ABOUT TIMOTHY’S GIFT
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
― Abraham Lincoln
The Timothy’s Gift journey started the instant compassion became passion. In 1998, Nashville businessman Ron Miller watched a news report about a Florida boy who was charged with murder, tried as an adult, and given two life sentences despite having never touch a single victim. The story of Tim Kane [link to inspiration page from Tim’s name] is certainly unique…incarcerated in 1992 at the age of 14 with an innocence that extends well beyond the circumstances surrounding his presence at a crime. What may be most extraordinary about Tim’s story, however, is the hope he has sparked in the lives of so many, all from the confinement of Sumter Correctional Institution.
Having served more than 20 years in prison, and despite many powerful pleas for clemency, Tim continues to live his life with unwavering intention. He knows that personal power isn’t about one’s residence, it is about one’s resolution. Tim finds his power in Christ and has resolved to be triumphant, regardless of his circumstance. And, while Tim’s journey serves as the inspiration for Timothy’s Gift, his is just one of the many stories of those who are experiencing the consequences for their crimes in the US prison system. Timothy’s Gift has provided countless people…people who, quite possibly, learned to take the freedom they enjoy for granted…the opportunity to look into the faces of inmates in dark blue uniforms with assigned numbers and see sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. To see the people before the crime. To share love and inspire hope. And to be inspired.
What started in 2010 as a mission for Ron Miller (administrator at GRACEPOINTE CHURCH) and his friend and world-renowned gospel artist, John Starnes, has become a movement. Today, Timothy’s Gift has become a household name among the leadership of the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC), and has captured the attention of DOC colleagues in other states. In just a few short years, Timothy’s Gift has already presented over 160 programs to thousands of inmates and staff.
The Hope Tour has risen to be vital instrument for sharing the message of Timothy’s Gift. The Tour brings a tapestry of musicians, singers and artists together to share a message of hope and love that is agnostic to the uniform, blind to the “why?”, and minimizes the gap between “them” and “us”. Singer, writer, speaker, and Pastor Melissa Greene (former member of the American Music Award winning group Avalon), serves as “Hope Curator” for all tours. She also serves as Pastor of Worship And Arts at GRACEPOINTE CHURCH in Franklin, TN. She orchestrates uplifting events that include a nearly two hour long concert of old classics, Motown hits, current radio smashes and performances of every style of music—soul, country, gospel, pop, etc—all with the intention of bringing hope and restoring a sense of worth to the incarcerated.
“This is the group that is responsible for changing the culture of the Florida Prison System”. Top Florida DOC Leader
Every tour results in piles of letters that pour in from parents, spouses, friends, relatives, inmates and staff thanking Timothy’s Gift for the renewal of feelings remembered and the kindling of those that are new. Many of the inmates that experience Timothy’s Gift are “lifers”—those who will never see a life outside of the bars they sleep behind. They share stories of transformation that bring joy well beyond the two hour show, and offers hope that results from being reminded them that they are loved.
“If you would have visited this institution but once, your gracious gift would have been remembered as the greatest blessing ever. But…that you have continued to return has been confirmation that your love is real….Love never gives up.”
The beauty of the legacy of Timothy’s Gift is the residual culture of giving. The integrated experience around The Hope Tour supports a new generation of prison staff and leadership, who both value those serving time in their system, and who take great responsibility for empowering the men and women they serve to reach for something better for themselves. They do so because that’s what love does.