Franklin Brooks Fund finds new life

by Griffin Davis
News Writer

In a tough economy, non-profit organizations often need more money to operate. But when family budgets get tighter, charitable giving is usually the first thing to go. It’s a paradox that continues to influence the balance sheets of many non-profits today, forcing some charities to get creative in capturing extra dollars when personal and corporate finances take a hit. In the GLBT community, however, one organization is relying on its deep philanthropic roots to raise more money.

“The Brooks Fund was founded ten years ago by a national grant to bring awareness to gay and lesbian issues,” said Mike Smith, chairman of the board for the Brooks Fund. “In the past, we have given grants from the fund to PFLAG, YWCA, One-In-Teen and others to help educate the public and open eyes and minds of Nashville.”

But the Fund’s good deeds did go noticed, and soon the Brooks grants dried up. And until recently, the future of the Brooks fund was in financial doubt. That’s when the Community Foundation of Nashville stepped in.

“They’ve been very instrumental in re-invigorating our board,” says Smith. “We now have a hands-on coordinator, and we’re looking to breathe new life into the fund.”

The goals of the Fund are ambitious. To replenish the $130,000 it has given, at press time, to more than 20 worthy causes over the last decade, Brooks Fund board members were holding a travel raffle. The lucky $50 donor wins a week-long trip to a privately owned villa just south of France. Organizers want to sell 500 tickets.

“The raffle is one way we’re raising awareness of the Fund,” says Smith. “But we have lots of other events planed that revolve around efforts to grow our membership.”

To enter the first-annual Brooks Fund Travel Raffle, go to You’ll not only have pretty good odds at winning a dream French getaway (about 1 in 500), you’ll also be admitted to the private winner’s announcement party at Play Dance Bar on June 11. There, you’ll find other ways to support the good work of the Brooks Fund, like bidding on celebrity and travel-related items at a silent auction.

“We are honored to be a part of Franklin Brooks’ legacy and look forward to increasing the fund’s capacity to help,” said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “The Brooks fund has dedicated itself to the support of many worthy non-profits working to enhance the present and future of our neighbors in need.”

Look for an interview with the lucky raffle winner soon at Out & About’s Web site,

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