2014 Phase I Grant Recipients

Phase I Group Pic_cropped

2014 Phase I Grant Winners and Trinity Board Members

The Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee has selected (17) area organizations to receive more than $200,000 in grants as a part of the 2014 Trinity Health Initiatives Phase I awards.  These (17) grants will be used to plan community health-related projects that will compete for five implementation grants later this year.  Over 70 proposals were received from regional non-profits and they were ranked on impact and merit by the Trinity Selection Committee.  Awards were presented by David Haynes, Trinity Board Chair and Robin Gibson, Trinity Grants Committee Chair, at a luncheon held on May 20.  This year’s grantees include:

  • Bethany Christian Services
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
  • Cokesbury United Methodist Church
  • Contact Care Line
  • East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
  • East Tennessee Technology Access Center, Inc.
  • Fellowship Evangelical Free Church
  • Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs
  • Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center
  • Knoxville Leadership Foundation
  • Lincoln Memorial University
  • Loudon County Health Improvement Council
  • New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of East TN                 
  • The First Tee of Greater Knoxville
  • The Restoration House of East TN

These groups will use the Phase I funding to research and plan details for project operations and sustainability culminating in a proposal for consideration of Phase II implementation funds.

Last year, Trinity awarded over $1 million for projects and health education including five implementation grants that are now in progress for operation of a downtown soccer complex (Emerald Youth), job training for the autistic (Breakthrough Corp.), family economic mentoring through churches (Compassion Coalition), coping with chronic illness (Interfaith Health Clinic) and methods to spiritually guide the terminally ill (U.T. Medical Center Department of Pastoral Care.)

To find out more about the 2014 Phase I Grants, click below:

  1. Access to Preventive Care

    Organization:   East Tennessee Children’s Hospital

    Project Title:   Telehealth: Improving access to Pediatric Sub-Specialists

    Telehealth is a proven alternative for providing children living in rural areas improved access to needed health services.  While ETCH provides exceptional pediatric care to children living in the greater Knoxville area, accessibility and ease of use of sub-specialty care are consistent barriers that can impede a child’s access to timely evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.  With so many children and families living in poverty, travel to Knoxville costs time and money; precious resources in today’s economy.  While all travel for pediatric treatment cannot be avoided, creating a telehealth network in East Tennessee greatly improves access and ease of use for many children and their families.  ETCH will research and develop plans for an initial telehealth site located in one of the eight contiguous counties to Knox County.  The funds will be used for data collection, rural primary care provider surveys and visits to pediatric medical centers providing rural telehealth services.  Telehealth is currently not a reimbursable service for pediatric sub-specialty care in Tennessee; however, recent legislation passed by the Tennessee House of Representatives and recommended for a Senate vote demonstrates growing support. In many states, telehealth is an acceptable and reimbursable way to provide health services in rural areas. ETCH consistently demonstrates its commitment to East Tennessee’s children; providing telehealth is a natural next step in that commitment.


    Pat Kelly, Kyla Melhorn, and Keith Goodwin, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital









    Organization:   Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County

    Project Title:    Good Sam’s Healthy Lives, Healthy Smiles Program

    Access to emergency dental care is a critical need in Loudon County. Through donations, Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County (GoodSam) provides a limited amount of funding for emergency extractions and treatment of abscesses. However, current resources are inadequate to meet the demand, and no other emergency dental options exist for low-income adults in our county. Therefore, our clients with severe dental pain end up seeking treatment in the local emergency room (ER). (Our local hospital reports that 20% of ER visits involve tooth pain.)  Phase I grant funds will allow GoodSam’s Healthy Lives Healthy Smiles Program to bring together key stakeholders, evaluate ongoing models, and gather information necessary to develop a viable solution to this growing problem. We have formed relationships with Roane State Community College Dental Hygiene Program (in Oak Ridge) and the University of Tennessee Knoxville MBA Program to help develop a workable, sustainable program. We envision a model where GoodSam provides transportation for qualified Loudon County residents to Roane State for dental screening services (including cleaning and x-rays). Our model also involves developing a cadre of volunteer dentists (which includes Roane State’s monthly dental clinic) to provide fillings and extractions. GoodSam has an excellent track record of community service in Loudon County, with more than 200 dedicated volunteers and five staff members to help manage this program.

