy and employed. We are making great strides. The strategies which address the greatest barriers to healthy families and vibrant communities in East Nashville address inadequate transportation, transitional and educational expenses, affordable childcare, and the lack of a full-service grocery store within walking distance. Small gifts of financial support can have a big impact on need.

§ $5.25 purchases an all day MTA bus pass

§ $10.55 provides a week of meals for the elderly and disabled.

§ $35 covers the cost of a college application

§ $75 covers the cost of a GED exam

§ $105 per month scholarships one child in the Early Learning Center

§ $850 provides 6 weeks of academic summer camp for one youth 

Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Check donations can be mailed to Martha O'Bryan Center, attn: Development Department, 711 South Seventh Street, Nashville, Tennessee  37206.
 
To donate by phone, please call our Data Manager and Development Officer at 615-254-1791 x123.
 
To coordinate in-kind donations, please email or call our Data Manager and Development Officer at swagner@marthaobryan.org or 615-254-1791 x123.

Martha O’Bryan Center has nearly 1,700 active volunteers supporting our cradle-to-career continuum of programs. For a full list of volunteer opportunities, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at kperrin@marthaobryan.org or 615-254-1791 x122.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Human Services / Personal Social Services
Secondary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community & Neighbourhood Development
Tertiary Organization Category Education / Educational Services
Areas of Service
Areas Served
TN - Cheatham
TN - Davidson
TN - Robertson
TN - Rutherford
TN - Williamson

While service extends to all residents in Davidson County, our primary service is to the approximately 10,000 youth and their families attending the 14 schools in the Stratford cluster of MNPS and Maplewood High School. Currently, our community work focuses on two of the most distressed neighborhoods in Nashville, Cayce Place and Napier/Sudekum.

Board Chair Statement

The Board of Directors clearly understands that Martha O’Bryan Center is a strong non-profit performer, responsive to neighborhood needs as well as city priorities. In this, our 120th year of serving Nashville’s most vulnerable families, we find ourselves evaluating our tremendous growth over the past 12 years (218%). As an organization focused on deep and meaningful community change, we are working with national experts to ensure that the governance structure between community centers and schools is efficient and streamlined. Our successes have been built by the historically strong guidance and support of our Board and the dynamic subject matter expertise and visionary leadership of our staff.

CEO Statement Serving all who come to our door, the Center has been a Nashville leader in bringing innovative solutions to the issues of poverty. We continue to believe in the power of work and education to transform lives and that every family can be successful. Known for our empowering, sometimes "tough love" approach to assisting families, Martha O'Bryan Center has assisted thousands of families move beyond government subsistence and into the world of jobs and opportunity. We also know from sixty years in the James A. Cayce Homes that the transformation of a life requires us to serve with unconditional love, abiding faith and joyous encouragement. We are proud to be the resource in East Nashville for dynamic youth programs, affordable child care and education/work opportunities for families ready to move forward in their lives.
Programs
Description

Martha O’Bryan Center’s Early Learning Center (ELC) provides high quality early education opportunities to 100 children six weeks to five years old in six classrooms. The ELC has consistently maintained a three-star rating by the State of Tennessee since 2002 and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, an honor earned by less than 6% of childcare providers in our state. In 2015, 94% of our Pre-K students met national benchmarks for reading readiness, measured by the Get Ready to Read assessment.

Tied Together is Martha O’Bryan Center’s ten-week parenting program, designed to help young families support the physical and social-emotional heath of their child. Tied Together combines four core strategies: prevention and early intervention, empowerment and strengthening, development of supportive social networks, and promotion of broad community change. In 2015, Tied Together enrolled 88 families and now boasts more than 500 alumni.

Budget 757837
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5), Adults,
Short Term Success
Early Learning Center:
 
85% of three year olds will score 9 or above on the Get Ready to Read assessment.
 
85% of 4 and 5 year olds will score 14 or above on the Get Ready to Read assessment.
 
80% of 4 and 5 year olds will identify 18 upper case letters, 12 lower case letters, and 8 sounds.
 
80% of 4 and 5 year olds will score 5 of 10 on Beginning Sound Awareness, 5 of 10 on Rhyme Awareness, 6 of 10 on Nursery Rhyme Awareness, 7 of 10 on Print and Word Awareness, and 5 of 7 on Name Writing.
 
 Tied Together:
 
80% of participants will be able to provide examples of increase in family functioning/resiliency.
 
80% of participants will be able to provide examples of an increase in social-emotional support.
 
80% of participants will be able to demonstrate an increase in concrete support.
 
