For 20 years, the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has been standing with vulnerable Tennessee families and helping them access basic necessities of life. After Congress placed restrictions on legal services programs, community and bar leaders from all parts of our state, and from every part of the political spectrum, came together to form TJC. Without their leadership, our clients for the last 20 years would have had nowhere to turn.
From the Beginning
TJC uses the law, education, and advocacy to fight red tape and ensure our neighbors have the necessities they need to thrive. TJC makes a strategic and outsized positive impact on the state: millions of Tennesseans have benefited from TJC’s work. Every $1 donated to TJC generated $295 in essential services like health care and nutrition for vulnerable Tennesseans in 2015-2016.
TJC’s work is rooted in the experience of individual Tennesseans whom we serve as clients – children with disabilities whose HMOs deny health care their doctors ordered, seniors needing long-term care at home to avoid institutionalization, families who wrongly lose their insurance coverage, mothers who need prenatal care, and many more. The real experiences of these hard-working, courageous Tennesseans struggling with red tape inspire us and drive our work. We are so grateful to be a part of their stories. Watch the video below to hear 20 years of TJC voices, and consider a donation to help our life-saving work continue for more families like these.
TJC builds capacity in the community and makes its limited resources have a larger impact by partnering with hundreds of agencies and individuals around the state. People who serve or intersect with our clients rely on TJC’s knowledge, training, and resources in best helping their constituents. Medical staff, social workers, religious and community leaders, other nonprofits, juvenile court workers, and many more attend TJC’s trainings, use our resources, and refer clients to us. In 2016, 36,712 Tennesseans gained health care through community partners who were trained and supported by TJC.
TJC uses the insights from clients and community partners to identify and address policy or system problems. TJC has built relationships with state and federal agencies, elected officials, and other policymakers to educate them about issues that impact our neighbors, and are frequently consulted by state and national lawmakers when legislation is proposed that affects public benefits programs. Perhaps more importantly, TJC empowers community members to understand issues that affect them and work with elected officials to resolve them. Most recently, TJC has joined hundreds of community leaders and partner organizations around the state in efforts to close the coverage gap and expand health insurance to all Tennesseans who need it.
TJC also uses the law to hold government accountable for its most vulnerable people. Selected successes include:
- Wilson v Gordon, which allows Tennesseans whose TennCare health insurance applications are delayed (some for many months) the right to appeal.
- Binta B v Gordon (formerly Grier v Goetz), which secured appeal rights for individuals whose TennCare HMOs denied services ordered by their doctors.
- John B v Emkes, which improved health care for over 750,000 Tennessee children by ensuring they had access to all medically necessary services ordered by their doctor.
- Rosen v Goetz, which ensured that Tennesseans were granted notice and appeal rights when the State sought to terminate their TennCare eligibility.
- Newberry v Goetz, which ensured people with disabilities and seniors have access to comparable services at home rather than a nursing home.
TJC has achieved these results with very limited resources through the strength of its partnerships. Monumental pro bono support that has been offered by interns, volunteers, individual attorneys, and private firms across Tennessee and the nation. We join our clients, partners, and ordinary, hard-working Tennesseans in fighting for fairness and justice for all.
Year End Letters
At the end of every year, TJC sends out letters to update our supporters of the progress that we have made in the past 12 months. The letters show the process of our growth, and here you can see the letters we’ve sent out since 2000.