Local philanthropists announce $1B foundation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Local philanthropists announce $1B Foundation

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(WRCB) -- Almost two years sober from methamphetamine addiction, Casey Sellars is within days of finishing her year's worth of rebuilding, life and soul, through the live-in, tough-love program at Chattanooga's Teen Challenge of the Mid-South.

"It was prison for eight years, or Teen Challenge," she says. "Who's gonna choose prison?"

"I had signed my son (Jaylen, age 10) up for adoption to my Mom. My first prayer was just 'let me be a responsible adult."

Chattanooga's newest charitable organization, the Covenant Values Foundation, has issued a challenge to Teen Challenge and five other service providers.

"Any new money you raise in April, we will match," CVF trustee Carey Brown says. "For each of you, up to $100,000."

Brown, through Covenant Values Foundation, has pledged to give out $1 billion to aid faith-based groups who help feed the hungry, shelter and counsel children, teenagers, widows and the homeless, and spread the Gospel worldwide.

Brown's biography lists humble beginnings as a trader in used cars in Rossville, parlayed into holdings in real estate, and a host of businesses ranging from payday lending to call centers and technology.

"When we're giving money away for the Kingdom, we're really not giving it away, we're investing it," Brown says.

Brown is the Foundation's only listed benefactor. A Foundation fact sheet lists Hugh O. MacLellan, Jr., Chairman of the philanthropic Maclellan Foundation, as an 'Advisor.' CVF's Executive Director is Dr. Steve Steele, a former Vice President for the Maclellan Foundation and CEO of Dawn Ministries.

"We already have had people, like-minded philanthropists, that say this is a vision, God also has put in my heart," Dr. Steele says.

Dr. Steele has declined to name those donors, citing their requests for anonymity.

He also declines to reveal CVF's endowment level.

"We actually have products that are producing on-going revenue, and it's growing," he says.

Wednesday, the Covenant Values Foundation awarded its first grant; $25,000 to 'On-Point', an intervention and mentoring organization.

The Channel 3 Eyewitness News 'School Patrol' profiled its program for teen mothers and pregnancy prevention at Tyner Academy, back in January.

"It will help Chattanooga and help fund programs in other cities,' On Point Director Lesley Scearce says. "I hope it's the beginning of an on-going relationship."

"Obviously, we'll have to earn the grant," says Roger Helle, Executive Director of Teen Challenge of the Mid-South. "But obviously, they (CVF) had met people who had graduated from the program and were living out everything we had taught them."

Sellars is hopeful of adding her name to that list.

"I have a better relationship with my mom than I have ever had," she says. "A lot of healing."

"God has opened the door for me to leave this structured environment and go into another structured environment. I'm gonna be part of the live-in staff at a halfway house."

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