The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga will celebrate 50 years of giving Sept. 13 by awarding $35,000 in prize money to local nonprofits.

Called The Greater Race: A GeoCASH Adventure, the event will feature 25 preselected teams from local nonprofits competing in a multistop geocaching challenge throughout the downtown area.

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As of Monday morning, 45 teams had signed up to compete. The 25 teams selected will be drawn at random before the event.


Over 100 charities have been invited to participate. To be eligible, a charity must have received a grant for a main endowment fund for the past three years.

The winner of the race will receive $20,000, with $10,000 and $5,000 going to second and third places, respectively.

Teams of four (representing each charity) will be given coordinates at the same time and will attempt to navigate the variety of points. At the end, a short quiz will be given based on information found at each stop.

Bicycles are highly encouraged, but no motorized vehicles will be allowed.

Spectators are encouraged to attend the after-party at the First Tennessee Pavilion for live music and entertainment and to learn more about the nonprofit community in Chattanooga.

CFGC is a public charity incorporated in 1963. Their first board meeting was in 1964, which makes 2014 the 50th year of existence.

Pete Cooper has been president of the CFGC for more than 20 years. He has helped the organization give in excess of $150 million to the city, with average donations of $14-$15 million per year.

With over $115 million and over 300 funds, the CFGC serves as a ” behind the curtain” engine that helps keep Chattanooga’s thriving innovators moving.

But the CFGC is unlike other foundations in town. Not only do they serve financially, but the organization also helps provide technical services and advice to anyone who walks through the door with an idea.

CreateHere, LAUNCH and the Glass House Collective were all initially incubated within the CFGC.

Every piece of public art in Chattanooga was collected through the CFGC, as are new tree plantings and ideas for 3-D printing, open government and unified education.

“In many ways, we provide a platform for ideas to incubate even if we don’t put money into them,” Cooper said. “[We] consider, encourage, give technological advice … It’s a dynamic that most people don’t see in town. And it’s really fun.”

Cooper said the main focus of the foundation is to be as close to the community as possible.

“That’s how you build community from the bottom-up,” he said. “We’ve had an open-door policy for 15 years. We’ve tried to keep that culture alive.”

If successful, Cooper said the CFGC will consider similar events in the future.

“I’m more excited about the future of Chattanooga than I’ve ever been,” Cooper said. “And I’ve been here a long time.”