The Chattanooga Way

By Holly Morse-Ellington | Photography by Lanewood Studio

It is always an honor to share events across the area that highlight those who make a difference in the lives of others. This year we gladly present the 2018 AFP National Philanthropy Day Award honorees. Led by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the AFP Southeastern Chapter has been supporting and building the philanthropic landscape in Chattanooga since 1987. Its members include over 100 local nonprofit organizations who are dedicated to building healthier, better educated, and prospering communities. Through generosity of time and resources, these volunteers are a vital bridge that connect people with hope.
Here, this year’s honorees share their experience and inspiration.

AFP National Philanthropy Day Honoree Will Clegg Chattanooga



Lifting Hearts by the Number

Will Clegg: Leadership Fundraiser

For Will Clegg, partner at Henderson, Hutcherson and McCullough, exceptional leadership skills and an impressive ability to coordinate and motivate volunteers come naturally. Through his participation in various nonprofit organizations across the area, he has become known for his ability to mobilize teams to achieve and even surpass fundraising goals.

In 2017, Clegg became a corporate sponsorship chair for the Pink! Gala, a benefit for the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center at CHI Memorial. That year he and co-chair Bruce Hartmann set a local sponsorship goal of $275,000 – only to then raise an unprecedented $425,000 for the organization’s efforts. The following year he and co-chair Janie Jones raised $533,000.

January 2019 marks Clegg’s
third year as Pink! sponsorship chair. “We’ve already surpassed last year’s goal by a wide margin,” says Clegg. “If you have a dedicated, driven team, and if you treat the charity you are invested in similarly to the way you treat your job, you’ll be amazed at the level of results you get.”

Also a board member for Hospice of Chattanooga and an executive leadership team member for the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball, Clegg credits his firm for leading by example. “Watching Donnie Hutcherson and Carl and Paula Henderson over the years helped show me how you can take volunteering to the next level,” Clegg says. “It’s all about finding things you’re passionate about and giving your full weight and resources to them.”

For Clegg, commitment to the organizations he serves hits close to home. Family members have a history of heart disease, friends have battled cancer, and his grandmother required hospice care. “I didn’t realize the number of programs hospice provided to help both the families as well as the patient,” he says. “Seeing that firsthand really struck a chord in my heart.”

A spirit of philanthropy impacts Clegg in ways that exceed numbers. “What drives me is hopefully finding a cure one day,” Clegg says. “Regardless of the money you raise or time you give, if you affect even one person’s life for the better, you’ve accomplished something truly special.”

AFP National Philanthropy Day Honorees Ted And Kelly Alling Chattanooga



Advancing Pathways in Education

Ted & Kelly Alling: Outstanding Philanthropists

Ted and Kelly Alling know the effort it takes to make a difference. Born from their desire to provide equal learning opportunities for all, they spearheaded a three-year strategic vision and implementation process to establish Chattanooga Preparatory School, an all-boys public charter school. To launch the school, the Allings organized a corps of experts in curriculum design and established the nonprofit Friends of Chattanooga Prep as the school’s founding sponsor. In 2017, the school’s charter was approved and a $15 million campaign was launched to renovate the school’s 42,450-square-foot building in Highland Park. Chattanooga Prep opened in August 2018 to an inaugural class of more than 60 sixth graders.

“It absolutely takes a village,” Ted says. “From local foundations to a soon-to-be announced national foundation, local and regional individuals, local and national companies – support is ramping up since our doors opened.” Even their kids pitched in. Kelly recalls daughter Mallory saying, “Mom, what if I made macaroons and cookies to sell?” Mallory brought her baked goods to a ballgame on Lookout Mountain, garnering $230 for the school. “It gets real when you see your children trying to help out for this vision as well,” Kelly says.

