Boyd Family Foundation seeds new SEEED home

Randy Boyd, second from left, and City Councilwoman Gwen McKenzie, sixth from left, join community leaders and representatives of SEEED Knox to break ground on a new energy-efficient home in East Knoxville. (Photo by Allie Clouse)

With major funds donated by the Boyd Family Foundation, an East Knoxville organization broke ground June 16 on a new energy-efficient house as part of an effort to both improve housing and steer young adults out of poverty through career readiness training, environmental education and community engagement.

Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development (SEEED) is located in the Morningside Community Center, about 1.5 miles from where a new stadium will be built on the edge of the Old City in East Knoxville. Randy Boyd, founder of Boyd Sports, is bringing baseball back to Knoxville as part of a project to build a publicly owned, multi-use stadium with more than $100 million in private development surrounding the site.

A complementary component of the project is job training and development, particularly in East Knoxville. The Boyd Family Foundation provided the bulk of the funds needed to begin building the house on Fern Street, located less than four miles from the stadium site. The project also will provide an on-the-job worksite for SEEED Knox’s green construction training class, the first step to a career in construction.

For the Boyd Family Foundation, the donation of necessary funds checked multiple boxes of need, including housing, sustainability, jobs for youth and job training for life. 

For SEEED Knox, it starts a process for another family to emerge from poverty.

“Homeownership is one of the keys to moving a family out of poverty by creating generational wealth,” the organization stated in a news release about the groundbreaking event.

WATE Channel 6 covered the groundbreaking in a story that can be read HERE.

SEEED Knox told WATE that the energy-efficient, three-bedroom, two-bath home built by the organization will be sold to a low-income family below market rate, and the owners will have equity of approximately $70,000 on move-in day, plus low utility costs.

When the proposal to build a new stadium started, the intention was to transform a community. The stadium will rejuvenate an area that had become abandoned with vacant lots, debris and the shell of an old meatpacking company. But it was the vision for what could happen around the site, especially extending into East Knoxville, that drove the project by Boyd Sports and GEM Community Development Group and ultimately won approval by the Knoxville City Council and Knox County Commission.

A new baseball stadium in Knoxville is great for the downtown area. But its legacy will extend far beyond the outfield walls.