MP&F and Mayor's Workplace Challenge

By Alice Chapman

MP&F was recently asked to share with a group of business leaders why we are participating in the Mayor’s Workplace Challenge. Through the Challenge, Mayor Karl Dean has asked Nashville businesses to show “just how big an impact they can make on the livability of our city.” There are three areas in which a business can compete:

  • Volunteer service (Involved)
  • The environment (Green)
  • Fostering a healthy workplace (Healthy)

The Challenge is really about quantifying the activities and habits that are already part of your company’s culture, and adding some new ones for the good of your company and the city. Even the smallest of businesses can participate.

In filling out the score sheets, we found that we are already doing a fair number of items included in the Challenge:

  • Involved – We give back to the community as a company through an extensive pro bono program.” (Last year, MP&F donated more than 3,870 hours to a total of 24 nonprofits.) In addition to our in-office work, many MP&Fers volunteer on their own time. They  serve on boards, read to children, chair events and participate in events such as Hands On Nashville Day.
  • Green – If you live in Nashville’s Urban Services District, you take your Curby recycling cart to the end of your driveway once a month. (And if you’re not using Curby, you should be.) MP&F developed Metro’s Curby campaign 10 years ago, about the same time we realized we needed to be recycling more than paper and cans. We now divert an estimated 280 gallons of trash from the landfill every month through our office recycling program.
  • Healthy – The health of our employees is very important to us. That is why we pay for 100 percent of our employees’ health insurance costs and offer a flexible spending plan to help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. We also pay for flu shots for every employee each fall. We encourage a healthy lifestyle. You’ll often find MP&Fers jogging through the streets of downtown Nashville in preparation for a local marathon, or working out at the gym located in our office building.  

We’re communicators. We see another benefit to the Mayor’s Challenge – telling the MP&F story through our website, blog, and Facebook and Twitter pages.

We hope other Nashville businesses will join the Mayor’s Workplace Challenge. We’re all in this together. When one Nashville business is recognized for making a change, we all benefit.

Tell us what your company is doing to make Nashville a better place to live and work.

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By Diane Hargrove

This is the final installment about MP&F’s recent pro bono work for some of our city’s nonprofit organizations.

In 2011, MP&F provided more than 3,800 hours of pro bono service to 30 Middle Tennessee nonprofit organizations. In 2012, we’re once again giving our time and talents to support deserving nonprofits selected through an application process each December.

Here’s a glimpse into how we support a few of our pro bono clients.

A Lowe’s volunteer and a HON project leader cut wood as part of a Home Energy Savings project in a flood-damaged North Nashville home.

Since May 3, 2010, more than 29,000 volunteers have donated 375,000-plus hours to participate in flood-related volunteer programming coordinated by HON and its rebuilding partners, adding up to a projected economic impact of more than $8.2 million, according to Independent Sector Research. MP&F has helped HON tell the stories of Nashvillians giving back and help others recover from the flood through ongoing media relations efforts.

  • The Tennessee chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk Corporate Recruitment Kickoff Breakfast

Former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell; Jay Lowenthal, Zeitlin & Co.; and Renee Chevalier, First Tennessee, join MP&F partner and Light The Night executive committee member Mark McNeely at a Corporate Breakfast to kick off fundraising efforts for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2012 Light The Night Walk.

Speakers shared information at the May 3 Corporate Breakfast with members of the Nashville business community about LLS, the blood cancer research and patient services it funds, and how the money raised from this year’s Oct. 12 walk will make an impact on the Society’s work. MP&F provides media relations support.

Radnor Lake Benefit

Steve Winwood (“Higher Love,” “Roll With It,” “Can’t Find My Way Home”) performed a benefit concert for Friends of Radnor Lake on May 18 at Fontanel Mansion benefiting the Tennessee state park system’s oldest and most successful nonprofit support group. On May 26, Granny White Market hosted its ninth annual bluegrass jam with nine performances to raise funds for Radnor Lake. MP&F lent a hand with communications and social media support.

McNeely Pigott & Fox is glad to give back to the great city we call home and looks forward to further supporting our community’s hardworking nonprofits this year.

True charity

May 30, 2012

By Diane Hargrove

This is the second of three blog posts about MP&F’s recent pro bono work for some of our city’s nonprofit organizations.

Emanuel Swedenborg said, “True charity is the desire to be useful to others with no thought of recompense.”

When our clients are successful, we are successful. We’re proud to say we had a hand in helping three of our pro bono partners raise more than $350,000 during their respective fundraisers in the last several weeks.

  • CASA of Nashville 13th annual Red Shoe Party

    CASA Red Shoe Party co-chairwoman Trudy Clark and CASA executive director Jane Andrews show off their red shoes with other guests at the annual fundraiser.

The Red Shoe Party, held during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, is CASA’s largest fundraiser of the year and helps raise approximately 20 percent of the organization’s budget. The organization hosted its Oz-themed fundraiser on April 21 at the Pinnacle at Symphony Place. The goal was to raise $70,000, and donations tallied nearly $100,000 to benefit CASA’s programs.

  • Safe Haven Family Shelter Dancing for Safe Haven

    Dancing for Safe Haven

    Titans linebacker Gerald McRath and his partner Anne-Marie Fournier competing at Dancing for Safe Haven.

MP&F founding partner Mike Pigott and his wife, Sharon Pigott, served as co-chairs for the annual Dancing for Safe Haven event to benefit Nashville’s only shelter for homeless families. More than $100,000 was raised for the shelter. The event featured seven Nashville celebrities strutting their stuff with professional dancers provided by Dance World of Nashville.

