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About The Niswonger Foundation

Niswonger Foundation

The Niswonger Foundation was established in 2001 to make a positive and sustainable difference in education in Northeast Tennessee. This dream was envisioned by Scott M. Niswonger, founder of Landair Transport, Inc. and Chairman Emeritus and founder of Forward Air Corporation. These were the first two Greeneville-based companies to be taken public in the history of Greene County, Tennessee. Jointly the companies have combined annual revenue of over $700 million dollars and employ over 4000 people.

With the success of his two companies, the philosophy of “Learn, Earn, Return” was created. Using the innovative model of having a private, for-profit logistics company, Landair Transport, support a not-for-profit educational foundation, the goal of bringing rigorous, relevant, and cost-effective programs to public education became a mission. Fundamental to the success of the Niswonger Foundation has been a clear focus on removing constraints to educational innovation and problem solving, thus allowing local school systems to better provide for student needs. By building school programs that are research-based and sustainable, the Niswonger Foundation has become a recognized voice for educational reform in the State of Tennessee, while nurturing the next generation of leaders.

Here are descriptions of the two programs that are the basis for the Foundation’s work:

The School Partnership program provides support for Pre-K-12 and higher education initiatives. Our partnerships are designed for the specific challenges of rural education. This program has a focus on supporting the high schools in our region with a plan for preparing students to be college or career ready. This effort gained national attention resulting in the receipt of an “Investing in Innovation” (i3) grant, and an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

We know of no other Scholarship and Leadership program like ours in the United States. Niswonger Scholars are selected through a nomination process that seeks to identify the region’s best and brightest future leaders. They are given the opportunity to attend the college or university that will best prepare them for success in their field of study, while participating in our four-year leadership program. What makes our program unique is that these students commit to returning, within seven years, to Northeast Tennessee to work in their chosen career one year for each year they receive our scholarship. It is our desire that by enabling these students to pursue their academic passion and by cultivating their leadership abilities, they will return to their “roots” and serve.

And lastly, the Foundation shares a percentage of our operating funds for grants to other not-for-profit agencies for programs that support the Foundation’s mission. “To create opportunities for individual and community growth through education and other sustainable projects.”

"And with all your getting, get understanding"
Proverbs 4:7

Scott Niswonger's Bio

Meet our Niswonger Foundation Team

Board of Directors

Leadership and Support Team

College and Career Advising Team

Niswonger Online Team

LIFE (Literacy) Team

Rural LIFE (EIR) Team

Career and Workforce Readiness Team – CareerConnect/WE Track