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Transformational Generosity

A Conversation with the Community Foundation President

Article by The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga

Photography by The SimonWest Agency

Originally published in Chattanooga City Lifestyle

What do you love the most about your job?

I’m fortunate to live in a uniquely generous community with a legacy of strong civic leadership and whose leaders understand the importance of giving back. In my role as President of the Community Foundation, I get to experience that generosity first-hand every day. My team and I help people really define the values that motivate them and the issues they care most about. Then we help connect their passions with real needs in the community and make introductions to organizations that are doing difficult, life-changing work in neighborhoods throughout Chattanooga. I sometimes describe our mission as ‘making hope tangible.’ Helping donors articulate the legacy they want to leave is sacred work and such an honor.

Looking ahead to 2023, what are the big issues facing Chattanooga?

According to national data, Hamilton County is one of the most difficult communities for people to move up the ladder of economic mobility. In other words, if you're born poor here, you’re more likely to stay in poverty throughout your life than you might be in other communities. At the Foundation, we believe our community has the power to change that. Every single day, I have the honor of working with generous families and individuals who are determined to create pathways out of poverty and build ladders of opportunity by supporting innovative, hard-working nonprofit agencies all across our city. Their steadfast commitment inspires me and gives me hope for the community we all love. Our motto at the Foundation is “generosity transforms” - it transforms the giver, the recipient, and our entire community.

Maeghan Jones has been the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga since 2015. She leads a team of professionals dedicated to aligning the community’s resources around critical, long-term challenges - a philosophy she and her colleagues call “transformational generosity.” Maeghan came to this role after leading the Chattanooga Area Food Bank for several years and before that, she was an attorney at Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Her unique professional background working alongside the community’s most vulnerable makes her well-suited to understanding the complex needs of Chattanooga’s most vulnerable families - and gives her unique insights into what philanthropic organizations like the Community Foundation can do to help move into lasting economic stability.

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