Having just celebrated their 20th anniversary, BrightStone offers adults in Middle Tennessee with special needs an opportunity to experience a positive, God-centered environment while learning life skills and programs like functional academics, music, art and many other activities. There, students also learn positive work habits and the meaning of teamwork while making BrightStone products, which are sold at craft fairs and in local retail stores. The organization gives adults with special needs unique ways to live, learn, work and participate in the community. Their mission is to provide a comprehensive work training, social support, and future residential community for adults with special needs, expanding their potential and helping them to develop mentally, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.
BrightStone currently serves 40 students in a 9,000 square foot facility in south Franklin, TN. Their operating 2019 budget is just over $1.3 million and they have a team of 18 full-time and 5 part-time employees (as well as dozens of volunteers). They are governed by a 15-member Board of Directors and enjoy tremendous support from the community as a whole and from leaders in government, education, business, and entertainment, having had artists like Trace Adkins, Michael W. Smith, Ricky Skaggs, Lee Greenwood, The Judds, Luke Bryan, Tim Nichols and Amy Grant headline their annual “Music That Touches The Heart” events over the years. Their revenues come from a mix of tuition (currently just over $10,000 for a full-time student per year) and fees, public contributions from individuals, corporations, churches and public/private organizations, foundations and grants, fundraising events, and to a lesser degree, product sales. BrightStone receives no government funding.
In 2015, BrightStone purchased 138 acres of beautiful land located just 10 minutes from downtown Franklin (just south of Nashville). Their plans are to build a college-like campus, which will be the first facility of its kind in Tennessee. Their day program will expand to serve 120 adults and offer 80 adults student housing options to live on their campus with year-round supervision. New facilities planned include a horticulture center with greenhouses, equestrian center, fitness center, aquatic center, chapel, activities buildings, cafetorium, medical clinic, job training and education building, and student homes. In January 2017, they launched a $25 million “Land of Dreams” capital campaign to fund this expansion. More than $6.3 million has already been raised in the “quiet phase” of the campaign towards a $12 million Phase One goal.
BrightStone’s Executive Director oversees the operation and program of BrightStone’s Day Program and manages the direct reports of the Director of Advancement, Director of Operations, Director of Finance (currently Accounting Manager/Bookkeeper), and Director of Program (currently Program Coordinator). The Executive Director reports directly to the President while also presenting quarterly reports to the Board of Directors.
The new Executive Director needs to be an experienced leader who has “been there, done that.” Someone who understands the interwoven relationships between Finance and Operations, Development and Marketing, and Program and Education. Things there need to be “tweaked, not fixed.” S/he needs to be an innovative administrator and empowering facilitator, while able to see the big picture.
The ideal candidate for this role will have a heart for special needs adults, a passion for working with special needs adults and a background in education or experience working with special needs, or both. They could be currently serving as a college professor in Special Education at an acclaimed university; or as a Special Education Director/Supervisor—or even Principal—at a public school; or as a Special Education teacher, preferably as the head of that department; or as a leader at the state level (DIDD, Disability Coalition, ARC, etc.). BrightStone’s next Executive Director must be able to understand and discern what is needed to help lead an organization that is primed to go to the next level.
To download the full Organization & Position Profile (highly recommended), please click here.