by Rachael Wilkins, Development Director

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Mike and Sharon Dancing ChairsThe 7th Annual Dancing for Safe Haven event is April 16 at the Hilton Nashville Downtown. Each year, at this event, we recognize the Safe Haven Family Shelter Hero Awardee. The Hero Award honors a volunteer who has exhibited extraordinary leadership, vision and dedication. This year we will honor the life and work of Mike Pigott (1954-2015). His leadership, advocacy and passion for Safe Haven is a legacy for which we are immensely grateful.

Mike Pigott served in many critical roles at Safe Haven for a number of years, including raising awareness and utilizing his platform to support our mission. His passion for helping homeless families was the driving force behind his involvement. His devotion, tireless efforts, expertise, support and kindness have left an imprint not only on Safe Haven, but on the Nashville community.

Mike was one of the founding partners of the public relations firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox, and a former award-winning investigative and political reporter for the Nashville Banner newspaper. He worked on many successful projects including the downtown arena, the Titans move to Nashville, Nissan Stadium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, work for mayors and governors, and many others. He was also well-respected by the political dignitaries for his skills as a reporter and his innate ability to hone in on highly complex messaging.

Mike’s involvement with Safe Haven began when he competed as a local celebrity dancer in the 2011 Dancing for Safe Haven event. After participating, his love of ballroom dance led him to his next role in co-chairing the 2012 event with this wife Sharon. He continued to serve on the event committee and was instrumental in obtaining the participation of several dancers and new sponsors. In 2014, Mike joined the Safe Haven Board of Directors. Our PR/Marketing Committee thrived under his influence. He involved his team at MP&F in providing desperately needed guidance and pro bono services for numerous graphic design, PR and communications projects.

Mike will always be remembered for his work during a pivotal time for Safe Haven—the expansion and capital campaign in 2012. He was a mike and Joyce Parthenon Award for brochure work for safe havenmember of the Capital Campaign Cabinet that was presented with a goal of raising $2.7 million to more than double the capacity of families served annually. His idea to name the campaign Widen our Welcome was successful in soliciting and securing donors. He along with his team, designed a capital campaign brochure that won two Parthenon Awards for excellence in 2013.

While Mike was able to help Safe Haven reach new heights through his incredible talent and diligent efforts, his genuine interest in people and their success is what speaks most about the way he lived his life. He listened and deeply cared about helping people reach their full potential. No matter who he came in contact with, it was important to him to take a moment and foster a connection. That is why his involvement with our mission, other nonprofits and community was and will continue to be something that is cherished.

Joyce Lavery, CEO, reflected upon Mike and his contribution to Safe Haven. “In his three years with Safe Haven, Mike put an indelible stamp on Dancing for Safe Haven, our “Widen Our Welcome” capital campaign, and all of our marketing and public relations efforts. Mike brought creativity, compassion, and a depth of expertise to everything we did and everything we will do. He remains a presence and a force in our organization, and we are all grateful for all he did for us. For his wife Sharon and three daughters, Mary Byrne, Connolly and Ellen and grandson Connor, we as an organization are so proud to recognize Mike as our Safe Haven hero.”

mike pigott hero award