Chris Martin - Leadership Foundations


Chris Martin is the Founder and President of Knoxville Leadership Foundation (KLF), where he provides overall leadership and management. KLF, a faith-based nonprofit organization, identifies the Knoxville area’s greatest needs and connects resources to address these needs. Chris  has brought his extensive experience and expertise to bear as an LF Senior Associate since 2012.


Under his guidance over the past 22 years, Mr. Martin has built a leadership team that has a heart to serve the city of Knoxville. He and his team have served over 190,000 individuals by mobilizing 10,200 community volunteers, and have partnered with over 245 organizations and churches that have served an additional 261,000+ people in the Knoxville area. He currently oversees an approximate $5 million annual budget.


Mr. Martin founded the Alliance for Better Nonprofits (, a nonprofit resource center serving 25 counties in upper East Tennessee with over 190 nonprofit members. He also created these KLF subsidiaries: Neighborhood Housing, Inc., a nonprofit serving the Knoxville area with single family affordable housing; and Southeastern Housing Foundation, a nonprofit serving families with affordable multi-family housing complexes.


Under his leadership, KLF started and facilitated an additional 19 initiatives, many in collaboration with other agencies and churches, thus promoting efficiency of resources. Two of his recent accomplishments are Flenniken Landing, a 100 year old school that was renovated into a successful apartment complex for formerly chronic homeless individuals, and The Regas Building, a 125 year old downtown building that was renovated into a co-working office space and training facility for the Knoxville area nonprofit community. His work has also addressed children at risk, affordable housing, nonprofit capacity building, healthcare for low-income families, workforce development, indigenous leadership development, and church community engagement. He has raised over $20 million in these efforts from both private and public sources.


Mr. Martin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a major in finance from Auburn University in Montgomery, AL. He is an Elder at Community Evangelistic Evangelical Presbyterian Church, sits on the international board of directors of Leadership Foundations. He also serves on numerous boards, advisory committees, and task forces in the Knoxville area. Mr. Martin earned the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America, and has authored and co-authored several books and articles on topics related to serving the city.


Mr. Martin has lived in the inner-city community of Mechanicsville in downtown Knoxville for 30 years.

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