Brooks Fund creates new Wanderlust theme

The Brooks Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will be hosting its 8th annual Wanderlust Party on Friday, Aug. 10, from 7-10:30 p.m. The theme for this year is Wanderlust Carnaval: Unmasked and will be hosted at Marathon Music Works on 1402 Clinton Street.

Last year’s event had a record 500 attendees. “I believe our success and growth can be attributed in part to the work of The Brooks Fund’s dedicated advisory board and volunteers to make this such an inclusive event, reflecting a core part of our mission to connect all segments of our community,” said Scott Ridgway, advisory board chair. “We want everyone to feel welcome to attend, and seek to build links between people of all genders and orientations in Middle Tennessee.”

For the past 16 years, the Brooks Fund has granted more than $182,000 to various nonprofit organizations. They are committed to increasing the endowment to support organizations that work to build bridges and break down barriers in the GLBT community.

“One of our primary focuses is to build the corpus of the Brooks Fund, an endowed charitable fund within the Community Foundation, to have the opportunity to give larger grant support dollars out to our community, growing our overall impact,” Ridgway said.

“We have worked with many organizations doing vital work over the years,” he said. Previous grants have been awarded to Jewish Family Service of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Nashville in Harmony, Oasis Center, Nashville Film Festival, Abintra Montessori School, People’s Branch Theatre, OutCentral and numerous others.

“With the grant support, the (Oasis Center’s “Just Us” program) has held support, educational and social events for youth, where they are validated for their identity and can develop ties with peers,” Ridgway said.

The Brooks Fund was established in 1995 and named in memory after H. Franklin Brooks would passed away the year before. It promotes “inclusion, acceptance and recognition of Middle Tennessee's lesbian and gay citizens by supporting a variety of nonprofit programs in Middle Tennessee enhancing the quality of life for the GLBT community and building bridges between all segments of the community.”

As an associate professor in the Department of French and Italian at Vanderbilt, Brooks was recognized multiple times for his creative teaching, natural friendliness and personal integrity.

Brooks lead the dialogue that helped paved the way for gays and lesbians to be included in the university’s anti-harassment policy in the late ‘80s. He was also the first faculty sponsor for the campus lesbian and gay student organization.

Ridgway said, “I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Franklin personally, but based on his legacy as someone whose agenda was the whole human family, I believe he would be proud of what the Fund has accomplished over the past 17 years.”

To purchase tickets, visit

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