Past Recipients

The following will give you some perspective of the types of programs we have funded in the communities of Fort Sanders, Lonsdale, Mechanicsville and West View since the Community Grant program (formerly called Community Partnership Initiative or CPI) was launched in 1998.

YWCA 2017 Winner

The YWCA’s Community Garden Sustainability Project will enhance long-term success at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Community Center Planting Seeds of Hope Community Garden. As a trusted part of the East Knoxville community, the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center serves thousands of community members each month. This project will increase the garden’s long-term sustainability, independence, and effectiveness, adding a greenhouse and galvanized tub gardens for children to grow plants of their choice. Enhancements to the Center’s front garden beds to include seasonal, nutritious vegetables and herbs will increase crop yield, offer free and easy access for community members, and ensure accessibility of healthy, nutrient rich vegetables for East Knoxville residents. An outdoor cooking space will increase the function and use of the outdoor space for cooking classes and community events.

Knoxville Museum of Art 2016 Winner

The Knoxville Museum of Art will use the $25,000 DOW grant to restore the KMA’s landmark South Garden to its original planted condition. This important urban green space overlooking World’s Fair Park enriches the aesthetic experience of 60,000+ museum visitors annually (museum admission and hence admission to the garden is FREE). DOW funding will be used to remove diseased trees and overgrown plantings; prune and shape trees; conduct soil testing; create a planting plan; and purchase and install new plant materials in the existing beds. Plants will be chosen for their scent, appearance, and durability, and, in keeping with the museum’s mission to celebrate East Tennessee traditions, will be indigenous to the region. The South Garden is the last portion of the museum’s campus to be renovated and upgraded. Thanks to DOW’s support, the South Garden will now match the high aesthetic standards of the rest of the museum campus--designed by internationally renowned modernist architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and opened to the public in 1990--and continue to serve as a place of quiet, shady refuge, open to all.

Mabry-Hazen House 2015 Winner

The Mabry-Hazen House Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located atop Mabry's Hill in Knoxville, Tennessee. Built in 1858 and housing three generations of the same family from 1858-1987, the Mabry-Hazen House served as headquarters for both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. This stately, elegant home of the Victorian and Civil War periods showcases one of the largest original family collection in America. A $30,000 DowGives Community Grant awarded to the Mabry-Hazen House will be used to enhance the overall visitor experience.

  • Interpretive signs and wayfinding mechanisms will be installed to help guide visitors. Visitors not wishing to tour the museum, but seeking more of a self-guided experience, may learn more about the history of the site at their own pace.
  • Completion of an arboretum designation, which requires tree maintenance and identification, will add an increased level of importance to the historic property. The hilltop serves as a natural habitat for a variety of birds and other animals, and adding this layer of interpretation to our site will help to expand our visitation beyond those interested in history.
  • Infrastructure improvements to our Guest House will also improve the visitor experience. Updated bathrooms and the additional classroom and meeting area will increase the use of the building and offer additional opportunities for the Foundation to host workshops and other educational functions.
  • A manicured central lawn will result in increased usage of our site, from casual picnics to more formal occasions such as weddings and special events. The addition of park benches and other outdoor furniture will allow visitors to enjoy the setting whether they are waiting on a tour, eating lunch, or enjoying a special event.

These improvements will help the Foundation to increase its financial sustainability through increased facility rentals, additional memberships, and increased community use.

Ijams Nature Center 2014 Winner

Ijams will invest $30,000 from the Dow Gives Grant to serve an increasing number of visitors by completing educational and self-directed learning/outdoor experience and infrastructure improvements to achieve the following goals:

  • To increase visitors’ awareness and understanding of the importance of key natural areas, active wildlife and cultural history throughout all areas of the park by designing and installing 14 interpretive signs.
  • To increase visitors’ awareness and understanding of the rich history of the Ijams family and the birth of the park at the Home Site by designing and installing 11 interpretive signs and new kiosk content (general information, maps, etc.)
  • Meet the increased demand for program space at the Visitor Center by hosting an additional 100 classes and/or meetings by converting former exhibit space into an attractive classroom/meeting room in the existing exhibit hall.
  • Improve financial sustainability through increased event quality and capacity by improving landscaping, infrastructure and lighting at the historic Home Site where weddings and events are held.

