Thank you for attending our Festival of Hope

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director:

We are very grateful for the presence of everyone who joined us at our Festival of Hope 2024. We are left with our hearts full of gratitude and love.

We were very happy to share the achievements of some of our graduates in our job training programs and to shine a lot on the families who rely on us to find and keep stable housing. All of this work is in service of helping our neighbors achieve self reliance, and that is what we celebrated.

If you couldn’t join us in person, it’s not too late for you to partner with us in our mission. Please consider making a donation to our Festival of Hope fundraiser here. Your generous support will make a difference to those most in need in Middle Tennessee.

Thank you to all our sponsors for their generous support. Here is a sampling of the Festival:

Festival of Hope 2024 to feature job training programs

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director:

I am excited to invite you to our annual fundraiser, Festival of Hope, a fun and joyous celebration of the accomplishments of our neighbors who allow us to walk alongside them towards a brighter future. Our Latino/Cuban-inspired breakfast event will take place at the Catholic Pastoral Center Tuesday, April 16, at 7:30 a.m. We will have authentic food, music, and other surprises. Our Sewing Training Academy, one of our workforce development programs, will be our event focus. The job training programs are essential, but lesser known components of our holistic service model.

Who says breakfast can’t be a festive occasion? The Festival of Hope celebrates healing, which we define as gaining self-reliance. Helping to empower our neighbors to take care of themselves and their families through sustainable employment, is our highest goal.

To reserve your seat, please go to the Festival website. There is no charge for attending, but we hope you will be generous with your support. Our goal is to raise $200,000, and all proceeds will provide critical Catholic Charities services for the more than 25,000 Middle Tennessee neighbors whom we serve annually.

Bishop J. Mark Spalding will be in attendance to visit with guests, and Rhori Johnston, WTVF News Channel 5 anchor, will be the master of ceremonies. You will hear the stories of students and staff members from our four job training programs who, thanks to their perseverance and our wraparound-holistic support, today have promising jobs and futures. You couldn’t find a better example of the power of love, hope, and healing.

Our event will include onsite demonstrations by our Sewing Training Academy, product samples, and a special gift made by students of the Academy. Other Catholic Charities program managers will also be on hand to answer your questions.

Thank you to First Horizon for their commitment as Presenting Sponsor. Sponsorships are still available through April 11. For more information, please go to the Festival of Hope website. Or call Brian Thomas, Director, Mission Advancement, at 615-670-9204.

Looking forward to seeing you on April 16!

Reasons to be thankful

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and whether you generously volunteered your time or made a donation, we are truly thankful for your invaluable contributions.

During the last two weeks at the Catholic Pastoral Center, we gave out 150 Thanksgiving boxes, which included whole turkeys, to ensure that families could enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. We were very blessed to be able to contribute to these special moments of family togetherness.

Meanwhile, staff at our other Middle Tennessee locations distributed turkeys, food boxes, and more. We won’t soon forget the faces of those who thought they would not have a Thanksgiving meal, but then received one of our turkeys. One individual literally cried when we she received a whole turkey: “We thought we wouldn’t be able to afford a turkey or a Thanksgiving meal, or anything,” she told us. “Thank you so much!”

Also, our big-hearted volunteers helped at Loaves and Fishes on Wednesday, Nov. 22. They worked virtually non-stop from 7:30 a.m.–noon., to help put together a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings for our neighbors in need.

These pictures tell the story of the need across the counties and our different locations.

We reflected on what we are most thankful for, and if we got to say the gratitude goes to our team— a team that includes YOU! Without your support we could not have helped this many neighbors in need.

  • With your gift of, $30 we can provide 10 meals through Loaves and Fishes or 1 food box to a family of 6
  • We can provide utility assistance to 1 household with a gift of $100.
  • Your donation of $250 will set up electricity for a family moving into their own home.

Giving Tuesday

As today is Giving Tuesday, please take a moment to reflect on those facing challenging times. Now we invite you to join us in supporting our mission of serving our neighbors through our annual Basic Needs campaign. We are aiming to raise $25,000 during the holidays to address utility bills and rent, housing, food, clothing, diapers, provide life-skills counselors and financial literacy classes for our neighbors.

Your contribution will have a significant impact in providing essential support to those who need it the most.


