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.

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.

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

Will you help more of your neighbors with the gift of hope?

Love Is the Good News
We have all been rocked by the tragedies that have unfolded in our community and in the nation. One of our programs, funded by a federal grant from the Department of Justice, provides counseling for survivors of crime. Killy Bins, Sr., is just one of our neighbors who has found joy out of the pain of grief and loss. His precious daughter Taylor was murdered in a senseless crime. But her spirit lives on now through her daughter Charli, who is now being raised by her doting grandfather and extended family members. They found love, hope, and healing with the help of our specialty counseling programs designed especially for families experiencing shocking losses.

Highlighting Our Foreign-Born Staffers
One of the highlights of our fun Festival of Hope in April was to shine a light on our many staff members—nearly a third of our 150—who were born in another country. Some of those were actual clients served by this Catholic Charities. They found the best way to give back was to bring their talents and skills to serve others who also were granted admission to the United States and placed in Tennessee.
One staff member, Celestin Ndagije, a refugee benefits eligibility specialist, is a native of Rwanda. He worked his way through Tennessee State University’s computer science program as a certified nursing assistant, and is fluent in English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. The photo shows many of the staff who were presented at the fundraiser in April. We are also fortunate to bring onto staff a former Ukrainian client, Valeriia Cherednychenko, who is now working with our current caseload of 47 Ukrainians. Amazon wish list here

Household Items Needed
Want to really love your neighbor? Gift them with brand new items for their home. Here’s a list of items that we are running low on: Twin bed sheets, twin comforters, lamps, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, big trash bins, small trash bins, brooms/dustpans, mops, dining room chairs, dining tables, couches, and pillows. All items are listed on our Amazon wish list here

New Hires In Brief
• Paola Beltran joined the staff as communications coordinator. Paola holds a Master’s in Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a native of Bogota, Colombia, and earned a Bachelor’s in Communications from the Universidad Externado de Colombia in 2017. Paola says to remind all of our readers to like us on social media. For Facebook click here / For Instagram click here
• Deanna Webster is our new clinical services director. She has 25 years’ experience in a variety of clinical settings, serving youth, older adults, and many others. She also has college-level teaching experience in the field. Deanna holds LSW, LMFT-T, and PhD credentials. A hallmark of her career has been program development and cultivating community partnerships. Dr. Webster recently relocated to Clarksville from Wichita, but has long deep roots in Ohio.

Please Help Us Raise $250,000
As we work toward our last push for fiscal year-end fundraising, we find that our reputation for excellent service is bringing many more of our neighbors to our doors. Despite a strong labor market, not everyone’s pay has kept pace with their rising expenses. In the last weeks of June, we expect to serve more than 500. To do our best work we need to assist with electric bills, rent and mortgage payments, food, scholarships for counseling and for job training. Please consider a gift of $1,000, or whatever you are able to give, before June 30.

P.S. We are looking for great volunteers and interns! If you know someone looking to make a difference and enjoy amazing work in a vibrant and diverse environment, look no further. Come join us in our mission to bring more love, hope, and healing!

Catholic Charities News – March 2023

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Festival of Hope April 18 at Catholic Charities Headquarters
I am thrilled to announce that our annual fundraiser, Festival of Hope, will take place at our “home” at the Catholic Pastoral Center. The event returns to a breakfast event, following our successful 60th Anniversary celebration last year, El Festival de Esperanza. We have incorporated a lively upbeat Latin feel to our event, in homage to our very first program, working with Cuban children in need of temporary Nashville homes. Who says breakfast isn’t a festive occasion? We are going to celebrate hope, because that is the best thing that you can give to anyone.

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. All proceeds will help provide critical Catholic Charities services that serve 25,000 Middle Tennessee neighbors annually. Thank you to First Horizon for their commitment as Presenting Sponsor. Sponsorships are still available through March 24. More information is at the Festival of Hope website.

Rhori Johnston, WTVF News Channel 5 anchor, will be the master of ceremonies. And you will meet a recipient of our services, a young mother, joined by her husband and two little boys, who will share a moving first-hand account about the transformative effect our counselors had in helping her young son recover from a traumatic event. You couldn’t find a better example of the power of love, hope, and healing.

We are counting on a big turnout when we welcome you to our offices at Briley Parkway and McGavock Pike, in the beautifully remodeled Ascension Hall. If you haven’t had a chance to see the Catholic Pastoral Center, this is a great opportunity. Our program managers will be on hand to answer your questions, and an information table for volunteers will also be a part of our event.

Celebrating Reunification of Families – Film Screening
We had a wonderful turnout at our March 2 fundraiser at the historic Belcourt Theatre, when we viewed our When Pedro Pan Came to Nashville documentary on the BIG screen. Several “stars” of the film—our former child clients who came from Cuba in 1962, and their host families—were in attendance. A stimulating panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Jose Gonzalez. Participants were Dr. Karla McKanders, Dr. Mariano Sana, and Mohamed-Shruki Hassen, all highly respected experts on immigration and the pressing need for family reunification, which is achieved through federally approved refugee and immigration programs. We were delighted to welcome a wide swath of Nashvillians from government, the general public, the academic community, and other nonprofits. Three of our panelists are themselves New Americans. The panel discussion and documentary are available for viewing on our website.

Volunteer Appreciation Celebration
We are incredibly happy with the growing number of volunteers who help at all our locations. To honor their invaluable contributions, on Feb. 24 we revived a long-ago tradition—Volunteer Appreciation Night—the first one in 20 years. Dozens of volunteers from Loaves & Fishes, mentoring, and other programs came together for fellowship, a delicious Mediterranean meal, and a celebration of their achievements in 2022. Four awards were given to stand-out volunteers: Becky Bowman, Martha Custard, Tracy Doering, and Mary Pollman. Working alongside such caring and giving folks is an inspiration and a blessing for all of us.

Daffodils Prove That Hope Springs Eternal
Last fall, dozens of HCA volunteers lovingly cleared overgrown flower beds, then planted 1,000 daffodil bulbs and spread mounds of mulch. Lo and behold, our drab little courtyard is now bursting with life and filling passersby with joy. Thanks to all who helped us start what will be a wonderful annual tradition of fall planting. We hope more gardening volunteers will raise their hands to plant early summer blooms, to keep the courtyard a year-round place to meditate on the beauty of God’s creations.

