Tennessee Resettlement Aid

Our Mission is to Welcome. Join us!

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Afghan Fulbright Scholars

Support our work advocating for their evacuation and provide funds for their basic needs while they survive in Afghanistan and other third-party countries.

Tennessee Resettlement Aid seeks to fill the gaps in the current resettlement system with critical aid and integration services to refugees in middle Tennessee. We provide culturally appropriate food, clothes, and home-goods to new arrivals, as well as facilitate access to community resources through partner organizations.

Our Impact


How You Can Help

Monetary Donations + Physical Donations + Volunteering

Featured Project: Coats for Kids

In the chilly days of November, we were concerned that many kids didn’t have proper winter wear to face the coming months. With 250 kids to cover, we set an ambitious goal to get everyone a coat before the temperatures dropped. True to form, our incredible TRA Heroes came to the rescue and donated enough to give every child and teenager a brand-new, high-quality winter coat. It was truly a special day when TRA staff, volunteers and donors came together to outfit these special young people with everything they needed to stay safe and warm all winter. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, we continue to serve families with whatever they need to support healthy and happy kids, all year long.

TRA was formed in 2021 to respond to the critical needs of Afghan refugees in Nashville. The unprecedented resettlement of more than 80,000 Afghans in the U.S. severely strained the resettlement system and shed light on serious gaps in the support services available to refugees. To date, more than 800 Afghan allies and their families live in Nashville and thanks your support, TRA has served them all. Our aid programs are designed to support and encourage refugees as they navigate the phases of resettlement and work towards self-sufficiency. Our ultimate goal is to equip new Americans with the skills and confidence they need to be independent and contributive members of our community.  

Our mission has its challenges; upon arrival, refugees receive a set of personal hygiene supplies, temporary housing and a small monetary stipend to cover food, clothes, and any other needs. In these early days, many families struggle to overcome complex and overwhelming obstacles. TRA staff and volunteers walk alongside our refugee neighbors to provide physical and social support in the form of 24/7 translation, emergency food aid, infant and children’s supplies, shoes, coats, furniture, home-goods, and more. With the help of selfless volunteers and committed donors, TRA is able to serve more than 1,000 people with the basics and beyond, while cultivating community and confidence among friends and neighbors.

As we continue to serve our Afghan families and open our arms to new groups, we thank the incredible people who have come together to welcome refugees to Nashville. Our donors and volunteers will never know the full impact of their gifts and their time but they have most certainly changed lives for the better. We believe that refugees are tenacious, resourceful people who have endured unimaginable difficulties and heartbreak. They most certainly deserve the adequate resources to be successful as they begin their new lives in the United States. TRA pledges to stand all refugees as we face these unique challenges together. With your help, we can give back a fraction of what they have given us and show them that everyone is welcome in Nashville.

Crisis Points:




Families receive a one-time provision of basic cleaning products and home-goods. It is not nearly enough to set up a home where they can thrive. TRA delivers cookware, dishware, regular cleaning supplies, hygiene items, and furniture to each household free of charge.



Food Insecurity

Families struggle to access food. Many families have neither the monetary means, transportation, language skills or knowledge of local resources to secure food in the first few months upon arrival. TRA, along with the Branch of Nashville delivers food boxes to dozens of households each week.



Limited Employment Options

Due to a lack of English language skills, many professional and skilled workers are trapped in menial labor positions. TRA matches individuals with local employers and aims to provide free, on-site English classes at the workplace to encourage growth and development.

Newly arriving refugees are in need of much more support. Our partners, donors, and volunteers ensure that we can serve a variety of needs quickly and effectively.

More than Aid...

TRA’s Afghan Volunteer Team

About Us

Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it’s like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you, too.
                     – Frederick Buechner

Our Story

The inspiration for TRA began at the Nashville airport in the fall of 2021, an appropriate place for a journey to begin. Katie Finn was working for a local resettlement agency, waiting to welcome one of the first Afghan arrivals. He emerged from the gate alone, clutching a plastic bag of documents and nothing else. He had no luggage with him and no bags on the carousel. He had no coat to keep him warm in the cool afternoon and only sandals on his feet. Katie couldn’t forget about him or shake her worry that he and other arriving Afghans wouldn’t have what they needed to stay warm. Soon after, she put the word out to her neighbors and friends—that Afghan allies are arriving totally unprepared for a Tennessee winter. The response was immediate and overwhelming; Katie’s living-room overflowed with donations and she was able to give new sets of warm clothes and jackets not only to that young man, but also to many other Afghan refugees as well.

That call for support made its way to fellow American Julie Pine and Saleem Tahiri, a member of the local Afghan community. All three volunteered their time and resources to prevent more  families from slipping through the cracks. They quickly realized that there was a need for an organized response to this challenge and Tennessee Resettlement Aid (TRA), a nonprofit, was born. From these first days of individuals taking action to help their new friends and neighbors stay warm, TRA has grown to have a full leadership team, an extensive network of volunteers and a robust and diverse offering of aid, advocacy and data analysis programs.

Katie Finn

Katie Finn

Executive Director

Katie Finn has a background in rural poverty alleviation and holds an M.S. in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh. She has led development projects in Southern Africa and relief efforts  on the front lines of the European Refugee Crisis. As director and co-founder of TRA, she envisions a community resource that walks with new Americans until they achieve self-sufficiency. 

