In 1893, Mrs. Fannie E. Harding generously opened her twelve room residence and five acres in Nashville to orphaned children of Middle Tennessee as a memorial to her husband, Dr. James Monroe Harding. Under the astute leadership of William Dunn Trabue, money was raised at the height of the Great Depression to purchase the land at our current location on Glendale Lane. This site remains our main campus as we continue to serve children and youth of Middle Tennessee who are in state custody.
Since the establishment of Monroe Harding Children’s Home, the program has adapted to meet the needs of youth in our community. Currently, we provide comprehensive services to at-risk youth of all ages. To date, more than 16,000 children and youth have been recipients of Fannie Harding’s legacy. Monroe Harding is much more than a “children’s home.” In 2003, the name was changed to Monroe Harding.
Since 1893, Monroe Harding, Inc. has changed the lives of thousands of children and youth. We provide safe, stable housing and an environment that allows young people to reach their full potential. In 2016, we served more than 220 young people in our programs: Foster Care, Independent Living, and Youth Connections resource center. Through these services in 2016, 100 children were nurtured in foster homes across Middle Tennessee; 6 were adopted, and 25 were reunified with their birth families. Cooperative Living cared for 80 young men, and 47 young adults lived in Independent Living while either finishing high school or attending college.
Every one of the young people we served in 2016 continued or completed their education, received quality health care, learned life skills, and when possible and appropriate, learned job skills and gained employment.
We provide the counseling and support our youth need to recover from past adverse experiences. Our clinicians work with a team of professionals to ensure that all the work we do provides a safe, family-like environment where the young people can fully heal from the trauma they have experienced in their short lives. Monroe Harding's trauma-informed care embraces these children and youth so that they can not only view the world as safe and predictable, but also begin to see a future for themselves.
There are four ways you can get involved:
● Donate –Monetary donations can be made by cash, check, or credit card. We can also accept stock transfers and assist you with planned giving. Please visit the Get Involved page on our website to see a list of items that are currently needed by the children and youth in our care.
● Become a Foster Parent – There is no greater calling than to provide a home for a child who has none. Foster parents who can commit to nurture, teach, and strengthen children and youth make a lasting impact.
● Mentor a Youth – Mentors have the opportunity to invest in and support a young person while they are a part of our program. The time commitment is one hour per week, which is flexible to accommodate a mentor’s schedule.
Monroe Harding's Board has worked with the Executive Management Team to review each of our four programs. We are committed to providing our young people with loving, trauma informed care, paying our staff competitive wages, and having a sustainable business model. We have re-committed Monroe Harding to providing support and encouragement to teenagers and young people who do not have supportive families as they grow to independence. Our Board of Directors is engaged and all support the agency through donations of time and resources. We could not fulfill our mission without community partners – individuals, corporations, foundations, churches, and organizations who believe, like we do, that every child deserves a family.
I am proud to serve on the Board at Monroe Harding where we give children and youth from birth to 26 safe homes, loving guidance, and confidence to grow toward their best independent selves.
Children and youth in state custody share one thing in common – TRAUMA. And we know that trauma in children without primary caregiver support leaves deep and lasting wounds. These children learn that adults cannot be trusted and that the world is not a safe place. They are fearful, hopeless, and pessimistic. Suffering from trauma, these children and youth act out, withdraw, or are overly compliant with no sense of self.
Monroe Harding does for these children and youth what a family would do. We embrace them – we provide for their needs just as you do for your own children. We recruit wonderful foster parents who provide a safe, loving home for infants, children and teens and we help teens aging out of care embrace independence through housing, post-secondary education, jobs, and financial literacy.
Children and youth without family support need a community; Monroe Harding creates that community and after some time helps the children or youth find a more permanent home. Where possible, we help the child reunite with a safe family member. Sometimes we help a young person find just the right adoptive home. And often, we help young adults establish their independence.
The youth participating in the programs at Youth Connections have demonstrated increased knowledge and awareness of available supports and services in the community. Data from participant surveys show that 94% of the participants now know where to go to access information and resources. This important education allows the youth to independently access health care, insurance, housing and other local support.
