Photography by Matt Hamilton / Cempa Community Care staffers, from left, Cory Howard, Shannon Stephenson and Akil Lloyd.

* Year established: 1986 (as Chattanooga CARES); name changed 2019

* Employees: 74, including 70 based in the Chattanooga area

* Milestones: Opened a primary-care clinic in 2002 and began making medical treatment and related services to HIV-positive individuals. In 2016, established a partnership with the East Tennessee State University Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity. Partnered with the Chattanooga Area Food Bank in 2015 to launch the CARES Food Market. Rebranded in 2019, becoming a community health-care center. Last year was a big one for Cempa, as it won the Governor's Award of Excellence (January), opened a pharmacy (July) and was named an Organization of Excellence by the Tennessee Primary Care Association (October). In March 2022, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce named Cempa its Small Business of the Year in the nonprofit category.

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Photography by Matt Hamilton / From left, Myia Favors, Sariah Deloney and Aisha McGee lead the 2022 Strides of March event sponsored by Cempa Community Care at Renaissance Park.

* Why this is a Best Place to Work: We have a very good benefits package, we practice diversity and inclusion, community facing and a strong mission that is evident in the clients we serve. We have stepped up to the challenge to face COVID testing and providing services to our clients regardless of ability to pay. Our employees' love for serving our clients is our hallmark.

* Quotable, from CEO Shannon Stephenson: "[This award] speaks volumes for our culture. We have five core values – compassion, empowerment, excellence, integrity and unity. Our mission is to champion healthy communities by providing affordable, compassionate and high-quality care through advancing comprehensive support services and person-centered best practices.

"We take pride in those values, and our mission, and try to live those every day. Our staff comes to work every day ready to serve the community with compassionate, affordable care. Your team is always your best asset, and we've created a culture in which we work as a team, trying to do the very best for each patient who walks in, and we pride ourselves on loving people without judgement."


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