News In Brief
• Heather Mencke has been named director of our resettlement program. The department has been newly renamed the New Americans Program. Heather most recently was Basic Needs and Disaster Management Director. Kate Pooler takes over Heather’s previous role, as Basic Needs Program Manager.
• The Love, Hope, and Healing Fund has launched to encourage sustaining annual gifts for programs serving those most in need. Many of you have been faithful donors to our past Lenten appeals. This year those donors received a letter to announce the new fund. You can provide Lenten support at the fund’s website. Thank you to all who support us with annual gifts.
• Sewing Training Academy has launched a social enterprise component, and we now can provide jobs for our graduates, fulfilling production contracts for various merchandise, including dog-walking bags.

Catholic Charities News – December 2022

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Nashville Heals program brings hope and recovery

Christmas is fast approaching, but for those who lived and worked on Second Avenue on Christmas Day 2020, life may never be quite the same. It will take many normal Christmases before the lingering feelings of shock and grief will dissipate.

Catholic Charities is honored to be selected to administer Nashville Heals, a counseling and trauma awareness outreach program.

For many survivors of traumatic events, such as the bombing, aftereffects can be internalized and repressed. Sometimes nagging physical symptoms such as headaches or trouble sleeping are tied to the event, and people don’t realize it for months or years later. Anniversary dates of events can be triggers, adding to holiday stress in completely new and unfamiliar ways. Across the country, after mass disasters, specially trained counselors are routinely made available when the dust begins to settle after such events.

Nashville Heals will provide that specialty counseling, along with public presentations to educate the community about this serious condition that affects one’s quality of life. Be on the listen for radio spots running on local stations throughout December and in the coming winter months. For help or more information, go to

Matching gift helps families find healing

Families joyfully celebrating the holidays—it’s one of those pictures we see on Publix TV ads. But many families don’t fit that happy picture. After several tumultuous years, many of our neighbors are still struggling to meet their most basic needs. They may be facing eviction, unable to feed their families a real meal every day, and coming up short to pay for heat and electricity. And not knowing what to do next.

Every day we receive more than 50 requests for basic needs assistance like these. Christan’s story is just one example of how circumstances beyond your control can put you into a tailspin. With a hand up, you can get back on track.

Being able to help is the God-given privilege and joy that all of us at Catholic Charities experience. We want you to share in that blessing of helping our neighbors during the holidays.

Thanks to the generosity of the Sumpter Yeaman Foundation, every dollar you give to support neighbors in need will be matched up to $200,000, through December 31.

Shining a light on our good work in Middle Tennessee

We are grateful to the Christian-based initiative Light the World, which chose Catholic Charities to be a featured charity of the “Giving Machines” in Cool Springs Mall.

The vending machines enable purchases of specific items needed by our clients. Christmas shoppers can swipe their credit card at the machine and perform a great act of kindness, in the convenience of a familiar location. After a visit to the mall Santa, children can learn first-hand how easy it is to give to those less fortunate.

On December 20, join us at The Giving Machine, near Belk, when Catholic Charities will be on site with musicians and sewing academy students to spread a little holiday cheer and raise awareness of our services and their impact For more information visit

Read more about Giving Machines Nashville in The Tennessee Register

Good News In Brief

  • Annabelle Cruz-Orengo has joined the staff as Deputy Executive Director, Administration. Annabelle is a native of Puerto Rico, and most recently was senior director for operations for the startup nonprofit Tennessee Charitable Care Network, building their operations from the ground up. She also is the former Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for Family & Children’s Service.
  • As the year comes to a close, we are excited to report on our burgeoning volunteer and intern program, which has grown to a total of 700 volunteers and 41 interns who served in 2022. Catholic Charities has a wide range of opportunities for those who would enjoy supporting our various locations and programs. All types of expertise and training are useful, and we pray that 2023 will bring us even more volunteers and student interns. If you or someone you know is looking for a school-based internship, please contact Barbara Beswick at For volunteer opportunities, go to volunteer.cctenn.orgFor those looking for paid employment, job openings are listed at join our team, one way or another.
  • Catholic Charities and Catholic Pastoral Center offices will be closed December 23-January 2, for the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.
  • Did you know? Haitians and Cubans have access to federal benefits when applying at authorized agencies, including Catholic Charities. Conditions in those countries are difficult, and we are serving a greater number than usual. For the next few weeks, and during the holidays, we will pause enrollments and close our waitlist until we can serve those already in queue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we also work to hire more case managers. In the meantime, applicants can apply for SNAP and TANF benefits directly on their own, by contacting the appropriate state agency.

May love, hope, and healing be yours, during this blessed season of Advent and Christmas.

Catholic Charities News – September 2022

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Needlink moving to Catholic Charities at C.E. McGruder

Partnerships are critical to the success of social service agencies like Catholic Charities.

We are delighted that Needlink will move to the Catholic Charities Family Resource Center at C.E. McGruder in November.

Needlink helps people meet basic needs in times of crisis, especially those facing eviction or the shut-off of their utilities. Many of the organization’s clients live in the 37208 zip code where C.E. McGruder is located.

Needlink’s move increases the number of case managers who work out of C.E. McGruder and are available to meet in person with clients.

Catholic Charities will provide Needlink clients access to additional services and expertise – emotional support and job training, for example – that help prevent future crises and a cycle of dependence on emergency assistance programs.

We look forward to welcoming and working closely with the Needlink team. A highly respected long-time Nashville nonprofit, Needlink has a 100-year-plus history in Nashville. It got its start as Big Brothers and raised funds through its annual Christmas Eve paper sale.

Aid Available for Ukrainians Fleeing War

Catholic Charities has funding available to assist Ukrainians who have fled war in their homeland.

We can help individuals and families with housing, utilities, healthcare, employment assistance, education for school-aged children, and a host of other services. This funding is available immediately but will expire on Oct. 31.

