Forming a Foundation and Shaping a Legacy


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Starting a foundation is no small task. A group of Tellico Villagers set out in 2016 to do just that: found the Tellico Community Foundation. The emphasis of their efforts would not only be Tellico Village, but the Tennessee counties which are home to the Village – Loudon and Monroe. The original members of the TCF Advisory Board not only founded a foundation, they started to shape a legacy.

The first Advisory Board formulated a Mission Statementand crafted a set of Guiding Principles.  

To date, the Tellico Community Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 grants of funding and land to area charitable groups. The current TCF Advisory Board  is committed to furthering the TCF’s “Legacy for Better Lives” in Tellico Village and the counties of Loudon and Monroe. 

 The History of the Tellico Community Foundation

In late 2016, several Tellico Villagers met informally over a period of weeks to discuss the possible formation of a community foundation as a catalyst for raising funds to support human needs and exceptional ideas. Throughout 2017, the group started to formally organize and embarked on a series of discussions with the East Tennessee Foundation. Late in 2017, the Tellico Community Foundation was officially designated as an affiliate fund of East Tennessee Foundation. Nine founding donors provided the initial underwriting for the TCF.

As an affiliate fund of East Tennessee Foundation (ETF), the Tellico Community Foundation has no connection with any organization within Tellico Village. TCF is under the administration of ETF. An Advisory Board consisting of nine members of the Tellico Village community and from the surrounding area forges the link between the community and ETF. The Advisory Board identifies needs, raises funds and advises ETF on grant-making activities. ETF provides a variety of high-level resources plus operational and fiduciary services critical to the management of the TCF.  

East Tennessee Foundation is a strong financial partner for the TCF. All 450+ funds of the ETF, are maintained and reported as separate accounts, but are pooled in commingled funds for investment purposes. East Tennessee Foundation has current assets exceeding one-half billion dollars(as of 12-31-2020).

In the late fall of 2018, TCF embarked on its first grant-making activities. (To see an update list of Grants Recipients, follow this link).  In 2018, the Advisory Board finalized an investment approach determining that 60 per cent of all funds raised will be devoted to endowment and the remaining 40 per cent of funds will be designated for grant-making. This investment policy is reviewed annually to decide if modifications are required. 

One of the primary benefits of ETF affiliation was the ability to gain access to research and a program evaluation team. They have experience with donor and professional advisor relationships and capabilities which enhance and increase funds growth and community support. ETF staff has expertise in the analyses of requests to identify the most promising programs and projects. They search within communities, regionally, statewide, and nationally for innovative approaches to community problems and connect organizations that are working on common problems to maximize their effectiveness. This way, donors are assured that their charitable dollars are “gifted” to the best organizations and most worthwhile causes.

Using these resources and employing this ETF discipline, TCF identified the following high impact focus areas for future grant-making. These areas are:

By the middle of 2019, the TCF had gained community recognition through its grant-making and sponsoring the first “Drug Take Back Day” (click here to learn more about Drug Take Back Day). Because of this exposure, the foundation was contacted about accepting a sizable land donation from a group looking to minimize its tax liabilities. Negotiations progressed through the summer and into the late fall of 2019 when a deal was finally struck. TCF acquired 4.69 acres in Tellico Village at the corner of State Route 444 and State Route 72 in front of the Food Lion complex. The accessed valuation of the property was $920,000.

Simultaneous with the land negotiations, the TCF was engaging in talks with a group committed to building an adult day center in Tellico Village. In the late winter of 2020, a letter of understanding was signed with Our Place. If this organization secured $200,000 in funding or received accreditation as a licensed adult day center within 36 months, TCF would award Our Place an acre of the recently obtained Village parcel.

To its credit, Our Place raised the challenge grant funds of $200,000 by the fall of 2020 during the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic. On November 12, 2020, TCF fulfilled its agreement with Our Place and made the foundation’s largest award to date: one acre of land valued at $200,000. (For more information on the Our Place event follow this link). 

The remaining 3.69 acres, which is commercially zoned land, was sold to a Tellico Villager with a varied business background including property and residential development in March 2021.  The gross selling price of $381,000, coupled with the TCS asset, base at that time, of more than $50,000, raised the foundations total assets to more than $400,000. 

The TCF Advisory Board could now really begin to create a "Legacy for Better Lives."

Our Mission

The Tellico Community Foundation exists to enrich the lives of our residents and the greater community by evaluating and addressing community issues, connecting generosity to programs and projects, and nurturing a culture of charitable giving.  

Guiding Principles 

  • The TCF will identify and evaluate community needs through studies, focus groups, networking with other charitable groups, and open forums.
  • The TCF will coordinate with other charitable organizations in the community to achieve maximum impact, including providing supplementary funding if warranted.
  • The TCF will seek to meet unique and currently unmet human needs in the community where funding support can make a difference.
  • The TCF will create opportunities for charitable giving to provide general support for TCF initiatives as well as for new projects of specific interest to donors.

Grant Recipients

The first TCF grants were issued in late 2017. These gifts were the product of the TCF Advisory Board working closely with East Tennessee Foundation staff and evaluation team to identify critical community needs. The TCF and ETF assessment process continues to produce valuable grant-making opportunities. As of December 31, 2020 more than $200,000 of grants in the form of funding and land have been made to various groups. 

Value of Grant Awards to Date - $200,008,120

Focus Area:  Support for Seniors

  • Our Place (one-acre of land) $200,000
  • Senior Citizen Home Assistance Service (SCHAS) $1,500

Focus Area:  Opioid Crisis                                                                     

  • Align9 $2,000 for Loudon County Resource Guide& 1st Annual TV Drug Take Back Day

Focus Area:  Early Childhood Literacy                                                     

  • Lenoir City Schools Family Resource Center $500  for  Bi-Lingual Literacy Project/Activity Kits – 
  • Partnered with Loudon County Educational Foundation & Dolly Parton Imagination Library Foundation

Focus Area:  Community Enrichment                                                   

  • Friends of Tellico Village Library $1,350  for Technology Upgrades & Flood Disaster Recover
  • Timeless Tellico Foundation $3,000 for Clear Creek Kayak Launch Project
  • Friends of Tellico Village Library $6,000 for Annual Maintenance
  • Good Shepherd Center $8,000 for Laptops, Scanners and Management Software

Other Grants:                                                                                                                

  • Smoky Mountain Service Dogs $520      
  • Tellico Village Players $850
  • Tellico Village Singers $500        
  • Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department $500  
  • Tennessee Bluebird Society $400     

Interested in applying for a grant from the TCF? Complete a 100-word grant request and e-mail it to:  [email protected]

  Advisory Board

Members of TCF Advisory Board are elected to three-year terms. The Board consists of nine members from the Tellico Village community and the surrounding area. They create the link between the community and ETF. The Board identifies needs, raises funds and advises ETF on grant-making activities. Current members of the Tellico Community Foundation Board are:

  • Bill Baxter
  • Joe Beyel (Chair)
  • Mary Ann Blank
  • Joe Bogardus
  • Marsha Herzog
  • Joe Marlette
  • Joan Mulliner
  • Cathy Nyberg

ETF Regional Advancement Officer:  Jill Murphy

 Focusing The Legacy

The Tellico Community Foundation is committed to confronting many of today’s most salient community needs.  Grant-making by TCF focuses on enriching Tellico Village and the counties of Loudon and Monroe; supporting seniors; addressing the opioid crisis and furthering childhood literacy.