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Youth Villages’ Holiday Heroes receives $5,000 grant from East Tennessee Foundation’s Kress Angel Tree Fund

Dec 7, 2021 | Blog

Knoxville, Tenn. (Dec. 7, 2021) — Youth Villages received an early gift that will be used to forward many presents to others this holiday season. The East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) awarded the organization a $5,000 grant from its Laura J. Kress Angel Tree Fund for the annual Holiday Heroes program.

This grant will help Youth Villages’ Holiday Heroes serve nearly 100 families in Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Morgan and Scott counties.

Holiday Heroes provides holiday gifts to local children and families participating in Youth Villages’ programs. A Holiday Hero helps fulfill the holiday wish list for a child who has experienced trauma or has a history of emotional or behavioral health issues.

“We are extremely grateful for the Laura J. Kress Angel Tree Fund for their gift to our program,” said Melissa Jackson-Wade, program director for Youth Villages in East Tennessee. “Youth Villages in East Tennessee cares for close to 900 children and families. This grant will go a long way in providing support to our families in need. It is certainly a blessing, and it is surely to bring joy and happiness to many children this holiday season!”

The Laura J. Kress Angel Tree Fund was set up in June 2019, named in honor of Laura J. Kress following her passing in early 2019. This is the first time Youth Villages was awarded a grant from the Kress Angel Tree Fund. In 2021, the fund gave 17 grants totaling $102,800 to nonprofit organizations that will fill holiday wishes for children-in-need in nine of East Tennessee’s most rural counties.

To learn more and become a Holiday Hero, individuals, families, or groups may request a child’s wish list by visiting and selecting East Tennessee. Holiday Heroes also have the option to donate or shop to fulfil youth holiday wishes. The deadline for donations to be dropped off is Dec. 10. The online donations deadline is Dec. 20.

About Youth Villages
Youth Villages is a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health committed to building strong families, delivering effective services and significantly improving outcomes for children, families and young people involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems across the country. Founded in 1986, the organization’s 3,300 employees help more than 30,000 children annually in 23 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia. Youth Villages has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at

About East Tennessee Foundation
East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) is a public charity and community foundation created by and for the people of East Tennessee, where many donors join to make the region they love a better place, today and for future generations. ETF, like other community foundations, operates as a collection of hundreds of distinct charitable funds and supporting foundations established by individuals, families, businesses, and other nonprofits. Through our work, a wide variety of philanthropic objectives are achieved.

ETE was established in 1986 through a merger of two predecessor organizations and currently serves 25 East Tennessee counties. It is comprised of 474 philanthropic funds and nine supporting organizations. In 2019, ETF awarded more than $20 million to nearly 1,200 nonprofits in East Tennessee and across the country. Since ETF’s inception, more than $330 million has been granted.