Individuals and families can call our offices at (615) 352-3087 to get help applying for aid.

Many of the Ukrainians who have entered the country since the war started in their homeland are designated as “humanitarian parolees.” This means they are allowed by the federal government to be in the United States for up to two years based on an urgent humanitarian need. This designation allows them to receive aid from organizations like Catholic Charities.

Sept. 22 Mass to Celebrate Our 60th Anniversary

The Most Reverend J. Mark Spalding, J.C.L., Bishop of Nashville, will celebrate Catholic Charities’ 60th anniversary at a special Mass on Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this special celebration in Sagrado Corazon de Jesus Church at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Nashville.

The celebration will include a tribute to our first program, the temporary resettlement of Cuban children during the political turmoil in 1962, and sacred music in Spanish. A reception with refreshments will follow Mass.

If you are interested in attending, please R.S.V.P. to Betsy Everett at

Please take a minute to watch Magdaly’s story. She is one of our “alumni”—past clients featured during El Festival de Esperanza, which kicked off our 60th anniversary celebration in April. We are grateful to so many like Magdaly who wanted to pay it forward by sharing her story of success. The 60th anniversary celebration will continue with special events throughout the year.

Good News In Brief

  • Catholic Charities has received a grant to add five new positions through a partnership with the Martha O’Bryan Center. The partnership focuses on counseling that builds healthy families. We will share more about this partnership soon.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating 26 pallets of canned food, including fruits, vegetables, pasta, and sauces, to our hunger relief programs. We are grateful for this generous and much-needed donation.
  • Giving Machines Nashville has selected Catholic Charities as a 2022 beneficiary. During the holiday season, a vending machine located at Cool Springs Galleria will accept donations for Catholic Charities and other local non-profits. The non-profits will receive 100 percent of the donations.
  • Gresham Smith will provide pro bono support to create a master plan to rehab our playground at the Catholic Pastoral Center. The playground is used mainly by refugee schoolchildren in our after-school and summer programs. The playground site has not been updated since it was built nearly 40 years ago. Watch for more information about how you can support this project.

Catholic Charities Update – June 2021

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Support for Pathways to Possibilities

I want to express a sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported our virtual fundraiser Pathways to Possibilities presented by First Horizon. Just a few short weeks ago we shared the stories of Demetrius, Deanna, and Linda, each of whom told their story of being helped when they needed it most. Many were inspired by their wish to give back. If you didn’t get a chance to view their mesmerizing stories, please take a few minutes now:

The challenges of the past year along with the disasters taught us all that any of us can be in harm’s way. Our annual fundraising campaign is critical to supporting the ongoing work of providing “Love, Hope, and Healing” to those in need in our community.

That’s why we still need additional gifts to make our goal. Our campaign is not over and there is still time to give!

In a not-to-be-missed rare chat with Bishop Spalding — on the Pathways website — he reveals his own inspiring journey towards answering the call to serve others.

Unidos in Banking Graduates Two Classes

Training people for in-demand jobs is one of Catholic Charities’ most important services and critical to our goal of helping people become self-reliant.

Unidos in Banking is a seven-week program that teaches banking skills to people for whom English is not their first language. The program includes banking-specific skills, such as cash management and customer service, and interpersonal skills, such as relationship building.

The Unidos team pivoted to virtual learning during the pandemic and recently held a graduation for 16 students who completed the program in 2021. Ten graduates are already employed, while the others are in initial stages of the hiring process. Congratulations to the graduates for their accomplishments and the Unidos team for their creativity and commitment during difficult times.

Unidos in Banking is now enrolling students for the July/August session. Please share the Unidos website with anyone you know who could benefit.

Whataburger Meets with Job-Training Team

Speaking of helping people find sustainable work, our job-training team recently met with a group of executives from Whataburger who were visiting our city where they plan to open new stores. We were impressed with their corporate commitment to wages that are higher than average for the market and in their commitment to building a culture of employee development and promotion. We look forward to helping Whataburger build their team. And we are thrilled about yet another major entity reaching out to partner with Catholic Charities to try to improve the lives of our neighbors.

Disaster Recovery Update

Catholic Charities has always provided emergency assistance to those in need, but in 2020, we scaled up disaster recovery services dramatically to serve people in mass disasters. Most recently we joined other city agencies to respond to flood survivors. The severity of flooding was second only to the epic May 2010 flood.

Short Term Services Manager Heather Mencke (pictured above) now leads Catholic Charities’ disaster recovery efforts. For a decade, Heather developed expertise in disaster recovery, working most recently with tornado relief in Nashville and before that for Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

We are now recognized by state and local officials as the lead agency for mass disaster relief. If you know anyone still needing help related to the 2020 tornado, recent flooding, or the Christmas day bombing, please ask them to submit an online application for assistance.

Nashville Predators Foundation Grant

Big shout-out to the Nashville Predators Foundation who awarded us a grant to enhance our HOPE Program. HOPE provides free trauma counseling to children who have lost a loved one to a violent crime or who witnessed violence in their homes or communities. The program offers both specialty counseling, and because of the Preds we can expand with innovative play therapy toys and techniques that help children express their fears and anxieties through play.

Youth Soccer Event at McGruder on June 12

Want to check out a real kid-sized soccer mini-pitch built by Nashville Soccer Club? The Nashville SC IMPACT Soccer Pop-Up Tour sponsored by BODYARMOR is partnering with us from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 12 at our Catholic Charities Family Resource Center at C. E. McGruder (2013 25th Avenue North).

Don’t miss this cool pop-up event, which will include family-friendly soccer activities, inflatable pitches, 3v3 tournaments, and drills for soccer skills. Street teams from the Nashville SC and BODYARMOR will be onsite to provide fanfare, music, prizes, and giveaways.

Please join us at this fun and festive event, which is free and open to any youth.

Thank you, truly, for all your support of Catholic Charities over these many months. As we approach our year end on June 30, we would be grateful for any gift that will allow us to continue being the hands and feet of Christ on your behalf.


Judy K. Orr
Executive Director


Catholic Charities Update – March 2021

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Love, Hope, Healing

Your support has made the difference

What a year! Last year’s March 3 tornados set off a momentous chain of events. Our commemoration of the tornado anniversary was highlighted by a public art project. We visited four locations with plywood “canvases,” and invited neighbors to express their feelings by writing on the boards. Happily, this year’s March 3 was a glorious, sunny day. Planning and rollout of the art project, from North Nashville all the way to Lebanon, was a beautiful show of teamwork and caring by the Catholic Charities staff.

As I reflect on the trauma of the tornado and the 12 months that followed, I think about the donations and offers of help that poured in from around Tennessee and across the country. And also those who had never needed to ask for help from a social service agency – who had to navigate the overwhelmed systems, just to get basic necessities. The silver lining to 2020’s disasters is that new opportunities have come our way as an organization. I feel overwhelming gratitude for the support we received from so many.

Our team never lost sight of our core mission to help our neighbors in need and help restore their dignity. The Holy Spirit inspired our staff with great fortitude and ingenuity in the face of big challenges.

After showing our mettle through both tornado recovery and Covid-19 financial assistance programs, Catholic Charities was tapped to be the lead agency assisting survivors of the December 25 Downtown Nashville bombing. I discuss this in more detail below.

Would I have traded these 12 months for much calmer times? No. And I say that with certainty. Our mission – “Following Christ’s example, we recognize the dignity of all people and serve our neighbors” – and the words “Love, Hope, and Healing” never meant more than in the last year. We are now poised to be a strong presence in both disaster relief and hunger relief, with a new infrastructure in place. And our expansion into Middle Tennessee continues, with the launch of Tennessee Serves Neighbors.

Thank you for your continued support of this vital work that we have been called to do.

Nashville Strong 2021 – Update on December Bombing Assistance

Catholic Charities forms new partnership with Family & Children’s Service

Catholic Charities was tapped to be the lead agency providing financial assistance and trauma counseling to individuals and businesses impacted by the December 25 bombing in Downtown Nashville. Affected businesses, employees of those businesses, and residents of the area are all eligible.

We received $2 million thanks to a Victims of Crime Act grant from the State of Tennessee, and by December 31, we began accepting applications for aid at So far, we have had 275 qualified applications and have paid out nearly $350,000 in assistance. We are currently working more than 200 open cases that impact 455 individuals and their family members.

The recovery from this disaster will take many months if not years. The bombing site in the historic Downtown district is still closed and protected by police. Catholic Charities is working closely with Nashville Downtown Partnership, the FBI, and many other organizations coordinating the long-term recovery in this vital part of Downtown Nashville.

I am proud of the partnership created with Family & Children’s Service (FCS) that emphasizes free trauma counseling to all survivors. Catholic Charities and FCS have among the best counseling teams of any non-profits in Nashville. Our efforts include 24/7 access to trauma specialists, virtual support groups, and one-on-one counseling. We have access to a national team of mass violence experts, who have been advisors to us in developing our innovative and pandemic-friendly programs.

Healing from just a single traumatic event can be a lifetime journey. Coming to terms with that trauma is critical for overall well-being. But when there is a trifecta of trauma – the tornadoes, the pandemic, and the bombing – it may feel unsurmountable. Especially for those in the hospitality industry, offering them support is literally life-sustaining. More people have taken advantage of our counseling after the bombing than in any other disaster. I am glad our team of expert therapists has received some overdue attention for the great work they do every day.

Working closely with FCS on this disaster will also prepare both organizations to support our neighbors when the next disaster strikes. Catholic Charities was invited to be a member of the steering committee of a volunteer group of organizations working closely with the city and the state to hone an efficient and easily mobilized emergency response across the area. Nashville will be ready for the next disaster.

Visit for more information about assistance available for individuals and businesses ­– and ways you can help our neighbors.

Job Training Ramping Up Again

Three programs prepare individuals for new careers

Helping clients achieve self-sufficiency so they can provide for themselves and their families is the gold standard that Catholic Charities holds itself to.

While Catholic Charities’ job training program was impacted significantly by the pandemic, it is ramping back up and teaching students the skills they need to qualify for jobs in three in-demand industries: industrial sewing, culinary/hospitality, and banking.

The Sewing Training Academy taps into Nashville’s growing fashion industry. After an introductory module of sewing courses, students choose from one of three specializations based on their career goals. Students are taught by experienced teachers as well as guest lecturers who focus on higher level skills. STA students most recently dipped their toe in the water for a social enterprise, sewing aprons bearing our Love, Hope, Healing tagline that are available for purchase.

The Culinary Training Academy is a hands-on program taught in a commercial kitchen that prepares students to work in restaurants or hotels that are part of Nashville’s enormous hospitality industry. Many graduates start new jobs immediately, while others continue their culinary education thanks to a partnership with Nashville State Community College.

Unidos in Banking is a seven-week training program for those interested in starting a banking career. The program specifically targets individuals for whom English is a second language. Students learn basic banking skills and cash handling, customer service, problem solving, and interview skills.

The career development team is in the process of creating a Construction Training Academy for prime construction jobs that are abundant in the Nashville region. The team is also partnering with our Tennessee Serves Neighbors staff to create opportunities across the midstate.

Pathways to Possibilities Coming in April

Our annual April fundraising event, Pathways to Possibilities, will by necessity be a virtual event this year. We are in the process of finalizing exact details and will send you more information soon.

Catholic Charities exceeded its fundraising goal in 2020, the first time we ever hosted a virtual event. Thank you for your support, then. We are counting on your continued support this year.

Catholic Charities Launches Redesigned Website

Catholic Charities recently launched a new website! Our goal going into the redesign was to make it easier for people to find and get the help they need – Love, Hope, and Healing! Our premise was that website visitors either need help or want to help. To that end, the new website provides a clearer overall view of our broad-based agency and the many ways that Catholic Charities provides vital services to individuals, families, and communities in need.

The biggest change in the website is the introduction of eight “causes” that orient viewers to our many services, including:

In addition to easier navigation, the website is much more mobile-device-friendly. We know that many more people now use their phones as a primary device to search for information and request help—and to make donations.

