The Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Fund Luncheon

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Presented by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at Music City Center, Nashville TN

May 23
The Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Fund Luncheon

The Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Fund Luncheon is hosted by the Music City Center in the Davidson Room on Thursday, May 23 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Award honors the memory of civil rights trailblazer and civic leader Francis S. Guess and recognizes those who spur innovation leading to equality.

The fourth annual Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Award to the late Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor and athletics director David Williams II and wife Gail Williams, Vanderbilt Associate Director of Government and Community Relations at the Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Award Luncheon. Said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “Like Francis Guess, many people born and raised here have worked to build bridges for those in need of a hand up to a better future. David and Gail Williams weren’t born here, but individually and collectively have set about building bridges to people of every age, race, religion and economic status. Hands were extended to them on their arrival, and in turn they extended their hands to make the path easier for others.”

The event also will feature a luminary filled panel titled “A Conversation About Building Bridges to Equality” that will include:

  • Nashville Predators President and CEO Sean Henry
  • Tennessee Titans great and philanthropist, entrepreneur and entertainer Eddie George
  • The Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School
  • Vanderbilt basketball great Shan Foster, VP of External Affairs and AMEND Together at the YWCA
  • Robert Sherrill, President of Impact Youth Outreach nonprofit and President and CEO of Imperial Cleaning Systems
  • Stephanie White, Vanderbilt head women’s basketball coach

Francis S. Guess served this community with vigor, commitment and pride for decades. He found his own bridge to equality, and then created the same opportunities for others throughout the country and here at home.

No one who knew him can imagine what Nashville would have been like without Francis S. Guess. The child raised in public housing became the man whose fingerprints can be found on almost every major civic effort in our community.

Throughout his distinguished life, Francis S. Guess’ body of work has included the widest range of worthy causes from economic development to the preservation of musical heritage to investment in the human condition. He has served on the National Civil Rights Commission; has acted as Commissioner for the Tennessee departments of Labor and General Services under then Governor Lamar Alexander; and has provided volunteer support to more than 100 organizations.

As a community we honor his memory with gratitude for his many accomplishments. And to ensure that his efforts continue, The Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Fund has been created to help provide equal access to the American Dream, in perpetuity.



Contact: (615) 321-4939 x132

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Music City Center

201 Fifth Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203
(Neighborhood: Downtown)

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The Music City Center is an ADA compliant facility. MCC welcomes guests with disabilities and their assistive animals. Should you have any questions or concerns please contact the Music City Center

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