Youth Connections is a teen center focused on youth who have aged-out of state custody. It is one of only 15 such centers in the country.
Research shows that the average age of independence in the United States is 26; however, young people in state custody are expected to be independent and successful at only 18 years old. There are just under 1,000 youth in Tennessee who “age out” of the foster care system each year. In the Middle Tennessee region alone, approximately 700 children age 17 were in foster care.
Youth Connections brings together people and resources to give foster youth a successful foundation, filling the gap of what a family would typically do for a young person transitioning to independence. YC helps youth find and access the resources they need to live independent and useful lives. Our goals are to expand access to opportunities in employment, education, housing, and health care for youth in foster care; create opportunities for civic engagement and encourage young people to help others; and to provide links to personal networks of caring adults and other young people. The long term goal for all the young people we serve is to become independent, productive members of our community.
This program has been tracking outcomes since it was launched in 2002.
Jasmine feels that one of her dreams has finally come true. She said that being a car owner is a step closer to ”proving your independence.” Now that she’s able to take herself to school, doctor’s appointments and visit friends without having to rely on other people; she is more self- sufficient. ”Thanks to Youth Connections for lightening the load by providing me with match money to purchase my vehicle."
Lindsay is a young man currently living in one of these homes. Here is his story:
"Monroe Harding’s Independent Living Program has helped me a great deal. I originally came from Springfield, TN and aged out of the system here in Nashville. I thought I could make it on my own, but as I began to struggle I learned that Monroe Harding had a program for people like me. The Independent Living Program has helped me achieve such things as budgeting, managing a checking and savings account; setting up and scheduling doctor’s appointments, learning to work together as a team and helping others in the community. I have learned to be more self- sufficient, so I will be prepared to exit the program and be successful in life. The staff at Monroe Harding is easy to work with and very open-hearted and willing to work with all youth to get us on the path towards success. Thank You". Lindsay W.
Our greatest challenges are:
We are fortunate to build upon the 120+ year legacy of providing services to children and youth in state custody and like our predecessors we respond to the changing needs by adapting our programs. Today our challenges are growing non-governmental funding, expanding our programs through a sustainable business model and telling our story to the Middle Tennessee community.
Mary came to Monroe Harding as President and CEO in July 2011 after twelve years as a consultant to for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Her consulting expertise is in strategic planning, organizational development and leadership development. Prior to her years in consulting, Mary worked for SunTrust Bank as an Employee Relations officer, was an adjunct professor at Belmont’s Massey School of Business, and ran Crittenton Services, a nonprofit dedicated to teen pregnancy prevention. After an early start teaching junior high math in Chicago for eleven years, Mary has lived in Nashville for the past 26 years.
Originally from Kentucky, Stephanie moved to Nashville in 2002. Before coming to Monroe Harding, Stephanie worked for other local non-profit organizations: Crisis Intervention Center, Family and Children’s Service, and Health Assist Tennessee, and currently volunteers for the Brooks Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, OutCentral, and the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.
Erika Borg has over 15 years’ experience working within philanthropic, nonprofit, and corporate circles to improve the lives of young people. A newbie to Nashville, Erika is excited to become actively engaged in her community.
In her past position as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at UNITE-LA and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Erika worked to advance corporate and philanthropic partnerships that result in positive outcomes for the youth of Los Angeles, including building a Foster Youth/Opportunity Youth Collaborative and a regional Science Technology Engineering and Math Hub. Prior to her work with UNITE-LA, she served as the Director of Corporate Relations for the Salvation Army – Southern California Division. She has also held positions with the University of Florida’s College of Nursing and City of Hope.
Steve has over 30 years of finance and operations experience working for non-profit, healthcare, and media companies in the U.S., Great Britain, and the Netherlands. As Chief Financial Officer, Steve provides strategic leadership and management for all financial operations at Monroe Harding.
Prior to joining Monroe Harding, Steve served as CFO for Strategic Health Services and as Director of Finance for Launch Tennessee, a state-funded economic development agency.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
All Tennessee families should have access to high quality, developmentally appropriate child care and after-school programming for their children, regardless of income level.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215