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Lehman to retire from CFMT at year's end

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Ellen Eskind Lehman, who founded The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) more than 30 years ago and has grown it into a charity that has donated more than $1.1 billion to nonprofits nationwide. , announced that: At the end of 2022, she will retire as chairman of the non-profit organization.

In recognition of her significant and enduring contributions, the CFMT Board of Directors awarded Lehman the prestigious Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award in 2023 and appointed Lehman an Honorary Director of the organization for life.

The CFMT board has formed a search committee to identify new leaders. Lehman will continue in her current role during her expected six-month transition period.

“Through relentless determination, fearless leadership and boundless creativity, Ellen Lehman founded CFMT and built it into an essential organization that impacts every corner of our community by connecting generosity and need. “Ellen changed Nashville for the better forever.

“Leading with her big heart, Ellen has tapped into the extraordinary spirit of giving throughout this community to identify and address the full range of needs and aspirations of Greater Nashville,” continued Beasley. “With her heartfelt gratitude for her leadership, the Community Foundation will honor Ellen throughout 2022 and celebrate the opening of the new headquarters she made possible.”

For the past 31 years, Lehman and her team have operated from generously donated office space. Breaking ground on the new home currently under construction on the corner of Woodmont and Belmont Boulevards in May 2021 marks a milestone in CFMT’s history. The new facility houses the operations of the organization’s 50 employees.

In addition to establishing, managing and growing CFMT, the new facility is the crowning achievement of Lehman’s career.

“The opening of the new headquarters is the right time to pass the torch to new leaders who can set the future direction of the Community Foundation,” Lehman said. “Looking back, I am so proud to have worked with an incredible long-standing team and board who have made our ambitious dreams a reality.

“It has also been an honor to work with so many generous and caring community and nonprofit leaders to support Nashville,” Lehman continued. “I love this city and treasure every day I get to interact with so many people who are doing meaningful work that sets us apart and moves Middle Tennessee forward.”

After founding the organization in her garage in 1991, Lehman recruited its first board and began work to raise funds and build a community foundation into a charity. Today, the organization manages more than $550 million in assets for her and works to develop effective and responsible programs to serve the needs of various nonprofit organizations in her 40 counties in Central Tennessee and beyond. We are providing funding to

CFMT manages seven different types of funds that reflect donor priorities and provides grants primarily to nonprofit organizations serving the Middle Tennessee community. Additionally, the organization:

We offer a number of direct services to Middle Tennessee, including ChildcareTennessee, Give Black, Give Back, and®.

It manages over 150 individual scholarships.

Sponsor well-known annual fundraising events, including The Power of the Purse® luncheon, to benefit the Women’s Fund. Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award and The Big Payback 24 Hour Online Donation Day.

Serves as one of the core charitable funding organizations during times of need in post-disaster service areas.

Lehman is widely recognized for his leadership, including being named Nashville of the Year in 2017 by the Easter Shields Foundation. A native of Nashville, graduated from the city’s public schools and graduated with honors from Harvard University, Lehman received his MBA from the London School of Economics, Harvard Business School.

Community Foundations exist to promote and facilitate giving in 40 counties in Middle Tennessee and beyond. We do this by accepting gifts of all sizes, from anyone, at any time, and by enabling individuals, families, businesses, nonprofits and communities to meet critical needs and opportunities. The Community Foundation works with rich people, wealthy or not, to create solutions that reflect their philanthropic intentions and goals.

For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit