Folks from as far away as South Korea are wearing T-shirts branded, “We are Nashville.”
Nashville’s Sam Davidson, founder of the philanthropic-minded organization Cool People Care, has generated plenty of buzz after rolling out the now-famous shirts that continue to raise money for victims of last weekend’s historic flood.
No doubt, the high point was when CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Thursday displayed the light blue shirt during a live telecast from a devastated Bellevue neighborhood.
“We were seeing five or six calls coming in every minute,” Davidson said of the response during Cooper’s shout-out. “Even on Friday, the next day, we were selling at a very rapid pace all day.”
As of Monday evening, Davidson had sold more than 4,000 of the T-shirts, which are being delivered to people in 48 states and 10 different countries. (Sales figures have undoubtedly gone up in the 36 hours since Davidson last tallied. And those light-blue T-shirts are temporarily sold out. He has only white versions available until May 31.)
“It’s clear Nashville is kind of a global town. Folks know it from all over,” Davidson said. “That’s been really inspiring to see that folks really care about this city and want to support it no matter where they’re from.”
Sold for $20 a pop, the T-shirts have raised more than $35,000. All proceeds have gone to the Community Foundation, a Nashville-based nonprofit that’s focused its resources toward aiding flood victims.
The response has been so overwhelming Davidson said he’s already gone through two organic shirt manufacturers, and recently turned to a third.
“Most shirt manufacturers have only a certain amount of stock in their warehouse at any given time,” he said. “We’ve bought through three different shirt companies.”
Davidson doesn’t take credit for the “We are Nashville” phrase. Ownership goes to Patten Fuqua, a contributor on the Nashville Predators’ “Section 303” blog.
In a stirring column posted on the website last week, Fuqua questioned the national media’s absence in covering Nashville’s flood, but assured Nashvillians will carry on because “we are Nashville.”
Fuqua’s entry spawned nearly 1,000 comments, a “We are Nashville” facebook group that has more than 16,000 members, and Davidson’s T-shirts.
“When we saw the buzz that was kind of building, we saw that it could be turned into something that could be used to raise some funds,” said Davidson, whose private company specializes in selling T-shirts. “We already had in place a way to help the community, and that’s when we put everything together.”
To purchase “We are Nashville” T-shirts, visit www.wearenashville.org. Responding to popular demand, kids sizes will be available later this week.