December 2, 2022
Mill & Mine
227 W Depot Avenue
Thank you to all involved in the 2022 Change Awards!
Our first annual Change Awards has officially come to a close. As we reflect on the evening, we want to express our immense gratitude to our local nonprofit organizations, leaders and professionals for their commitment to philanthropy and service, as well as to our sponsors for their support in making this celebration possible.
For a century, we’ve worked alongside some of the most passionate and dedicated change makers in the region, and as we continue to strive toward creating a better Knoxville for all, we hope the Change Awards serves as a reminder of what is possible when we unite for change. Here’s to the next 100 years!
Over 60+ nominations were submitted for the 2022 Change Awards, and all of which detailed the outstanding efforts of our nonprofit community. Thank you to each and every one of you for your commitment to philanthropy and service.
Congratulations to the 2022 Change Awards honorees!
President & CEo
Knoxville Area Urban League
Phyllis Y. Nichols has dedicated her life to helping those in need and has been instrumental in addressing our area’s most pressing issues. Her unwavering commitment to service and philanthropy has made her a role model in our community, showing us all how we can have a sustained, meaningful impact and move the work forward over time.
For nearly three decades, Phyllis has advocated tirelessly for a more equitable Knoxville. She has been an agent for change, and a determined and industrious collaborator. Phyllis has earned national recognition as a strong advocate for economic and social equity initiatives, including equity in public education and public policy impacting students of color, and has served on numerous high-profile commissions and committees on topics such as education, equity, social justice, and employment and workforce development.
Phyllis has spent her nearly 30-year career with the Knoxville Area Urban League, during which she led numerous organizational achievements including launching Shoes for Schools, and the partnership with GEM Community Development Group. Her leadership was critical in expanding the Urban League’s impact, which now serves over 10,000 individuals and families each year through its 24 programs. These programs aim to provide a skilled and diverse workforce, create pathways to homeownership, support small business development, to advocate for equity and excellence in education for students of color, and more. Knoxville would not be where it is today if not for the extraordinary work of Phyllis Y. Nichols.
The Mend House
Reico Hopewell is a pioneer in our community who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and service. He is seen not only as a spokesperson for those who have lived experience with substance abuse, but also as an advocate for the betterment of those seeking recovery. As the Executive Director for The Mend House, Reico is a model of professionalism for those he serves on a daily basis. As a licensed therapist, he is able to tailor and construct road maps to recovery for the men staying at The Mend House.
Hopewell is the heart of his organization, dedicating nearly all of his time to ensure its mission is carried out to the fullest. He works tirelessly to ensure the men receiving care from his organization have their basic needs met, including food, hygiene products, and recovery-related literature. Through his efforts, he has helped lower the number of overdoses in our community, and has helped fight the stigma of those who are in recovery.
Hopewell is well known and beloved in the professional sector of the community, and his unique perspective allows him to migrate effortlessly between being a therapist, a recovering addict, a partner, and a friend.
Wesley house community center
Porschia Pickett is described as a true asset to not just their organization, but to the entire community. As a life-long learner, Pickett has become a resource for those experiencing issues related to childcare, education and food insecurity, and has developed her abilities over time to better serve our community. Pickett is exhibits her passion and commitment to service daily, and is “unafraid to make hard decisions,” especially if they could result in positive, long-term change.
The comprehensive partnership between the McNabb Center and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH) was driven by the same goal to provide community youth and their families with accessible, high-quality diversionary and mental health services. As a result of their collaboration, the McNabb Center and ETCH have been successful in developing the state’s first Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit, effectively executing the Children’s Crisis Continuum, and providing services to hundreds of children and families in crisis throughout our community.
Nourish Knoxville and CAC Beardsley Community Farm were bound together by food insecurity, an issue that was heightened throughout our community during the COVID-19 pandemic – and one that still remains critically important in our area today. In response, Nourish Knoxville and CAC Beardsley Community Farm came together with the collective goal of increasing food access to local communities in need. Their response was timely, innovative and effective, and one that was not only community-led, but community-focused.
