About Us

NeedLink Nashville provides emergency financial assistance and has helped area residents in need for more than a century.

Just the Basics

Most of us take it for granted that the lights will come on when we flip the switch, and that we can get a drink from the faucet at any time. We know where our families will be sleeping tonight and can be certain that they’ll be warm.

Thousands of our neighbors are unsure that they will be able to afford these basic necessities amid rising rents. They worry about becoming homeless or having critical utility services disconnected.

NeedLink Nashville is here to help. We help families, seniors, and people facing an unexpected crisis to avoid homelessness and stay connected to power, water, and natural gas service.

A Tradition of Service

In 1912, Nashville’s downtown businessmen sold a special edition of The Nashville Tennessean one Christmas Eve. Calling themselves the Big Brothers, these caring city leaders filled peach baskets with groceries and delivered them to the shanty towns that lined the Railroad Gulch and the Cumberland River.

Why It Matters

Nashville is no longer gripped by the extreme poverty of those early years, when Big Brother Elmer Bryant reported delivering food to people "so hungry they were gnawing on bones".

But in Music City today, many of our neighbors struggle to meet their most basic needs. And as the cost of housing rises rapidly, Nashville natives can no longer afford to live in the neighborhoods where they grew up. Working people are pushed into public housing because it is all that they can afford. Waiting lists for affordable housing grow long for our poorest neighbors, leaving families homeless, living in motels or doubled up in small apartments.

NeedLink matters for Adam. NeedLink Nashville met Adam, a single father of two young children, who came to us for assistance with his electric bill. The electricity in their home was about to be disconnected due to a past due account. The temperature outside was averaging 90 degrees. Without electricity, Adam and his children would have no means to cool and circulate air or access ice from the refrigerator.

Adam's life had been very different before. He and his wife had two children, he was a painter and his wife worked in retail. They were not wealthy, but they were capable of paying their bills and supporting their children.

Last year, Adam's wife passed away unexpectedly, leaving Adam to grieve with his children and learn how to live without her. Since her death, Adam has struggled to make enough income as a painter to pay his bills and provide for his family. He faced unexpected health issues, which added more strain to his already tight budget.

Adam walked into NeedLink Nashville looking for help. He came to us the exact SAME day his electric service was due to be disconnected. Adam never imagined this would happen to him, but it did, and NeedLink Nashville was there to help.

Our NeedLink Nashville Social Worker intervened on Adam’s behalf with NES, pledged to pay his past due account and ensured that Adam and his children would have electricity.

In addition, our staff gave Adam a plan moving forward with community resources he could reach out to for continued support.

NeedLink matters for Evelyn. After her husband passed away, Evelyn was living on a Social Security payment of $1,280 per month. This past winter, she had problems with her HVAC unit, which led to a $500 power bill for December, plus a $450 repair bill. Evelyn can’t receive food stamps because she has too much income, so she was faced with the choice of paying her power bill, buying food, or getting her heart medicine. NeedLink paid a portion of Evelyn’s bill and helped her submit an application to one of our Financial Assistance Coalition partners to get even more help getting caught up.

NeedLink matters for Nathan. Nathan never expected that he would be raising his two daughters alone. They both caught the flu last February, one after another, and he missed two weeks of flooring work as a result. He got behind on his bill, and one morning, his power was cut off. He was panicked when he arrived at NeedLink’s office. He needed electricity to cook dinner for his little girls and for them to do their homework. NeedLink was able to reconnect his service before his daughters came home from school that day.

NeedLink matters for Keyara, Kaira, Keyona, and Krishon. Keyara was trying to make life better for her kids, and began working at a temp agency. Because her rent at Cayce Place is based on her income, it went up when she started working. After a few months, her job ended unexpectedly, and it was going to take another month to have her rent readjusted. Keyara and her three children were about to be evicted. She was nervous about how her son, who is autistic, would fare in a crowded shelter. NeedLink was able to help Keyara with a portion of her rent so that her family did not become homeless.

Your support matters.

Learn How You Can Help Today.

Staff

Lee Anne Wills CEO
lawills@needlink.org

Sarah Moore, BSW Senior Program Director
sarah@needlink.org

Chris Stenstrom Development Director
chris@needlink.org

Laurie Arritt Financial Assistance Manager
laurie@needlink.org

Stefanie Shick, BSW Program Director
stefanie@needlink.org

Haniyfa Muhammad Emergency Assistance Manager
haniyfa@needlink.org

Governing Board of Directors

Kelly Johnson, President Volunteer State Bank, Nashville City President

Yesenia Lankford, Vice President and President Elect Jackson National Life, Assistance Vice President, Product Implementation

Matt Hege, Treasurer Nissan North America, Senior Accounting Analyst

Aleta Young, Secretary Fifth Third Bank, Vice President/Community Economic Development Manager Tennessee

Susan Doughty, Executive Committee – Governance Community Volunteer

Veretta Woods, Executive Committee – Strategic and Future Planning HCA Healthcare, Director, Data and Integration Services

Nathaniel (Nate) Miller, Executive Committee – Rudolph's Red Nose Run Piedmont Natural Gas, Manager, Gas Field Operations

Lynn Vincent, Executive Committee – Immediate Past President Ensworth School, Creative Services Coordinator

Maria Asad Ernst & Young, Account Support Associate

Samantha Dwyer, CFP Personal Capital, Financial Advisor

Bethany Jackson TN Justice for Our Neighbors, Legal Director

Justin Saia Bloom Energy, Senior Director

Andrew (Drew) Singleton Regions Bank, Assistant Vice President

Lee Anne Wills NeedLink Nashville, CEO