Nashville Predators Foundation to Fund TEP Youth Program
During the Predators’ time in Nashville, the hockey organization has shown itself to be as deeply committed to the wellbeing of the greater Nashville community as it is to excellence on the ice. The team’s charitable arm, the Nashville Predators Foundation, has distributed $4.5 million in grants to further its mission, “to meet the educational, social, health and cultural needs of our community by offering unique resources and financial support to local youth-oriented organizations.”
Given the many needs of the organizations that serve Nashville youth, the Predators Foundation receives many requests for funds, from causes as diverse as Alive Hospice, Inc., OASIS Center, and the Nashville Chess Center, to name a few. According to the Foundation website, this means that even some worthy causes go unfunded, and it adds, “The grant review process is the most challenging time of year for our Foundation as we wish we could fund every grant application.”
This year, for the first time, the Tennessee Equality Project applied for a grant from the Predators Foundation, according to TEP Executive Director Chris Sanders. Specifically the organization applied for funding assistance for its anti-bullying programming. Recently, the Predators Foundation announced its grant recipients, which this year included TEP.
“We're really excited to have their support and develop a relationship,” said Sanders, “because I think their name lends credibility to the cause of anti-bullying. They have a long commitment to youth endeavors in Middle Tennessee.” Given the challenges and dangers bullying poses for all involved, having a group like Nashville’s Predators behind an anti-bullying program sends a powerful and important message. “I think the grant reinforces the message that we have a lot of work to do to address bullying in Tennessee and that mainstream stakeholders are seeing that and want to help,” Sanders said. “We welcome that. Allies are vital to making sure all students are safe in school.”
The Nashville Predators Foundation funds distributed to TEP will be used to support Spirit Day activities this fall that focus on bullying of youth. “We will work with GLSEN Middle TN,” Sanders explained, “to put together a mini conference on bullying for area high school students, followed by a pep rally that evening to celebrate youth thriving despite bullying.” As TEP and other LGBT rights organizations gear up for their post-marriage fights, issues like bullying promise to remain key foci of activism.
Sanders made it clear that the grant would be well utilized, emphasizing that, “None of the funds will be used for staff time or so-called overhead. It's 100% program funding.” Details of the program will follow once the date of Spirit Day, an annual GLAAD event, is officially set. “We will begin recruiting students for these events, and there will be more public information available about the specifics of the program at that time,” Sanders added.
TEP, as well as other beneficiaries of the Foundation’s largesse will be presented with their checks at a formal presentation to take place at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday, May 5th from 9:30–11:30 a.m.