80% of participants will report an increase in knowledge of child development and parenting.
 
80% of participants will demonstrate an increase in nurturing and attachment.
Program Success Monitored By
Our Early Learning Center uses the Get Ready to Read (GRTR) assessment and the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) test.
 
Tied Together uses the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory (APPI) and the FRIENDS assessment.
Description

THRIVE Youth Development offers dedicated out-of-school time programming to 350 vulnerable K-8 students at seven school and community sites (Martha O’Bryan Center, Explore! Community School, Napier Elementary, Rosebank Elementary, Warner Elementary, Bailey Middle, and Litton Middle), providing rigorous academic interventions, college prep workshops, civic engagement projects, and STEM/arts enrichment activities. Conducting programming on-site at community schools gives us the opportunity to build key partnerships with school faculty and makes us more accessible to students. Programming runs Monday through Thursday, from 3-7pm during the school year and from 9am-4pm during summer months.

In 2009, Martha O'Bryan Center was selected as NAZA’s coordinating agency for the North East Zone, allowing us to expand after-school programming for middle school youth. Each year, the North East Zone supports 265 middle school students.
Budget 1081307
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
Short Term Success

85% of THRIVE students will increase their reading skills by at least 1.0 grade level, measured by the STAR Early Literacy or STAR Reading assessment, and 80% of THRIVE students will increase their math skills by at least 1.0 grade level, measured by the STAR Math assessment.

85% of THRIVE students will improve coping skills, healthy social-emotional behaviors, and resiliency, measured by pre/post assessments.

85% of THRIVE students will increase knowledge of individual gifts/talents and future careers by participating in career exploration courses, measured by pre/post assessments.

Program Success Monitored By
THRIVE uses the STAR Read and STAR Math assessments to measure grade-level gains and in-house pre/post assessments to measure social-emotional and career awareness gains.
Description

Our Academic Student Unions provide year-round academic case management, subject-specific tutoring, homework help, ACT preparation, social-emotional counseling, computer literacy courses, job training workshops, paid work experiences, college visits, and enrichment activities (arts, civics, dance, music, STEM) to nearly 900 vulnerable high school students.

Post-Secondary Success provides 150 low-income, first-generation college students with transitional coaching, mentorship, and wrap-around service referrals throughout their post-secondary careers, to ensure retention and degree attainment.

Chapter Two provides year-round work readiness and college-to-career supports that engage 120 in-school and out-of-school youth ages 16-24, preparing them for success in the 21st Century economy.

Budget 893905
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), Adults, At-Risk Populations
Short Term Success
Academic Student Unions:
 

100% of core high school participants (250 of 250) will develop an Success Plan that includes milestones such as improving grades, increasing ACT scores, exploring career paths, applying to colleges, receiving admission to colleges, and completing financial aid paperwork.

98% of high school seniors (245 of 250) will graduate from high school.

80% of high school graduates (196 of 245) will receive acceptance to college.

75% of high school graduates (147 of 196) will officially enroll in college.

Post-Secondary Success

80% of core college students (48 of 60) will expand awareness of how they study and learn by completing the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory.

80% of core college students (48 of 60) will maintain routine contact with their coach.

70% of core college students (42 of 60) will successfully complete their current academic year (or graduate).

Long term Success Since we began programming in 2010, Stratford’s ACT scores have increased at a rate 5.5 times that of the district.

Since 2010, Stratford and Maplewood’s graduation rates have increased by 11.9% and 20.5% respectively, compared to the 3.1% district average.

Staff helped 197 students apply for and receive acceptance to college in 2015, representing 62% of Stratford’s and 56% of Maplewood’s senior class. Both schools had rates in the 13th percentile when we began programming.

Staff helped students apply for and obtain $10 million dollars in financial aid, placing Stratford and Maplewood at 5th and 6th in the district.

Program Success Monitored By All program successes are measured through Student Action Plans. Each plan has individualized benchmarks that guide students toward long-term success.
Description

Our Clinical & Community Services support Cayce Place and Napier/Sudekum families, putting community voice and choice at the center of all activities, igniting the flame of learning for adults and children alike, providing a real safety net for those in dire or immediate need.

In 2015, 7,698 families accessed these services: 329 accessed Adult Education; 470 accessed Joyful Noise; and 7,037 accessed Family Support Team services (crisis intervention, counseling, domestic violence prevention, ACEs prevention, trauma-informed care, emergency food, Meals on Wheels, Family Resource Center).

