Jonah’s Journey wins 2018 Most Improved Player

Big Payback Recap

Balloons filled the air and social media channels buzzed with excitement on May 2, 2018 as the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee kicked off its annual Big Payback event. For Jonah’s Journey, the day culminated months of extensive planning.

Mark Taylor, Vice President of Jonah’s Journey, spotted the possibilities of the event as a part of Jonah’s Journey’s development plan for 2018. He initiated conversations with his advisory board and with major donors in the months leading up to the event.

The Big Payback incentivizes donors to contribute on the day of the event by offering prizes throughout the day to the organization with the most donations during a set time frame or the largest number of individual donors at a specific time. These prizes allow donors to realize more benefit from their gifts.

A 24-Hour Celebration

Mark and his team spent the first hours of The Big Payback reminding donors and supporters of their commitment. Their diligent work both before and during the event resulted in an award for the most donations during a specific time frame.

While donors played an important role in The Big Payback, Jonah’s Journey’s staff also honored the passionate and hardworking caregivers – they commit their time, their families and most of all, their hearts to loving the children in their care and their mothers. On May 2, caregiver families and children gathered at a Nashville area church to celebrate the opportunity to tell stories of lives changed through their ministry.

The Big Payback’s Leaderboard continuously updated the donations until midnight, when final totals for the day of giving reached over $3.1 million dollars. Of that amount, $27,000 was specified for Jonah’s Journey.

A Geographical Mix-Up

 All Big Payback participants are encouraged to apply for additional awards including, Most Improved Player, to the organization whose year over year totals increased the most. With an large increase from the previous year, Mark knew Jonah’s Journey had a real chance at the $3,500 prize. Since the organization’s office was located in an ineligible county, he did not apply for the prize.

A few weeks later, The Community Foundation asked Mark to present Jonah’s Journey’s story to their board of directors. As he walked into the board meeting, his host tossed out a passing comment, “Oh, by the way, Jonah’s Journey won the Most Improved Player Award.”

Come to find out, the office building was actually located in an eligible county. Even without applying, the foundation awarded the prize to Jonah’s Journey, bringing their grand total of dollars raised to $34,000.

Future Dreams

 “Our primary goal is to be able to serve more,” said Mark. “So how do we better serve children and their mothers today?”


In 2018, The Big Payback provided a way to help Jonah’s Journey continue the mission of caring for infants of women who are incarcerated in Tennessee prisons.

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