50th Anniversary

AGAPE Announces The Tom Burton Society

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“I am very optimistic in the future of this agency. My hope is that AGAPE will grow beyond what we have ever experienced or dreamed.” –Tom Burton, 2012

It is our great honor to announce, as a part of The AGAPE Annual Fund, The Tom Burton Society.

As AGAPE’s Executive Director for 30 years, Tom Burton’s vision and leadership will be remembered and recognized for years to come through The Tom Burton Society.

Through Tom’s leadership, AGAPE grew from a small parachurch nonprofit with an annual budget of $400k to become one of the most respected and well-known charitable ministries to children and families throughout Middle Tennessee. Today, with an annual budget of $2.5 million, AGAPE humbly serves hundreds through its social services and counseling programs each year.

Tom’s experience and vision led AGAPE to unprecedented growth through the decade of the 1990’s and 2000’s. Our commitment to providing quality services with agape love resulted in a financially beneficial state contract, an increase in professional counseling services and a healthy and generous growth in individual, corporate and foundation support.

Tom’s commitment to operational sustainability placed AGAPE in a position to do what many nonprofits were unable to do … survive the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Even with significant reductions in donations and loss of contracts, AGAPE survived the crisis by the grace of God and His faithfulness to sustain this ministry, and through the provision of Tom’s leadership, and that of the Board of Directors. Thankfully, our need to establish an annual fund is not because of economic crisis but to ensure yearly provision for our ongoing operational needs.

During the 2017 fiscal year, which began July 2016, all those who can make gifts of $2,500 or more throughout the year will be recognized as members of The Inaugural Tom Burton Society. Many have already committed to this level of leadership giving. We hope many more will join. For all gifts, no matter the amount, we thank you, as they are critical to reaching The AGAPE Annual Fund goal of $1,250,000 that we may continue to provide the services to children and families with the healing love of Christ.

“Tom Burton built AGAPE into something extraordinary. He has created a legacy that is going to last for a long, long time.”  Ellie Vermillion, Former Board Member

Through this program of honoring Tom Burton, we will continue to speak the legacy of 2013-tom-and-chris-burtonTom’s leadership at AGAPE and that of his wife Chris who was by his side for those 30 years, working together, growing AGAPE to serve children and families. Through The Tom Burton Society of The AGAPE Annual Fund, their legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of AGAPE’s supporters, clients, staff and Board of Directors “for a long, long time.”

AGAPE celebrates the life of founder Miles Ezell, Jr.

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Newly appointed board chair Miles Ezell, Jr. (2nd from left) with vice-chair Will T Vance, newly appointed board member Jane Shaub and Executive Director Howard Justiss, in 1973

AGAPE is celebrating the life this week of longtime supporter and co-founder, Miles Ezell, Jr. who passed away Thursday, September 15, at age 89 after a brief illness. Miles was the chairman of Purity Dairies and was one of Nashville’s most respected businessmen.

Along with Charlie Brandon, Doyle Gaw, Larry Wilson, and his father Miles Ezell, Sr., he signed AGAPE’s charter in 1966. He served for many years on the AGAPE Board of Directors, including several terms as chair.

In addition to AGAPE he was active with several non-profit organizations throughout the years including Lipscomb University, Youth Encouragement Services, the Washington Foundation, the Charlotte Fanning Foundation, The Nature Conservancy-Tennessee Chapter and the American Red Cross; and was an elder at Una Church of Christ for several decades.

“I remember the first time I sat down with Mr. Ezell not long after I came to AGAPE as the new director,” said Executive Director Chandler Means. “He was so encouraging to me even though he barely knew me. We spoke of the early days of the dairy and AGAPE. He was so gracious and encouraging and yet his presence was one of a humble confidence. That humility and confidence impressed on me that all that I heard about Mr. Ezell as a businessman, philanthropist and leader must be true.”

Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 18, from 1-8 p.m. and on Monday, September 19, from 10-11 a.m. followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. at Una Church of Christ, located at 1917 Old Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville.

In lieu of gifts, memorial gifts may be made to to AGAPE, Lipscomb University, and the Una Church of Christ Missions Fund.


To make a gift in honor of Miles Ezell, Jr, Click Here.



Miles Ezell with former Executive Director Tom Burton and long time supporter, adoptive-parent and board member David Heffington in 1983.


Miles Ezell with current Executive Director Chandler Means, in 2013.


Happy 50th Birthday AGAPE

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The honor of your presence would be “Golden”! AGAPE’s year-long golden anniversary

celebration will culminate on Thursday, November 10 at the  Franklin Marriott Cool Springs at AGAPE’s 50th Annual Dinner.

As you can see we have a theme going here:

• Commemorate the past 50 years

• Dream about the next 50 years

• Tickets are just $50; children 12 and under are free.