Budget 855,856
Category Human Services, General/Other Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Adults, At-Risk Populations, Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
Short Term Success
Adult Education:

250 economically disadvantaged adults will take the HiSET Official Practice Test or Official State of Tennessee High School Equivalency Exam.

75 economically disadvantaged adults will enroll for academic support and testing preparation on MOBC's High School Equivalency track.

60 economically disadvantaged students who take the HiSET Official Practice Test will develop a post-secondary success plan.

30 economically disadvantaged adults will obtain a State of Tennessee High School Equivalency Diploma by passing the HiSET.

Family Support Team:

20% increase in participants receiving services (year-to-year)

30% of participants will demonstrate increase in emotional regulation and relaxation skills. 

30% increase in participants receiving domestic violence services (year-to-year)

Meals on Wheels:
 
90 home-bound community members will receive a hot, nutritious meal every week day (260 meals per person, 23,400 total).
Program Success Monitored By
Adult Education successes are measured using the TABE assessment.
 
Other progress markers are measured using tools accepted by United Way.
CEO Comments The Martha O'Bryan has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children for the past 12 years. Our Early Learning Center has received and maintained the state's 3-Star Rating, the highest possible rating, since the inception of the rating scale. We are one of only three community based organizations to received a contract from Metro Nashville to operate a pre-school classroom. For the past five years we have also run a state funded pre-k classroom.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Clay Richards
Company Affiliation naviHealth
Term July 2015 to June 2016
Email crichards@navihealth.us
Board Members
NameAffiliationStatus
Mr. Lee Ballew Claritas CapitalVoting
Mr. Charles Barrett Charles Barrett, Attorney at LawVoting
Mr. Bart Bohlen Dollar GeneralVoting
Mr. Ben Cundiff Cundiff FarmsVoting
Mr. John K. Folger Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Scott Gilmer Chief of Staff, Beth HartwellVoting
Mrs. Tam Gordon Special Assistant to the MayorVoting
Ms. Marilyn Greer Community VolunteerVoting
Ms. Meredith Griffith Senior Director, Corporate Counsel, AsurionVoting
Mr. Greg Hagood Nephila AdvisorsVoting
Mr. Eddie Hamilton Centennial PediatricsVoting
Mrs. Ronda Helton Nashville SymphonyVoting
Mr. Zach Hunt The Strategy GroupVoting
Mrs. Corinne Kidd Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Trea McMillan Meharry Medical CollegeVoting
Ms. Sabrina Miller SunTrust BankVoting
Mr. Clay Richards NaviHealth, Inc.Voting
Mr. Dexter Samuels Tennessee State UniversityVoting
Mr. Tim Sinks Capital FinancialVoting
Mr. Brad Smith Aspire HealthVoting
Ms. Lindsey Sublett Dollar General CorporationVoting
Ms. Leslie Zmugg Group Benefits Advisor, The Crichton GroupVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 14
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 70%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 95%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 50%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Raising
Executive
Finance
Human Resources / Personnel
Nominating
Risk Management Provisions
Accident & Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Commercial General Insurance
Commercial General Liability
Disability Insurance
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Life Insurance
Medical Health Insurance
Workers Compensation & Employers' Liability
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Term Start Aug 2001
Email medwards@marthaobryan.org
Experience

Marsha Edwards has led MOBC since 2001, emphasizing financial responsibility, quality programming, and fund development. Her background as a litigation attorney, small business owner/entrepreneur and education advocate has spurred her vision to build a broad continuum of services to support all children educationally and socially. Under her leadership MOBC has tripled its budget, filled many gaps in the MOBC Highway of Services, developed school and community-based programs, and launched an elementary charter school in East Nashville.

 

Marsha serves on the Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Champions business committee that works to engage the business community in support of reform of our comprehensive high schools into small learning academies. 

 

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Marsha received her undergraduate degree from Warren Wilson College. She is married to Eric Vaughter, has 2 sons and 2 daughters, and resides in Brentwood, TN.

