Helper Grants in Action

Through Helper Grants, the Nashville Predators Foundation is able to give out thousands of dollars to local charities around Greater Nashville and Middle Tennessee. In 2024, the foundation distributed funds to 183 charitable organizations.

Every summer, the Foundation visits some of the Helper Grant recipients to see the grants in action! Check out the stories of how local organizations have been able to utilize the grants and keep up with our visits below.

Candle Wishes

July 8, 2024
By Erin Young

On July 8th, our team was privileged to visit with the founder and executive director of Candle Wishes, Jenny Williams. In 2002 as a 17-year-old high school student, Williams recognized a need for underprivileged kids to be celebrated on their birthdays. While many organizations focus on winter holidays, birthdays often go unnoticed. Feeling a calling to fill this gap, Williams has dedicated the past 22 years to fulfilling children’s birthday wishes. 

Candle Wishes hosts monthly birthday parties for the children with upcoming birthdays. These events provide a day of fun for the children and their families, and each child goes home with a birthday present. Candle Wishes has made over 700 kids' birthday wishes come true annually. 

The organization relies on sponsors to provide gifts for the children. Individuals or organizations can sponsor a child by shopping for their wants and needs, and ensuring the personalized gift is memorable. Candle Wishes will collect the child's wish list of wants and needs to make this achievable. If there is ever a time that a child is not sponsored, Candle Wishes will use collected items and money from donors to fulfill those dreams. 

The Helper Grant from the Predators Foundation will be used to purchase gifts and continue making birthdays special for these children. 

To get involved, sponsor a child, or donate, please visit CandleWishes.com.

Archie’s Promise

July 1, 2024
By Emma Neely

Archie's Promise is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering economically disadvantaged families, displaced youth, and adults by providing affordable formal and business wear and free hygiene products. Their mission began with a simple yet profound goal: to help individuals and families build confidence and self-esteem by making essential items accessible and affordable. Whether it's donating formal wear for a special need’s prom, assisting individuals with interview attire, or reselling business and formal wear at discounted prices, Archie's Promise is here to ease the financial burden on their community and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to look and feel their best for any business casual, semi-formal, or formal event.

Through its innovative approach, Archie's Promise addresses multiple needs. The organization offers affordable formal and business wear, crucial for events like proms or job interviews, where appearances can significantly impact opportunities. Donations and partnerships ensure that no one faces financial barriers when dressing for success.

Recognizing the essential need for hygiene products, especially highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, Archie's Promise took proactive steps to address this gap. They started by hosting local hygiene drives, but wanted to make it more personalized. They researched and collaborated with the Street Team Movement organization to install hygiene vending machines in local schools. These machines provide free products tailored to each school's needs, ensuring accessibility without stigma.

Our grant funded a hygiene machine that will be sent to Smyrna Middle School and set up before school starts. This will allow a more significant impact that extends beyond direct assistance. In the schools, they have created "hope cards," which are like credit cards for students so that when they need something, they can use it. This allows students to grab what they need quickly and efficiently.

Ordering new machines and specializing the products that will go into the machine so nothing will get stuck has been a game changer with this new innovative way to give out hygiene products. When they order the machines, they send the products that will go to the vending machines so they can make sure nothing gets stuck. There are now over 10 schools that will have these machines available in their own schools, and the number is only growing.

Local drives and partnerships, including an Amazon wish list for donations, allow community members to contribute actively. These efforts support ongoing initiatives such as the hygiene vending machines and ensure sustainability in meeting diverse community needs. Looking ahead, Archie's Promise continues to expand its reach and impact. With ongoing support crucial, especially for items like plus-size to size 0-1 formal wear and specific hygiene products, community involvement remains vital. Whether through donations, volunteering, or spreading awareness, everyone's contribution is integral to empowering individuals and families through Archie's Promise.

Archie's Promise exemplifies how targeted formal wear and hygiene support can uplift communities, fostering confidence and opportunity where needed most. By addressing material and emotional needs, the organization provides tangible resources and cultivates a supportive environment where everyone can thrive.

Assurance Mamas

June 27, 2024
By Jade Zaleski

On June 27, our team met with Assurance Mamas via Zoom. Assurance Mamas is an organization that provides assurance to caregivers regarding the safety of their children while at school and childcare centers. 

Assurance Mamas has a vulnerability threat assessment which includes a review of security procedures, equipment, and action plans with blueprints. After the assessment, a list of recommendations will be given to strengthen the facility and procedures. 

With the support of the Nashville Predators Foundation, Assurance Mamas will be able to fund a portion of their training program. Their program helps train faculty and staff school or childcare centers how to protect the children and themselves if a threat were to happen.

BrightStone

June 20, 2024
By Erin Young

Last week, the Community Relations team had the honor of visiting BrightStone in Franklin. BrightStone is a community dedicated to helping, supporting, and fostering adults with special needs. They recently moved to their 140-acre “Land of Dreams” campus, featuring an outstanding center with plans for future expansion.

BrightStone started in 1999 to provide a place for adults with special needs transferring out of high school. Initially, they served only four students and their families. As the initiative grew, BrightStone recognized a need for expansion. In 2007, the group moved into their first building, designed to accommodate their growing community and marking the start of BrightStone’s significant growth.

Now, on their new “Land of Dreams,” the vision of creating a thriving community is becoming a reality. BrightStone offers daily programs such as lifelong learning, where students explore topics such as emotional well-being and healthy relationships. There are also programs for art, pottery, gardening, exercise, music, and cooking. These activities provide students with opportunities to pursue their interests under the guidance of dedicated teachers and staff. One of these teachers, Sherri Gard, has devoted 17 years of her life to BrightStone, driving four hours each day, five days a week, to teach cooking to these students.

In addition to these daily programs, BrightStone has built two residential homes and launched a residential program. In this program students live with three other students and a house manager, learning essential life skills like cooking, cleaning, and independent living. This program was made possible by the expansion to their new campus.

In the coming years, BrightStone plans to further expand its facilities to create a community not only for its students but also for outside visitors. They aim to build a sports court, walking paths, 22 additional residential houses, a chapel and event center, a fishing dock, a medical clinic, an equestrian center, and more. This expansion will enable them to serve more individuals and welcome students from a broader community, addressing the unique needs of each student.

With the support of the Predators Foundation, BrightStone was able to purchase another kiln for their ceramics room. Here, students create handmade pottery, following each step of the process, to sell and raise funds for the organization. The addition of another kiln will expedite production and allow more student creations to reach the shelves.

This visit was nothing short of inspiring and fulfilling. Our team interacted with students, admired their art and pottery, watched them play outside, and learned about the outstanding program BrightStone is dedicated to creating. We are proud of our connection with BrightStone and look forward to our continued partnership with them in the future.