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I am Jackson – Frank McMeen

How did you end up in the Jackson area? 

Columbia, Tennessee, is my hometown. I worked for Freed-Hardeman University twice. The first time I lived in Henderson, but the latter time I lived in Jackson. While Henderson was a good experience, I felt drawn to Jackson, and it was a good fit. While Jackson is not my hometown, it is where I have chosen to make my home. I have lived in cities in all three grand divisions of Tennessee, and Jackson has become my favorite. While I could have chosen to live and work in any of the cool places in Tennessee, I chose to be a part of Midtown and Downtown Jackson.

What is your profession?

In a sense, my life has been one entirely of fundraising and nonprofit management … out of necessity. As a campus minister, I went to work in Cleveland learning there was no money. I began asking people and churches for funds. It worked! Working with Columbia Academy, the fundraising work became more deliberate, but when I returned to work in Development at FHU, I learned that fundraising was truly a learned profession. Having that understanding of fundraising and nonprofit work has served me well as President of the Community Foundation for 25 years.

Share about your volunteer spirit 

Serving on local boards has been a great way to get to know the people of Jackson. I currently serve on the Tennessee Dental Association Foundation board and was President of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities board.

I am renovating my thirteenth house in an effort to save some of our more neglected, larger homes in Midtown and Downtown from becoming empty, vacant lots. Each had a rich history but had been neglected. 

What are some of your favorite things about Jackson? 

Jackson is a very diverse and welcoming city, which makes it a very healthy city. You begin to see the heart of our Jackson is diverse and welcoming, which makes it a healthy city. You see the heart of our community when you see the number of local nonprofits doing so much good. This city believes in supporting good causes.

Also, Jackson is a city of music. There must be something in the water. It is amazing to see so much musical talent. We even have a music museum featuring our musical heritage.

Three words that best describe you. 

Caring. Happy. Kind.

What is the last thing you Googled?

How to spell “hors d’oeuvres.”

Favorite place for going out?

My favorite restaurants are Downtown — Blacksmith and Jackson’s Kitchen and Catering. The AMP is THE place to be on a summer Friday night! But nothing is more fun than a house party with friends.

Midtown is known for backyard gatherings. Walking down Northwood one evening, someone came out to talk, holding a glass of wine. Next, 8 people had joined us, each also holding a glass. 

What is one thing that you do not go a day without?

Diet Coke, chocolate milk, or ice cream. I think I need to go into some kind of treatment program.

Finish this statement, I AM JACKSON because… 

I like diverse people – usually, they like me too. Jackson is about to become even more diverse with major industry coming. While some may not be accepting of diversity, they are in the minority. Diversity is part of our country’s makeup. It makes our neighborhoods, places of worship, and schools better when we are accepting of newcomers. Jackson has shown that love to outsiders, even me, when I was that new person.

This article is from VIP Magazine, a premier publication for events and local coverage throughout Jackson and West Tennessee.