Howard Gentry served as CEO of the Nashville Chamber Public Benefit Foundation, an organization that is focused on finding solutions to socio-economic challenges such as poverty, homelessness, adult literacy and workforce development. The Foundation facilitates collaborations with business, government, community leaders and nonprofits to identify barriers to sustained economic prosperity for all citizens and creates solutions that positively impact the community and individuals.
Gentry formerly served as CEO of Backfield in Motion, a nonprofit organization that combines athletics and academics to inspire inner-city boys to reach their maximum potential. For 15 years prior, Gentry held various senior positions at Tennessee State University including director of athletics, executive director of the TSU Foundation, assistant vice president for university relations and development, and associate vice president for technology and administrative services. His professional life has also included work in banking, insurance and over 30 years in sports radio broadcasting.
Gentry’s civic engagements include involvement with the State of Tennessee Prayer Breakfast Committee (past chairman), Metropolitan Homelessness Commission (founding chairman), 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, Nashville’s Agenda, Nashville Public Education Foundation, Music City Bowl, the Nashville Sports Council, and Tennessee State University College of Public Service and Urban Affairs. He also serves on the boards of State of Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (past president), Boy Scouts, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Tennessee Museum Foundation, National Association for Court Management, and Operation Andrew. Gentry is former chair of the Metropolitan Social Services Commission and the Nashville Poverty Reduction Council. Mayoral appointments include: Communities Putting Prevention to Work Leadership Team, Advisory Council for Adult Literacy, Advisory Council on Early Childhood Development and Early Education, the Advisory Group on Sustainable Healthcare Services to Underserved and Indigent Citizens, and Mayor's Youth Violence Summit Committee.
Mr. Gentry received B.S. and master's degrees in education from Tennessee State University and was married to Sharon Gentry, who is employed by Hospital Corporation of America and serves as chair of the Metropolitan Nashville Public School Board. The couple has two daughters, Taylor and Ryan. Gentry also has two adult daughters, Cristiana and Courtnei, two granddaughters, Cassidei and Cydnei, and two grandsons, Caymon and Trey.