Our Mission

Positively Living serves vulnerable groups struggling to survive the challenges created by HIV/AIDS, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and disabilities. Our mission is to improve the lives of the people we serve through advocacy, counseling, socialization, housing, case management and support.

Our History

The Positively Living story begins in May 1996 with a dream and a few dedicated individuals determined to make that dream a reality. The dream was to organize a day center for East Tennesseans living with HIV/AIDS. The founders were determined to bring dignity, respect, and emotional support to those facing the debilitating effects of HIV/AIDS. Their original vision evolved into Positively Living, which was brought to life with a $25,000 start-up grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was formally founded in July 1997.

In 2003, Positively Living acquired its current East Fifth Avenue facility. The 16,000-square-foot building was purchased with assistance from the City of Knoxville, Knox County, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Today, Positively Living operates as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency providing case management, supportive housing, food service, and mental health/addiction counseling to individuals who are homeless; mentally ill; addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other substances; and/or living with HIV/AIDS.


Board Members

  • Tate Coffey
  • Todd Cramer
  • Dawn Distler
  • Erin Donovan
  • Leticia Flores
  • Simon Hall
  • John Winemiller

  • Kim Lauth
  • Bill Mynatt
  • Stan Odom
  • Garrett Painter
  • Steve Drevik
  • Jeff Wilke
  • Alan Williams


Our Advocates (Giving Level $1000 and above annually)

  • Chip Barry and Travis Pyle
  • Gayle and Baron Bustin
  • Tate Coffey and Chris McGhee
  • Todd Cramer and Ernie Hoskins
  • Erin Donovan
  • Steve Drevik and Lee Ann Rogers
  • Kim and Kent Lauth
  • Bill Mynatt
  • Joey Tate and David Hicks
  • Dr. Dan and Moira Kaye Ely

  • Bryson Higgins Kelpe and Alan Kelpe
  • John Thomas
  • Dr. Bedford Waters
  • Jeff Wilke and Richard Pratt
  • John Winemiller and RJ Hinde
  • Jan Conley-Honeycutt
  • Stan Odom
  • Katy & Zac Weisfeld
  • David Butler and Ted Smith


L-R Bryson Higgins Kelpe, Ernie Hoskins, Todd Cramer, Bedford Waters, Joey Tate, Stan Odom, Tate Coffey, David Hicks, Gayle Bustin, Bill Mynatt

Some of Positively Living’s Advocates at a gathering at the home of Todd Cramer and Ernie Hoskins. Become an ADVOCATE and join us at these fun gatherings in private homes.


Our First Advocates July 2015 at the home of Gayle and Baron Bustin
L-R Jeff Wilke, Steve Drevik, Richard Pratt, Lee Ann Rogers, David Hicks, Kim Lauth, Joey Tate, John Winemiller, RJ Hinde


Sustainers (Giving Level $500-999 annually)

  • Mary Thom Adams and George Reynolds
  • Dawn Distler and Janie Fazenbaker
  • Rick Fox and Ralph Cianelli



Interested in becoming an Advocate or a Sustainer? Contact klauth@positively-living.org.