Tennessee is known as the Volunteer State – and for good reason!
Setting an all-time record in 2016, Tennessee Friends of NRA hosted the largest State Fund Workshop and Grant Meeting, and in the capital of country music – Nashville.
“This state workshop is unlike any other in the country,” said NRA Field Representative Mike Webb. “And all committees are represented 100%.”
But what are these workshops and meetings?
The Friends of NRA State Committee Workshop is an annual event at the beginning of each year for Friends of NRA committees to unite, learn about new Friends of NRA initiatives and NRA Foundation programs, hand out awards and achievement banners and get jazzed for the upcoming year.
The Friends of NRA State Fund Grant Meeting is another annual meeting for the state fund grant committee to vote and recommend grant funding for local qualified programs. The committee consists of one delegate from each Friends of NRA committee in the state that raised money. Final funding is determined by The NRA Foundation.
Tennessee also utilizes this time for the state fund grant committee to process thousands of grant applications that have come through. One by one, the team discusses each grant which is followed by a vote. In all, 105 grants were recommended.
Since its inception, the Tennessee Friends of NRA has funded over $2.4 million in state grants and $2.5 million in NRA qualifying programs with a strong emphasis on youth and firearm safety programs.
“I’m very proud of our volunteers,” said Webb. “Especially when it comes to funding programs for youth and firearm safety.” To date, there have been over 860,000 children in Tennessee who know Eddie Eagle and his gun safety message. Tennessee also ranks third in the nation for the number of Eddie Eagle costumes that have been purchased within a state to help assist in teaching the program.
In the mixture of annual business, the committees also take this time to acknowledge each other’s outstanding commitment to Friends of NRA. Individuals were presented with Above and Beyond recognition as well as Going the Extra Mile Awards.
Another highlight to the gathering is recognizing the Volunteer of the Year. More than 15,000 volunteers make Friends of NRA possible across the country and only 52 earn the title of VOY. This year’s meeting honored Joe Todd of Smyrna, Tennessee.
Last but certainly not least, committees discuss Friends of NRA Club Level. To earn the status, committees must raise over $25,000 at their single event and from there be a part of six distinguished tiers that follow upon fundraising achievements.
East Tennessee set an all-time record for the largest event ever held in the state as well as the Highest Net in the state raising more than $150,000 garnering the Guardian Club Level.
Collectively, Tennessee Friends of NRA committees raised nearly $800,000 for The NRA Foundation and continues to raise the bar for the year ahead.
Just like that, Webb’s “webb” of volunteers are ready for an exciting year with new goals in place and a plan to expand the “webb” of Friends across the state.
Interested in volunteering with your local Friends of NRA? Click here for more information.