Please take a look at the new website when you have an opportunity. It has been a labor of love for more than a year now, starting with the support of HCA Healthcare Foundation’s Hackathon initiative in early 2020. It is a work in progress – the beauty of the web! – and I look forward to your feedback.


Judy K. Orr
Executive Director



Executive Director Judy K. Orr Discusses Nashville Recovery on “JustLove” Radio Program on The Catholic Channel

Executive Director Judy K. Orr was a guest on SiriusXM The Catholic Channel’s “JustLove” radio program last week where she discussed Catholic Charities’ role in the recovery following the bombing that occurred on the morning of December 25 in Downtown Nashville.

A recording of the program is available on the JustLove show blog. The interview with Orr starts at 32:40 of the hour-long program.

Orr said, “I appreciate the spotlight that ‘JustLove’ gave us, and the opportunity to share with a national audience how the Nashville community is working together for all those impacted by the bombing.”

“JustLove” is hosted by Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, whose agency provided recovery services after the 9/11 bombing at the World Trade Center in New York City.

If you are having trouble opening the link, please cut and paste the following into your browser —

Catholic Charities Update – January 2021

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Recovery Is Just the Beginning

From Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville

Serving our neighbors—whenever and however they need it—is unpredictable work. This was abundantly clear in 2020, with tornados, Covid-19’s myriad tragedies, and now a bomb explosion that devastated the heart of Nashville.

I am proud to share with you that Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville, has been tapped to lead the recovery efforts for the survivors of the bombing that occurred in Downtown Nashville the morning of December 25. Our efforts, named Nashville Strong 2021, dovetail with the larger city-wide recovery initiative involving government and non-profit organizations.

Close to 2,000 survivors have lost a job, a home, or a business – in some cases all three. Since January 1, we have been taking applications from those who need help with rent, utilities, food assistance, counseling, and more.

This is intense work, but it’s try a privilege.

Recovery for survivors will take many months, and specialized counseling will be key to successful recovery. Catholic Charities has created a special fund if you would like to support our recovery efforts. You can donate any amount you would like at any time at

If you would like to stay up to date about the recovery efforts, you can visit the Nashville Strong page on our website or the special website called we have created specifically for the recovery efforts.

Every year may not be as traumatic as 2020—and we pray not—but every year, each day, our community can count on us to serve our neighbors. Our work in 2021 and beyond will surely be shaped by these events. And please remember that all of these unexpected challenges are layered on top of the work we already do to serve thousands each year.

Looking Forward to 2021

As we enter 2021, I want to share a few additional thoughts about our experiences and our future priorities.

The tornadoes on March 3 changed 2020 for many people and businesses. We are fortunate to have Catholic Charities at C. E. McGruder, where we provided coordinated resources to North Nashville as well as a much-needed base for other community partners.

In mid-March, we began work to distribute $1.5 million from the Nashville Covid-19 Response Fund as well as CARES Act funding.

Loaves and Fishes never missed a meal service. We saw first-hand that food insecurity snowballed to be a top issue for many of our neighbors.

In late 2020, we received the largest grant in our history, from the State of Tennessee, and we launched Tennessee Serves Neighbors, which will be the biggest expansion in our history. Catholic Charities will expand to five new counties in 2021 and an additional five in 2022. We just announced the first three team members who will lead this expansion.

Now more than ever, our team is focused on seven core causes important to our mission:

Disaster Relief and Recovery

Last year’s disasters proved how essential it is to be prepared for the next big disaster in Nashville and to have the ability to help our nearby communities when they are impacted by disasters.

Emergency Services

Our Basic Needs program provides an important lifeline to many families facing eviction or utility shutoffs; experiencing food insecurity; and struggling to pay for life’s necessities.

Emotional Support

Many, many people will continue to face psychological and emotional challenges caused by the events of 2020. Our counseling program for individuals, families, children, and older adults are vital to emotional recovery and self sustainability.

Housing Security

Stable housing, especially for young children, is paramount for a successful life, and 2021 will present many more families with this challenge.

Hunger Relief

Preventing food insecurity for everyone – not just the unhoused – will be a priority. We expanded our relief program in 2020 and plan to do much more in the coming years.

Job Training

Job training will receive new emphasis as we emerge from the pandemic and facilitate access to skills training needed for in-demand jobs.

Refugee and Immigrant Support

Catholic Charities was founded to help those new to this country. We will continue to support refugee and immigrant families working hard every day to build a better life.

Love, Hope, Healing

So many of our neighbors need help. If anything, those needs are greater than ever.

It is our moral obligation to provide love, hope, and healing anywhere we can.

We all know that 2020 was hard on everyone. I hope you will consider giving to Catholic Charities at this crucial time when resources are running out for many. The recovery from all that happened in 2020 is just beginning. Every dollar you give matters and will help our neighbors most in need.

If you are able, please help your neighbors by going to

Thank you and may God bless you and your loved ones.

Judy K. Orr
Executive Director
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville

Catholic Charities Update – November 2020

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Catholic Charities Receives $7.3 Million State Grant to Create Tennessee Serves Neighbors

Five new Family Resource Centers planned in 2021

Catholic Charities has received one of the largest grants in our history to expand services into 10 additional counties that are part of the Diocese of Nashville.

The Most Reverend J. Mark Spalding, Bishop of the Nashville Diocese, asked me to find a way to expand services to all Diocese counties when I joined Catholic Charities in mid-2019. This grant is a huge step toward achieving that goal.

The grant comes from the Tennessee Department of Human Services as part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal program. Over time, the state had accumulated more than $700 million in that fund and spent much of the last year identifying organizations that could best use that money to help families in need

The application for Tennessee Serves Neighbors, which is what we call the program, focused on several important qualifications.

The first was Catholic Charities’ experience building and operating family resource centers where people can come for a wide variety of services, including help in an immediate crisis as well as ongoing services that reduce the overall reliance on government services. Catholic Charities has more than two decades of experience operating similar programs at Catholic Charities at C. E. McGruder in North Nashville and Catholic Charities at Casa Azafrán in South Nashville. We have the model that is ready to customize to additional counties.

We also pointed out in our application our ability to leverage the large Catholic Church parish network to provide volunteers and family mentors. Once we have the roadmap, the program could be expanded to the Catholic Charities agencies serving East and West Tennessee. Catholic Charities is fortunate to have a good working relationship with Gov. Bill Lee’s Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives that helped us be selected for this grant.

Our goal is to have a multi-generational impact in the counties served. We will provide both safety net for families in crisis and enhanced services that foster independence from government support for two or more generations. In particular, we will focus on job training, life skills (e.g. financial management), and building healthy, stable families. Some of the key partners in each county will be healthcare providers helping people navigate the many challenges with today’s healthcare system.

I am thrilled that many of the new employees we expect to bring on who will live and work in the communities they serve. This is an important part of our community-based approach, which recognized the unique needs of the clients we help. We will also provide vital training opportunities for colleges and university master’s level students, like the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, to work in the social services field through formal internships or preceptorships.

In 2020, we expect to add services in five counties: Montgomery, Maury, Marshall, Bedford, and Coffee. The following year, we plan to add Grundy, Warren, White, Dekalb, and Putnam. In total, Tennessee Serves Neighbors will direct about $7.3 million in services to these counties over the next two years.

Catholic Charities agencies across the country have historically been the largest provider of social services, after the government, dating back to early 1900s and culminating in many of the Depression-era and post-World War II social service programs created by the federal government.

I am proud of the entire team for helping build on this tradition and excited about the opportunity to serve more of our neighbors in the most need. I look forward to sharing future updates about Tennessee Serves Neighbors.

News coverage of Tennessee Serves Neighbors:
Catholic Charities receives $7.3 million state grant to expand services into 10 counties” – The Tennessean
$7.3M grant enables Catholic Charities to expand into more counties” – Tennessee Register

Judy K. Orr
Executive Director, Catholic Charities

Feeding ministry gets creative, tackles new demand

Never missed a meal during pandemic

Speaking of serving our neighbors, Catholic Charities’ signature feeding ministry, Loaves and Fishes, has adapted well to challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current health guidelines have halted indoor congregant service three days a week that so many guests rely on and was the hallmark of Loaves and Fishes.

But Loaves and Fishes never missed serving a single meal. At first, we resorted to Father Strobel’s original solution: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich lovingly made and distributed at the door.

Over the months, the program leaders adopted creative and fulfilling adaptations, including:

  • Making “to-go” meals in carry-out containers
  • Devising menus better suited for food boxes
  • Recruiting volunteers from the parishes for contact-less meal delivery
  • Tapping a part-time workforce to meet the demand from our Catholic Charities programs that were temporarily closed
  • Contacting past clients to ensure they had food, knowing many families, with older relatives as well as children, were hunkered down together at home

We were also fortunate to partner with World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that paid local restaurants to prepare to-go meals. The partnership provided our guests with more than 1,000 delicious and nutritious meals as well as much-needed employment for the kitchen staffs at local restaurants.

The demand for meal services did not abate because of the pandemic. It increased dramatically and, most poignantly, among those who never used social services before. We know it is important to strengthen programs that relieve people’s food expenses and enable them to pay their rent, utilities, and other essentials.

Recent news coverage of hunger relief programs:

Meals program feeds hungry, employs workers” – Tennessee Register
New refrigerators, freezers help Catholic Charities expand food programs” – Tennessee Register

Thank you from a Catholic Charities client

“I received the gift card. A welcome gift. I’m going to get groceries for the next couple weeks. My wife, she’s been through a lot with all this. I wish I was better with words as I cannot express my gratitude. This has been a true Godsend for us. This will help us bounce back so much more quickly.”

Doing our part for hurricane victims

Catholic Charities sends tractor trailer of essential to hurricane survivors in Louisiana

On August 2020, Hurricane Laura tied to be the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in Louisiana. The Catholic Schools and parish rectories in Lake Charles were among the multitude of buildings and homes that were severely damaged and unable to reopen.

Of course, we had our own recent experience with natural disaster—the tornadoes that struck Middle Tennessee in March (we continue to provide support for those survivors). We were overwhelmed by the generous outpouring of financial and moral support from across the country. This Catholic Charities wanted to pay it forward, and we knew we had to help our neighbors in another state during this trying time.

Our team immediately reached out to Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana to ask about basic needs and ensure we would send the items people needed most. We then put out a call for donations in mid-September for tarps, batteries, toiletries, nonperishable food items, cleaning supplies, and monetary donations. We made a call to Catholic Charities USA to find out if another vehicle might partner with us. CCUSA graciously provided a grant to cover the transport costs. We filled a cargo van and sent it on to Louisiana at the beginning of November. We also collected more than $15,000 in cash donations that we forwarded to CCSWLA.
Thanks to everyone for your support.

Disaster relief has become an increasingly important part of our work. We are in the process of creating a permanent disaster relief fund that can be used for local emergencies and to provide support to other communities. If you are planning year-end giving, please consider giving to our disaster relief fund. Every dollar counts.

CARES Act financial assistance available

Distributing $1 million to those hurt most by COVID-19

Catholic Charities has received more than $1 million in CARES Act funding to distribute to those impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the funds will be used to help those who have lost jobs or had their wages cut.

If you know someone needing help with rent, mortgage, or utilities payments, please share the following link with them.

Catholic Charities has also hired 10 temporary case managers to help applicants through the process and access much-needed financial relief.

Our experience as a key partner in distributing Nashville’s COVID-19 Response Fund enabled us to build an even better program for CARES Act funding. The CARES Act funding was provided by the State of Tennessee and Metro Nashville through United Way of Greater Nashville.

Thank you from a Catholic Charities client

“I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much from the bottom of my heart for your assistance with my tornado damage. Please pass this along to everyone involved at your wonderful charity organization to let them know my sincere appreciation and gratitude. As a widow, God promises in the bible that he will care for all widows, and I can personally attest to that fact, with help from wonderful and Godly organizations such as the one you work for.”

