Join us for our third annual Day of Giving, at the McKinney Center on April 4, 2024.

Why did we choose April 4th instead of the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, as most non-profits do?  Our namesake, Ernest L. McKinney was the first African-American elected to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Jonesborough, being elected on April 4, 1968, the same day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee.  

It has been over 50 years since his initial election to the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen, yet it is important to acknowledge and remember the dedicated efforts of Ernest L. McKinney in uniting and serving all the people of Jonesborough and Washington County regardless of race, ethnic background or color. His election signifies the love for and an acceptance and understanding of others, which continues to be an outstanding characteristic of the people of Jonesborough. Since the election of Ernest McKinney Sr. in 1968, this small town has had a person of color serving on the Town Board continuously for five decades including one of his sons, Kevin B. McKinney, who served as Mayor from 1988 – 1997.

The McKinney Center and the Town of Jonesborough is proud to honor Ernest McKinney’s legacy through the artistic and cultural programming provided for the region at the McKinney Center.  

You can view the activities on the McKinney Center’s Facebook page throughout the day.  There will be musical and poetry performances, interviews with students and teachers, a tour of past exhibitions, and more.

Donations will go toward the scholarship program and cultural programming at the McKinney Center.  The average cost of a class for children and teens is $150.  The McKinney Center provides classes free of charge for 20 – 30 students each year with financial need resulting in approximately $3,000 – $5,000.

You may donate online anytime during the year by going to:  You may designate your donation specifically for scholarships or other McKinney Center programs.  

The McKinney Center is also in need of items that will improve their classes and administrative work.  If you would like to donate items directly to the McKinney Center, you can find a list of mission-important items on their Amazon wish list.  Items include plastic tablecloths for children’s classes, aprons for pottery classes, Crayola markers for outreach activities, furniture items for the video studio, and eco-friendly reception supplies.

You may also bring in a check or cash to the McKinney Center or mail your donation to:

The McKinney Center

103 Franklin Avenue

Jonesborough, TN 37659