Athens Federal Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Athens Federal Foundation provides grants to Eastern Tennessee nonprofits in the areas of affordable housing, job training, economic development, healthcare, education, human services, and culture.

FUNDING AREAS: Affordable housing, job training, economic development, healthcare, education, human services, culture

IP TAKE: This bank foundation’s grants are relatively small, but focus on providing grassroots and local grantmaking to fund a wide variety of issue areas.

PROFILE: Established in 2009, the Athens Federal Foundation (AFF) is the philanthropic arm of the Athens Federal Community Bank in Eastern Tennessee. Athens Bancshares Corporate, the holding company for the bank, established the foundation as part of a stock conversion. Along with the initial stock offering, the corporation contributed $1 million of stock and $100,000 in cash to launch AFF. The foundation aims to “support and fund community development via affordable housing, job training and programs that assist the economically disadvantaged.” Additionally, the foundation supports education, healthcare, human services, and local cultural programs.

AFF supports local causes in these program areas in the geographic locations where the bank operates. It announces early each year about how much in total grant funding it will provide that year. Grantmaking has been slowly on the rise in recent years. Since the beginning, AFF has been a strong supporter of nonprofits that provide basic needs services in Eastern Tennessee.

AFF grants typically range from $1,000 to $5,000. Past grantees include Helping Hands Ministry, Homeless Management of Monroe County, Grace House in Athens, and the Niota United Methodist Church. Grantseekers can view a list of past grantees by year on the foundation’s website. Funding is restricted to where the bank operates, which is the Tennessee counties of Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Loudon, and Polk. Requests for proposals and grant applications are posted on the funder’s website as well in PDF form. In addition to grants, the bank also provides charitable sponsorships to local schools, athletic teams, cultural groups, and civic organizations.

AFF accepts unsolicited grant requests from local nonprofits. In the past, the grant application has been between early and late June of each year. Grantseekers should direct questions to the foundation staff at 423-745-1111 or stop by a local bank office for details.

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