Celebrating 15 Years & Turning the Page to the Next Chapter

On January 7, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) hosted our annual Statewide Partner Dinner at the Tennessee State Museum. During the special event, we celebrated the Foundation’s 15 year anniversary and “turned the page” to the next chapter with our statewide partners and advocates.The evening included remarks from key advocates and a special debut of the Foundation’s legacy video, which featured testimonials from supporters and funding partners to tell the story of GELF’s history and future vision.

Thank you to PNC Bank and the Tennessee State Museum for their generous support in making this a special evening to remember. Mike Johnson, PNC President & Head of Corporate Banking, gave introductory remarks to celebrate PNC’s focus on literacy and education and the new partnership with GELF.

Pictured (left to right): James, Pond, GELF President, Mike Johnson, PNC President & Head of Corporate Banking

During the presentation, we recognized outgoing board chairman Mark Cate, President and CEO of Stones River Group, and Dr. Phil Wenk, President and CEO of Delta Dental of TN, for their service on the board ad unwavering support since the Foundations’ early beginnings. Both retired from their service on the board. 

GELF recognizes retiring Board members Mark Cate and Dr. Phil Wenk with a framed copy of The Little Engine That Could.
Pictured (left to right): Mark Cate, James Pond, Dr. Phil Wenk

After remarks from Governor Bill Lee, we turned the page to the next chapter and unveiled our new name, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation. Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation will now be known as Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation – a name that reflects our mission and recognizes our role as an early literacy advocate in Tennessee.

By turning the page, the GELF team unveils the Foundation’s new name.
Pictured (left to right): Dean Hoskins, Vice President, Claire Jones, Communications Manager, Linda Kirkpatrick, Program Manager

For 15 years, we have built a foundation for reading and learning through books for Tennessee’s children – in this next chapter, we are committed to strengthening early literacy in Tennessee and building lifelong learners in our state. Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation will function as a thought leader, advisor, and catalyst – supporting children from cradle to career. We are powered by collaboration, bringing together resources, programs, and partnerships to foster early literacy and help ensure a prosperous Tennessee.

Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation Team
Pictured (left to right): Dean Hoskins, Vice President, Judi Davis, East TN Coordinator, Linda Kirkpatrick, Program Manager, Claire Jones, Communications Manager, James Pond, President, Paige Atchley, Program Manager

We invite you to be a part of this next chapter in our story. Together, we can strengthen early literacy across Tennessee to help our children become lifelong learners. In honor of this announcement, we’d like to share a video that celebrates the Foundation’s history, all of you and your support as partners and advocates for our work.

Click here to view all photos from the event.