A Brief History of Us
Creative Compassion, Inc. (CCI) is Cumberland County, born and bred.
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desires of the downtrodden, then shall your light rise in the darkness…” (Isaiah’s words, 58:10, The Bible). This was the textual basis for Gene Smathers’ sermon titled “The Call to Creative Compassion” which gave CCI its name and its Biblical mission and foundation.
Our name was first a sermon title, then an idea, until finally we were founded as a social service ministry by Michael and Judy Smathers.
In October, 1989, they announced their resignation from pastor ship at Calvary Presbyterian Church of Big Lick, in order to pursue a dream of bringing physical healing to the Cumberland County community through housing opportunities. This church has remained a faithful contributor to our mission today.
One month after the announcement, CCI was incorporated.
It began as a rough road. CCI was founded on nearly nothing – as our founder would say “not even a proverbial pot to pee in.” CCI’s only program between 1989 – 1992 was an offering of technical assistance to other nonprofits.
Our first house began construction in September, 1992. CCI was the first organization, private or public, to receive HOME funds administered through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), and our application was the top scoring application. We have continued to utilize this program 29 years later.
29 years since our incorporation. From no money, no program, no paid staff to an organization that competitively applies for funding, 3 programs, and 4 paid staff, CCI is proof that a God-inspired dream to show kindness and compassion to our fellow man will result in success.
Not easy living, mind you, but hard-earned, well-learned success.
We believe quality over quantity housing is most important to our customers. Our homes are unique to each family. Instead of buying large acres of property and putting houses down one next to the other, CCI tries to find land in an area where that family wants to live.
Those families are able to pick out light fixtures, house colors, and flooring.
All of our homes are Energy Star built, for energy efficiency, so utility bills do not become a burden.
Such special care is put into each house we build. There have been several instances where our staff wants to buy a home that a homeowner has pieced together throughout construction, we love them so much! We truly believe we are the best at what we do, and we know there is no other organization with the heart and knowledge that we have to offer.
Our desire for quality and homeowner happiness has not kept our numbers down, though. Since our incorporation, CCI has done approximately:
107 new construction homes
33 rental units
33 multi-family units for elderly, disabled persons
33 home repair projects since 2014
21 Families taught Homebuyer Education since 2014
To you who are reading this, we hope to hear from you soon!