Randy and Jenny are committed to making Tennessee THE State of Opportunity – for better education – for better jobs – for everyone.
Randy and Jenny made a decision nearly a decade ago to dedicate the rest of their lives to giving back.
As a family, they felt God was calling them to use the blessings He provided to help people in need and animals who could not speak for themselves.
Although they had given financially to many causes over the years, after the creation of knoxAchieves in 2008, they put an increased effort and focus on philanthropy. In 2018, the couple formed the Boyd Foundation with plans to donate millions of dollars to Tennessee causes that are close to their hearts.
In just the last two years, Randy and Jenny have given more than $10 million to over 100 charitable causes, from entrepreneurship and education to child and animal welfare.
In addition to donating their financial gifts, the Boyds also believe in the power of mentorship.
Randy and Jenny have benefitted from mentors in their professional and personal lives and have decided to pay it forward. Randy is a Big Brother to Knoxville teenager, Jojo, through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. They met more than seven years ago while Randy was volunteering at Pond Gap Elementary. The two quickly hit it off. Randy and Jojo have spent time together each month since. They love to play and watch sports together, especially the Tennessee Vols! As Jojo has grown up, Randy has taken an interest in his academics and professional development. That bond has brought their families closer and now Randy considers Jojo one of his own.
Randy has also dedicated more than two decades to the Boy Scouts. He attributes his leadership skills to his time as a scout. When Randy’s sons were young, he served as a den leader in Cub Scouts and founded pack 757. He later founded Troop 757 and served as its Scoutmaster for seven years. He helped more than 10 boys earn their Eagle award including his son, Harrison. In 2013 and 2014, Randy served as President of the Great Smoky Mountain Council, representing 14,000 boys in about 22 counties in East Tennessee. In 2017, The Boy Scouts of America Great Smoky Mountain Council awarded Randy with the honor of Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
For the last decade, Randy has also served as a mentor for tnAchieves. Every year, he guides five to seven high school seniors through the college application process. As a first-generation college student, Randy remembers having to navigate the process alone. He hopes to offer encouragement and motivation as students enter the next chapter of their lives.
The creation of knoxAchieves, later tnAchieves, provided college access to many students who had never dreamed of affording college before.
Randy began meeting with University of Tennessee education and psychology professor, Dr. Bob Kronick, to get a better idea of why many students were falling behind. Dr. Kronick explained many students couldn’t focus at school because they were dealing with hunger, violence in their homes, and didn’t have access to dental or vision care.
It became clear to Randy that we can have the best teachers in the world, led by the greatest principals, but if children are living in a toxic environment, it is nearly impossible for them to be successful in school.
Dr. Kronick presented the vision of a Community School as a way to combat children’s difficult home lives. The idea is that we must work together as a community if we want our kids to succeed and what better place to serve as a “hub” in the community, than the school, where children are already spending much of their day.
In 2010, Randy partnered with the University of Tennessee to launch the first University Assisted Community School, a public and private partnership, at Pond Gap Elementary School in Knoxville. The most at-risk students stay an extra three-and-a-half hours at the end of the school day. But instead of taking time away from their families, their families are invited to join them. Every night a hot dinner is provided to the entire family. Community organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy and Girl Scouts, and local churches offer activities. Students gain an extra hour of academics in reading and math. Parents can take GED glasses and mental and health services are made available.
Students who participated in the after-school programming at community schools missed five fewer days from school. They also scored 7.6 scale points higher in math and 6.1 points higher in reading. Eighty-six percent of school staff agree that this strategy is paying off for their students and their schools.
Randy and Jenny contributed 100 percent of the costs for the first five years of the school. Based on Pond Gap’s success, Knoxville’s Great Schools Partnership has now helped Knox County establish 18 more community schools. Each has a resource coordinator to recruit and align community resources. Each has a site-steering committee to ensure that decisions are community-based and not top-down.
Randy and Jenny hope to see Tennessee turn around its lowest-performing schools and encourage all districts to look into the community schools model.
Randy and Jenny’s philanthropic giving includes but it is not limited to:
- The University of Tennessee
- Boyd Venture Fund
- Boyd scholarships for Tennessee Promise students
- Boyd Center of Business and Economic Research
- Boyd Track and Field Center
- Haslam College of Business
- Pellissippi State Community College
- Pond Gap Full Service Community School
- Great Schools Partnership
- New Hopewell Elementary School
- South Doyle High School
- East TN History Center
- Old City Urban Garden
- Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center
- Friends of the Smokies.
- National Park Conservation Association (NPCA)
- Big Brother Big Sisters
- Boy Scouts
- Boys and Girls Clubs
- United Way
- Sertoma Center, Inc.
- Zoo Knoxville
- Knoxville Symphony
- Junior Achievement
- Knoxville Entrepreneur Center
- Knoxville Urban League
- Makers Space and Co-Work lab
- Casa Azafran