    Good Sam Loudon Co

    Karen Bowdle and Jane Whitaker , Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County









    Organization: Lincoln Memorial University-Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM)

     Project Title: Enhancing Rural Medical Access Through School-based Clinics

    School-based health centers provide a model for growing the health care safety net, not only in providing health care services in places where students, staff and teachers spend a majority of their day, but also in championing change from within the school environment so that schools become focal points for encouraging healthy eating and active living behaviors. In 2008, Union County Public Schools (UCPS) established the physical facilities for three clinics based in their school buildings. UCPS has been unable to obtain consistent health care services with past contractors and approached LMU-DCOM to assist in solving this problem. The LMU-DCOM Mission includes focusing on enhanced access to comprehensive health care for underserved communities; and embracing patient-centered care that values diversity, public service and leadership. This program fulfills LMU-DCOM’s mission to reduce health disparities. LMU-DCOM and UCPS will collaborate on the feasibility study: a) targeted needs and usage assessment; b) development of a financial pro forma; c) and plan for a self-supporting/sustainable health clinic program. LMU-DCOM’s goal is to support UCPS efforts in establishing a culture of health, which will permeate the community at large and prepare the students for a lifestyle of preventive medicine and health behaviors.


    Dr. Ava Stanczek, Lincoln Memorial University and Eddie Graham, Union County Public Schools








  2. Healthy Life Choices

    Organization:   Loudon County Health Improvement Council

    Project Title:   Get Fresh! Delivering Healthy Foods to Loudon County

    Divided by demographics and geography, Loudon County needs comprehensive, effective solutions for improving health.Here live diverse populations that include high percentages of seniors, Latino immigrants and low-income residents scattered in geographically-divided pockets throughout the county. The Loudon County Health Improvement Council has recently identified obesity and its associated chronic diseases as an important area of focus. One key goal is improving access to fresh produce. Ten percent of county residents have limitedaccess to healthy foods—higher than the overall percentage for Tennessee. The grant will be used to develop and conduct a community health and nutrition survey to determine the needs and priorities of the county’s divergent populations. In conjunction with this assessment, the council will conduct demonstration projects aimed at improving access to fresh produce for these target populations. The Get Fresh! projects will include: Supplementing a summer feeding program with weekly fresh produce grown on a local farm; installing a demonstration community garden and holding a health education program related to family gardening and food preparation and establishinga small garden project at a local assisted living facility. Based onhealth survey results, we also will find existing models in othercommunities that best reflect our county’s composition and needs to determine best practices for the Get Fresh! Program. This research, coupled with the practical results of the pilot projects,will be used to create a sustainable initiative that meets the needs of the county’s diverse communities and helps Loudon County Get Fresh!

    Loudon Co Hlth Imp

    Larisa Brass and Beth LaFontaine, Loudon County Health Improvement Council









    Organization:   Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee

    Project Title:    NOURISH East Tennessee: A Mobile Method to Improve the Nutrition of Food-insecure Adults and Children

