Our Mission & Vision Statements

Our Vision

Our Vision

Prosperity for all.

Our Mission

Our Mission

Inspiring and equipping families, individuals, and communities to prosper. 

Project Leadership & Team

Megan Spurgeon

Director

Megan Spurgeon

Empower Upper Cumberland, Director

Macey Korth

Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

Macey Korth

Empower Upper Cumberland, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

Jeff Dyer

Operations Development Manager

Jeff Dyer

Empower Upper Cumberland, Operations Development Manager

Vicki Smith

Quality Assurance Manager

Vicki Smith

Empower Upper Cumberland, Quality Assurance Manager

Lehra Trobaugh

Circles Coordinator

Lehra Trobaugh

Empower Upper Cumberland, Circles Coordinator

Tephany Randolph

Navigator Manager

Tephany Randolph

Empower Upper Cumberland, Navigator Manager

Balinda Westmoreland

Circles Coordinator

Balinda Westmoreland

Empower Upper Cumberland, Circles Coordinator

Casey Eschette

Navigator Manager

Casey Eschette

Empower Upper Cumberland, Navigator Manager

Cheyenne Nordwick

Collaboration Specialist

Cheyenne Nordwick

Empower Upper Cumberland, Collaboration Specialist

Andrew Al-Halawani

Data Specialist

Andrew Al-Halawani

Empower Upper Cumberland, Data Specialist

Evan Smith

Data Specialist

Evan Smith

Empower Upper Cumberland, Data Specialist

Empower Navigators (Localized Point of Contact)

Cortlind McCutcheon

Cannon County Empower Navigator

Cortlind McCutcheon

Empower Upper Cumberland, Cannon County Empower Navigator

Cammie West

Clay County Empower Navigator

Cammie West

Empower Upper Cumberland, Clay County Empower Navigator

Emy McCloud

Cumberland County Empower Navigator

Emy McCloud

Empower Upper Cumberland, Cumberland County Empower Navigator

Teresa Daniels

Cumberland County Empower Navigator

Teresa Daniels

Empower Upper Cumberland, Cumberland County Empower Navigator

Janna Palmer

DeKalb County Empower Navigator

Janna Palmer

Empower Upper Cumberland, DeKalb County Empower Navigator

Slaton Wheeler

DeKalb County Empower Navigator

Slaton Wheeler

Empower Upper Cumberland, DeKalb County Empower Navigator

Regina Stowers

Fentress County Empower Navigator

Regina Stowers

Empower Upper Cumberland, Fentress County Empower Navigator

Jeri Wilborn

Jackson County Empower Navigator

Jeri Wilborn

Empower Upper Cumberland, Jackson County Empower Navigator

Cynthia Holland

Macon County Empower Navigator

Cynthia Holland

Empower Upper Cumberland, Macon County Empower Navigator

Marissa Alsteens

Macon County Empower Navigator

Marissa Alsteens

Empower Upper Cumberland, Macon County Empower Navigator

Jodi Evans

Overton County Empower Navigator

Jodi Evans

Empower Upper Cumberland, Overton County Empower Navigator

Mary Michael

Overton County Empower Navigator

Mary Michael

Empower Upper Cumberland, Overton County Empower Navigator

Tara Shepherd

Pickett County Empower Navigator

Tara Shepherd

Empower Upper Cumberland, PIckett County Empower Navigator

Luke Eldridge

Putnam County Empower Navigator

Luke Eldridge

Empower Upper Cumberland, Putnam County Empower Navigator

Paige Harris

Putnam County Empower Navigator

Page Harris

Empower Upper Cumberland, Putnam County Empower Navigator

Shaquawana Wester

Putnam County Empower Navigator

Shaquawana Wester

Empower Upper Cumberland, Putnam County Empower Navigator

Andrea Hunter

Smith County Empower Navigator

Andrea Hunter

Empower Upper Cumberland, Smith County Empower Navigator

Emilee Turner

Smith County Empower Navigator

Emilee Turner

Empower Upper Cumberland, Smith County Empower Navigator

Krystyna Wheeler

Van Buren County Empower Navigator

Krystyna Wheeler

Empower Upper Cumberland, Van Buren County Empower Navigator

Deborah Goodwin

Warren County Empower Navigator

Deborah Goodwin

Empower Upper Cumberland, Warren County Empower Navigator

Joseph Foutch

Warren County Empower Navigator

Joseph Foutch

Empower Upper Cumberland, Warren County Empower Navigator

Kristie Johnson

Warren County Empower Navigator

Kristie Johnson

Empower Upper Cumberland, Warren County Empower Navigator

Debbie Mayberry

White County Empower Navigator

Debbie Mayberry

Empower Upper Cumberland, White County Empower Navigator

Kim England

White County Empower Navigator

Kim England

Empower Upper Cumberland, White County Empower Navigator

Working together to lift children and families out of generational poverty.

