The Big Payback is Coming!

Written by Meghan Gattignolo, Visitors Services Coordinator

For six years, the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center has participated in The Big Payback. Funds generated through this event from donors of all walks of life have contributed to various enhancements to the local Museum you know and love: from enriching additions to the Education Department like the puppet tree theater on Explorers’ Landing to improvements in how we store and care for our Collection. If you’re not familiar with The Big Payback, your friendly local Museum staff is here to answer some questions! 

What is The Big Payback?

Since 2014, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has hosted the 24-hour online giving event known as The Big Payback. On a chosen day in May – this year is May 5 – starting at 6 PM and lasting until 6 PM the following day, members of the community donate funds to their favorite Middle Tennessee nonprofit. Only nonprofits based within the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee are eligible to participate in this giving event. 

Why should I participate?  I don’t know anything about charitable giving. 

Part of the reason why this giving event began was to help everyone feel more empowered to give within their community. Donating to an organization you care about, especially one closer to home, is an easy way to take ownership of your world. The money you earn should go to a service that directly impacts your own life. Most nonprofits thrive when the community they serve invests in them. The Big Payback is an exciting opportunity to show your love for your favorite nonprofit organization. Watch online tickers in real time as other community members donate with you. Your favorite institution can even win prizes if they hit certain donation goals throughout the day. 

Is my local Museum, The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center, doing anything special for The Big Payback this year?

As a matter of fact, we are! Since The Big Payback falls on Cinco de Mayo this year, the Museum is hosting a super fun fiesta in our courtyard! The whole community is invited to come out and celebrate both The Big Payback and Cinco de Mayo in one estupendo event dubbed La Gran Payback! From 5 PM-8 PM, enjoy margaritas, Mexican soul food and authentic Mariachi music.  The Museum galleries will also be open for the entire family to enjoy. Look for QR codes provided for your convenience to support the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center through The Big Payback online platform. Help us reach our goals and have fun at the same time!

For 37 years, The Customs House Museum has grown into a cornerstone of Clarksville’s culture and has become a memorial touchstone for those who have grown up here. We hope you will be thinking of us on May 5. If you have more questions about The Big Payback and its impact on Middle Tennessee or would like to donate to the Museum, visit

Meghan Gattignolo

Meghan Gattignolo is the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center’s Visitor Services Coordinator and regularly contributes articles to the Museum’s blog. From a military family, Meghan has spent most of her life in Clarksville. She loves learning about Clarksville’s history and writing. Meghan holds a B.A. in History from Austin Peay State University, with minors in German and Political Science. She lives in Clarksville with her husband and two daughters. 

Maegan Collins, Media & Communications Coordinator, prepares photographs and visual images as well as prepares the blog posts for the web.

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