“Raise the Roofs” Event to Benefit Ellie G’s Dream World Inclusive Playground in Franklin

Friends of Franklin Park
photo from Friends of Franklin Parks

Friends of Franklin Parks’ much-anticipated Raise the Roofs event is set for Saturday, August 20th at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm, and event chairs are focusing the 11th annual fundraiser on a new initiative: Building the Dream at Ellie G’s Dream World, Franklin’s first inclusive playground slated to be constructed at the new Southeast Park. Wesley Mortgage is the presenting sponsor of what has become known as the best party of the summer.

Longtime Friends of Franklin Parks (FOFP) Board Members Mary Looney, Amy Cross Nance and Katie Spence are serving as Co-Chairs, with Stacey Perry of Down to the Wire leading event logistics once again. As part of Raise the Roofs, beloved community leader Judy Hayes has been named Honorary Co-Chair. Hayes, whose late husband Jim was born and raised on Harlinsdale Farm, was a school teacher for decades, served on the Williamson County Commission for nearly 30 years, and has been actively involved in leadership roles with a range of non-profits such as the Williamson County Fair, Visit Franklin, Williamson Inc., and Friends of the Williamson County Animal Center.

Amy Cross Nance, who helped launch the non-profit Friends of Franklin Parks in 2011, says the chairs are excited to honor Ms. Hayes while expanding the focus of the event beyond Harlinsdale to the $1.5 million fundraising campaign for Ellie G’s Dream World.

“With the restoration of both the Main Barn and the Hayes House at Harlinsdale now set to begin, we are honored to shine a light on the inclusive playground that will impact so many lives in such a positive way,” Nance said. “This is another major undertaking that will become a source of pride for everyone in Franklin. The results of Raise the Roofs events of the last decade are coming to fruition now, and it’s an exciting time for our incredible Parks and Trails system.

Looney, an active community volunteer who has served on the boards of the Battle Ground Academy Parents Association and St. George’s Kindergarten as she raises her two children with orthopedic surgeon Colin Looney, M.D., will bring her career experience in advertising and branding to Raise the Roofs. Katie Spence, FOFP Board Treasurer and internal audit manager with Jackson National Life, will contribute her financial acumen, event planning experience and creativity to Building The Dream at the 11th Annual event.

“We look forward all year to celebrating the support, preservation, growth and generous giving across an entire community for our fabulous Franklin Parks,” Spence said. “We have much to celebrate from the past year, and so much more yet to accomplish.”

A twilight polo event at the Tractor Supply Co. Arena at Harlinsdale will kick off the celebration on Friday, August 19th, and the main event will be held on Saturday, August 20th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. under the big tent on the lawn of the Hayes House. Patrons can expect plenty of great food, drink and cheer, live music and an after party beginning at 8:30 p.m.

For sponsorship information and other details, please contact FOFP Executive Director Torrey Barnhill at [email protected] or by phone at (615) 674-5388. all proceeds benefit Friends of Franklin Parks and the organization’s efforts to continually enhance and connect the City’s incredible park system.

Founded in 2011, the not-for-profit Friends of Franklin Parks, Inc. exists to cultivate stewardship within the community to preserve cultural and natural resources, enhance the park experience and expand its legacy for future generation

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