Julie Pine


Julie Pine has spent the last 20 years working in Healthcare IT in the Nashville area. Julie holds a B.A. in Psychology from Davidson College and is a Certified Advanced Scrum Master. After years in corporate America, Julie was ready for a new life chapter. It wasn't long before a chance Facebook post calling for volunteers to help Katie Finn sort clothing for newly arrived Afghan's changed the trajectory of Julie's life. Her heart was deeply moved by the gracious Afghans she met and the incredible challenges they face as they settle in our area. As Operational Lead and co-founder of TRA, she now has the honor of working daily to welcome and support her Afghan friends.

Abdul Qadeer Hilal

Communications & Community Outreach Coordinator

Abdul Qadeer Hilal holds a law degree from Afghanistan and has significant experience leading women's rights  projects for USAID. With Taliban in power, his work put his family in peril and after numerous threats, he chose to leave Afghanistan with his family. Once in Nashville, they were welcomed and supported by TRA. He is proud to contribute his professional skills to further TRA’s mission of welcome.

Ashley Schwartz

Community Health Outreach

Ashley Schwartz is a Michigan native who moved to Nashville to pursue her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies. As a healthcare worker, Ashley has a passion for loving and serving others. She was introduced to Afghan families after delivering food one night and knew this cause was something she wanted to be involved in. She values relationships as well as meeting physical needs and is looking forward to continuing to welcome and support the Afghan community. Specifically, she will be organizing efforts to ensure every family has the technology required to thrive in their new homes as well as communicate with friends and family who remain in Afghanistan.

Emily Hollowell

Emily Hollowell

Physical Donations & Facilities

Emily moved to Nashville in 2014 to attend law school, she currently works for the state. After seeing a post on Facebook by Katie asking for clothing donations, Emily offered her help after seeing all of the donations Katie was receiving. She began assisting with the intake of donations, and shortly after met an Afghan family who had just arrived in Nashville a few days earlier. She saw their apartment was completely free of furniture and even though they had little to survive on, they were so appreciative and welcoming. The saying "it takes a village" never rang more true and that the gaps in the system would need to be filled fast. She now helps by coordinating the intake of physical donations and making sure the families get everything they need to turn their houses into homes.

Bryan Hall

Lead Volunteer

Bryan is a native Tennessean, musician, woodworker, and photographer. As a volunteer lead with TRA, Bryan spends time determining and filling the needs of our Afghan refugees. Bryan has been instrumental in assembling and delivering bicycles to help fill transportation gaps for the families. Bryan also enjoys volunteer work with Green Street and Hands on Nashville. Bryan is married to Laura Hall and they are empty nesters who enjoy spending time with their family and friends.

Laura Hall

Lead Volunteer

Laura is a native Tennessean, wife, mom, LaLa (grandma) and has served in the healthcare field for over 30 years. Laura's primary goal has always been to make a difference in the lives of others. Upon hearing of the arrival of Afghan refugees in Nashville, Laura felt led to get involved in this effort to directly serve and support this vulnerable group of people. As a volunteer lead with TRA, Laura spends time with the Afghan families to determine their specific needs and deliver home goods, hygiene items and clothing. Laura is married to Bryan Hall and they enjoy volunteer work with Hands on Nashville as well as TRA.

Board of Directors

Randy Lowry


Randy Lowry is an academic administrator who most recently served as President of Lipscomb University from 2005 to 2021. He has taught law at multiple institutions and is well known for his expertise in mediation.

Dan Hogan

Dan Hogan has been a longtime healthcare entrepreneur and Founder of both Doctor’s Associates Home Health and later the home health and hospice analytics firm Medalogix. Since his departure from healthcare he has co-founded and currently operates a spirits industry investment firm called Barrel Stock Trading Company.

Matthew Scanlan

Matthew Scanlan is the Senior Director of Government and Community Affairs at Vanderbilt Medical Center where he serves as the primary institutional contact with the executive and legislative branch in the State of Tennessee. Prior to joining VUMC, Matt was a partner in the law firm of Gullett, Sanford, Robinson, and Martin where his practice focused on advising businesses on regulatory and government relations issues.   

Sally R. Smallwood

Sally R. Smallwood is a longtime advocate for education, empowerment and access in healthcare for vulnerable populations. She has been instrumental in building several nonprofits. 

W. J. Sutherland

W. J. (Josh) Sutherland is a manufacturing executive with 35+ years' experience providing automotive, industrial & railroad products. His family has lived in middle Tennessee since 1990 and have long supported various community and charitable organizations.

David Braam

David Braam is the External Affairs Director for Project Return. As an attorney with government relations and legal expertise specializing in nonprofit, health care, publicly held, financial and government organizations, David has significant experience as an advocate and manager of legislative projects and complex legal issues.

Rick Nickels

Rick Nickels is a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. He practices at the intersection of business, tax and estate planning as well as advises private companies and high net worth families on an array of tax, governance and planning matters.

Barbara Sutton

As a partner at Dempsey Vantrease & Follis PLLC, Barbara Sutton, works with individuals and businesses on contract negotiations, sales and mergers, tax preparation and long-term planning. She has expertise in small businesses and start ups.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about TRA or how you can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Send all inquiries to:


Mailing Address:

2355 Alteras Drive
Nashville, TN 37211