Villagers get a new way to give back

The Timeless Tellico Foundation charter board of directors includes, from left, front row, Lisa Lower, Simon Bradbury, Glennie Browne, Dan Cataldi and Jessica Antrim; back row, Walt Cook, Teena Risley, Bill Butera, Gary Mulliner and Pete Kilmartin.

Tellico Village residents now have the opportunity to have their voices heard and give back to enhance amenities and special projects through the recently formed Timeless Tellico Foundation.

The charitable organization was created to facilitate private and corporate contributions for recreational amenities. Funds raised through TTF will also be used to enhance existing and provide new recreation programs.

The foundation officially launched Dec. 3 and brought in more than $13,500 in donations on the first day.

“It’s an alternate funding program — it’s basically to get other things to happen in the Village outside of going through the (Tellico Village Property Owners Association) board and our capital funding,” Simon Bradbury, TTF director and POA recreation director, said. “There’s a lot more wants that people have versus needs, and this is a way to do that.”

Bradbury has experience creating foundations dating back to his time as a recreation director in Pigeon Forge where he helped create the Forever Parks Foundation.

“In that one, our first main project was a $500,000 special-needs playground,” he said. “I actually took the trustees up there and showed them all that stuff. When I came here, this was the perfect fit in how we could give back.”

Bradbury’s idea for TTF has been three years in the making.

“I’ve been working on it for three years — since the day I started working here,” he said. “I’ve been working toward all the things up to this point. I’ve got to build up credibility, trust. People got to see, ‘What’s this guy about, what’s he doing?’ I just can’t come in as a new guy and say, ‘We’re doing this.’ This whole thing is about trust ... you’ve got trustees, and people want to make sure you’re taking care of their money and what not.”

Board member Walt Cook is a former parks and recreation director from Illinois and is excited about the launch.

If Villagers have an idea for a new recreational amenity, they can present it to the TTF board for approval, Cook said.

“Real simplistically, it’s wants versus needs rather than budget items or line items and different things like that,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that may say, ‘Hey, we want to build a trail here,’ and fit in the overall master plan of the community, or they want bocce ball courts ... budgets are tight, and it’s hard to get things approved in the budget. We come and we pitch to the foundation board members that this is what we’d like to do. If it’s in the purview of what the board feels is good for the community, they’ll tell us, ‘Yes,’ and they’ll send us back to work on it and we come up with areas they’re going to be, how much it’s going to cost, the whole nine yards.”

Several inventory items have already been established for purchase, including walking trails, pickleball courts and flagpole memoriams. The foundation has began working to help maintain the Rover Run Dog Park.

“The dog park people are losing their funding and everything, and they’ve come to the foundation and want to work through us to see if they can get that accomplished,” Cook said. “This is cool, it’s the community working for the community on the behalf of the community. That way, it’s separate from Simon’s line items annually in the budget, so it’s cool.”

The TTF board is also working to provide a unique physical therapy service through Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinic.

“It had an athletic trainer that has done injury assessments for people that have come in,” Bill Butera, Wellness Center floor and equipment trainer, said. “They’ll check your shoulder, your knee out, and 90 percent of the time he can give you exercises or stretching regimens that can solve the problem. This program, we’re going to fund it through the foundation’s money, and that will be paid to Tennessee Orthopaedic and will be five days now. To our knowledge, this is the first time any active, older adult community in the country has offered this to its residents. It’s a very popular program and does a lot of good.”

For more information on how to donate or get involved, email Bradbury at sbradbury