Nonprofit Project Highlight: Progress, Inc.

This past year, the Cumberland River Compact offered a new opportunity in support of their Root Nashville campaign: grants for nonprofits to apply for tree-planting projects on private property. These grants allowed us the opportunity to work with the wonderful nonprofit Progress, Inc. on a project planting 25 large trees on their headquarters.

The trees were planted in the fall of 2022 and have already made a big impact on the campus. Learn more about the project and the work of Progress Inc. in our Q&A with their Project Lead: Development Director Kelly O’Connor.

Kelly O’Connor, second from left, with some of the community members Progress supports and newly planted trees

Q: Let’s start with a little bit about Progress, Inc. What is your mission? Where are you located, and what is the property like? How can people learn more and get involved?

Progress is a 52-year old organization in Nashville that provides support services to people with intellectual disabilities and seniors experiencing age-related disabilities throughout Davidson and the contiguous counties. Our mission is: “Progress promotes health, happiness, and safety for people with disabilities and senior adults needing care.  We provide the staff supports to bridge the gap between limited independence and the best possible life.” In addition to residential services through supported living, we also provide comprehensive employment services, Community-based Day Services, transportation, and respite. Progress supports approximately 250 people annually.

The Progress campus is located near Nashville International Airport near the intersection of Donelson Pike and Murfreesboro Road. It is a nice size campus which houses our Administrative, Day Services, and Program Buildings, as well as the Employment Center where people learn job skills, and a gazebo where we have picnics and cook-outs for staff and the people we support.

The people we support are fantastic – we have a great video on YouTube – “The Story of Steven and Rico” which tells the story of two of the people we serve. People can learn more about Progress by visiting our website, and we have other videos and additional information about our programs and services.

Q: Why did Progress, Inc. want to apply for this tree-planting grant?

When I saw this tree-planting grant opportunity, it seemed like a perfect fit! Progress has a large campus with a big lawn, a lot of empty space, and lots of space for trees. We also are very close to the airport and to busy roads – we face Donelson Pike. Helping increase the tree canopy of Nashville is important to us – particularly as Nashville continues to experience prodigious growth. But let’s face it, in addition to all the environmental benefits that trees add, they also add so much beauty.

Q: Tell us a little about your planting project.

We were delighted to plant 25 trees this fall – we planted them all over campus, with some facing Donelson Pike, but with most in the heart of our campus that our buildings surround. We have several benches and the trees will provide shade and beauty for people to sit and chat. We also anticipate them reducing the noise pollution from the road and the airport.

We are so very grateful to be included in this project and we are planning to apply again in the future as we still have plenty of room for more trees! We are so very excited about the addition of these trees to our campus and the many benefits they will bring – I hope that other organizations will consider applying for this in the future!

Know a nonprofit that should apply for this grant in the next cycle? It will be offered annually! Make sure they are signed up for our Treemail newsletter to keep in the loop about upcoming opportunities.

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