New nonprofit ThinkTennessee launches to promote moderate, pragmatic solutions

February 15, 2017

New nonprofit ThinkTennessee launches to promote moderate, pragmatic solutions


guest blog post by Shanna Singh Hughey of ThinkTennessee

In today’s polarized political climate, it’s easy to lose sight of what unites us as Tennesseans: Regardless of political party, we all want opportunities to build a brighter future for our families, our communities and our state.

As nonprofit leaders, your work helps make those opportunities happen.

Public policy plays an important role, too. United by our conviction that moderate, pragmatic voices—the kind that have served our state well for generations—should play a prominent role in shaping that policy, seven leaders from across the state and I came together to start ThinkTennessee, a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank. After more than a year of preparation, we officially launched this month.

In its initial phase, ThinkTennessee is focusing on the basics:

  • Find the opportunities: Identify issue areas where our work will have the most immediate impact.
  • Find solutions: Partner with experts to identify and develop reliable, results-oriented research and initiatives.
  • Engage and advocate: Build and support coalitions of allies and promote our work with state and local leaders, the media, nonprofit organizations and citizens.

ThinkTennessee’s leaders come from many sectors – business, academia, law, medicine, government – and from both sides of the political aisle. We’re eager to partner with other nonprofit organizations as we begin this important effort.

We know that, to keep moving forward, we must understand where we are right now. That’s why our first project takes a hard look at the State of our State. It shows how Tennessee ranks nationally on 88 subjects ranging from infrastructure to civil rights to education.

Take a look! Some of the rankings may be relevant to your work.

Did you know, for instance, that Tennessee:

  • Ranks 50th in the nation in voter turnout?
  • Has the second-highest number of opioid prescriptions per person?
  • Ranks 43rd in people in households with high-speed internet?
  • Has the sixth-most-affordable electricity prices in the country?

This data, and much more like it, is now available on our new website,

Next up, we’ll describe how Tennessee’s population has changed in recent decades, and how it’s projected to keep evolving in the decades to come. Understanding the scope of our demographic shift is key to preparing to address the challenges that shift might bring.

No matter how our state changes in the coming years, we need public policy that helps us move forward. Nonprofit organizations are critical to this effort, and we want ThinkTennessee to be a resource for you. We hope you’ll stay in touch with us by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and signing up for updates on our website.

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