Providing Thought Leadership / November 16, 2018
BrightSpring Health Services periodically features leaders and employees who give back to their communities, helping people to live their best lives. Included is a story about how Chief Human Resources Officer Sonny Terrill is living out his legacy through the non-profit Cul2vate.
After a chance meeting and visit to South Africa about eight years ago, Sonny Terrill had a vision for a sustainable partnership that would give back to the community in more ways than one. With that vision, Terrill helped found Cul2vate, a faith-filled, mission-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Nashville, Tennessee.
Since its inception in 2015, the program has operated through a variety of strategic partnerships and has offered individuals farming jobs and personal development opportunities they may not have had a chance to find otherwise (due to previous criminal records, etc.) Cul2vate grows the food in greenhouses and helps its “Cul2vators” gain valuable agricultural skills. The food is then donated to feed impoverished neighborhoods throughout Middle Tennessee.
Interestingly, Terrill doesn’t have an agricultural background. In fact, he has a degree in Business Administration and developed quickly as an HR leader in the business world. In lieu of a farming background, Terrill turned to the same skill set he relied on throughout his successful 20+ year business career. Through research, business savvy, trust in his faith – and his talent for building – Terrill established Cul2vate and helped build a team of skilled leaders who share his passion for the mission to “feed and grow” people and improve communities for the better.
“Sonny’s the architect,” said Cul2vate executive director Joey Lankford. “Cul2vate exists today because of his vision and leadership.”
Sonny and Joey met by chance in 2010 when Joey was on his way out of the country, leaving his corporate position to serve in a job-development mission role in Cape Town, South Africa. At that same moment and time, Sonny was looking for a meaningful experience he and his family could share with his father. According to Joey, the random meeting had a long-lasting impact. Within a few weeks, Sonny and his family met Joey in South Africa. From their initial conversation, the idea for Cul2vate was born.
The non-profit is now an established cooperative that improves lives and feeds disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout a community where one in five people live without healthy food sources. To date, 14 men are now successful Cul2vators who have graduated from the program and are using their second chance to contribute to society in meaningful ways. Cul2vate donated about seven tons of food in 2017. Despite the success, Terrill’s goal for the non-profit is to ensure the vision continues and grows.
“My mission is to solidify Cul2vate’s foundation and make this organization great,” Terrill said. “Only then will it be ready to replicate in other communities to offer solutions for the growing poverty problem that’s running rampant across the country.”
Cul2vate is Growing Food and Growing People in Nashville, TN. They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit comprised of Middle Tennessee residents joining together to fight hunger. For more information about Cul2vate, visit www.cul2vate.org
Filed under: Providing Thought Leadership