Country music star Brad Paisley will use $1.5 million of the Tennessee taxpayers’ money to establish a new nonprofit.
Members of the Tennessee Department of Human Services announced this week they have bestowed that money on Paisley and his nonprofit, a grocery store that encourages low-income people to buy healthy food.
Earlier this year, though, Paisley implied this money — for what he calls “The Store” — would come entirely from the private sector.
“In Nashville, we have the power of the benevolence of the residents to support The Store,” a press release quoted Paisley as saying in April.
“The Store” is scheduled to open in early 2020 in partnership with Belmont Ministry Center, according to a press release.
Belmont spokeswoman April Hefner told The Tennessee Star in an email Thursday that “The Store” is a public-private partnership for the greatest impact. “The Store” will not rely solely on taxpayer money, she said.
“While this grant will support the work of The Store and the Belmont Ministry Center, it’s important to note that the vast majority of funding for these spaces and programs comes from private sources,” Hefner said.
Hefner did not offer specifics as to how much money the private sector has provided.
The Star asked DHS spokesman Sky Arnold if his agency imposes any requirements on nonprofits that accept taxpayer money and, if so, what?
Arnold, though, did not return our request for comment before Thursday evening.
Hefner said the state grant will also support the Belmont Ministry Center, which opened on 12 South last year, and is adjacent to Paisley’s nonprofit grocery.
According to Today, “The Store is unlike ordinary supermarkets and will help people in need shop for healthy food.”
“Unlike receiving a bag of food they may or may not need from a food bank, shoppers at the store will be able to select nutritious items they need,” according to Today.
“Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and other organizations will provide the food to the shop. All of the foods at the store will meet dietary guidelines created by dietitians from the food bank.”
The store will open at 2000 block of 12th Avenue South.
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