Catholic Charities helps refugee school children

Our work with new refugee resettlement has largely been on hold since the pandemic struck. One thing that has not ended is the need to continue supporting refugees already building a new life in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Register had a great story about how Catholic Charities is working with Metro Nashville Public Schools to help refugee children with virtual learning education.

As the story notes, many of refugee children are not fluent in English and need help keeping up with their assignments and managing technology issues. Catholic Charities matches refugee families with “super supporters,” our re-purposed after-school program counselors who pivoted to this creative support program.
2020 is the year of adjusting on the fly. Our team has done a remarkable job supporting refugee families in these challenging times for everyone.

Read the story from The Tennessee Register

Catholic Charities Update – Summer 2020

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Catholic Charities, Conexión Américas announce new partnership

South Nashville Family Resource Center has new home

Success in the nonprofit world is often proportional to the partnerships you form. I am excited about our new partnership with Conexión Américas that will relocate our South Nashville Family Resource Center team to Conexión’s Casa Azafrán facility in August.

Catholic Charities and Conexión are the definition of complementary organizations. Together, we will serve the full range of client needs from financial assistance for an immediate crisis to job training to parenting skills and so much more.

The South Nashville team includes five employees who will work at Casa Azafrán full-time and four others who will work there part-time. Collectively, they specialize in support services – such as case management, immigration assistance, parenting, and counseling – tailored to the Hispanic and Latino communities.

What excites me most is that we can take what we’ve learned from our work at Catholic Charities at C. E. McGruder in North Nashville to create yet another true family resource center. More than anything, we have learned the importance of having a convenient location in the community where people know and trust they will find a wide range of support and care.

I am immensely grateful to Conexión for welcoming us. And I cannot wait to see the impact on our South Nashville neighbors over the next year.

Pathways to Possibilities 2020

Thanks for helping us exceed goal

The coronavirus pandemic forced us to change Pathways to Possibilities, our largest annual fundraiser, from an in-person to a virtual event this year.

I am happy to report that we exceeded our goal of $125,000. In total, we raised a little more than $135,000. Thank you to everyone who gave and shared information about Pathways with their friends and family. This is a testament to the strength and caring of the Catholic Charities community.

The proceeds from Pathways are already being put to use in the Nashville community helping those impacted by the March tornadoes, job loss due to coronavirus, and other challenges that we address.

I want to say a special thank you to Bishop J. Mark Spalding for his unwavering support as well as Claudia and Pete Weber, who recorded an introductory video for us. Pete was scheduled to serve as master of ceremonies before we were forced to postpone the event.

Counseling vital to recovery

Counseling team already helping with emotional toll from pandemic, tornadoes

Catholic Charities knows from our recovery work after the historic Nashville flood in 2010 that it took as long as two years for many people to recover fully.

The physical recovery was relatively short, compared to the emotional and psychological recovery, which took much longer.

Every day, we see news stories about the negative effects of the coronavirus on mental health. There is so much frustration, grief, anger, confusion, isolation, etc. The Tennessee Register explored the especially devastating impact on immigrant and refugee communities.

The emotional recovery from coronavirus and its economic toll – which is magnified for some by the March tornadoes – will last many years. These setbacks can have multi-generational impact.

Catholic Charities’ extensive team of licensed counselors has been in the trenches helping. Our therapists have a broad range of experience working with children, adults, and families to mitigate the effects of depression, anxiety, interpersonal and relationship challenges, and even trauma from violent crimes. Catholic Charities at Casa Azafrán will offer bilingual counseling to serve the Hispanic and Latino communities.

At its core, counseling helps people develop coping and resiliency skills. Counselors typically work one on one with clients either in person (when possible) or via telehealth. Counselors also manage groups who share common issues, such as honing parenting skills.

Counseling may not be our most high-profile service, but it is vital for our neighbors to endure and recover from the current crises.

Importance of listening

Recognizing the dignity of all people

This is a short but poignant story about the importance of listening right now.

When people call Catholic Charities, the first person they often speak with is Susan Netter, our receptionist. Susan tells me that she prays every day that those most in need, especially those who have fallen through the cracks, will call Catholic Charities. Before saying goodbye, many callers thank Susan for just listening when nobody else did.

Taking time to listen is how we can all answer the call of our mission statement, to recognize the dignity of all people, and begin to restore their hope.

Tornado relief team expands, returns to work

Experienced team leads effort in North Nashville

The tornado relief team in North Nashville is back to work after several months of being sidelined by coronavirus.

Shaveh Jackson is our newest addition. She joined Catholic Charities as tornado case manager. Shaveh is very familiar with the North Nashville community having worked most recently for Gideon’s Army.

Shaveh joins Alisha Haddock, director of community-based services and manager of McGruder, and LaShunda White, case manager at McGruder, to solidify a talented, experienced team to help 37208 residents impacted by the tornadoes make repairs to their homes or, if necessary, find new housing.

Catholic Charities 2020-21 Board of Trustees

Board elects new officers, welcomes four new members

The 2020-21 Board of Trustees officially took office on July 1 with the start of the new business year.


  • President – Matt Curley – Bass, Berry and Sims
  • Vice President – Gina Emmanuel – Centric Architecture
  • Treasurer – Mike Nunan – Nunan and Associates
  • Secretary – John Brew – Gresham, Smith and Partners

Board of Directors (* denotes new member)

  • Heidi Bundren – Nashville Predators
  • Sherry Cummings * – University of Tennessee College of Social Work
  • Deanna Dibin * – Carr, Riggs & Ingram
  • Katherine Duck – Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
  • William Farmer – Farmer Purcell White & Lassiter, PLLC
  • Deacon Bill Hill – St. Vincent de Paul Church
  • Reverend Mark Hunt – Mary, Queen of Angels
  • Shandy Husmann – Huron Consulting Group
  • Catherine Kelly * – Community volunteer and co-owner of Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse
  • Stacey Garrett Koju – Bone McAllester Norton PLLC
  • Mark Lenihan * – Sims Funk
  • Bill McGugin – Iroquois Capital Group/Reit Investment Group
  • Jim McIntyre – Father Ryan High School
  • Greg Pope – Saint Thomas Health
  • Mike Ratino – Asurion
  • Rochelle Reding – Coldwell Banker Barnes
  • Patrick Sheehy – Tennessee Business Roundtable
  • Russell Taber – Riley, Warnock & Jacobson
  • Drew Tyrer – TriStar Summit Medical Center
  • Michael Veinbergs – Regions Bank

Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Catholic Charities Joins Casa Azafrán

(Nashville, TN, July 13) Conexión Américas today announced Catholic Charities has joined the Casa Azafrán familia.