Former CEOs
NameTerm
Mrs. Debbie Keller Dec 1989 - July 2001
Mr. Jack White Nov 1983 - Nov 1989
Staff
Full Time Staff 148
Part Time Staff 99
Volunteers 1675
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 71%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 5
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Oct 2014
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? No
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Yes
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
Affiliations
AffiliationYear
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2001
ANE (Association of Nonprofit Executives)1990
Center for Nonprofit Management Excellence Network1998
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce1995
Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare (TCSW)1995
Community Resource Center - Nashville1993
United Way Member Agency1971
Alignment Nashville2004
Second Harvest Food Bank1993
Nashville Youth Alliance1994
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)1993
Alliance for Children and Families - Member2013
External Assessments and Accreditations
External Assessments and Accreditations
Assessment/AccreditationYear
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - 5 year accred.1992
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Youth VolunteerMary Catherine Strobel2005
Volunteer Fundraiser of the YearAmerican Fundraising Professionals2005
Change the World with a Giving HeartAmerican Fundraising Professionals2005
Innovation in Action Award - FinalistFrist Foundation2005
Excellence in Communications AwardCenter for Non Profit Management2004
Frist Foundation Making a Difference AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management2011
Nashvitality Trailblazer AwardMayor's Office of Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County2012
Collaboration College 2012HCA Foundation2012
Peter B. Goldberg Executive Leadership AwardAramark2013
Senior Staff
Title Director of Human Resources
Experience/Biography
Title Chief Operating Officer
Experience/Biography Ms. Coleman has a Master’s of Business Administration and Accounting degree and more than 15 years of accounting experience. In her current role, she manages the finance and billing departments and provides financial oversight for a $10 million dollar budget.
Title Chief Program Officer
Experience/Biography
 
 
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30 2016
Projected Revenue $6,159,269.00
Projected Expenses $6,159,269.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Revenue$10,536,872$8,346,363$9,264,370
Total Expenses$9,212,675$8,791,186$8,431,569
Revenue Less Expenses$1,324,197($444,823)$832,801
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$742,913$1,073,724$0
Government Contributions$1,853,062$1,461,694$2,308,307
Federal$1,198,554$865,011$0
State$0$147,612$0
Local$0$0$0
Unspecified$654,508$449,071$2,308,307
Individual Contributions$4,017,080$3,797,184$4,818,180
$0$0$0
$3,711,678$2,843,390$2,033,450
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,375$1,330$0
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$36,739$74,563$63,659
Revenue In-Kind$132,301$101,522$0
Other$41,724$66,680$30,989
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$7,263,733$6,719,982$6,918,733
Administration Expense$1,694,153$1,664,262$1,095,810
Fundraising Expense$254,789$406,942$417,026
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.140.951.10
Program Expense/Total Expenses79%76%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%6%6%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$6,069,385$4,748,909$4,988,433
Current Assets$3,970,618$2,607,122$2,831,109
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$758,876$762,597$558,298
Total Net Assets$5,310,509$3,986,312$4,431,135
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities5.233.425.07
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts & Grants $4,017,080Contributions, Gifts, and Grants $3,797,184Contributions, Gifts and Grants $4,818,180
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Revenue $3,711,678Program Service Revenue $2,843,390Government Unspecified $2,308,307
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFederal Government Grants $1,198,554Foundations and Corporations $1,073,724Earned Revenue $2,033,450
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Capital Campaign Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires Dec 2016
GivingMatters.com Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from 990.
Financial documents preapred by Mullins, Clemmons & Mayes, PLLC.
Comments provided by Denise Alper 4/6/14
 
Financial figures taken from 990.
Financial documents preapred by Mullins, Clemmons & Mayes, PLLC. 
Comments provided by Kathryn Bennett 3/31/16.
Nonprofit Martha O'Bryan Center
Address 711 South 7th Street
Nashville, TN 372063895
Primary Phone (615) 254-1791
Contact Email tadams@marthaobryan.org
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Board Chair Mr. Clay Richards
Board Chair Company Affiliation naviHealth
Year of Incorporation 1951

Related Information

Workforce Development

With global competition, technological changes and the growth of knowledge- and service-based economies, even entry-level jobs require more advanced skills than they did several decades ago. There is great demand for workers with education, skills training or both, but jobs that require only a high school diploma are disappearing, or the wages they pay are dropping. Schools offer limited vocational training, and graduates often lack the practical job skills employers need.

Gangs

In Tennessee, gang presence has been on the rise since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when gangs first made a concerted push into the state. Since 2011, police have identified at least 5,000 gang members in Davidson County, and gang-related crimes have increased by 25%. Meanwhile, cities with 50,000 or fewer inhabitants have seen gang-related crimes triple in frequency nationally since 2005.

Public and Active Transportation for Middle Tennessee

One million more people will move to the Middle Tennessee region before 2035, making the lack of public transportation in this area a significant and pressing issue. Consensus is growing that expanded transportation options will be critical both to our future economic stability and growth, as well as the environmental well-being of our region. The need for better mobility in and access to small urban and rural communities is placing new emphasis on the availability of public transportation services, as this will be essential in sustaining and guiding growth in flourishing areas as well as revitalizing areas that continue to struggle.