    One out of every five people in East Tennessee struggles with food insecurity; and one out of every four children struggles with having enough good food to support a healthy life, especially during the summer when school meals are not available…they are hungry. No one should have to go hungry, especially a child. But, hunger is not just about a lack of food, it is about a lack of good nutrition. Chronic health problems such as obesity and diabetes are worsened by the cheap, high-calorie foods consumed in many low-income homes. The answers: Nutrition education to encourage healthier food choices and food preparation, presented where free food is available (at mobile pantry distributions), and a summer feeding program for food-insecure children, in their own neighborhoods. Second Harvest Food Bank proposes to take nutrition programs directly into the areas where they are needed most by using a mobile kitchen. NOURISH East TN (Nutrition Outreach for UR Intake by Second Harvest) will combine cooking demonstrations with mobile pantries (one-day distributions of emergency food) in impoverished neighborhoods in 18 counties (approximately 18,000 people); and during the summer, NOURISH will serve nutritious meals to 750 children each week for 10 weeks.  NOURISH is modeled after Nutrition on Wheels by Community Food Bank in Fresno, CA, and the Lunch Express by Second Harvest of Northeast Tennessee.  A request for sponsorship of the program is in progress to UnitedHealthcare, and sustaining funds will come from grants, sponsorships, fundraisers, and USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.

    Second Harvest

    Kathy Prince and Elaine Streno, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee









    Organization:  The First Tee of Greater Knoxville

    Project Title:    First Tee National School Program

    The First Tee of Greater Knoxville will explore bringing to elementary schools in East Tennessee the National School Program (NSP), a curriculum developed and proven effective by The First Tee nationally. This program creates an environment in physical education classes where students learn golf and the inherent values of the game, including health-enhancing habits. Physical educators receive professional development training and are provided with a developmentally appropriate curriculum and equipment for effective implementation in their classes. This project will address the gaps identified in the PE programs at 50 elementary schools in Knox County. NSP will equip elementary PE teachers to improve the physical, mental, and emotional development of students. Youth crime has increase by 45% across Tennessee, and the state has the fourth highest childhood obesity rate and the fifth highest physical inactivity rate in the United States. Our youth are not learning life skills, healthy habits, or character education.  NSP is active in more than 6,000 schools across the country; results indicate a promising practice for our region with positive outcomes for students’ health and for PE teachers’ ability to provide effective instruction. Collaborations to be explored during our Phase I grant include a visit to The First Tee of Charlotte (NC), pilot projects in three Knox County elementary schools, and initial contact with the 110 additional elementary schools in our nine target counties in preparation for implementation during Phase II. NSP is self-sustaining after a one-time investment in curriculum, teacher training, and equipment.

    First Tee

    M.J. Pappas and Diondre Jackson, The First Tee of Greater Knoxville









  3. Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

    Organization: Cokesbury United Methodist Church

    Project Title:    Susannah’s House-Building a Place for Hope

    Mothers and babies share many things. They share a special relationship that’s like no other.  They share physical traits. They share a bloodline.  And, in ever increasing numbers, they share an addiction.  East Tennessee has the second largest number, nationally, of infants born dependent on the opioid drugs abused by their mothers, resulting in a condition called NAS – Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.  Susannah’s House is a faith-based organization sponsored by Cokesbury United Methodist Church that serves the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of mothers and their prenatally exposed infants who are recovering from substance abuse.  Cokesbury Church is leasing the former Wesley House Community Center in Knoxville to be the home base for Susannah’s House programs. Renovations have begun on the house, sponsored by Cokesbury members.  Susannah’s House day programs will be available to assist mothers in maintaining sobriety following their initial treatment for drug abuse. Our program will include a holistic module designed for mothers recovering from opioid addiction. It will be run by professionals in the recovery and social services fields and will be supported by volunteers. Sustainability will be by grants, donations, fund-raisers and special offerings.  A successful collaboration with and referrals from local hospitals, the Knox County Health Department, the Knox County Family Drug Court, the Metropolitan Drug Commission and Susannah’s House will lead to a reduction in substance-exposed infants.  Mothers will maintain sobriety and children will be nurtured in healthier environments.


