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About Us

Healthy Relationships.
Healthy Families.
Healthy Community.

First Things First is a non-profit organization that provides healthy relationship skills through classes, events and multimedia outlets. We aim to be a community resource for the Chattanooga area by providing the most up-to-date research, content and educational experiences to all.


Why We Exist

Chattanooga's civic leaders came together in 1997 and formed a community-wide initiative to rebuild, renew and revitalize our city- beginning with family. These leaders recognized that the strength of our community and the future of our city lies within the healthiness of our families. 

The Problem

Divorce, absent fathers and unwed births are a constant threat to the overall health of our community. Here are the current stats: 27% of Hamilton County adults have been divorced. Hamilton County teenagers (ages 10-17) in 2010 accounted for 105 births. Down from 242 in 2002. Of the 40,169 households with children under 18 years old in Hamilton County, 29.9% (12,012) are headed by females.

Our Goals

- To reduce the number of divorce filings in Hamilton County. 

- To reduce out of wedlock pregnancies in Hamilton County. 

- To increase father involvement in Hamilton County.

The Solution

We aim to reverse the trends of destructive relationships and strengthen the families of our community by providing skills-based classes and events that meet people in every relational stage of life, such as: dating teens & young adults, engaged couples, married couples, parents, singles and any combination. 

How You Can Help


Take advantage of our classes and resources. By engaging with our content, you are helping our community as a whole.

Classes & Events


Volunteer your time and talents. We have plenty of opportunities for you to serve and be engaged with the families of our community.


Become a Corporate Partner

Monetary handouts aren’t our thing. We want to form a mutually beneficial relationship with you by providing marketing opportunities, specialized workshops and more.

Contact Us


100% of your charitable donation goes to supporting First Things First’s efforts to provide healthy relationship skills to the families in our community.


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Julie Baumgardner, President and CEO 

Julie Baumgardner is the President and CEO of First Things First, an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families in Chattanooga, Tennessee. FTF’s success has generated model duplication efforts nationwide, and has garnered international attention for its award-winning leadership concerning family and relationship issues, specifically in the areas of fatherhood, marriage and parenting. Read more here....


2018 First Things First Board Members

David Allen

Jimmy and Jaclyn Barnett

Julie Baumgardner

 (President and CEO)

Carmen Carson
Brittany Fulmer Ennen

Tina and Mike Frizzell

Wilson Meads
Kathy Patton
Buddy Presley

Damon and Jody Riggs 

(Past Board Chair -Damon)

Robbin Russell

Kate Thompson 

(Board Secretary)

Marie Webb
(Board Vice-Chair)
Pat Gray
Ron Harris

Todd and Beth Henon

Rhey Houston

Rodger and Peggy Jenkins

Hunter and Vanessa Lindsay

Mike Webb

Brad Wier 

(Board Chair)

How We're Doing