Message from the President

This past year was unlike any other in the 20-year history of The Memorial Foundation: the first without our founding President J.D. Elliott.

A leading light in the bright constellation of Middle Tennessee nonprofits, J.D. has been missed by so many since his death in July 2015. But we take enormous comfort in what he has left us: a legacy of leadership. J.D. not only oversaw the scrupulous distribution of funds to hundreds of worthy nonprofit organizations over two decades, he also worked tirelessly to nurture leaders who could fulfill their missions.

All of us who worked with J.D. at The Memorial Foundation learned from him to stand in awe of the passion and vision that motivates so many to devote themselves to meeting unmet needs. We also learned that passion and vision are not enough to guarantee success in the nonprofit sphere. Success demands that leaders practice the fundamentals of good stewardship. It requires that they understand how to surround themselves with great people and allow them to thrive. And it insists on demonstrable proof that money raised is being used to advance missions.

This is why, in J.D.’s memory, The Memorial Foundation has established the J.D. Elliott Leadership Development Fund, to be administered by the Center for Nonprofit Management.

J.D. was a humble man. Always leading by example, he let his actions speak for themselves. But we believe he would have approved of this fund. It represents a way to continue to let his actions speak. It will build upon his legacy by giving people filled with passion the skills and the wisdom necessary to turn vision into reality.

In 2015, The Memorial Foundation distributed grant funding to 223 results-oriented nonprofit organizations working to impact seniors, youth and children, access to quality health care, human and community services, and education. We fulfilled our mission to support work that betters our world. We will continue to do so, and are well-prepared for the task. We learned from the best.

Scott S. Perry