Catholic Charities will move its South Nashville Family Resource Center, which includes nine full- and part-time employees, to Casa Azafrán.

“The addition of Catholic Charities to Casa Azafrán truly honors our community center’s spirit of uniting nonprofit organizations striving to build a welcoming community,” said Juliana Ospina Cano, Executive Director of Casa Azafrán’s lead partner, Conexión Américas. “Immigrant families in Middle Tennessee will continue to benefit tremendously from Catholic Charities and the organizations co-located at Casa Azafrán and we look forward to increasing our reach together at a time when immigrant families face unprecedented difficulties.”

The social service arm of the Diocese of Nashville, Catholic Charities serves people of every religious, ethnic, cultural, and racial background across Middle Tennessee. At Casa Azafrán, the Catholic Charities team will provide a variety of services tailored to Hispanic and Latino families, including utility and rent assistance, food access, immigration legal services, and mental health counseling. Catholic Charities will also operate the Maternal and Infant Health Outreach Program (MIHOW), a Vanderbilt University program of peer-to-peer mentoring for expectant and new mothers, at Casa Azafrán.

“I could not be more excited to bring the Catholic Charities South Nashville team to Casa Azafrán, where we will join Conexión and their other partners. Our programs perfectly complement each other, and by joining forces, we amplify our impact through a rich persity of programs and services,” said Judy K. Orr, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee.

Founded in 2012, Casa Azafrán stands at the gateway to Nashville’s most international and socially perse district along Nolensville Pike. Casa Azafrán is a beautiful event space, a favorite early voting location, and home to a collective of nonprofits who offer services in education, legal, health care and the arts to immigrants, refugees, and the community as a whole.

Casa Azafrán’s mission is reflected in the multi-dimensional, multi-colored mosaic mural titled “Migration” that shines 30 feet above our front door. Our vision is also evident in our name. “Azafrán” (pronounced “ah-zah-frahn”) is saffron in English, a golden yellow-orange spice indigenous to Asia. The cultivation, and use, of saffron spans many cultures, continents and civilizations. The Spanish word “azafrán” for example, is derived from Arabic. We use the name to pay homage to our multi-ethnic heritage and to reflect our intention to be an inclusive, welcoming place for all immigrants in Nashville, many of whom speak several languages including English, Spanish and Arabic.

Funded by public and private donations and grants, Casa Azafrán, opened in December 2012 and is home to Conexión Américas and nonprofit resident partners American Muslim Advisory Council, Family and Children’s Service, Global Education Center, Justice for Our Neighbors, Metro Nashville Public Schools. Casa Azafrán also houses Conexión Américas’ Mesa Komal culinary incubator, which assists food entrepreneurs-immigrant and native-born-to start, and grow, their businesses.

For more information about Catholic Charities at Casa Azafrán, please call (615) 352-3087.

While Casa Azafrán remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of each of our nonprofit partners continues, and we will be open for early voting from July 17 – August 1.

# # #

Conexión Américas is a Nashville-based nonprofit organization established in 2002. Our mission is to build a welcoming community and create opportunities where Latino families can belong, contribute and succeed. Every year, we assist more than 9,000 inpiduals and their families in their desire to start businesses, improve their English, help their children succeed in school and go to college, and become an integral part of Nashville’s social, cultural and economic vitality. Conexión Américas is the lead partner of Casa Azafrán, a nonprofit collaborative at the gateway to Nashville’s International District that is home to Conexión Américas and nine partners.

Catholic Charities was founded in 1962 as the social service arm of the Diocese of Nashville. The organization serves people of every religious, ethnic, cultural, and racial background in all 38 Middle Tennessee counties that comprise the Diocese of Nashville. Assisting more than 10,000 people per year, Catholic Charities provides a range of services that help clients through crises and toward self-sufficiency. Services include emergency financial assistance, counseling, job training, housing stability, hunger relief and more. Catholic Charities also manages the Tennessee Office of Refugees.

Pathways to Possibilities still on…Virtual event week of April 19

Dear Friends,

Last week, Catholic Charities of Tennessee determined that its important annual fundraiser, Pathways to Possibilities 2020 presented by Most Reverend J. Mark Spalding, Bishop of Nashville and the Diocese of Nashville, could not be held at Music City Center on April 21, 2020, in its planned in-person breakfast format.

However, we will still host this highly anticipated event. It will simply now be in an altered format that will allow us all to participate remotely. While most of us are staying at home as directed, we still feel a great impulse to be part of the community and to support important organizations like Catholic Charities-one of the essential service providers in our area-which continues to help people in need.

Catholic Charities of Tennessee’s need for funding support from our community was critical when we first planned this event months ago. Now, with the March 3 Middle Tennessee tornados and COVID-19’s impact, our financial needs have grown exponentially, specifically in providing emergency financial assistance to individuals and families coping with layoffs and reduction in income.

With that in mind, the 2020 Pathways to Possibilities event is being converted to a “virtual event,” and will occur during the week of April 20, with web, email, and social media content. Videos will showcase our services to the community, including the new disaster relief initiatives we’ve launched. In addition to providing tornado relief assistance throughout the community–especially in North Nashville where more than 500 residences were severely damaged or destroyed–we are also part of United Way of Greater Nashville’s COVID-19 relief assistance team, serving the entire community.

Community support like yours has always been important to the Pathways to Possibilities event, but now that support is vitally critical. We would be so grateful to have you involved. Soon we will share information about the new format of the event, how you can participate safely and easily from home, and ways that you can invite others to help ensure the fundraising event’s success.

Thank you, in advance, for your support of our efforts. May God bless and protect you and your loved ones!

Judy K. Orr
Executive Director