Each of us has the power to make a positive impact. We also have a responsibility to help others. When we work together as a community to lift up others, our bearing has a far greater effect on the place we call home.

As the new year approaches, this mindset is even more critical. We currently face political and social divides across our nation, the effects of coronavirus are hurting our local economies and our mental health, and our local nonprofits are overwhelmed. Together, we can support and improve the community in which we live, work and thrive.

Throughout my life, I have learned valuable lessons about the power of community. In my youth, my parents joined with other families to live together in community, joyfully sharing childrearing responsibilities. In my teens, I observed Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Bob Graetz join with Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the civil rights movement to influence change. In my early days as a real estate agent, I found success building community in Nashville’s Hillsboro Village neighborhood.

But it was my involvement in the Social Venture Network, a national group of successful business owners committed to a just and sustainable economy, where I learned how to use my businesses to create positive social change in my community.

In her book, The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates uses powerful narrative and data to demonstrate how lifting up women helps lift up humanity. The Gates Foundation has had wonderful success focusing on women throughout the world. I have found success partnering with local nonprofits to maximize impact on my community.

The success and prosperity we achieve through business should help benefit others.

When I established my real estate firm, I also started the Village Fund. Over 22 years, Village Fund awarded $2.2 million in grants to Nashville-area social profits. Those nonprofits help our city and its citizens. After I sold Village in 2019, I started the CoreFund through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Similar to the Village Fund, the CoreFund is designed to benefit from our collective success and support nonprofit organizations doing good work in our community.

At Core Development, we focus on environmental stewardship and community revitalization. My CityLiving Group sales team at Village helps clients find value in Nashville real estate. Both the Core and CityLiving Group teams know development and real estate are more than bricks and mortar. It is about people and the opportunity to improve the lives of our neighbors.

Fed by our passion, the CoreFund is young and growing. This month, we will award 33 CoreFund grants to nonprofits working in four areas: housing, the arts, environment and smart growth, and community. Each of these sectors plays an important role in elevating our city, as do the organizations receiving grants. Examples of groups awarded CoreFund grants include:

Housing – Rebuilding Together Nashville restores, rebuilds and performs critical repairs at homes of seniors and low-income residents, helping to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods. The CoreFund gift will aid Rebuilding Together’s work in the Greater Bordeaux community where the group recently replaced a roof on the home of a retired veteran.

The Arts – Theater Bug inspires young people to create community and build confidence through the performing arts. The diverse and growing community has had to pivot to continue creating art together through the pandemic, like taking its annual Winter Concert virtual and screened at the Franklin Drive-in Theater.

Environment and Smart Growth – Walk Bike Nashville works to make active transportation more available to residents with safe and accessible sidewalks, bikeways and transit routes. The group conducts events including Open Streets, Bike to Work Day and Tour De Nash, and workshops on bike safety, maintenance and pedestrian advocacy.

Community – Conexión Americas helps more than 9,000 Latino families each year by creating opportunities where they can belong, contribute and succeed through services, educational programs and referrals. The organization builds bridges with local middle Tennessee communities and Latino immigrants.

If you would like to learn more about the CoreFund, visit https://corenashville.com/corefund/

Supporting the community in which we work and thrive is our passion. It is also our responsibility. When we support and partner with local nonprofits, we strengthen our neighborhoods and local economy and elevate our city to the benefit of all.

What will you do to lift up others during this holiday season and throughout the new year?