    Denise Douglas and Rebekah Fetzer, Cokesbury United Methodist Church









    Organization:   Contact Care Line

    Project Title:    Enhancing Critical Support for Young People with Chat and Text

    CONTACT has fielded 31,374 critical support calls in Knox County since 2009. Our evidence based programs improve access to health care by removing economic and social barriers and prevent violence toward self or others (NIH, 2012). With Phase I funding to pilot Online Emotional Support (OES), CONTACT will lay the groundwork for reaching 13,163 young people in Knox County who need support for mental, emotional, or behavioral (MEB) health problems.  CONTACT aims to increase awareness and service utilization for 15 to 24 year olds by offering chat (also known as instant messaging or “IM”) and text features.  CONTACT will pilot OES services for increasing the number of young people receiving information and referral, emotional support, and suicide triage. We will achieve measurable success by: (1) conducting an Agora Center site visit; (2) training 10 OES Specialists; (3) distributing marketing collateral at Knox County schools, including Cedar Bluff Middle School, and colleges; and (4) conducting a process evaluation with chat/text analysis, focus groups, and surveys.  Providing enhanced services for Knox County will strengthen our support in an area where roughly half of crisis line callers and volunteers reside and help build stronger ties with Knoxville businesses, churches, and community organizations. Building a greater presence in Knox County is integral to our long term growth. Implementing OES will prepare the way to (1) secure contracts with public and private entities across our region and the state of Tennessee and (2) develop new programs leveraging mobile technologies for people of all ages.

    Contact Care Line

    Deborah Patterson, Contact Care Line









    Organization: Helen Ross McNabb Center

    Project Title: Access to Mental Health Care for East Tennessee Children and Adolescents

    Mental disorders among children and adolescents are an important public health issue in the United States because of their prevalence and impact on the child, family, and community. An estimated 13 to 20 percent of children under 18 in the United States have a mental health disorder, and studies show the prevalence is increasing. Untreated mental illness in children has tragic and costly consequences. Untreated childhood disorders are likely to lead to more severe, more difficult to treat illnesses in adulthood. The estimated cost of untreated childhood mental illness in the United States is $247 billion annually, and in East Tennessee approximately $106 million annually. Despite the development of effective treatment methods and medications, only 20 percent of children affected by mental illness are able to access care.The nation-wide shortage of psychiatrists is a major barrier to access of care. There are only 15 child and adolescent psychiatrists in East Tennessee to treat approximately 40,000 mentally ill children. Telepsychiatry – the use of video or web-based conferencing to connect psychiatrists with patients located in remote settings – is one of the most effective proposed solutions to the shortage. The Helen Ross McNabb Center proposes to consult with a successful telepsychiatry site in Ohio, and recreate their model to serve children throughout East Tennessee.


    Dr. Cliff Tennison and Houston Smelcer, Helen Ross McNabb Center








  4. Family Strengthening

    Organization:  Bethany Christian Services

    Project Title:    Safe Families for Children Social Connections and Support Training

    Bethany Christian Services’ mission is to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families through quality social services. This mission is the heart of Bethany’s Safe Families for Children Program (SFFC).  SFFC seeks to develop, plan, and implement the SFFC Social Connections and Support Training curriculum for volunteers who open their homes to host childrenand support families who are in crisis. Ten to twelve SFFC volunteer families willbe trained in how to engage and support the bio-families served through new videos and a hands-on training program. The training will be based on the national program Strengthening Families with direct strategies from the Fostering Hope Program in Oregon, as the model. Developing the training videos and conducting the training will be the focus of this project.

    Bethany CS

    Dr. Janet Cockrum and Terry Bowles, Bethany Christian Services









    Organization:   Fellowship Evangelical Free Church

    Project Title:    Knoxville Collaborative Marriage Initiative

    The quality and stability of marriage have profound impacts on partners’ overall physical health, mental health, economic security, and child health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, recent statistics suggest fewer people in the United States are married today than ever before, 42% of children are born to unmarried parents, and roughly half of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. In the Knoxville area, community-wide programs for preventing marital deterioration and strengthening marriages are nonexistent. This proposal emphasizes collaborations with leading marriage experts, and training of clergy and volunteers, to create a community-wide network of relationship assistance programming aimed at preparing couples for a strong, healthy marriage as well as strengthening marriages and relationships in Knoxville.


