Our Blog


Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga Announces Jackie Clay as Executive Director
April 1, 2020

Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga announces Jackie Clay joined the organization as executive director. Clay brings more than 15 years of experience to Family Promise, a track record of proven success leading strategic planning and development for nonprofits and experience in healthcare and government entities.

“Jackie brings a unique collection of skills that are closely aligned to Family Promise and our goals for the families we serve,” said Aggie Stephenson, board chair and leader of the search committee. “She joins the group with a remarkable understanding of leading an organization serving a vulnerable population. She has vital experience in developing deep partnerships with local governments and community agencies. We’re dedicated to helping families transition to permanent housing, and Jackie shares our passion for creating this reality for our community.”

Prior to joining Family Promise, Clay served as the executive director of the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge. In this position, she successfully increased the clinic’s grant funds, exceeded fundraising goals and led a brand transition. Her other experience includes work as a field instructor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and working as a project manager for the City of Knoxville, Office of the Mayor, from 2011 to 2016.

"Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga has been serving families since 1998 and is a pillar in our community. It is an honor to work with an organization that has such a long history of making a difference,” Clay said. “I’m grateful to the board of trustees and staff of Family Promise for inviting me to become part of this wonderful team that works tirelessly to help families in need. I look forward to serving in this role.”

Clay holds a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. Both are from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has often been recognized for excellence and her dedication to the community. In 2015, she was named to the 40 Under 40 by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal. In 2014, she was recognized as a Health Care Hero by the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, and, in 2005, she received the Change Agent Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“Because of the rapidly changing situation caused by COVID-19, our work and the needs of the families we serve are rapidly changing,” Stephenson said. “We are thankful to have Jackie’s strategic leadership during this time of crisis to help families avoid homelessness and, when needed, work toward helping families find employment and long-term housing.”

About Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga
Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga is a local, nonprofit organization that is part of a national movement to help families with children and veterans in need. Since it opened its doors in 1998, this nonprofit has helped 650 families and 1,216 children transition to self-sufficiency. To find out more about Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga, visit familypromisechattanooga.com.


Bittersweet Announcement
February 27, 2020

We have big news to share! Our founding Executive Director, Mary Ellen Galloway, has decided to continue her fight against homelessness in a new role. She will join Signal Centers, Inc. this April. While we’ll miss Mary Ellen very much, we’re determined to continue the exceptional work she started as we serve families transitioning from homelessness to stable living. As a bonus, we will work on many joint efforts with Mary Ellen and Signal Centers to end homelessness in our community. The board is leading the transition and has already established a search committee. We’re excited to launch a new chapter for our organization!


Overnight Hosting Program
February 27, 2020

Operational for over two decades in the Chattanooga community, Family Promise's overnight host program started with 13 local congregations. Since then, the program has grown to include 23 host congregations in the Chattanooga area who provide overnight shelter for families in transition. Host congregations take turns once per quarter hosting guests in their buildings overnights. Family Promise brings in rollaway beds and sheets, while that week's congregation provides the evening meals and interacts with the families. Congregations that do not have hosting space are part of our support network. They help by assisting the host groups with activities like playing games and tutoring the kids. They also bring love offerings and housewares and groceries for families moving into permanent homes. "We are always looking for congregations to join us," says executive director Mary Ellen Galloway. "There is a certain amount of turnover. So if any group wants to help us, we can meet with them and work with their schedule." If your congregation wants to host or support families in transition, give us a call at (423) 756-3891. The fight against homelessness starts in our communities...it starts with us.


Home for the Holidays for the Garths
January 30, 2020

"I have met so many different types of people who helped us — people from different backgrounds and religions. At first, I was not sure about them. Some folks might have a religion, but they don't always act consistently, but with Family Promise and the congregations that helped me, that was not the case. They were all very friendly — particularly a family at First Centenary Church. My caseworker Linda was awesome! She helped me when I needed help, was direct when she needed to be, but loving and caring at the same time. I am glad I will be Home for the Holidays." — Ms. Garth


Bound for Laundry
January 30, 2020

It's the little things that help us better serve our families in transition, like bed linens. Our staff and volunteers work hard to prepare for our overnight guests, but keeping hundreds of linens fresh and ready for the families is not easy. 

In steps CHI Memorial. They have been invaluable to us by offering to wash our laundry regularly. Thank you CHI Memorial for donating your time and services to the community! 


Home for the Holidays for the Johnsons
December 30, 2019

The Johnson family was the first to settle into their own sanctuary this holiday season. Moving into their own Eastdale home in time for the holidays changed their lives⁠—Ms. Johnson got a secure job and worked out the childcare situation for her baby boy—all because they did not have to worry about a roof over their heads.

While we could not be more excited about the Johnsons, we know much work still needs to be done. Families are at a particular need for access to stable housing during the cold winter months. 

Your continued generosity and encouragement are appreciated this winter season. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/familypromisechattanooga


Building Trust Through Therapy Dogs
December 30, 2019

The statistics of kids who experience homelessness are troubling. Many suffer a range of mental health issues with long-lasting consequences as a result of this form of instability. These kids are more susceptible to problems at school and are NINE TIMES more likely to repeat a grade than their classmates with a home.

Pam Moore felt called to help. As a veteran dog trainer, Moore knew the healing power of dog interaction. Therapy Dog International gave her a list of local outlets that could use a certified therapy dog, and Family Promise was on it. So Moore called Family Promise's executive director, Mary Ellen Galloway, offering her and Australian shepherd Pecos Bill's services, and they were scheduled to meet the families in transition staying at Tyner United Methodist Church.

At five years old, this was Pecos' first session as a certified therapy dog. Moore started by letting her faithful dog scout the building to familiarize himself with his new surroundings. Once he got used to the new environment, Pecos went inside the church to make some new friends.

Shy, reserved Walter was the only child in at that time and was invited to meet Pecos. A friendship bloomed. Walter could not hold his laughter as Moore led Pecos to do a few adorable tricks. Pretty soon, Walter joined Moore in training Pecos to roll over.

"I train Pecos through positive reinforcement," says Moore. "If he fails to follow a command, I simply don't give him a treat versus punishing him. That turned out to be a great learning experience for Walter...He learned the value of treating others with kindness and patience."

Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga works hard to help families with children achieve and sustain independence through community partnerships. Thanks to individuals like Pam Moore, we are able to improve the quality of life for our neighbors and friends. For more volunteer opportunities, visit www.familypromisechattanooga.com/get-involved/.


Winning the Nightingale Network Grant
November 14, 2019

The Nightingale Network awarded a $12,750 grant to Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga to help homeless, single moms and their children make the transition to permanent housing.

The Nightingale Network is made up of more than 75 members and is based on an empowered philanthropy model. Each member makes a donation between $25 and $250, then votes between three fantastic organizations helping women. The cause with the most votes wins the grant. 

“Family Promise stood out this year because of their holistic approach and the long-term success their programs achieve,” said Nightingale Network committee chair and Women’s Fund board member, Kelly Allen. “By working together, our network is able to multiply our impact over and over.”