Our Mission: FiftyForward supports, champions, and enhances life for those 50 and older.

FiftyForward is the leading resource for adults 50+ in Middle Tennessee who seek to live longer, more fulfilling lives. We are the premier provider of innovative programs and services for older adults and their families through a powerful leadership team of staff, volunteers and community partners.

Founded in 1956, FiftyForward annually touches the lives of more than 20,000 individuals – senior adults, children and families in Middle Tennessee.
At seven FiftyForward locations across Davidson, Rutherford and Williamson counties, FiftyForward provides enrichment opportunities for adults 50 and older to remain engaged in living their lives to the fullest.

Financial support for FiftyForward is diverse, including grants from governments and foundations, the United Way of Greater Nashville, the United Way of Williamson County, special events and campaigns, cash or in-kind contributions from individuals, as well as through the FiftyForward Endowment.

At our locations, members participate in hundreds of educational and wellness programs as well as virtual programming. We also provide needed assistance to those wanting to stay in their homes through our Living At Home Care Management Services and offer essential services (food, access to resources) to those who need our advocacy.

Moreover, we have outstanding performing arts, travel, and volunteer opportunities that will continue to be redefined due to the pandemic.

Whether you are searching for new activities in your retirement – educational, wellness, or volunteer – or whether you or a loved one needs at-home assistance, you have come to the right place. The caring FiftyForward staff and volunteers are delighted to answer your questions and provide more information about our programs and services.

Our Values

At FiftyForward, we created and adopted a set of values that guide and direct how we carry out our mission, interact with others, and deliver our services.

These values are service, kindness, compassion, integrity, connection, and community.  

We believe in and are committed to:

  • Serving older adults with tenderness and understanding while elevating and responding to their needs, because we believe service to others is life’s highest calling;
  • Ensuring every interaction, regardless of complexity or difficulty, is met with kindness and empathy, giving hope to those who think they are alone in this world;
  • Nurturing and promoting a compassionate team and community that supports, honors, and values all older adults without judgment.
  • Working with integrity, holding ourselves accountable as we do the rewarding work of service to honor and benefit older adults;
  • Connecting older adults to one another, resources, and the greater community, helping them overcome isolation and leading to longer, healthier lives;
  • Building an inclusive community by providing safe spaces for every older adult to gather and feel a genuine sense of closeness in all centers and programs.

Our Vision

  1. We are recognized as the premier provider of innovative and comprehensive services for adults 50+ in Middle Tennessee.
  2. We assure that our customers through their interaction and participation in our centers and programs access needed services, remain active and involved and experience the highest quality of life.
  3. We influence the delivery of services for older adults and caregivers by educating the public about their needs and the value they bring to our community.

At FiftyForward we see and celebrate the differences in every person. Together, we are creating a responsive community that is open, engaged, and accepting of all.

Under the provision of the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “no person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Any person who believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin may file a Title VI complaint by completing and submitting the agency’s title VI Complaint Form, click below for more information.

Title VI Complaint Policy and Procedure

Title VI Discrimination Complaint Form

Title VI Nondiscrimination Notice

Our History

Established in 1956, FiftyForward supports champions and enhances life for those 50 and older. Beginning as a three-day-a-week program for active seniors at the FiftyForward Knowles Center (then downtown), to a network of seven centers in 2007, FiftyForward has grown to be the premier nonprofit organization serving adults 50 and older in Middle Tennessee. In addition to our lifelong learning centers, we offer specific services, programs and resources to encourage volunteerism and engagement to keep older adults living independently for as long as possible.


  • Expanded FiftyForward Friends Adult Day Services program adding a second location in Brentwood, TN.
  • Two AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers, who play integral roles in the FiftyForward Foster Grandparent Program, were presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Awards for their longtime service to the community.


  • Renamed our well-established adult day program FiftyForward Friends Adult Day Services.
  • Participated in Nashville’s Pride-related events including the Pride parade as well as hosting our first Pride party for event participants.


  • After 30 years of publication (under several names and iterations) our news publication Forward Focus was printed for the final time.
  • Initiated a role for FiftyForward in Nashville’s June Pride events.
  • Senior Center for the Arts (SCA)/Larry Keeton Theatre becomes a separate nonprofit agency.


In a year that was like no other FiftyForward launched virtual programming and found new ways to keep older adults safely engaged. While the centers’ in-person programming was not possible due to COVID-19, the need for essential services and access to resources became a key priority. FiftyForward teammates pulled together to create innovative methods to safely connect with older adults. From the very popular drive-through events called Beep-and-Greets, held in center parking lots, to the Front Yard Chats where members were visited in their own back or front yards by FiftyForward teammates, the agency staff connected with those we serve in new ways to bring joy to everyone involved.

  • FiftyForward begins celebrating the national Older Americans Month (in May) to honor older adults and their contributions.
  • Launched our Squeeze the Day podcast to share inspiring stories of older adults.
  • Initiated an LBGTQ+ Peer Support group for adults 50 and older.
  • Formed an internal initiative and team called DOVE to focus on diversity, outreach, equity, and inclusion.


