Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle

NASHVILLE, TN — The Davidson County Chancery Court Part III was recognized for its contributions to the lives of older Tennesseans recently at a conference of the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The Association bestowed its 2019 Outstanding Community Service Award on the Court in recognition of a $36 million court program aimed at helping senior citizens that arose out of the settlement of two cases in Davidson County. In its first year, that court program has delivered dental, transportation, housing, and legal services to over 17,174 elderly Tennesseans, and has resulted in the production of senior-focused programs on Nashville Public Television that have attracted over 1 million viewers.

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle accepted the award on behalf of the Court at the Association’s conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

Chancellor Lyle administers the court program with a team consisting of Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability Executive Director Jim Shulman, General Counsel Charles Ferguson, attorneys for the receiver Paul Davidson and Tera Rica Murdock, receiver William C. Matheney, and representatives of five nonprofit agencies across the state: West End Home Foundation, HCA Foundation, Assisi Foundation, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and the Memorial Foundation.

The $36 million in funding from the settlements was given to six in-state organizations following a grant process. These organizations proposed initiatives to improve the lives of older Tennesseans in four specific areas: senior affordable housing, senior dental, senior legal assistance, and senior transportation. The Court enlisted the help of the aforementioned five nonprofit agencies to vet these proposals, a process which took nearly two years to complete.

Chancellor Lyle gave thanks to the Office of the Attorney General, which recovered the funds in question, and Executive Director Shulman for their assistance in making this project a reality.

“It really has been just a privilege to work on this project, and I’m so thankful that I was given this honor,” Chancellor Lyle said. “I appreciate it, and thank you for the work that you do. It is very important, and it does so much good.” 

Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts Director Deborah Taylor Tate praised Chancellor Lyle for her dedication to the state’s senior citizens.

“Thanks to the leadership of Chancellor Lyle and six outstanding nonprofit organizations, Tennessee’s seniors will now have access to a whole range of resources to improve their lives,”  Director Tate said. “And over a million Tennesseans also have been educated about senior issues by NPT’s special series, Aging Matters.”

The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability is overseeing the administration of the grant funding and will work with the five nonprofit agencies involved in the vetting process to provide oversight for these grants.

The following organizations are receiving funding as a result of this project: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, Westminster Home Connection, Interfaith Dental, Nashville Public Television, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, and the Southwest Tennessee Development District.  

Several Tennessee state legislators were also honored with awards at the conference. State Senator Dewey “Rusty” Crowe received the Association’s Regional Aging Impact Award, while State Senator Richard Briggs and State Representative Dale Carr both received the Legislative Aging Champion Award from the Tennessee Federation for the Aging, which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.

To learn more about the program visit