  • Tennessee Kidney Foundation Kidney Kaper

    Left to right: Tennessee Kidney Foundation president Gerry Neenan, president-elect Monet Carnahan, CEO Teresa Davidson, and Kaper chairpersons Dr. Valentina Kon and Dr. Jeffrey Hymes, were among hundreds on hand to celebrate the work of Tennessee’s transplant centers.

The annual Kidney Kaper fundraiser brought in more than $150,000 for patient service programs, public and professional education, and research. Transplant centers from across the state were honored for their contributions to the fight against kidney disease, and transplant patients were recognized through songs inspired by their personal stories written by Belmont University students.

Congratulations to CASA of Nashville, Safe Haven Family Shelter and the Tennessee Kidney Foundation for their successful fundraising efforts. Thanks to all who support these worthy causes.

The greater good

May 14, 2012

By Diane Hargrove

This is the first of three blog posts about MP&F’s recent pro bono work for some of our city’s nonprofit organizations.

The spring is always a busy time of the year. At MP&F, it means a whirlwind of pro bono client activities.

Some of our most fulfilling work is done for local nonprofit organizations. We assist with fundraising and outreach efforts to gain support for and raise awareness of several worthy and needed programs.

Here’s a glimpse of what our staff has been working on lately:

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville “Calls for Kids” Telecast

Volunteers take donations during the live Calls for Kids broadcast.

The April 14 telecast raised more than $116,000 and is the largest fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville, including the Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and benefits families with critically ill children being treated at local hospitals.

Nashville Children’s Alliance “Nashville Walks for Nashville’s Children” 5K

Nashville Walks participants enjoyed a spring morning stroll around Centennial Park to raise funds for the organization.

Proceeds from “Nashville Walks for Nashville’s Children” will help keep the Nashville Children’s Alliance open and free to children who are victims of sexual and serious physical abuse.

Hands On Nashville 26th annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards

Darlene Vastano was awarded the Direct Service Volunteer Award Presented by McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations for her 10 years of dedicated service as a Volunteer Crisis Line Counselor at The Sexual Assault Center. Pictured: Mary Ruth Raphael, MP&F account supervisor; Mike Pigott, MP&F founding partner; Darlene Vastano; Brian Williams, Hands On Nashville CEO & President.

The annual event recognizes volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the community. The six award recipients were selected from a group of 18 finalists and 105 nominees. More than 600 volunteers and agency representatives attended the luncheon and ceremony.

Thanks to the dedicated staff members at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville, Nashville Children’s Alliance and Hands On Nashville for the wonderful work you do. We’re glad to partner with you to support the greater good of our community.

Serving on a nonprofit organization’s board is a great way to learn new skills and expand your network, not to mention getting that warm and fuzzy feeling from helping others. But before you sign on, here are some questions to consider:

  • Is the board you are considering a good fit? You should be familiar with the organization and have a passion for its mission. Visit Guidestar to learn more about the nonprofit organizations that interest you.
  • How often does the board meet and when/where are meetings held? Participation in meetings is important, and often required per bylaws. If you know you can’t make the meetings, don’t agree to serve.
  • What is required of board members? You may be expected to lead a committee, organize an event or volunteer in some other capacity. If you have special skills, such as accounting, law or marketing, you may be asked to put them to use for the organization.
  • Is there a financial commitment? Many organizations have very specific pledge requirements of board members, and virtually all expect board members to make donations. Find out what you will be asked to donate or fundraise before you commit to serving.   

The best board members are true advocates for the organization. They show up to meetings. They give of their time. They participate in fundraising efforts.

To learn more about nonprofit board membership, consider taking part in a board training program. Nashville is home to two such programs hosted by Young Leaders Council and by Center for Nonprofit Management and Hands On Nashville, respectively.

Do you have advice for prospective nonprofit board members? You can share your thoughts in the comment section.


For the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure of being known as the “Book Lady” to a kindergarten class at Caldwell Elementary School. It’s a title I’ve come to adore while volunteering for Book’em, a Nashville nonprofit literacy program. Book’em is dedicated to empowering children by fostering a love of books and reading.

If the students in Ms. Juanita Wynn’s class are any indication, Book’em is an enormous success. Many of the children in the class had nothing at home to read before Book’em presented them with books. I could tell that each book selection was important to the children: They would hover and look and agonize, then swoop in and grab their choice and bring it over for me to see. They would flash big smiles at me and then dart back to their desks to turn pages. It was just precious. Dinosaurs and puppy dog books, growing seeds and butterfly books, scary, silly, serious books … we read them all. And they took each one home, so proud.

Once I asked Ms. Wynn if there was anything she needed for the class. In a small voice, she mentioned how much she would like to have some journal pages for the kids to write their own stories and draw about their lives. I promised I would try to get some more paper for her. After designing a bright cover and making it print-ready, I contacted Rob Kohls at Dynamark Printing and asked if there was any way his company could print some journals for the kids for the last part of the year. Within days, he delivered 17 shiny, coil-bound journals, which were presented to the class at no cost. What a kind and thoughtful gift!

Last week, I asked Rob to join me as I made my last visit to the class for the year. We were entertained for over half an hour as each of the children stood and read a favorite story that they had written in their journals. Then they thanked Rob and Dynamark with thunderous shouts and applause. It was quite a day. Ms. Wynn proudly told us that all of the children had taken their end-of-year tests and that each one had been selected to move on to the first grade. All the books, all the reading, the writing and the teaching must have done its job. Ms. Wynn worked so hard and prepared them so well.

I just love being a little part of that success. It’s hard to imagine children not having the thrill of reading in their lives. Thanks to Book’em, they always will.