Parenthood spurred the Allings’ passion to bridge achievement gaps in education – 86% of students recruited to Chattanooga Prep are one to four grade levels below in reading and math. The public school aims to provide young men from low-income and underserved communities with innovative learning and leadership skills that place them on paths for success. “There’s absolutely no reason why these 66 students should have less of an opportunity than our own children. That’s really what fuels the fire in us,” Kelly says. “We’ve got to give them all the tools they need so they can come back and make changes in our community. If they aren’t equipped with a good education, then they don’t have the tools.”

In addition to receiving rigorous college preparatory coursework, each student is paired with a mentor. Statistics highlight that the students Chattanooga Prep seeks to serve have disproportionate disciplinary and dropout rates – the average male is suspended at nearly three times the countywide rate and 27% of residents in targeted communities lack a high school diploma.

“We understand volunteers come and go, but for our boys, we ensure there will be one constant person in their school career, their mentor,” Ted says. Trained by Dr. Joe Martin, founder of Real Men Connect, mentors engage the boys in recreational and school events. “Our mentor program has been a game changer. A lot of our students do not have positive male role models in their lives,” explains Ted.    

“As founders, our roles are to be the biggest cheerleaders behind the students and staff,” Ted says. “Chattanooga Prep is a huge piece of our heart and soul, and we know it will continue to be. So we will remain active founders and ensure everyone inside that school has exactly what they need, especially our students and teachers.”


 


“Chattanooga Prep is a huge piece of our heart and soul, and we know it will continue to be. So we will remain active founders and ensure everyone inside that school has exactly what they need, especially our students and teachers.”

AFP National Philanthropy Day Honoree Glenn Morris Chattanooga



Rallying a Team

M&M Industries — Glenn Morris: Corporate Philanthropist

As president and CEO of M&M Industries, Inc., Glenn Morris has built upon the legacy of his entrepreneurial parents and their commitment to serve others. While the package and design manufacturing company expands to a second Chattanooga plant, Morris continues to foster the companywide philosophy of teamwork and giving back to help others.

M&M has been an official partner with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chattanooga (RMHC) for five years. The nonprofit’s mission is to keep families with sick children together as they receive, and often travel for, medical treatment. “RMHC is a place to go during an acutely emotionally and physically draining time,” Morris says. “We’re honored to partner with them and be a small part of their incredible purpose.”

Employees volunteer time in shifts at RMHC’s annual Autumn Children’s Festival and are encouraged to make monetary donations, which M&M matches dollar for dollar. “Our people are magnificent and seeing them grow from these experiences – I love that,” shares Morris. Each year M&M staff display pictures of previous festivals and recount memories during teambuilding meetings. “The stories our employees tell are heartwarming. We hear all the time, ‘I never knew we could make such a difference.’”

The company also encourages participation with other nonprofit organizations near and dear to employees. “We want everyone to volunteer for charitable causes, and we’re happy to allow or manage time away to do this,” says Morris, who is reviving a company newsletter to inspire employees to persue additional volunteer opportunities. The emphasis is two-fold. “When we get a chance to help other people out, it reminds us we have a lot more value than we thought we had,” he says. “And it’s great for the person we are serving because they might not otherwise get the help they need.”

There’s a sense of tradition in extending a corporate family’s vision to benefit a community family. “There’s no one more uniquely qualified to teach the next generation about having a passion for one another than the parent or role model that steps into that position,” Morris says. “The particular cause comes from individual passion, but the lesson of giving starts at home.”

AFP National Philanthropy Day Honoree Philip Mathews Chattanooga



Steward for Smiles

Philip Mathews: Youth in Philanthropy

Philip Mathews, an 18-year-old senior and member of the football team at McCallie School, represents the next generation of philanthropists. On behalf of Love Without Reason, a nonprofit his parents established in 2007 to facilitate free surgeries for children born with life-altering facial differences, Philip delivers motivational speeches across the globe – sharing with audiences that there was a time when his future and his ability to speak hung in the balance.

Philip was born with holes in his heart and without a corpus callosum, a band of nerve fibers that connect the brain’s two hemispheres. He was also diagnosed with Goldenhar syndrome, which required reconstruction of his right eye and ear in addition to a cleft lip and palate. After 23 surgeries, Philip is a college-bound teenager and a volunteer patient advocate who guides parents through concerns about pre- and post-operative procedures.

“Some parents have never heard the word surgery. I talk to them and say, ‘Your child is going to be fine,’” Philip says of the dialogue that occurs in remote villages, often with assistance from a translator. “I show my before and after pictures, and I tell them it’s going to be okay.”

Philip and his parents, Santhosh and Susan, know firsthand that surgical intervention within the first 18 to 24 months of life is critical. “Philip will tell them, ‘I’m talking, but that’s because I had the surgery at the right time,’” says Susan. He also impresses upon parents to follow the doctor’s orders. “Some of the patients and parents don’t do what the doctor says to do, and it destroys the work the doctor has done,” Philip says.

“In the United States there’s an understanding, a compassion toward disabilities. That’s not the way it is in developing countries,” Susan says of the stigma. “To them, it’s a curse.” Philip adds, “Being born and raised in the United States, I’ve been blessed. I know I have people around me to build me back up when I’m down. Now I can be that example for other kids and adults – don’t think your life is over, because it’s just beginning.”

Through private donations and crowdfunding campaigns like GoFundMe, the Mathews family raises money to sponsor a child’s surgery in remote areas of the world. They coordinate between doctors and local officials to install temporary medical camps. Potential surgical outcomes include improved breathing, hearing, and speech and language development with overall impacts on self-esteem and quality of life.

Their most recent mission to Kenya brought Love Without Reason to a total of 497 completed surgeries. “Seeing the kids before surgery, and the parents especially, they’re sad, often feeling like there’s no hope,” Philip says. “To see their smiles after surgery is incredible. It’s life-changing for me.”

Philip, who films school football games for his coach and team to review, is not cleared by his doctor to participate on the field. “I could say I want to do what other kids do, but maybe that’s not my calling,” Philip says. “Maybe my calling is encouraging other kids to follow their dreams. Disability doesn’t mean you can’t follow your dreams.”



“Seeing the kids before surgery, and the parents especially, they’re sad, often feeling like there’s no hope. To see their smiles after surgery is incredible. It’s life-changing for me.”

Past Honorees


1987 – 1st Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Hugh O. Maclellan Sr.


1988 – 2nd Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: H. Clay Evans Johnson


1989 – 3rd Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Scott L. Probasco Jr. 


1990 – 4th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Hugh O. Maclellan Jr.
Corporate Philanthropist: Provident Life/Accident Insurance
Leadership Fundraiser: Mai Bell Hurley


1991 – 5th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Ruth Street
Leadership Fundraiser: James D. Kennedy, Jr. 


 1992 – 6th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: All Contributors to the Aquarium
Corporate Philanthropist: 20 Largest Aquarium Sponsors


1993 – 7th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Ruth S. Holmberg
Corporate Philanthropist: McKee Foods Corporation
Leadership Fundraiser: Joseph F. Decosimo


1994 – 8th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Daniel and Joan Frierson
Corporate Philanthropist: American National Bank and Trust Company
Leadership Fundraiser: John P. Guerry
Young Volunteer Fundraiser: Mary Navarre Moore


1995 – 9th Annual

Corporate Philanthropist: Chattanooga Coca Cola Bottling Co.
Leadership Fundraiser: John F. Germ
Young Volunteer Fundraiser: Dr. John W. McCravey


1996 – 10th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Jo Ann Cline Yates
Corporate Philanthropist: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
Leadership Fundraiser: Mrs. Frank McDonald
Young Volunteer Fundraiser: Joseph H. Davenport III  


1997 – 11th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Mervin and Helen Pregulman
Corporate Philanthropist: Bi-Lo, Inc.
Leadership Fundraiser: Judy Bellenfant      