Forged from the collective, region-wide mission to lift children and families out of generational poverty, Empower Upper Cumberland – also known as Empower UC – is comprised of key community and regional partners including Highlands Economic Partnership (HEP), Upper Cumberland Labor and Workforce Development Board (UCLWDB), Tennessee Tech University (TTU), Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation (CRCF), and Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) as well as community members.

Click here to learn more about our partners.

Led by Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA), the designated backbone organization, Empower UC is tasked with serving the most vulnerable populations of the 14-county Upper Cumberland region which includes the counties of Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, and White with a core objective of lifting 1,600 children and their families out of generational poverty by 2025.

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Planning, Workgroup, and Family Advisory Board meetings held (during the 90-day planning grant period)
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total team member hours spent in those 65+ meetings (during the 90-day planning grant period)

Core Partners & Representatives

Mark Farley

UCDD & UCHRA

Mark Farley

Executive Director, UCDD & UCHRA

Core Partner

Amy New

Highlands Economic Partnership

Amy New

CEO/President, Highlands Economic Partnership

Core Partner

Avery Hutchins

WCTE-PBS

Avery Hutchins

CEO, WCTE-PBS

Core Partner

Becky Hull

UCLWDB

Becky Hull

Executive Director, Upper Cumberland Labor and Workforce Development Board

Core Partner

Philip Oldham

TTU

Philip Oldham

President, Tennessee Tech University

Core Partner

John Bell

CRMC Charitable Foundation

John Bell

Executive Director, Cookeville Regional Medical Center Charitable Foundation

Core Partner

Meet the Allies

For just a few hours per month, our volunteer allies make a significant impact on the lives of the families we serve. Scroll over each profile below to learn more about each of our current Allies and learn more about their ‘why’ behind volunteering.

We are currently accepting applications for volunteer allies to serve as mentors in the lives of families that are a part of the first Circle Chapter in Putnam County. Visit our Volunteer page to learn more and apply today!

Holly Montooth

UCHRA Public Transportation Director

Empower UC Ally: Holly Montooth

What does being an Ally mean to me? It means that I have made the decision to put myself in someone’s corner. I’m going to be their biggest fan. If they need a cheerleader, that’s what I’ll be or maybe it’s just someone to chat with over the phone. Whatever it is, my main goal is to be a person they can count on.

I just want to be a positive part of the journey. I hope to bring stability and consistency to the table. Hopefully, just knowing that I will show up and that I’m available, will be helpful. Also, I don’t care to ‘make the ask’, if someone needs an introduction or to get connected with a group of people, I might not know them either but we can do it together.

Everyone is busy but the Empower UC/Circles program and the difference it offers is important. I’ve been very blessed in life and understand that many haven’t had the same opportunities that I have. Being an Ally is worth making the time for.

Jen Knepp

In-Home Services Manager (UCHRA)

Empower UC Ally: Jen Knepp

Being an ally for Empower is important to me because I want to make a positive impact in my community. We do this by helping and giving to others. I want to be a positive influence on the entire project and each participant.

That may mean a phone call or text message to send them some positive vibes or help guide them through a hard decision they may be faced with.

I want to be their stable place to come to and will be their biggest cheerleader on their road to prosperity. Together we can do anything, even the hard things. 

Heather Thomas

Putnam County Coordinator

Empower UC Ally: Heather Thomas

Sharing wisdom, new experiences, and encouragement with these young families is rewarding. Mark Wilson, the TTU Athletic Director provided tickets to the TTU VS TSU ballgame, and It was such a joy to watch these bright children and their mothers attend a college football game for the very first time. The inaugural class of Empower UC/Circles has remarkable women working hard for their families.

My favorite part about this opportunity is engaging with the communities in the Upper Cumberland and building relationships.

Spending time as an Ally is such a blessing. It is such a privilege to be part of these young people‘s dreams that will shape their life’s journey. The families are amazing and have added great joy to my life. I would encourage everyone to find a way to be a part of this inspiring movement in the Upper Cumberland.

Empower Upper Cumberland: We are ready!

Watch the video above to hear a special message from our collaborative partners and regional stakeholders.