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Thrive Regional Partnership

Total Qualifying Score: 9
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: No – 1
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : Yes (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: $250,001 to $1.5 million – 5 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: Yes – 0
Q9. CARES Act Funding: No – 1
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


Thrive Regional Partnership
Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee 37402

County (ARC Region) Hamilton
State (ARC Region) Tennessee


Q1. Mission:

Thrive Regional Partnership inspires responsible growth through conversation, connection, and collaboration in the tri-state, greater Chattanooga region.

Our footprint encompasses 16 counties across northeast Alabama, northwest Georgia, and southeast Tennessee.

Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

Thrive is a long-term, action-oriented organization that works diligently to reach beyond borders and political jurisdictions to collaborate on a regional scale. Our unprecedented, collaborative framework unites people across our growing region to preserve community and natural character for generations to come. Our focus areas include: community prosperity, natural treasures, and regional transportation and infrastructure. 

Since 2016, our Thriving Communities program has worked with 15 community teams, teaching leaders how to identify and leverage their unique local assets and arts and culture initiatives to inspire community prosperity. The program has generated over $2 million in local investments and engaged more than 1,700 volunteers across the region. We have also partnered with the Lyndhurst Foundation, Southeast Tennessee Development, and the Tennessee Arts Commission to form the Tennessee Placemaking Partnership, designed to support six program alumni in Tennessee by offering additional resources as they build upon their placemaking strategy.

Thrive’s Natural Treasures Alliance is a collective of conservation, outdoor recreation, and land management groups dedicated to long-term landscape preservation across the tri-state region. Thrive brings together representatives from 45+ organizations and individuals across our three-state geography, working together to protect the complex ecosystems and environmental assets of this region in order to preserve the quality of life and values cherished by the people who live here. 

Since its inception in 2017, Thrive’s Transportation Collaborative has employed a diversified approach to transportation planning, leveraging cross-sector perspectives to build an integrated model that encompasses freight, workforce, and broadband connectivity. Our Freight Mobility Coalition, a partnership built of more than 40 major public transportation and private freight partners from across the tri-state region, models the power of multi-jurisdictional collaboration. 

The launch of the Regional Broadband Alliance in 2020 created a collaborative, regional digital ecosystem and network of relationships to address challenges related to internet connectivity and digital equity across sectors and state lines. The Alliance provides a regional framework for piloting research, attracting funding opportunities, and developing new methods that expand coverage.

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(3)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: No

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 3/1 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 4/1 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $717,589/$556,888

Q6. Fiscal Year: Calendar

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $814,701 / $600,444

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $717,589 / $556,888

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): Yes ($33,563)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): No ($)
Received From:   Date Received:
For What Purpose(s):

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

Much of the philanthropic community, as well as government assistance programs, are pivoting towards restricted funding for COVID-19 related organizations. As an organization that isn’t considered front-line (working on COVID-19), we are often not eligible for current grants and resources.

Thrive, like many nonprofits across the region, has experienced a range of negative impacts related to the Coronavirus, including a drop in individual/private contributions, as well as a decline in anticipated public and philanthropic funding; travel restrictions, including suspension of in-person activities/events and disrupted contact with communities, donors, and stakeholders; and increased stress, technological capacity, and other disruptions related to staff.

Q11. Top Three Concerns:
Funding and resources
Financial scenario planning
Safety of our communities and our staff

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

The continued survival and effectiveness of organizations like Thrive will depend on the ability to adapt strategies and operating models to new post-COVID realities.

This opportunity will assist Thrive in identifying programmatic and operational adjustments, as well as funding and development strategies, to strengthen our long-term financial stability and day-to-day operations, which will allow us to continue working for the one million people living in our 16-county footprint.

It is my belief that we will emerge stronger and more agile after this instruction, and have a basis of knowledge to incorporate into new monitoring and evaluation frameworks. We will also walk away with ways to more effectively tell our financial story to current and potential donors, as well as Board members.


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? No

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Long-term Financial Management

Course #2 Choice: 2-Fundraising

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Winter 2021 A: 5-Week Course (Jan. 25, 2021 – Feb. 28, 2021)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Winter 2021 B: 5-Week Course (Mar. 1, 2021-April 4, 2021)


Name: Shannon Millsaps Millsaps, Director of Operations

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

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