Chattanooga’s newest Changemaker of the Yearwill be selected at the end of the month through a public vote.

The award is given by Causeway, an organization founded on the idea that anyone who wants to enact social change should have the ability and resources to act on that change.

Six nominees have been chosen for the engagement, innovation, execution and impact of their community-focused projects.


Click here to vote for your favorite nominee before April 27 at midnight.

The winner will receive $500.

A brief overview of the nominees is below. Click herefor more information.

Byron Francis
Francis founded the organization World Smart, which helps give high school students the opportunity to expand their education by studying abroad. He plans to partner the organization with local businesses so students can work part time during the year to fund a study abroad trip. World Smart took students to Europe last summer and is headed to Uganda this year.

Jon Johnson
Johnson, a Spanish teacher at The Howard School, helped students start a baseball team and restore the school’s overgrown baseball field. He wanted to use the game to bring the diverse group of students at Howard together and create a thriving environment. He hopes to bring baseball to the surrounding neighborhoods as well by getting kids involved with Little League and baseball camps on the field he and his students rebuilt.

Katie Smith
Smith began at Causeway in 2014 when she led a project to spruce up crosswalks around public schools in Chattanooga. She then came up with the idea to make short videos about Chattanooga public schools to inform parents about the data and culture surrounding them. She partnered with UnifiEd to bring the project to life.

Roenesha Anderson
Anderson grew up in East Chattanooga and remembers experiencing a sense of distrust between the people in her neighborhood and the police. She created the project PLAY (Police Leadership and Youth),which helps build trust and understanding between authority figures and youth through sporting events.

Rebekah Griggs
Griggs is the parent coordinator at East Lake Elementary School and has created a project to help Spanish-speaking parents feel included at the school and to get parents to read aloud to their children more. Her project, Books Over Dinner, provides free meals, workshops and books in English and Spanish to parents at the school.

Theresa Nix
Nix started a program called Downside Up, which supports families of children with Down syndrome through a summer camp. The camp allows families to meet others who experience the same challenges while taking a break from daily stresses.