Several sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For tickets and sponsorship

information, visit www.agapenashville.org/annualdinner or call 615-781-3000.

AGAPE’s founders signed the agency charter on February 23, 1966, and tasked the

organization with a simple mission –  to provide unconditional hope and love to chidren and families in need. AGAPE has continued to honor the vision of those leaders and the legacy of helping thousands of children throughout the greater Nashville area and across Middle


“We could not be more proud of what we have accomplished as we look forward to

helping thousands more in the years to come.  Thank you for supporting this ministry, and we hope our faithful friends new and old will celebrate with us this November”

– Chandler Means, Executive Director, AGAPE.


AGAPE mourns the passage of Charles Brandon

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Mr. Charles Winston Brandon, one of the founders of AGAPE and AGAPE first Board Chairman in 1967 passed from this life Friday, August 26 2016. Mr. Brandon was 90 years old.
He is survived by his loving wife Martha Dillon Brandon, two daughters, Martha Lynn Brandon and Julie Ann (Johnny) Barnes and one son, Charles Winston (Wendy) Brandon, III, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Mr. Brandon was a long time member of Otter Creek Church of Christ serving as a Deacon, Elder, Adult Sunday School Teacher and active in starting AGAPE (Association for Guidance, Aid, Placement and Empathy) in 1967.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Otter Creek Church 409 Franklin Rd., Nashville, Tenn, on Monday, August 29, 2015 with visitation from 4-6 pm, and a service to follow at 6:30 PM. Private burial at Riverside Cemetery in Woodbury, TN.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to AGAPE, 4555 Trousdale Drive, Nashville, Tenn 37204 or to Alive Hospice. Contact Smith Funeral Home for details. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.smithfuneralhomewoodbury.net Smith Funeral Home, (615)563-5337

To make a gift in memory of Mr. Brandon, click here.


Pictured left to right: AGAPE former Executive Director Howard Justiss, Social Worker Myrtle Qualls and first Board Chairman Charles Brandon.

AGAPE Celebrates 50 Years of Providing Unconditional Love

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Nashville, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2016) – In 1966, several members of Otter Creek Church of Christ decided to band together and help the homeless children and orphans of the city of Nashville who had no families and little future. That courageous coming together of faith and compassion evolved into AGAPE, a Christ-centered adoption, foster care and counseling agency which this month marks its 50th anniversary of serving the Middle Tennessee community.

AGAPE’s founding members signed the charter on Feb. 23, 1966 and tasked the organization with a simple mission — to provide unconditional hope and love to children and families in need. This year AGAPE is honoring the vision of those leaders, the organization they founded and the legacy of helping thousands of children and families throughout the greater Nashville area.

“It is awesome to imagine the compassion and resolve of our founders who saw a need in our community and determined to find supportive and nuturing Christian homes for homeless and orphaned children,” said Chandler Means, executive director, AGAPE. “For five decades, AGAPE has worked tirelessly to keep our mission alive and has remained committed to the promise we made in 1966 to provide unconditional love in our community. We are grateful to our former directors, Howard Justiss and Tom Burton, our avid supporter, Miles Ezell, and all those who have helped us build this legacy that has brought together so many children and families over the years.”

Today, AGAPE continues its work of connecting children to “forever families” for both newborn babies and older children in foster care who are unable to return to their birth parents. The organization also provides voluntary crisis foster care services for those whose parents face homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction or incaraceration. Ultimately, the organization hopes to reunite these families and prevent children from entering into state custody.

In addition to its adoption and foster care services, AGAPE offers faith-based counseling and psychological services to comfort and heal those of all ages. It also provides free maternity care counseling for those who may have an unplanned pregnancy and need a safe place to receive support.

Driven by compassion and the love of Christ, AGAPE has helped change the lives of thousands through its services. In 2015 alone, the organization:

*Cared for 38 children in foster care for a total of 7,328 days;
*Completed 11 familes through adoption; and
* Provided 12,806 professional counseling sessions to more than 1,600 individuals.

“We could not be more proud of what we have accomplished,” said Means. “We look forward to helping thousands more in the years to come.”

AGAPE will hold a series of events throughout 2016 to mark its 50th anniverary. On Saturday, June 11, the organization will hold a family reunion picnic at Edwin Warner Park and is inviting all foster and adoptive families, and current and former staff and board members to attend. AGAPE also will hold its 50th Anniversary Annual Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs.

For more information about these events or about AGAPE and its services, please call 615 781-3000 or visit http://agapenashville.org/.

About AGAPE:

AGAPE exists to serve the needs of families, children and adults in Middle Tennessee with an unconditional agape love through professional counseling and psychological services, adoption services, crisis foster care and maternity counseling.

Media Contact:
Paige Hutchens
DVL Seigenthaler


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