6 Months After the Tornadoes, Midstate’s Recovery Continues

CFMT Releases Report to the Community; Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund Makes 8 new grants

Thursday, Sept. 3 marks six months since a series of tornadoes swept through Tennessee, leaving behind a path of death and destruction.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee released a six-month report to the community that summarizes and details the progress of its Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund, activated by CFMT just hours after the tornadoes struck in the early morning hours of March 3.

Twenty-five people died — 19 of them in Putnam County, including five children — and 310 were injured in the series of tornadoes that stretched from West Tennessee through Northern Davidson County, North and East Nashville, Mt. Juliet and Lebanon in Wilson County and to Cookeville and Putnam County.

To date, 127 grants to 100 organizations have been deployed from the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund, totaling more than $4,467,291. There is an additional $1,125,000 in pending grants to support the coordinated repair and rebuild effort, representing a partnership between Westminster Home Connection and 14 nonprofits and churches that have signed on to support tornado survivors with construction projects.

“Our grantmaking began with supporting immediate needs of tornado survivors, including clothing, food and temporary shelter, but with this recent announcement our grants reflect our shift into the recovery phase and our commitment to being here to support tornado survivors for months to come, “ said Amy Fair, CFMT Vice President of Donor Services.

Among the top funding categories are direct financial assistance, housing and utilities, case management, mental and physical health, food assistance, and insurance and legal assistance, according to the CFMT report.

Grants have been made across the affected areas of Middle Tennessee.
To date, by county, the funding includes:

Serving Davidson$2,325,241
Serving Wilson$400,500
Serving Putnam$348,550
Serving Davidson/Wilson$587,000
Serving Davidson/Wilson/
Total $4,467,291

According to the CFMT report, by category the funding to date includes:

Case Management$516,000
Cleanup/Debris Removal$285,656
Direct Financial Assistance$634,800
Education Assistance$42,000
Food Assistance$286,000
Hygiene/Personal Care$9,000
Insurance/Legal Assistance$107,000
Medical Equipment$16,600
Mental/Physical Health$290,000
Multi-Purpose Assistance$1,232,485

The Fund has raised more than $12 million — $12,406,510.58— from 22,000-plus donors. Donors have reached out from all 50 states and 35 foreign countries ranging from Australia to the United Arab Emirates.

“We are so grateful and appreciative of those who have been willing to help and to give to the Emergency Response Fund, and we have ensured that each and every dollar has and will be used wisely and well,” said Ellen Lehman, CFMT president.         

Today CFMT announces eight additional grants totaling $701,656 to area nonprofits and organizations helping those affected by the tornadoes. CFMT’s Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund advisory committee approved the latest round of grants on Aug. 20.

Access to the grant application remains open and continues to accept requests for recovery assistance (legal, mental health/counseling, permanent housing, rebuilding/construction, and case management). The grant application also continues to accept requests for relief needs (food, shelter and short-term housing, clothing, cleanup and debris removal, and financial assistance).

Latest Grants from the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund:

Aug. 20

  • Streetworks ($30,000) to support the organization’s financial recovery following a direct hit from the tornado.
  • Pleasant Green Baptist Church ($20,656) to support demolition/clean up and debris removal from site at 1412 Jefferson St., which suffered severe damage and destruction resulting from the March 3 tornado.

Aug. 7

  • TN Conference United Methodist Church-UMCOR ($446,000) to support the hiring of 10 case managers and associated staffing expenses that will enable the Tornado Recovery Connection to achieve its goal of equitably assisting tornado survivors to reach pre-disaster wholeness; and ($20,000) to support emergency unmet needs of tornado survivors identified through the Tornado Recovery Connection case management process.
  • Catholic Charities ($50,000) to support unmet needs of Davidson County tornado survivors identified through the Tornado Recovery Connection case management process.
  • Hands On Nashville ($30,000) to support the organization’s leadership role in coordinating continuing cleanup and debris removal work that remains in Davidson and Wilson counties.
  • Community Resource Center ($10,000) to support a partnership with medical providing partners, including Charis Health and Pathfinders, to replace medical equipment including blood pressure cuffs, shower chairs, canes, breathing machines, and other devices for patients who are tornado survivors.

Aug. 3

  • Broken Restored Redeemed Ministries ($95,000) to support deposits/rent support for tornado survivors in Davidson and Wilson counties.

Davidson County Canvassing Needs Volunteers

Community canvassing is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Sept. 26 in East and North Nashville and Donelson/Hermitage neighborhoods impacted by the tornadoes. This second round of canvassing is set to help the Davidson County Long-Term Recovery Group connect with additional survivors who are still trying to recover from the tornadoes.

The canvassing is being coordinated by Hands On Nashville. To volunteer, contact the nonprofit at www.hon.org. A community cleanup event and canvassing in North Nashville is being hosted by the North Nashville Coalition.

Tornado Recovery Connection Call Line Continues

Anyone experiencing a current, unmet need as a result of the tornadoes can continue to call the Tornado Recovery Connection helpline at 615-270-9255This call line is open 24/7 and messages are returned by case managers ASAP. 

In partnership with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Recover Wilson County, local agencies and community groups are coordinating efforts to address recovery needs and help our neighbors rebuild from the March tornadoes.

Tornado Recovery Connection provides callers throughout Middle Tennessee with resources for immediate relief and helps identify those with long-term needs.

Calls to the helpline above connect tornado survivors with services such as: counseling and mental health support; direct financial assistance; FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) mediation; food assistance; home furnishings; home repair and construction services; household goods; housing replacement; insurance mediation; legal assistance; mortgage assistance; primary healthcare services; rent assistance; short-term housing; short-term rental assistance; tree debris removal; and utility payment assistance.

Tornado Recovery Connection is administered by The Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which has been serving disasters since 1940. UMCOR brings their knowledge and experience to a community and helps set up local case managers — the people who provide care and counsel, and walk with tornado survivors through their recovery.

About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits, and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. CFMT works with people who have great hearts, whether or not they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect their intentions and goals. The organization has distributed more than $1 billion in grants since its inception in 1991. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.

Make A Gift to Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund

In the wake of destructive tornadoes, power outages, road closures and rescues throughout Davidson and surrounding counties, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee activated the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund to support the affected communities and nonprofits helping victims address their ongoing needs.

Grants from the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund are made to nonprofits providing vital services both immediate and long term. Our work helps free nonprofits up to concentrate on delivering vital services while we “connect generosity with need” and our community sets out to rebuild lives.