Suffrage Celebration Seed Fund


Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knoxville City Council have allocated $25,000 to support the community in celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 that guaranteed a woman’s right to vote. The mission of the Suffrage Seed Fund is to empower the community to celebrate and raise awareness of Tennessee’s pivotal role in the quest for woman suffrage.

Background: By March 1920, 35 states had ratified the amendment, one state short of the three-quarters required for national ratification. The Tennessee General Assembly’s decision came down to 24-year-old Representative Harry T. Burn, a Republican from McMinn County, who would cast the deciding vote. Although Burn opposed the amendment, he received a letter from his mother that convinced him to vote for it. Febb Burn’s letter to her son now resides in the Knox County Public Library’s Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection. With Burn’s vote, the 19th Amendment was ratified, and certification by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby followed on August 26, 1920.

The Suffrage Seed Fund, which will be managed by the Knox County Public Library Foundation, will be used to fund educational and arts programming in Knoxville. The funding will be distributed based on the applications that best meet the criteria in grants that range from $100 to $5,000.

Potential activities might include (but are not limited to):

  • Plays/musicals at local theaters
  • Reenactment of critical historical events
  • Film screenings
  • Panel discussions and symposia
  • Exhibitions
  • Creative responses in schools
  • Collections of oral histories
  • Window displays and exhibits
  • Educational programming

Application Information

Download a copy of the complete request for proposals here.

Applications must be submitted online here between July 30 and October 1, 2019, and must include the following information:

  • Description of proposed project.
  • Project goals and objectives.
  • Expected target audience and reach.
  • Budget outline of how the funds will be used, as well as any additional funding you expect to receive for your project.

Note that the online submission must be completed in a single session. Please download this worksheet and use it to prepare your proposal prior to submission.

Preference will be given to:

  • Projects that are educational.
  • Projects that are based on historically accurate sources.
  • Projects that benefit the greatest number of people in Knoxville.

Special consideration will be given to projects that can be shared for future use.

Who may apply:

Applicant organizations must be headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, or propose a project that will significantly benefit the citizens of Knoxville.

Eligible organizations must be able to provide the following:

  • Confirmation that the organization is a 501(c)(3) public charity, unit of government, or educational institution, if applicable.
  • New or emerging groups or artists that do not have nonprofit status may apply if they submit:

* Current CV and samples of work (artists).
* Letter of support from your school principal (educators).

  • Legal name of organization and/or primary contact person and title, address, and contact information (phone, email address).
  • Confirmation that this agency shall comply with the following applicable regulations: President’s Executive Order No. 11246 and 11375 which prohibit discrimination in employment regarding race, color, religion, sex or national origin; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Copeland Anti-Kick Back Act; the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, Section 402 of the Vietnam Veterans Adjustment Act of 1974; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


October 1, 2019: All proposals must be submitted.

November 1, 2019: Grant recipients will be announced.

December 31, 2020: All project activities must be completed.

December 31, 2020: All grant funds must be spent.

March 1, 2021: Final grant report must be submitted.

Contacts and Links

Please direct questions about the Suffrage Seed Fund to Mary Pom Claiborne, Assistant Director, Marketing, Communications, & Development, Knox County Public Library, at or (865) 215-8767.

If you are a person with a disability who needs the application in an alternative format, please contact Erin Phelps at (865) 215-8713 or

Download a copy of the complete request for proposals here.

Download a copy of the proposal worksheet here.

Submit proposal online here by October 1, 2019.




Images are from the Knox County Public Library’s Calvin M. McClung Digital Collection: