“I’ve been in the nonprofit world in Nashville for, gosh, over 20 years now, and I feel that philanthropy and volunteerism is our privilege and price of existence as human beings.”
Kelly is the development director for Progress Inc, a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities.
“We provide everything anybody needs to live as independently as possible so that they are happy, healthy and maintain their best life possible. Someone with an intellectual disability may need a live-in companion to help make sure that the trains run on time, or maybe a job coach to help them through the various challenges of finding a job or transportation to get there. Other people with severe medical challenges or more severe intellectual disabilities might need around the clock support and might need to be repositioned or help with their feeding tubes, that type of thing.”
Whatever their clients need to live on their own, Progress Inc. is there for them.
It’s an easy mission to get behind: helping people with differing abilities live with the independence and respect they deserve. And that’s just what its founders—a small group of caring parents of young adults with intellectual disabilities—had in mind, more than 50 years ago, when they started Progress Inc. Over the years, the organization has grown to support more than 275 people with all types of disabilities, thanks in part to the dedicated work of Kelly and her team.
“I think that’s the thing that I find so remarkable… seeing people who don’t know anybody with an intellectual disability and may have just come to an event because a friend asked them to, hear the stories of the people that we support and feel compelled to make a donation, and then seeing how they become so committed to the people we support because of what their generosity enables our folks to do. I think that’s remarkable.”