By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD – The Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes has received a gift of $1 million for its foster care program.
Former NBA franchise owner George Shinn and his wife, Denise, who now live in Franklin, presented the first installment of the gift to TBCH officials Jan. 15 during a special ceremony on the TBCH campus. The gift will be given over several years.
Shinn formerly owned the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association.
“This is a historic day,” said Bryant Millsaps, TBCH president.
While the TBCH has received gifts of $1 million or more through estates, this is the largest single multi-year commitment that the entity has received, he said.
The Shinns are Baptists and learned of the TBCH ministry while attending the former West Franklin Baptist Church (now a campus of Brentwood Baptist Church). The Shinns attend both Brentwood Baptist and The People’s Church in Franklin.
The couple visited the Brentwood campus to learn more about the ministry and left impressed with the ministry and the passion Millsaps had for the children, said Denise Shinn.
George Shinn related that when they moved their business operations to Nashville they began to look for ways “to give back” to the community. A lifelong Baptist, Shinn said they looked at TBCH. “I love the Lord and I feel the Lord led us here,” he noted.
“We made a business decision and a heart decision to help the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes,” he added. “We know you are serving our master and we are committed. We are happy to make this gift.”
Bryant said the foster care program will be known as the Denise and George Shinn Foster Care Program in their honor.
The TBCH foster care program has begun and is expanding. “There will soon be a comprehensive system of safe homes across the state where children can be cared for,” Millsaps said.
“This gift today helps us take a quantum leap in that direction,” he noted.
Tennessee Baptist Convention Executive Director Randy C. Davis led a prayer to open the press conference announcing the gift.
“We’re very thankful that God has supplied this generous gift to Great Commission work in Tennessee through the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes,” Davis said.
“This gift will accelerate and enhance our work with children in foster care,” he added.
In thanking the Shinns for the gift, Millsaps said they are “standing on the shoulders” of hundreds upon hundreds of men and women who trusted that the Lord would provide for the ministry during its 124-year history.
“This gift will have a profound impact on children who are not yet born and who at some point in their future will have their lives changed because you care,” he said.