Advocating for our most vulnerable neighbors is important work. Catholic Charities was awarded a $15,000 grant to build a pilot program involving community outreach and education designed to increase understanding of our foreign-born neighbors and to build community. Kaleidoscope is the name we’ve given our program, which will culminate next spring with a family-friendly multicultural festival. It will celebrate the rich diversity of our local community. Food, hand-crafted items, and games will be part of the event.
We will host many of the ethnic and cultural Catholic communities in the area, as well as other organizations that focus on strengthening community bonds across Nashville’s many international groups.
Ten CC agencies across the country received the national grant from Catholic Charities USA, and each agency is addressing a specific issue in their communities and creating a program to bridge divides in their cities, reduce polarization, and enhance cohesion. CCUSA has brought together local Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, and Interfaith America in the Nation of Bridge Builders initiative. Watch for more details at



Board of Trustees for the fiscal year 2023-24

Board interns get a great opportunity to learn more about the agency, and their one-year terms often lead to a full regular board position. Here is a quick look at our new faces.

[Kyle Eason, Mark Jansen, Meg Mahon, Jeanne Marchetti, Chichi Molokwu, Justin McElroy

AND YLC interns Kristin Byrne, Connor Flaherty, John Klare, Jeremey Whitaker]

Thank you also to our Board officers: Greg Pope, President; John Rodgers, Vice President; Shandy Husman, Treasurer; and Cathy Kelly, Secretary. See details here.

Kyle Eason, Strategy and Innovation, HCA; Kyle is a New Orleans native and a graduate of Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School. His experience includes Deloitte, Ernst & Young and strategy and consulting positions.

Mark Jansen, Chief Operating Officer, Rural Healthcare Group; Mark is a healthcare operations executive. He stepped away from the corporate world and did mission work with his family in Costa Rica during the pandemic, featured in the Tennessee Register.

Meg Mahon, Magistrate, Williamson County; Former general counsel for the Archdiocese of New York, graduate of Fordham Law School. Relocated to Middle Tennessee during the pandemic.

Jeanne Burd Marchetti, Retired Public Health RN, Community Advocate; Native Nashvillian and longtime supporter of many Catholic entities. She is well connected with nonprofit and philanthropic concerns. She is a member of Christ the King parish.

Justin McElroy, Vice President, Finance and Associate CFO, Ascension Saint Thomas; MBA from Indiana Wesleyan. His experience includes work with rural Hickman county medical practice affiliated with Saint Thomas. He attends St. Matthew.

Chichi Molokwu, Financial Services Professional, World Financial Group; Immigrated from Nigeria and holds an MBA in Finance. She has experience working in State Government. She now works to develop financial plans for a variety of clients, including those not in high wealth situations.

Youth Mentoring Programs

Our Youth Programs are designed to support and empower newly arrived refugee, asylee, and migrant youth in achieving their educational and employment goals.

Did you know that our refugee neighbors who have a mentor have better mental and emotional health? 

Help us make Nashville’s future brighter!

  • Must be 21 years or older.
  • Commit to 6 months of at least 1-2 hour weekly mentorship.
  • Complete volunteer application that includes a background check.
  • Willingness to work with other cultures or differing language abilities.

If you are interested in helping to mentor our youth, please click here.

Contact us:

Pricilla Ntibonera Youth Mentoring Program Coordinator –

Ellen YatesRefugee Youth Mentoring Program –


We are involved in the 100 Day Challenge initiative!

This initiative, which began August 28 and is scheduled to wrap up on December 9.  is led by United Way of Greater Nashville, The Family Collective, and Safe Haven Family Shelter, in partnership with more than 25 community organizations. Nashville’s rapid growth has made finding housing harder than ever, and more than 400 families registered with Metro area partners are currently awaiting housing support. This challenge is an opportunity for partner organizations to braid together their expertise and move the needle for our neighbors.

