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The Boyd Foundation commits $1 million to YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley

May 4, 2021

Keys of Hope Women’s Program to be renamed in honor of Jenny Boyd

The Boyd Foundation has committed $1 million to YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley with a transformative gift to help renovate the 96-year-old Downtown Center and expand the Keys of Hope Women’s Program, which will be renamed in honor of Jenny Boyd.

The financial commitment fulfills 10 percent of a $10 million fundraising goal in support of the overall Keys of Hope capital campaign. The women’s program, which will be called the Jenny Boyd Keys of Hope Women’s Program, provides transitional services for women seeking to restore their lives and reach self-sufficiency.

Pictured left to right: Lindsey Boyd, Thomas Boyd, Wiley Boyd, Jenny Boyd, Randy Boyd, Harrison Boyd

“The generous gift from the Boyd family and The Boyd Foundation is a great boost to our critical fundraising efforts to transform more lives through Keys of Hope and bring much-needed changes to our nearly 100-year-old historic building,” said Whitney Peter, president of The Sharp Companies, Inc and board president of the YWCA of Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley. “Renovation of the YWCA Downtown Center and expansion of the Keys of Hope program will enable us to serve and empower more women through proven, life-changing programs.”

The Boyd Foundation, formed by Randy and Jenny Boyd and their family, has provided millions of dollars to community causes. Sons Harrison Boyd and Thomas Boyd, along with Thomas’s wife, Lindsey, also contributed to the YWCA capital campaign donation. The renaming of the program surprised Jenny Boyd.

“We came together as a family to support the Keys of Hope campaign and be part of lifting women up through skills development and empowerment,” said Jenny Boyd, co-founder of The Boyd Foundation. “I knew the foundation was going to make a substantial gift, but I didn’t know that the YWCA had reached out to my family to rename the Keys of Hope Women’s Program. It is a tremendous honor to be recognized in such a way.

“I also encourage everyone who can contribute to the Keys of Hope campaign to do so today to provide a brighter future for women in our community.”

The Keys of Hope capital campaign will allow renovations to the YWCA Downtown Center, built in 1925, to expand efficiency of the facility so as to serve more women and preserve the historic building. The campaign also will support the Keys of Hope program, which teaches women the skills to be independent and empowers them to live on their own with a 90 percent success rate for participants who complete the two-year program.

“This investment in both people and infrastructure will ensure that the YWCA can continue to enhance our community and change the course of women’s lives,” City of Knoxville Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie said.

McKenzie represents the 6th District, where the YWCA Downtown Center is located, on City Council.

“YWCA brings great value to our community, working head-on to combat hard issues and bring hope to so many,” said Knox County Commissioner Dasha Lundy, who represents the 1st District, which encompasses the downtown area. “This gift from The Boyd Foundation is a monumental step in helping future generations.”

About YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley
YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley has been serving women and their families in East Tennessee since 1899. Offerings have changed over the years to meet community needs, but one thing has remained the same for more than 100 years: women and families from all walks of life depend on our services.

The YWCA currently operates its Keys of Hope Women’s Program for 58 women in downtown Knoxville. Women come to the YWCA for a variety of reasons and with a variety of needs. Whatever the reason for a woman’s stay, the program’s goal is to provide affordable housing in a safe environment with supportive services that promote self-sufficiency.

Coordinated out of the YWCA Oak Ridge building, the YWCA also provides scattered site transitional housing services for victims of domestic violence and their families in Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, Roane and Sevier Counties. This program offers financial education, parenting education and trauma-informed care, including support groups and classes specifically for victims of domestic violence.

A trusted East Knoxville community center since 1920, YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center is the main facility for the YWCA’s after school, summer and other enrichment youth programs. Phyllis Wheatley Center staff and volunteers work tirelessly to provide youth with the tools necessary to overcome obstacles and to succeed in school and beyond.

For more information about the YWCA, visit