Bettie Kirkland Obituary: Remembering the Meaningful Leadership of Bettie Kirkland
Bettie Kirkland Obituary: The Nashville community lost a visionary leader with the recent passing of Bettie Kirkland, former CEO of the nonprofit Project Return Tennessee. Over her prolific 11-year tenure, Bettie spearheaded immense growth and innovation that changed lives.
Bettie Kirkland Obituary: Early Legal Career
Prior to leading Project Return, Bettie Kirkland gained valuable expertise as a business litigator at Stinson law firm in Kansas City. She also worked internationally as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Solomon Islands.
These experiences helped shape Bettie’s strength, empathy, and passion for service that defined her nonprofit work. Her background laid the foundation for impactful change.
Transforming Project Return
As CEO starting in 2011, Bettie Kirkland shepherded Project Return through a period of tremendous expansion. She launched successful social enterprises, opened new locations, and put the organization on the national map.
Under Bettie’s leadership, Project Return earned acclaim for its work in employment, housing, and community reentry programs supporting the formerly incarcerated. Her vision sparked new possibilities.
Commitment to Community
While Bettie made significant professional achievements, she was most focused on uplifting others. She fought tirelessly to provide opportunities for the marginalized and vulnerable.
Bettie saw potential in all people. Her work embodied the idea that empowering individuals ultimately strengthens communities holistically.
Through Bettie’s dedicated tenure at Project Return, thousands gained resources needed to restart brighter futures. Her legacy of compassion and belief in people persists.
Though no longer with us, Bettie Kirkland’s pioneering spirit endures through the many lives given hope and purpose thanks to her vision. She made Nashville more just, equitable, and caring.
On November 12th, Nashville will celebrate Bettie Kirkland’s monumental community leadership at a memorial service. Her heart for empowering others carries forward through the people and nonprofits continuing her important work. Bettie Kirkland shone bright.