Knoxville Leadership Foundation serves the greater Knoxville area by Connecting Leaders with Communities of Need, by Changing Lives and through Community Transformation.
Knoxville is richly populated with leaders throughout her churches, city and county government, our many philanthropic organizations, and both faith- and community-based non-profit organizations. They provide an excellent source of resources through their leadership and expertise, time, talent and financial resources. Knoxville Leadership Foundation, through its initiatives and programs, seeks to connect these leaders with communities of need.
When one thinks of a "community of need", it's not just those in the inner city, those in poverty or even just the poor, although they are certainly a part of our focus. Communities of need also include the vulnerable, the elderly and the young, those living on the edge of society or at risk, both educated and uneducated, white and non-white, those with financial means and resources, and those without. It includes those who are spiritually educated and practiced, and those whose daily survival depends on God's provision alone. It includes Christian and non-Christian, because need has no economic, geographical, spiritual, age or financial boundaries.
Needs born out of isolation, peer pressure, loneliness, and a desire to connect and contribute, are all just as valid as the needs for basic necessities of life. At KLF, we've found that when we connect those with resources to those with physical, spiritual and emotional needs, both parties have heart-felt needs that are filled. That's what we're all about.
It takes so little to change a life, and almost anyone can do it. At Knoxville Leadership Foundation, we facilitate the changing of lives every day, with your help. With the Neighborhood Housing Program, we change lives through helping fulfill the quintessential American dream of homeownership for low income families. With just a little financial help, education and mentoring, the dream of home ownership can become reality. This gives a sense of permanency, pride of ownership and security to a family. It demonstrates God's provision and gives a sense of safety to those who thought that homeownership was simply beyond their reach. Who knows what else might be possible?
We also help those who have seen their dreams fall into disrepair, through Operation Backyard. With this program of home repair, whole neighborhoods can be repaired or restored; providing safety, pride and becoming a catalyst for renewed community life. It's a blessing for the homeowners, and all who live nearby or are involved in the project, as God demonstrates His provision through His people for His own.
Another group of changed lives comes not from those whom we help, but from those who do the helping; the volunteers who get involved in each program. There is nothing quite so humbling as being used as God's hands and feet in the ministry of helping others. It touches your heart in a very special way, leaving you forever changed for the better.
Knoxville Leadership Foundation also helps change lives more indirectly, by helping to incubate, grow and support other ministries and non-profits in their vision to help others. It's called the Center for Communities program, where participating organizations benefit through consulting, collaboration, developing new efficiencies and effective measurements, finding increased resources and engaging leaders and volunteers. It gives them a tremendous boost in being able to carry out their vision of service in an effective and sustainable way.
We're also in the business of rescuing the vulnerable and at-risk, no matter where they live. Our youth, teens, and children represent our future and they need our help. Through programs like School-based Abstinence Education with the high-energy multi-media show put on by the teen group CREW, and the Silver Ring Thing, young people are mentored, educated and encouraged to make wise decisions in their lives and take responsibility for their futures. This builds self-esteem and helps fend off the peer pressure from our sex-crazed culture, showing them that there is another, more beneficial way, to conduct their lives.
Another program focuses on the more than 800 children in Knox County who have one or more parents in jail or prison. Mentoring, through the Amachi program, helps guide these children in a healthy way, despite their family circumstances. Time and attention from a caring adult helps to mold their character, shape their self-esteem and color their view of the future in a positive way.
All of the programs conducted through Knoxville Leadership Foundation work together for a better, more fulfilling life and enriched community overall. We call it Community Transformation. It happens in small increments that have a huge impact as a whole. It includes improving, building and preserving the social and physical infrastructure of our inner city neighborhoods, empowering leaders and agents of change, and healing relational divides so that real and true reconciliation can take place. It includes encouraging and engaging the church, as well as promoting individual self-worth and insuring the future, one person, one family at a time for the unification of the Body of Christ.