Dogwood Arts Festival 2013 Winner

Dogwood Arts Festival beautification project for the Lonsdale, Mechanicsville, Ft Sanders and West View neighborhoods is a special project under its currently established Bazillion Blooms program.

The Grant money was used to purchase, promote and distribute 1,100 dogwood trees in the above designated neighborhoods. Flyers/posters were placed at local churches, schools and community organizations as well as the distribution of direct mail to all residents in the targeted neighborhoods providing program details. Residents were asked to contact the office to sign up for a tree(s) on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each residence will be allotted up to three dogwood trees for planting. On December 7th, the participating residents gathered at Knoxville College to pick-up their tree(s) and learn the correct procedures for planting and maintenance.

Additionally, Dogwood Arts will partner with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of East TN to plant a percentage of the dogwood trees provided through this project in the neighborhood parks and recreational areas. This will maximize community exposure while providing the local scouts with learning and badge opportunities.

This effort will build community pride and will lead to a positive impact on their property. The increase of planting of April-blooming, disease-resistant Dogwood trees in the Fall will help to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the above regions. Also, it will help to restore the Dogwood tree population to its former vitality.

South Doyle Middle School 2012 Winner

The Outdoor Classroom Project: South Doyle Middle School has a large, beautiful campus bordered by Baker Creek. Through a partnership of Wildlife Habitats of South Woodlawn, South Doyle Middle School and Legacy Parks the grant funds will be used to build an amphitheater overlooking Baker Creek and a “labitat” stream ecology education area for student and community use. Baker Creek’s historic and environmental value will be preserved and used as an educational resource and the amphitheater will provide a flexible space that can be used by the school and community for years into the future.

Knoxville Zoo 2011 Winner

A $30,000 DowGives Community Grant awarded to the Knoxville Zoo will start a program designed to teach students about science and pollination. Zoo officials will train students to be "citizen scientists" at new pollination gardens at five urban schools. The gardens will be stocked with native plants to attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects. From there, zoo officials will teach students to collect data on the life cycle of plants and insects in the gardens. Once compiled locally, students will then submit the information to a nationwide study. Dow Chemical's Knoxville site leader called the project a "natural fit" for the organization, given their commitment to preparing the next generation of scientific innovators.

Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum 2010 Winner

In June 2001, a group of interested Knoxvillians formed a not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of creating a botanical garden and arboretum on the 44-acre site of a 200+ year old nursery property in East Knoxville. Surrounded by an urban community, the site is located on the former property of these two historic nurseries. The Howell family's nursery business was originally established in 1786 and the gardens represent a significant cultural landscape in Knoxville's history. The grounds feature distinctive stone walls and buildings constructed by Joe Howell's employees. Over 20,000 people visit the garden each year. The grant was used to enhance the visitor center complex with signage and facility improvements. Signage will improve visibility for all guests along the highly visible entry points to the garden.

Beardsley Farm 2009 Winner

Through community gardening and nutrition education, Beardsley Farm engages and supports economically disadvantaged residents in the Mechanicsville, Lonsdale and Beaumont communities. In addition, the farm supplies several local organizations and food banks with free, fresh produce to support their clients. A farm expansion project that included building an additional five large vegetable beds, five blackberry/blueberry beds, and planting 30 fruit trees was proposed to assist another local food pantry – Food in the Fort – in Fort Sanders. Food in the Fort fed 80 families per week and 20% of its clients were homeless with multiple needs. Due to lack of adequate funding, the food pantry was forced to cease operations. Beardsley Farm offered to fill the void temporarily. This project was selected so that Beardsley Farm could permanently support the Fort Sanders community with fresh produce.

