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.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Board Chair Mr. Tim Sinks
Board Chair Company Affiliation Capital Financial Group
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1951
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $6,361,649.00
Projected Annual Revenue $6,361,649.00 (2018)
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.

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-12 in-school and out-of-school-time opportunities; (c) college and career persistence coaching; and (d) wrap-around practical and 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.
Each year, we serve more than 9,000 individuals through our Early Childhood Literacy Initiative (family-centered literacy activities), East End Preparatory (K-8 charter school), Explore! Community School (K-8 charter school), K-8 Youth Development (out-of-school-time academic and enrichment programming at seven sites), Academic Student Unions (academic, social-emotional, enrichment, and college access programming for middle and high school students), Post-Secondary Success (persistence coaching, mentorship, and service referrals for college students), Chapter Two (job training and employment placements for youth ages 17-24), Jobs Plus Nashville (job training, employment placements, and retention incentives for adults in Napier/Sudekum), Adult Education (high school equivalency diploma preparation), Tied Together (parenting education), and Family Support Team (crisis support, emergency food, case management, domestic violence prevention, trauma-informed care).


In August 2016, we opened our first Middle School Academic Student Union at Stratford STEM Middle (formerly Bailey STEM Middle) to more comprehensively support students transitioning from middle to high school. Because this transition is so difficult for so many students, this program will help students proactively address academic and social-emotional gaps to ensure they successfully matriculate.

In June 2016, we collaborated with Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency and Metropolitan Nashville Mayor’s Office on a successful Promise Zone application and designation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In February 2017, we received a two-year Opportunity Now grant from the Metropolitan Nashville Mayor’s Office to provide summer employment services to youth ages 16-18. In March, we received a similar Opportunity Now grant from Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency focused on youth ages 14-15. 

In June 2017, we expanded our coordination of Nashville After-School Alliance (NAZA) out-of-school-time programming to support vulnerable middle school students in the South Central and McGavock Zones. This builds upon the services we’ve provided in the Northeast Zone since 2009 and allows us to serve nearly 700 middle school youth in total.

Also in June 2017, we partnered with the Tennessee Justice Center on a successful Community Catalyst grant (funded via Kresge Foundation), through which we will provide trauma-informed care to individuals in trauma while connecting families with vital medical care.


Strengthen Financial Resource Base: Engage funders in creative ways, explore collaborative funding models for collective impact, and begin billing for counseling services.

Improve Organizational Quality: Integrate professional development opportunities, improve intra-agency communication/culture, and refine performance management framework.

Scale Services through Programs and Partnerships: Implement centralized intake process, integrate social-emotional services and parent leadership into programming, and expand Academic Student Union model to additional high school sites.

Continue Successful Charter School Operations: partner with Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency to build a permanent site for Explore! Community School and invest in facility improvements at East End Preparatory. 


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

§ $1,000 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 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 Chief Development Officer at or 615-254-1791 x130.

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 9,000 youth and their families attending schools in the Stratford, Maplewood, and McGavock clusters. 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. 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.

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 2016, 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 FY17, Tied Together enrolled 78 families and now boasts nearly 600 alumni.

Budget 770132
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5), Adults,
Short Term Success 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.

K-8 Youth Development offers dedicated out-of-school time programming to 300 vulnerable K-8 students at six school and community sites (Martha O’Bryan Center, Explore! Community School, Tom Joy Elementary, Warner Elementary, Cameron College Prep, 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 Friday, from 3-6pm during the school year and from 9am-4pm during summer months.

In 2017, Martha O'Bryan Center was selected as NAZA’s coordinating agency for the North East, South Central, and McGavock Zones, allowing us to expand after-school programming for middle school youth. Each year, this work supports more than 600 middle school students.
Budget 1049255
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
Short Term Success

80% of K-8 Youth Development students will increase their reading or math skills, measured by the STAR Early Literacy, STAR Reading, or STAR Math assessment.

80% of K-8 Youth Development students will improve coping skills, healthy social-emotional behaviors, and resiliency, measured by pre/post assessments.

80% of K-8 Youth Development 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
K-8 Youth Development uses the STAR Reading and STAR Math assessments to measure grade-level gains and in-house pre/post assessments to measure social-emotional and career awareness gains.

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 more than 900 vulnerable middle and high school students at Stratford Middle, Stratford High, and Maplewood High.

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 100 out-of-school youth ages 16-24, preparing them for success in the 21st Century economy.

Budget 1135482
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 ASU participants (250 of 250) will develop actions plans that build academic skills and support post-secondary pursuits. Goals are built into each action plan and include strengthening academic subjects, taking the ACT, visiting colleges of interest, applying to colleges, etc.

