By mtjulietintern

NASHVILLE – A record number of area nonprofits are preparing for the Big Payback’s fifth-annual 24-hour online giving day.

A total of 902 Middle Tennessee nonprofits – including schools and religious institutions – from 35 counties will participate in the Big Payback, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, on Wednesday, May 2.

The record total includes 115 organizations that represent 23 counties that will be participate in the Big Payback for the first time. Categories include human services, education, community improvement, arts and culture, youth development, animal welfare, health, housing and shelter and the environment.

Wilson County organizations that will participate in the Big Payback include the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center, Cedarcroft Home, Charis Health Center, Cumberland University, Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee, Empower Me Center, Encore Theatre Co., Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Wilson County, Fiddlers Grove Historical Village, Friends of Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Generations of Grace’s the Faith Store, Healing Broken Vessels, Historic Lebanon, Leadership Middle Tennessee, Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency, Mt Juliet Animal Shelter Volunteer Organization, Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center, New Leash on Life, Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, Prospect, Rest Stop Ministries, Scenic Tennessee, Sherry’s Run, Southern STARRS, the Joe Beretta Foundation, the Keith Edmonds Foundation, the Nathar Foundation, Tennessee Senior Olympics, United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland, Wilson Books from Birth, Wilson County Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Wilson County Civic League, Wilson County Community Foundation, Wilson County Community Help Center and Wilson County Salvation Army.

The Big Payback is a community-wide online giving day designed to give the public the opportunity to pay back the nonprofits. Starting May 2 at midnight, there will be 24 hours to make donations to a wide swath of participating local nonprofits at

In its first four events, the Big Payback has helped organizations raise more than $9.3 million in donations, as well as foster 18,806 first-time gifts, making possible awareness of and solutions to pressing needs in the community.

“The Big Payback’s slogan is ‘live here, give here’ and provides an easy and fun way for our community to show our local pride and give back,” said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

“Nonprofits do life-changing work every day across Middle Tennessee, and it’s important we recognize the positive impact they have in our own backyards by supporting their efforts. It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without them and their work.”

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.

Nonprofits and the general public also can participate in the Big Payback in person. Thanks to the Nashville Predators Foundation, Smashville Plaza in front of Bridgestone Arena will turn into the Big Payback GameDay Throwdown on May 2 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Big Payback’s GameDay Throwndown gives participating nonprofits the chance to represent their causes while competing for additional prize money. Minute to win it games, corn hole and miniature golf stations, a costume contest, chalk drawing, and other activities are scheduled.

Live music will be provided by artist Charlie Worsham and Matt Walberg, with Mac Hardcastle as emcee. Several food trucks also will be on site, as well as radio and television stations, some broadcasting live.

The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, whether they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect their intentions and goals. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit

Staff Reports