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Frist Foundation Makes $1 Million Gift to COVID-19 Response Fund

Frist Foundation Makes $1 Million Gift to COVID-19 Response Fund

Community Leaders Challenge Others to Donate to Help Neighbors in Need

March 19, 2020, NASHVILLE, Tenn.The Frist Foundation announced Wednesday that it will grant $1,000,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund at United Way of Greater Nashville. The Fund, led by Mayor John Cooper and philanthropic, corporate and government partners, will quickly address the health and economic challenges of COVID-19 by rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations.

In addition to the $1,000,000 gift by Nashville’s largest private foundation, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation contributed $500,000 and the City of Nashville’s metro finance director Kevin Crumbo and his wife Katie personally contributed $10,000—bringing the total to $1,510,000.

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, individuals and families will be impacted. As bars and restaurants close or reduce their capacities, schools and childcare centers are unable to open, and businesses see diminished revenues, the economic effects will be immense, particularly for those living paycheck to paycheck. Many families struggling to recover from the March 3 tornado will find their path to stable housing and financial stability even more challenging. The Fund is focused on making sure individuals and families receive the assistance they need to meet their basic needs during this difficult time—this includes employees of local businesses who are experiencing lost or reduced wages.

“Nashville has been devastated by two major disasters this month,” said Pete Bird, president of The Frist Foundation. “The scale of these disasters requires a community response, and the family of Dr. Tommy Frist Jr. wanted to help in the fastest, most effective way possible. Almost every sector of our city and every family in it is experiencing profound changes in their lives. We hope that our grant will inspire others to join us in mitigating the damage.”

“Other than our health and safety, there is not a more critical need in our community,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. “We must prop our neighbors up in this unprecedented and difficult time.”

“I encourage those in our community with the ability to offer financial assistance to the COVID-19 Response Fund to do so quickly,” said Crumbo. “The work performed by the nonprofits who receive grants from this fund is a critical supplement to the resources Metro is able to provide. Together, we will continue to serve our community.”

The Frist Foundation made eight grants last week to organizations doing front-line work with victims of the March 3 tornado and was a key player in the COVID-19 Response Fund’s inception.

United Way expects to distribute funds as early as March 20 and is accepting requests for funding from community-based organizations that work directly with individuals and families to get them the support and funds they need as quickly as possible. Within the limits of its resources, the Fund aims to help individuals and families who are struggling to meet their basic needs, including employees of local businesses who are experiencing lost or reduced wages. United Way is working with government and nonprofit partners to provide as many resources as possible for business owners and will update this information regularly at As funds are distributed, United Way will publish the receiving agencies, along with the help they can provide and contact information, at

“This Response Fund is a perfect example of our core motto here at United Way,” said Brian Hassett, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Nashville. “We believe strongly that we as a community have a responsibility to Live United—to look out for our neighbors and to help those who are struggling. We are challenging every person and every corporation in this region to step up and consider making a donation to this fund that will get much needed money directly into the hands of individuals and families that are impacted by these events.”

United Way and the Fund is relying heavily on community support. All gifts—big or small—will make a real difference for those who are struggling. To contribute to the COVID-19 Response Fund, visit


About the COVID-19 Response Fund

Hosted by United Way of Greater Nashville, the COVID-19 Response Fund provides flexible resources to organizations working with individuals and communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the outbreak. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. United Way will administer grants in partnership with the Response Committee and Fund partners. In order to move resources quickly and not further burden organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic, we are not hosting a formal application process at this time. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases. To learn more, visit

About the Frist Foundation

Established in 1982, The Frist Foundation is dedicated to sustaining and improving the quality of life in Nashville, Tennessee. It has been a philanthropic leader, serving as initiator, convener and catalyst behind organizations like Hands On Nashville, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Center for Nonprofit Management, among others. Since 2001, much of the Foundation’s funding has been directed to the Frist Art Museum. In 2015, the Nashville Zoo began receiving support at the same level.

About United Way of Greater Nashville
At United Way, we unite the community and mobilize resources so that every child, individual and family thrives. Together, we are working to create a community where every child receives a quality education, no one lives in poverty or poor health, and the most basic needs of our families are met. We are uniquely positioned to the lead this fight by bringing individuals, businesses, nonprofits and government to the table to have the tough conversations, mobilize the resources and make the smart investments that will create lasting solutions for our region’s most pressing issues. For more information, visit and follow us on social media @UWNashville.