Kick off 2024 with the NKBPA on January 12th

~ from the North Knoxville Business & Professional Association

Our meeting will be at Emerald Youth Foundation Gym at 1620 N. Central St. Enter at the back side door and the meeting room is at the end of the gym. Breakfast and networking from 7:45 a.m. until 8 a.m., meeting from 8 to 9 a.m. Our speakers will be Mike Taylor and Blake Lawson of the Knox Education Foundation.

As Chief Executive Officer for KEF, Mike Taylor is focused on transforming public education through the expansion of best practices, creation of innovation in the classroom, and development of research-based solutions that bring a continuous improvement approach to address the challenges facing public schools. Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Master of Public Administration from Gardner-Webb University. He also holds Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and Certified Education Foundation Leader (CEFL) certifications. He is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and serves as Chair of the National Association of Education Foundations Board of Directors. He has been a featured speaker at numerous industry conferences.

Mike has 30 years of non-profit management and fundraising experience, including 15 years of leadership in the education foundation industry. Prior to joining KEF in 2023, he served as CEO of the Henrico Education Foundation in Richmond, Virginia, and Executive Director of the Mountain Education Foundation in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. Mike is an East Tennessee native and shares three children with his wife, Julie Mills Taylor. In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with family, reading, outdoor activities and University of Tennessee football.

Blake Lawson serves as Chief Development Officer for Knox Education Foundation. He engages with internal and external shareholders, prospective partners, and grant-related personnel to secure funding for the foundation and sponsored programs and campaigns to support Knox County’s public schools. He earned both a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Tennessee, where he graduated magna cum laude from both programs. Blake was elected as Vice President of Philanthropy for the Tennessee Organization of MBAs, a charter organization in the Haslam College of Business and was nominated for the Program Service Award for the full-time MBA 2020 cohort. Additionally, he holds a certificate in Fund Raising Management from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Before joining KEF in 2023, he served as Director of Development for the Duncan School of Law and College of Dental Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University and as Assistant Director in the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management. He volunteers as an Advisory Board Member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley. Blake resides in Knoxville and enjoys outdoor activities and exercise in his free time.

For more information about Knox Education Foundation, visit

RSVP by emailing and just let us know if you will be coming alone or bringing a guest.


We hope to see you there!  Also, it is time to renew your membership.

Special thanks go to Natalie Kurylo, DC of Heliotropic Healing Company for all her hard work with membership and putting together our membership directory, and to Graphic Creations for their help with the printed version.

Note: If your organization has an event coming up, please bring flyers or information to be placed on the tables. This way our members have a tangible reminder and we can use it to publicize your events on social media. Thank you, this helps us to wrap up the meeting on time.


Please contact us at with questions or for additional information.