    Pastor Rick Dunn, Dr. Clark Stevens, and Kevin Huggins, Fellowship Evangelical Free Church









    Organization: Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs

    Project Title: Family Support Project

    In Tennessee, 12.9 % of all births are preterm. For many families, having a premature infant in the hospital NICU can lead to family, emotional, and/ or financial crisis. Parents may experience depression, anxiety, stress, and loss of control.  The Family Support Project proposed by Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs aims to fill this need in our community by supporting and serving approximately 200 families with micro preemies in the NICU at East Tennessee’s Children’s Hospital (ETCH).  We will support the families by providing small scale tests before a large implementation of Education/Support Groups during their hospital stay and Peer Mentor support during their transition home.   Through this support we will enhance parents’ knowledge and decrease stress which in turn strengthens families and their role as parents. We will measure this impact through direct qualitative feedback from families participating in the project. Current partners include East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, The Saving Grace Project, and March of Dimes. The sustainability plan will build upon already existing fundraising and grant sources as well as expanding these sources.  Our organization has 18 years of experience with fundraising, development, and grant writing. We have a strong base of collaborative partners, volunteers, board members, and advisory council members to help design and implement a sustainability plan.

    Friends of TN Babies

    Janet Caldwell and Teresa McMahan, Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs








    Organization:   The Restoration House of East Tennessee

    Project Title:    Breaking the Cycle of Poverty by Combining Area Best Practices

    Single parent families represent a significant number of households in Knoxville and the majority of them are single mother families who are living below the poverty line.  The Restoration House is developing The Village, a 24-unit transitional community for low-income single mother families.  The Village provides The Restoration House (TRH), Emerald Youth Foundation (EYF) and A Hand Up for Women (HUFW) the opportunity to partner together to leverage their 37 years of combined experience utilizing best practices in supportive transtional housing, team mentoring, family advocacy, life skill training and robust youth development to holistically empower low-income single mothers and their children to break the cycle of poverty.  Each organization by itself is limited to primarily focusing on just one member of the family, either the parent or the children.  By working together strategically these three organizations will empower the whole family in ways that will have a lasting effect on the entire community and future generations.  Through working with Wilder Research and Management Solutions the collaboration will determine what metrics are needed based on combined outcomes to demonstrate long-term success of the single mother families who come through The Village.  Over the next 10 years, The Restoration House’s Village will have a restorative impact on 140 to 160 single mothers and 280 to 320 children while saving tax payers around $2,751,175 over the same period through eliminating families’ dependence on welfare systems.

    Restoration House

    Eva Pierce, A Hand Up for Women (Collaborator); Daniel Watson, Restoration House; Kevin Dubose, Emerald Youth Foundation (Collaborator)









  5. Open Topic

    Organization:   Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

    Project Title:    Mentor 2.0

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBSETN) believes all young people deserve an opportunity to go to college and fulfill their aspirations for the future. Beyond academic preparation, students need individualized support as they apply to college and develop skills to succeed, such as perseverance, networking, critical thinking, and self-advocacy. For students in low-income communities, many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college, this personal support is hard to find.  Planning and implementing a one-to-one mentoring program that is multi-dimensional – one that provides the supports for youth to achieve educational success, reach for higher aspirations and avoid criminal activity; one that also provides the encouragement and a curriculum based environment for students to develop non-cognitive skills and college knowledge needed to graduate from high school, enroll in college and persist in their college education.  The program impact will be evident and clearly measurable in the achievements of these students – graduating high-school and graduating college. Additional impact will be measured in the students’ attitudes, the family impact and how this impacts the community from a long-term perspective.   Mentor 2.0 will require collaboration efforts of schools – both high-school and college to implement the program. Additionally, we hope to have collaborations that may also support the sustainability of Mentor 2.0, for example: BBBS of America – from a program and/or funding perspective and corporate partnership support through volunteers to serve as mentors and/or investment to support sustainability. Due to the important nature of this program, we also hope to engage other foundations, local colleges and universities, city and county governments.