1998 – 12th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Gordon Davenport
Corporate Philanthropist: Newton Chevrolet
Leadership Fundraiser: George Key, Sr. and Tom Edd Wilson


1999 – 13th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Bryan and Kathy Patten & Cartter and Lee Patten
Corporate Philanthropist: North American Royalties
Leadership Fundraiser: Grady Williams 


2000 – 14th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Elizabeth Lupton Davenport
Corporate Philanthropist: WRCB-TV Channel 3
Leadership Fundraiser: Jim and Elaine Hill


2001 – 15th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: John T. “Jack” and Alice P. Lupton
Corporate Philanthropist: First Tennessee Bank
Leadership Fundraiser: Phil Whitaker     


2002 – 16th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Linda and Paul Neely
Corporate Philanthropist: Chattem Corporation
Leadership Fundraiser: Patsy Hazelwood   


2003 – 17th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Joseph F. Decosimo
Corporate Philanthropist: AmSouth Bank
Leadership Fundraiser: Mayor Bob Corker    


2004 – 18th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: The Caldwell Family
Corporate Philanthropist: Favorite Markets
Leadership Fundraiser: Paul Brock    


2005 – 19th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: The Chazen Family
Corporate Philanthropist: Junior League of Chattanooga
Leadership Fundraiser: Sue Anne Wells


2006 – 20th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Brenda Lawson
Corporate Philanthropist: WTVC News Channel 9
Leadership Fundraiser: Alison Lebovitz
Youth in Philanthropy: Jordan Thomas


2007 – 21st Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: The J. H. Davenport, Jr. Family
Corporate Philanthropist: Cornerstone Community Bank
Leadership Fundraiser: Helen Pregulman


2008 – 22nd Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Fletcher Bright
Corporate Philanthropist: Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough PLLC
Leadership Fundraiser: Sam Smartt, Jr.


2009 – 23rd Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Francis and Gordon Smith
Corporate Philanthropist: PlayCore
Leadership Fundraiser: Ward Petty


2010 – 24th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Dr. Joseph A. and Professor Mary Jackson
Corporate Philanthropist (large): UNUM
Corporate Philanthropist (small): Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Leadership Fundraiser: Bill Wilder


2011 – 25th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: George R. Johnson Family Foundation
Corporate Philanthropist: McDonald’s Chattanooga Co-Op and Brewer Media Group
Leadership Fundraiser: Dr. Fred and Ruth Obear   


2012 – 26th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: The Mark and Christine Waldrop Family
Corporate Philanthropist: Starkey Printing Company
Leadership Fundraiser: Dr. Clif and Ruzha Cleaveland


2013 – 27th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Dr. and Mrs. Jim Osborn
Corporate Philanthropist: Chattanooga Times Free Press
Leadership Fundraiser: Zan Guerry and Dr. Bill Stacy
Youth in Philanthropy: Anna Carroll    Nonprofit Professional: Peter Cooper  


2014 – 28th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Franklin Farrow
Corporate Philanthropist: Hutton Companies
Volunteer Fundraiser: Keith Sanford
Youth in Philanthropy: Ralston Hartness and Thomas West (ReGenerate)


2015 – 29th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Warren Barnett
Corporate Philanthropist: Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel
Volunteer Fundraiser: Charles Lebovitz
Youth in Philanthropy: Miss Morgan McCall and Miss Harper Caswell


2016 – 30th Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: The Clarence E. Harris Foundation
Corporate Philanthropist: Publix Super Markets Charities
Leadership Fundraiser: Charles L. Arant
Youth in Philanthropy: Jack Showronnek


2017 – 31st Annual

Outstanding Philanthropist: Weldon F. Osborne Foundation, Inc.
Corporate Philanthropist: Adman Electric
Leadership Fundraiser: Dr. Dane & Sheila Boyington
Youth in Philanthropy: Kaitlyn McAfee

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