2019 marked a historic transition in the leadership of the agency. Longtime executive director Janet Jernigan retired after almost 30 years of leading the organization. Sallie Hussey returned to the agency to assume the role of executive director/CEO. Hussey had been with FiftyForward early in her career where she served in the Development Department and those fond memories brought her back to her roots to lead the organization.


FiftyForward was honored to be chosen as one of four agencies to participate in a long-term, groundbreaking study launched by the National Institutes of Health. The All of Us Research Program will engage adults 50+ to participate in this momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds. FiftyForward is providing support by raising public awareness about the program among older adult and rural communities.


Five FiftyForward centers located in Davidson County received operating support for the first time through the Metropolitan Nashville 2016-2017 budget. Five accredited FiftyForward centers received first-time special funding, along with the other two accredited centers in Tennessee, through an amendment to the state budget.


FiftyForward celebrated its 60 years in service to the community by hosting a series of events including a seminar on the history of Nashville and a Dancing through the Decades celebration. In addition, FiftyForward launched its first crowdfunding effort to raise funds to purchase two wheelchair accessible buses.

2011 - 2015

2015 Executive Director Janet Jernigan and Associate Executive Director Adrienne Newman celebrated 25 years of service to FiftyForward. Through their leadership, the organization continues to be mission- focused and attentive to the needs of older adults and caregiver population.

2014 The Larry Keeton Theatre is listed by the Nashville Business Journal among the top 20 most-attended performance venues in the Nashville area.

2012 FiftyForward Music for Seniors, a program launched under the FiftyForward umbrella, was named a finalist in the SunTrust Business Acumen in the Arts Award presented by the Center for Nonprofit Management.

2011 Co-sponsored by AARP and the Council on Aging/Greater Nashville, the FiftyForward Governmental Affairs Committee hosted a forum featuring the two candidates for Governor of Tennessee with emphasis on senior issues.

2011 FiftyForward transformed our “nonprofit model” to a “social profit model” by focusing on generating revenue through emphasizing rental of our facilities and reinvesting income from the new fee-for-service Care Team program into serving more low income seniors.

2011 FiftyForward partners with the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee to produce the inaugural Viva la Diva Run for Women and Girls of all ages, a signature event featuring a certified 5K and 10 mile run.

2001 - 2010

2010 In the aftermath of the devastating May 1-3 Tennessee floods, FiftyForward staff and volunteers led and participated in a variety of flood relief efforts. Grants from The Melkus Foundation, HCA Foundation and Piedmont Natural Gas enabled the agency to hire staff for one year including a full-time care manager and part-time in-home specialist to assist senior adults in their recovery.

2009 FiftyForward Executive Director Janet Jernigan receives the ATHENA Award, Nashville’s highest honor for women.

2008 Senior Citizens, Inc. (SCI) officially becomes FiftyForward.

2007 Five centers received accreditation by the National Institute of Senior Centers: College Grove, Donelson Station, Knowles, Madison Station, and Martin Center.

2004 Senior Center for the Arts is formed and receives a boost from the Frist Foundation with a $15,000 Innovation in Action Award.

2003 Metro Government transfers management of the Knowles Trust to SCI.

2002 Capital/Endowment Campaign ends with a total of $14.3 million.

2001 SCI forms a partnership with the YMCA of Middle Tennessee to explore building a co-habited facility in Bellevue. The J. L. Turner Lifelong Learning Center and the Bellevue Family YMCA open in September 2006.

1965 - 2000

2000 SCI begins its first major capital/endowment campaign to raise $13.5 million to fund the building of three centers and grow the SCI endowment.

1998 Senior Support Services and Peer Counseling program established and continued for ten years until funding was no longer available from the Department of Mental Health.

1998 SCI Living At Home Program selected by the Tennessee General Assembly to conduct a pilot project, CHOICE, to demonstrate the benefits of home and community based care (over nursing homes). Grant expired in 2001.

1997 Victory Over Crime program begins.

1997 Respite Care Program expands to include Senior Companions. After federal guidelines changed, the grant for this program was transferred to the Respite Coalition in 2011.

1996 Brentwood Senior Group (later the Martin Center) and Madison Station Senior Center begin operations.

1994 Volunteer Respite Caregivers becomes an SCI Living At Home program. 1993 FLIP (Friends Learning in Pairs) program launched, training senior volunteers to mentor/tutor children with reading skills challenges in grades K-4.

1986 College Grove Senior Center is founded.

1969 Meals on Wheels program organized.

1965 SCI became one of the few national sites for the newly initiated, federally funded Foster Grandparent Program.


First board of directors formed FiftyForward (then named Senior Citizens, Inc.) and begins formal operations.

Our Founders

C.A. Bowen
Mrs. Nat Caldwell
Robert E. Crownover
Leighton Dingley
Stanford C. Erickson
George Hastings
Wayland J. Hayes
John J. Lentz
William B. Silverman
E. C. Tompkins
Nettie Hay Trabue
Donald L. Washburn
Leah Rose B. Werthan
J. B. Woods