95% of ASU seniors (238 of 250) will graduate from high school.

70% of ASU graduates (167 of 238) will be accepted to college.

60% of ASU graduates (100 of 167) who are accepted to college will enroll in college.

Post-Secondary Success

90% of core students will create an Action Plan that outlines college success goals.

90% of core students who haven’t yet declared a major will complete the ACT Profile: Education and Career Planning Assessment as a means to identify potential majors and career pathways.

70% of core students will successfully complete their current academic year/graduate.

Long term Success

ACT Scores: 242 participants prepared for and completed the ACT assessment. Since 2010, we have helped increase ACT scores at a rate 3.0 times that of the district average.

Graduation Rate: 98.2% of participants graduated on time (295 of 300). Since we began programming, Stratford’s graduation rate has increased from 65% to 82% and Maplewood’s graduation rate has increased from 68% to 82%.

College Enrollment Rate: 247 students applied for and received acceptance to college, representing 62% of Stratford’s senior class and 56% of Maplewood’s senior class. A recent study conducted by Vanderbilt University found that a student is 1.57 times more likely to enroll in college if they participate in our program for 50 or more days.

Financial Aid: Students received $11 million dollars in grants and scholarships, placing Stratford and Maplewood at 5th and 6th in the district regarding financial aid received.

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.

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 2016, more than 7,000 families accessed these services (adult education, counseling, crisis support, family resource center supports, emergency food, domestic violence prevention, ACEs prevention, etc).

Budget 785005
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.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Tim Sinks
Company Affiliation Capital Financial Group
Term July 2017 to June 2018
Board Members
Mr. Mark Bacurin Milemark Partners LLCVoting
Mr. Lee Ballew Claritas CapitalVoting
Mr. Charles Barrett Charles Barrett, Attorney at LawVoting
Mr. Todd Cruse DentaQuestVoting
Mr. Ben Cundiff Cundiff FarmsVoting
Mr. Harrison Frist NaviHealthVoting
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
Mr. Zach Hunt The Strategy GroupVoting
Mrs. Corinne Kidd Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Trea McMillan Meharry Medical CollegeVoting
Ms. Sabrina Miller SunTrust BankVoting
Mr. Brant Phillips Bass, Berry, and SimsVoting
Mr. Clay Richards NaviHealth, Inc.Voting
Ms. Molly Ruberg Voting
Mr. Tim Sinks Capital FinancialVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 13
Female 6
Unspecified 0
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
Human Resources / Personnel
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

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
Mrs. Debbie Keller Dec 1989 - July 2001
Mr. Jack White Nov 1983 - Nov 1989
Full Time Staff 151
Part Time Staff 80
Volunteers 1000
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
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
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - 5 year accred.1992
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
Title Chief Program Officer
Title Chief Financial Officer
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30 2018
Projected Revenue $6,361,649.00
Projected Expenses $6,361,649.00
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 Year201720162015
Total Revenue$14,936,326$11,661,126$10,536,872
Total Expenses$14,942,210$12,211,831$9,212,675
Revenue Less Expenses($5,884)($550,705)$1,324,197
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 Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$2,169,755$1,759,111$1,853,062
Individual Contributions$4,354,208$3,770,544$4,017,080
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,624$1,724$1,375
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$45,559$36,739
Revenue In-Kind$145,637$259,765$132,301
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$12,818,862$10,076,746$7,263,733
Administration Expense$1,773,363$1,906,320$1,694,153
Fundraising Expense$349,985$228,765$254,789
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.000.951.14
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%83%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue5%4%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$6,062,995$5,621,483$6,069,385
Current Assets$4,025,699$2,584,154$3,970,618
Long-Term Liabilities$400,000$175,000$0
Current Liabilities$909,075$686,679$758,876
Total Net Assets$4,753,920$4,759,804$5,310,509
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.433.765.23
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets7%3%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Revenue $7,827,652Program Revenue $5,715,110Contributions, Gifts & Grants $4,017,080
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $4,354,208Contributions, Gifts and Grants $3,770,544Program Revenue $3,711,678
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFederal Government Grants $1,599,696Government Grants $1,759,111Federal Government Grants $1,198,554
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 2018 Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from 990.
Financial documents preapred by Cherry Bekaert LLP.
Comments provided by Kathryn Bennett 3/12/18.
Nonprofit Martha O'Bryan Center
Address 711 South 7th Street
Nashville, TN 37206 3895
Primary Phone (615) 254-1791
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Marsha Edwards
Board Chair Mr. Tim Sinks
Board Chair Company Affiliation Capital Financial Group
Year of Incorporation 1951

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