Ijams Nature Center 2008 – 10th Anniversary Winner

Ijams Nature Center was honored to receive an additional $5,000 towards ongoing improvements at Mead's Quarry. Funds were used to:

  • Build canoe racks to support new recreational offerings for weekend visitors
  • Continue warm native season grasses/habitat improvement program
  • Upgrade kiosks and trail maps
  • Add additional directional and informational signage
  • Convert idle water tower into a stylized owl and usable for portable water for irrigation (connected to RAM Pump)
  • Construct RAMP housing (connected to Owl Water Tower)
  • Restore Stanton Cemetery and add historical signage (with help of boy scouts)

Blount Mansion 2008 Winner

Built in 1792 and located in downtown Knoxville, Blount Mansion served as the residence of William Blount, Governor of the Southwest Territory. This National Historic Landmark is known as the birthplace of Tennessee's statehood as William Blount wrote the state constitution in his office just behind the mansion. An interior and exterior painting renovation project was needed to protect the structure against the threat of excessive moisture and deterioration. This project was chosen to preserve a significant historic downtown landmark and so that the Blount Mansion Association could continue to provide educational programming and tours to school-aged children, citizens, and tourists for many years to come. The paints that were used for this project have The Dow Chemical Company additives in them.

Malcolm Martin Park 2007 Winner

Funds were used to launch the Malcolm Martin Park Beautification Project in collaboration with the Beardsley Community Farm. With this project, the park & farm will be able to engage, educate and empower a greater number of people in the community. A butterfly garden was created as part of the grant money. This project was chosen because of its continuous commitment to the community and the local impact it has in the community.

Old North Knoxville Park 2006 Winner

Old North Knoxville, Inc. (ONK) was incorporated in 1979. The original purpose of the non-profit organization was to stop deterioration of the varied and significant architecture of the area and to improve the quality of life in the inner city neighborhood to address the socioeconomic issues affecting the community. Neighborhood parks are an essential part of the long term health of inner city neighborhoods. The grant was used to create a park that took 2 overgrown abandoned lots and put them back into productive use for residents of all ages by providing a pleasant, safe place for neighborhood children. Items found in the park are gazebos, walkways, play sets, benches, horseshoe pit, and many various plants along with edgings around the park.

Fort Dickerson Park 2005 Winner

The grant was used to renovate the Fort Dickerson Park, which is the only earthen fort & battery position surrounding Knoxville built by the Federal army during the Civil War that is open to the public as an educational military park. The Fort Dickerson entrance and view shed corridor restoration project will improve pedestrian accessibility to the earthen fort as well as upgrade the view shed corridor of Knoxville.

James Agee Park 2004 Winner

Dedicated in April of 2005, this park is at the heart of the Fort Sanders neighborhood that James Agee memorialized in his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, "A Death in the Family." The beautiful park honors one of Knoxville's favorite sons and one of the world's greatest writers. Since receiving the grant, they have celebrated its grand opening and received ongoing and significant support from other donors and volunteers.

Old Mechanicsville Neighborhood 2003 Winner

The Old Mechanicsville Neighborhood Interest (OMNI) was formally organized in 1988 to promote the revitalization of the Old Mechanicsville community and adjoining communities. The group seeks to promote community-wide awareness of the issues facing area residents and businesses. They also seek ways to make more opportunities available to residents and groups to own and operate business enterprises in economically depressed areas. The grant of only $10,000 in lieu of the $30,000 normally given was used to make an underutilized land in the community more beautiful by having the area architecturally designed to include benches, trellis, anchored chairs, shelter, lighting, park sign, and many trees, shrubs and evergreens. This beautiful oasis for Mechanicsville and all the business neighbors provides use and enjoyment for years to come.

West View Community Action Group 2002 Winner

Established in 1987, The West View Community Action Group strives to create and preserve a community that is safe, clean and livable. The group works in the areas of land use, schools, economic development and transportation. In 2001, the West View Elementary School playground was closed and torn down for safety reasons. Due to this lack of recreational areas the children stayed inside. The grant ensured the rebuilding of the playground area and the implementation of new educational programs such as Primary Learning Back to Basic, which focuses on helping children build self-esteem and self-confidence. In addition, the school now has the opportunity to expand a small garden program on campus to start an outreach program with the local community.

Ijams Nature Center 2001 Winner

With a mission to develop and maintain the park as a wildlife sanctuary, Ijams seeks to increase knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the natural world by providing quality environmental educational programs and nature-related experiences for all people. Ijams used the grant for various projects, beginning with cleaning up Mead's Quarry in December 2001 when they received the first CPI grant. In subsequent years, restoration projects included clean-ups, parking lot and entrance construction, trails and a wildlife habitat.