Community Foundation sets The Big Payback for May 6-7

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's 'The Big Payback'

A record number of nonprofits are preparing for The Big Payback’s day of online giving.

One day in May for the past six years the community has come together to celebrate the spirit of giving and collaboration, and ultimately, the extraordinary work that nonprofits do in Middle Tennessee.

A total of 988 Middle Tennessee nonprofits from 34 counties will participate in The Big Payback, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, on May 6-7. First-time participants include 108 organizations spanning 15 counties.

Starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, there will be 24 hours to make donations to a variety of organizations at

“Nonprofits do important, life-changing work every day across Middle Tennessee,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “Over the years, The Big Payback has become an opportunity for us to come together as a community to support their efforts and recognize the positive impact they have on our neighbors. It’s an easy and meaningful way for us to show our local pride, give back, and make an enormous impact in so doing!”

Over the past six years, The Big Payback has raised nearly $17 million with a total of 115,890 donations for area schools, religious institutions, and charities working hard to make a difference.

And this year, more than ever, nonprofits need our support.

For so many of us, the year 2020 signified a new decade to take on the world’s problems with full force and a clear vision. Middle Tennesseans are now facing an uncertainty that stems from multiple disasters and the aftermath: loss of homes, gigs, business, and health.

“As we have faced the 2020 disasters, it’s never been more important and it has never been so easy,” Lehman continued. “For some, first responders and safety have never been so necessary and so top of mind. For others, the nonprofits whose work has been a source of pride and gratitude remain an anchor and a North Star as we navigate our path going forward.”

The unfolding economic impact of these disasters has forced hundreds of organizations to slow down or put their important work on hold at a time when we need them the most. They are:

  • Feeding the hungry
  • Sheltering the homeless
  • Fighting for the rights of the underserved ∙ Fostering the animals
  • Preserving the arts
  • Providing a safe haven
  • Protecting the environment
  • Teaching children
  • Taking care of each other

Last year’s event raised a record $4,106,182 for 964 organizations from 28,458 total gifts. That surpassed the 2018 totals of more than $3.1 million in donations, from 22,071 total gifts.

“The Big Payback was always and remains a call to give back in gifts large and small,” Lehman said, “because we live here, and we should give here to recognize and perpetuate our gratitude and our belief in a bright future because We are Nashville, We are Tennessee, and we are all in this together.”

Gifts to nonprofits from the public will be boosted with additional financial prizes from sponsors of The Big Payback, and an online leaderboard will track donations in real time.

Donors will be able to search and select organizations based on location and focus area. Donors also can support multiple nonprofits and make gifts of any size with ease, from $10 and up.

“This year in a time where so many of us are spending our days at home, we hope that you will get online at and look at the stories of local nonprofits and their work, day in and day out,” Lehman said. “We hope you will find new nonprofits — like those who have been making masks to keep us safe from the coronavirus — and you will encourage old nonprofit friends like the public library to continue to bring out the best of us by teaching us to read or how to expand our horizons.”

For more information, go to

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