Nashville Diaper Connection

We will never get tired of saying THANK YOU to our friends at the Nashville Diaper Connection, who this morning made a huge donation of 3,800 diapers for our neighbors in need. On the photo are Neyra Arguello, our basic needs case manager, and Doug Adair, president of the Nashville Diaper Connection. It is splendid to see how good deeds generates smiles and hope in thousands! #supportnonprofits #SupportYourNeighbors


Nashville Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

As proud members of Nashville Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Catholic Charities plays a key role in disaster preparedness in the area. We were excited to be a site for August’s month city-wide drill that will ensure that for future needs, volunteers can be mobilized in a central location before deployment where they are most needed. Hands On Nashville, led this portion of the training and practice exercise for Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Catholic Charities is honored to serve our neighbors who are displaced by disasters. Being ready on a moment’s notice is one of our superpowers.


Leadership Nashville announces class of 2023-24

This is exciting news and a wonderful experience where a nice set of other nonprofit and business leaders of diverse backgrounds are part of. These types of community relationships help strengthen Catholic Charities’ connection to neighborhoods, businesses, government leaders and media.

It’s always an honor to share space with a diverse group of people who will challenge each other to see things differently.


Photo courtesy of the Tennessean.

According to Maddy Weish, from the Tennessean:

Leadership Nashville’s class of 2023-24

  • Shawn Bakker; President, Nashville Public Library Foundation
  • Lyle Beasley; Managing Partner, West End Holdings, LLC
  • Lillian Blackshear; Public Finance Partner, Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
  • Terrence Brooks; Principal, Google Cloud
  • Christiane Buggs; Board Member/Chair Emeritus, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • John Cannon, EVP; Commercial Real Estate Manager, Pinnacle Financial Partners
  • Sidney Cherry; SVP Tax & Treasury Operations, Ryman Hospitality Properties
  • Monica Cintado; Vice President Corporate Development, HCA Healthcare
  • Michael Collier; EVP, Corporate Strategy & Development, HealthStream, Inc.
  • Alfred Dowell; Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Ingram Industries Inc.
  • Seth Feman; Executive Director and CEO, Frist Art Museum
  • Jeff Fincher; Chief Development Officer, Nashville Christian School
  • Nicole Flynn; Director, Marketing Strategy – Hotels, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
  • Malone Gilliam; Rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church
  • Erica Gilmore; Metropolitan Trustee
  • Ben Goad; News Director, The Tennessean
  • Andrea Hart; Vice President Human Resources, Caterpillar
  • Shubhada Jagasia; President and CEO, Ascension St. Thomas Hospital
  • Lynda Jones; Judge, Metropolitan Government
  • Winston Justice; Investment Manager, Alliance Bernstein
  • Andrew Kintz; Executive Vice President, First Horizon Bank
  • Lisa Lankford; EVP, Chief Corporate Strategy Officer, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority
  • Minh Le; Partner, Finn Partners
  • Becky Magura; President & CEO, Nashville Public Television
  • Rod McDaniel; CEO, S3 Recycling Solutions
  • John Mikos; President and CEO, YMCA of Middle Tennessee
  • Matt Nicholson; Director of Development & Operations, The Clear Blue Company
  • Judy Orr; Executive Director, Catholic Charities
  • Perri duGard Owens; President & CEO, duGard Communications
  • Lauren Lane Payne, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville
  • Jamie Pfeffer; Principal, Pfeffer Torode
  • Allison Reed; President-Elect, Junior League of Nashville
  • Amani Reed; Director, University School Nashville
  • EJ Reed; CEO, Slim and Husky’s
  • Kabir Sandhu; Vice President, R.C. Mathews Contractor
  • Ashlee Sellars; Director of Restorative Justice Initiatives, Raphah Institute
  • Jeremy Swartz; Vice President, CRM Strategy, Jackson National Life, Inc.
  • Tina Tuggle; VP, DEI Officer, Tennessee Titans
  • Matt Van Epps; Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Office of the Governor
  • Chandra Vasser; VP, Chief Diversity Equity & Inclusion Officer and President of the Nissan Foundation, Nissan Group of the Americas
  • Tash Weddle; CEO, The New Beginnings Center/TNB-Fitness
  • Tommy Widener; Deputy Chief of Police, Metro Nashville Police Department
  • Sally Williams; President, Nashville Music & Business Strategy, Live Nation
  • Rick Wright; Chair Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vicki Yates, Journalist, Formerly NewsChannel 5
  • Vicky Yates, Journalist, formerly NewsChannel5
  • Russell Ziecker; EVP, Global Head of Television Music, Lionsgate/Starz