Changing Nashville Neighborhoods: The Effect on Nonprofits

April 18, 2016

Changing Nashville Neighborhoods: The Effect on Nonprofits


CNM presented a special half-day forum last Friday, April 15, “Changing Nashville Neighborhoods: The Effect on Nonprofits,” to discuss how the nonprofit sector is affected by the gentrification occurring in Nashville.

This collaborative session brought together the nonprofit sector and local government, and was the first event of its type both locally and regionally.

CNM has seen gentrification affect nonprofits in the following ways:

1. The recent loss of nonprofits' client bases as income levels in a neighborhood change

2. The potenial loss of that base in the future

3. The difficulty of hiring the staff nonprofits need at the price they can afford

4. The problem of escalating rents

5. The opportunity to sell a building you own, but the understanding that the next building might be even more expensive

“While neighborhood change calls for affordable housing, it also affects the missions of community center, senior centers, day care and a host of other nonprofit services,” said CNM President Lewis Lavine. “We want to help nonprofits cope with these changes and better serve their current and future clients.”

After a welcome from Mayor Megan Barry, Garrett Harper of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce explained Nashville’s demographic changes with recent data on poverty, education and housing that specifically impacts the work of nonprofits. Gary Gaston and Michael Thompson of the Civic Design Center shared maps that show poverty rates compared with the geographic placements of nonprofits. Links to both presentations are below.


A panel comprised of nonprofit CEOs Melanie Shinbaum of Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, Corey Gephart of St. Luke’s Community House, and Dawana Wade of Salama Urban Ministries, Inc. (left to right in above picture) presented community case studies and answered questions from the audience.

Representatives of several different departments in the Mayor’s Office (below) wrapped up the presentations by discussing Metro Nashville government’s future goals.


The event concluded with guided table discussions about possible actions for nonprofits, facilitated by Cathy Self of Baptist Healing Trust. Results will be compiled and shared with nonprofit leaders soon in a future blog post!


Links to more from "Changing Nashville Neighborhoods: The Effect on Nonprofits":

                Nashville Chamber of Commerce



  • Geographical placement of nonprofits with poverty data - maps from Nashville Civic Design Center

​                 1. Median household income data & NPO locations in Davidson County

                 2. Percentage living below poverty data & NPO locations in Davidson County

                Data provided by Jill Robinson, Vanderbilt University

                Maps created by Mike Thompson, The Nashville Civic Design Center 




  • Coming soon in a new blog post - data compiled from round table discussions



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