ACU alumna Tasha French wins the 2009 Titans Community Quarterback AwardPosted February 17, 2010 Abilene Christian University alumna Tasha French ('00) is this year's winner of the Tennessee Titans Community Quarterback Award. Given annually to the most outstanding non-profit volunteer in the state according to the team's management, the award recognizes French's commitment to service and comes with a $10,000 prize.
After moving to Tennessee in 2002, French observed the needs of Nashville's homeless. French used her degree from ACU's Department of Journalism and Mass Communication to devise an innovative solution. French started a monthly street newspaper, The Contributor, which features articles written by and about the homeless of Nashville. Many of those same individuals buy the paper for a quarter, then sell those copies to passersby on the street for a dollar. French's goal is for those profits to be plowed back into helping the homeless improve their lifestyles over time. Eventually, she hopes, they will find a way off the streets.
"I'm grateful to my former professors who taught me everything I know," says French. "Having a solid foundation in quality journalism has made my work possible."
The Contributor began in the fall of 2007. In that first year, French says she was only able to publish 1,000 copies each month; now an average of 20,000 copies are being distributed in and around the Nashville community. In 2009, the paper won national acclaim for its "outstanding quality," according to the North American Street Newspaper Association.
"Tasha is doing outstanding work to give the homeless community in our city a voice," says Clifton Harris, director of The Key Alliance, a coalition of homeless-aid organizations. "The Contributor has created a lot of awareness in Nashville. Her work and the work of all the volunteers at The Contributor is outstanding, invaluable, and the award from the Titans is well deserved."
French says she'll use her $10,000 prize money to keep The Contributor in operation.
For more information about The Contributor, visit www.nashvillecontributor.org.