Diverse Group of Leaders Picked to Serve on Tennessee’s TANF Advisory Board

Panel will help administer $180 million in grants and ensure Tennessee’s TANF program is effectively supporting vulnerable families
Tuesday, August 10, 2021 | 04:38pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is announcing the establishment of the 21-member advisory board for Tennessee’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This panel, known as the Families First Community Advisory Board, will hold its first meeting on August 16 at 9:00 AM in the Nashville Room of the Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L Parks Blvd. in Nashville. The meeting is also viewable online.

The recently passed TANF Opportunity Act established the Families First Community Advisory Board to review and approve the selection of recipients of $182 million through the Tennessee Opportunity Pilot Program, including planning and implementation grants. This program will eventually fund seven pilot programs (two in each grand division and one offered by TDHS) to demonstrate and showcase the new vision for the Tennessee safety net of growing capacity to reduce dependency. 

Families First Community Advisory Board Members will also approve the Department’s retention of a program evaluation partner to conduct a rigorous evaluation of all the pilots to determine best practices for assisting vulnerable Tennesseans in growing beyond the need for public supports.

“Our vision is to make the Tennessee safety net a mile marker in a life’s journey, not a destination unto itself for as many Tennesseans as possible,” said TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter.  “The Advisory Board will play a significant role in establishing this vision and calling all Tennesseans to this important work.”

The 21 members of the board include:

·       TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter (Chair).

·       Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord.

·       Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe.

·       Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.

·       Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey.

·       Brittany Cleveland, current TDHS employee in Knox County (TDHS Appointee).

·       LaTerre Pleasant, Nashville Resident (TDHS Appointee).

·       Wayne County Executive Jim Mangubut (TDHS Appointee).

·       Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Emily House (TDHS Appointee).

·       Bishop Edward Stephens, Golden Gate Cathedral and Golden Gate Development Corporation CEO (TDHS Appointee).

·       Rep. David Hawk (Speaker of the House Appointee).

·       Rep. Bryan Terry (Speaker of the House Appointee).

·       Sen. Bo Watson (Lt. Governor Appointee).

·       Sen. Raumesh Akbari (Lt. Governor Appointee).

·       Jack Bailey, Oak Ridge Businessman (Lt. Governor Appointee).

·       Jerry Askew, President of Alliance for Better Nonprofits- Knoxville (Lt. Governor Appointee).

Additional members will be appointed by TDHS, the Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a federal family support program emphasizing work, family strengthening and personal responsibility. It is temporary and has a primary focus on gaining self-sufficiency through employment. Existing TANF customers receiving Families First benefits will be eligible to apply for this emergency cash assistance.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.