    Lisbeth Couser and Kara Finger, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee









    Organization:   East Tennessee Technology Access Center

    Project Title:    Establishing a Repair Café

    The East Tennessee Technology Access Center, Inc., a nonprofit agency located in Knoxville, TN, that has invested in the lives of people with disabilities and their families for almost 26 years, is proposing to establish the first Repair Café in the United States that matches at least 50 young adults with disabilities with older skilled volunteers and members of the business community to learn specific skills that will enable them to become part of a community, repair items, and then give back to others through volunteering and potential competitive employment. At least 70% of young adults with disabilities in the Knoxville Metropolitan Service Area between the ages of 18 and 34 are unemployed. The Repair Café will use natural supports to develop a sense of community and friendships in a non-threatening, non-stressful, and non-competitive environment that capitalizes on each person’s strengths and needs, whether a young adult with a disability, a peer without a disability, or a senior with time on his or her hands and a skill that needs to be passed to a younger generation. National standards will be used to measure progress of each participant. One of the goals of the establishment of this unique Repair Café is to create a model or template that can be replicated by other groups, whether locally, state-wide or nationally.


    Mike Russell and Dr. Lois Symington, East Tennessee Technology Access Center









    Organization:   Knoxville Leadership Foundation 

    Project Title:    Better Nonprofits – Better Individuals, Better Neighborhoods, Better                                   Communities, Healthier East Tennessee

    Knoxville Leadership Foundation (KLF) will complete preliminary research on the nonprofit certification process, which would be utilized in the development of Better Nonprofits, a regional resource center for East Tennessee nonprofits.  Centers supporting nonprofits are central to community building efforts in the most vibrant regions across the United States. East Tennessee has no such center, but the need has been recognized for at least three decades. KLF is proposing the establishment of Better Nonprofits, focusing on improving the health of our region by offering nonprofits “one-stop shopping” for capacity building services and resources. Utilizing KLF’s Center for Communities as a starting point, Better Nonprofits will be a collaborative effort seeking to build leadership, strengthen resources and improve impact among East Tennessee’s nonprofit community. A central component of Better Nonprofits will be the certification of members, allowing them to see their growth over time and serving as a way for the community to understand each nonprofit’s level of capacity.   Collaboration among nonprofits, educators, consultants and subject matter experts will provide a strong foundation for this initiative.  Better Nonprofits is expected to serve over 400 nonprofits in our region, becoming self-sufficient after five years of service.  Grant funds will be used to compile research, hire consultants and finalize implementation plans for Better Nonprofits.


    Chris Martin and Kevin Bailey, Knoxville Leadership Foundation









    Organization:   New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center

    Project Title:    Hope for Traumatized Children

    The New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center plans to expand its clinical services to create an integrative approach to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for traumatized children, a program that is not currently available in East Tennessee.  As the only center in Blount County that specializes in trauma, it is always overwhelmed with referrals.   Currently, this service is limited to children referred by our Child Protective Investigative Team who have substantiated cases of sexual abuse or severe physical abuse.  We aim to to offer this specialized service to other children in our area who are experiencing trauma.  Our goal is to train our therapists on more modalities for treatment and eventually expand our clinical staff.  This project would allow us to increase the number of children we serve while decreasing trauma symptoms and the need for referrals for additional services.  These services would be available to clients in one location and based on their ability to pay.  Our plan is modeled, on a much smaller scale, from two larger trauma centers.  To sustain this project, we will continue pursuing other grant options, fundraising events, and new donors to secure a steady stream of income for our agency.   Implementation of this model will make it possible to truly impact our community by providing needed services and ensuring a more productive and healthy future for our children.

    New Hope Bccac

    Diane Darby and Ned Williard, New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center