Muse Knoxville actively creates a place of diversity, inclusion, and belonging not only among its staff, volunteers and communities it serves, but also within the programs it develops and partners it pursues. Its strategic goals include actively recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining a diverse workforce that welcomes and engages people from every background. Aligning its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts with the core value of “Muse for All,” Muse Knoxville is dedicated to serving ALL regardless of social, economic, or physical barriers.
Beyond establishing and practicing extensive diversity, equity, and inclusion goals into its operational practices, A Step Ahead Foundation of East Tennessee (ASAFET) has demonstrated its dedication to addressing barriers that are exacerbated by bias and discrimination in healthcare and policy. These barriers disproportionately affect people of color, those living in poverty, those with disabilities, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and others with (often intersecting) marginalized identities. ASAFET is dedicated to advancing women’s reproductive health equity for individuals in our region and has made significant strides to ensure all members of our community are able to access its critical education and contraceptive services.
Young-Williams Animal Shelter
Grace Bennett transitioned Young Williams Animal Shelter’s one-person development team to a six-person development and marketing department. During this time of organizational growth, Bennett never lost sight of the fundraising goal and the impact it would have. Despite being short-staffed, Bennett invested in new funding opportunities and doubled-down on existing successes. For the first time, donors received an annual giving statement highlighting the impact their generosity had. Bennett’s dedication led to Young-Williams’ annual Mardi Growl’s event exceeding its fundraising goal by 15%, as well as to Young-Williams ending its fiscal year 5% above its goal.
Bank of America has made a deliberate effort to make change in our area by partnering with local leaders and organizations to advance economic mobility throughout Knoxville neighborhoods. Through charitable giving, collaboration with economic development partners, and financial literacy education programs, Bank of America has built pathways to employment and demonstrated its commitment to addressing several issues such as racial equality and environmental sustainability. By developing programs such as CEO Build, Healthcare Build, and the Driving Impact webinar series, Bank of America has modeled repeatable, cross-sector programs that other Knoxville companies can emulate.
Knoxville’s Community Development corporation
Maris Moazen is a leader in innovation. With an eye for the potential of what innovative and collaborative work can bring, Moazen isn’t afraid to pursue ideas, partnerships and strategies that may seem unconventional. Moazen has implemented innovative solutions to address complex challenges, including using resident feedback to develop a plan to reframe the Beaumont neighborhood as an arts and entrepreneurial center, which resulted in Knoxville securing $40 million dollars from HUD for a groundbreaking project. She also created Community Resource Fairs within low-income communities across the city to give residents the opportunity to connect with social service providers without needing to find transportation or childcare.
Volunteer Ministry Center strategically leveraged partnerships, and extensive research to address the issue of accessible and affordable housing by creating the only low barrier housing-focused emergency overnight shelter in the Knoxville Knox-County area. With the help of other agencies and local government, it implemented a mobile shower trailer program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide hygiene and laundry services to individuals experiencing homelessness, and to help mitigate the spread of the virus. As a result of Volunteer Ministry Center’s agility and innovation, hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in the Knoxville Knox-County area received overnight shelter, which reduced the number of those living in encampments, and provided a path to permanent housing.
New Direction Health Care Solutions demonstrated its commitment to agility and innovation in the name of meaningful action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People of color, who already faced disproportionate medical challenges prior to the pandemic, were dying at a higher rate from the virus. In response to this challenge, New Direction created a pathway for hospitals and private pharmacists to bring vaccinations into the community and created a model for medical organizations to do community outreach.
Tyrone Beach has been transformational for Muse Knoxville. He has worked tirelessly to leverage his community connections, media relationships, and knowledge of the region to increase brand awareness, lead event planning, and energize fundraising efforts. Beach has fostered strong relationships with the board of directors and pushes programming and impact into key audiences regularly. Beach’s genuine leadership inspires the Muse Knoxville team to center their mission at the heart of their work, following his lead into a stronger future.
Tommy Dodson’s vision and persistence to teach, advocate and implement enterprise risk management were critical to Hillcrest Healthcare’s ability to meet the clinical challenges, financial stresses, and employee needs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Enterprise risk management was a new and valuable tool that Hillcrest would not have had or used if not Dodson.