Project Heart

Project Heart is a nonprofit organization that exists to fund the research needed to find lasting cures for all types of Congenital Heart Disease.

What We Do

We tell the world about CHD and work to build a public demand for more CHD research. We find unique ways to raise funds, often partnering with generous people just like you who want to play a part in defeating CHD. We use those funds to provide research grants, equipping the brightest researchers on the cutting edge of medical science to develop less invasive, more effective, and permanent treatment options for CHD. We truly see Project Heart as a project with a definite end in sight. And we won't stop until we put ourselves out of work by wiping out CHD once and for all.

Why It Matters

Life is precious. And we believe anyone born with CHD deserves a full and healthy life. One spent outside of the hospital, free from physical limitations. Currently, 1 in every 10 children with CHD die before reaching adulthood. Though there are some treatment options available, surgery is not a cure. We can defeat CHD, but we need you. Join hands -- and hearts -- with us.

Our Founders’ Story

Tyler and Erica Thayer founded Project Heart shortly after their first child, Calvin, was born with Tricuspid Atresia and Transposition of the Great Arteries. Together they lived much of the first six months of Calvin's life in a hospital. During this time, their eyes were opened to an entire world they never knew existed. They saw first-hand how CHD wreaks havoc on the lives of hundreds of thousands of families. They witnessed many children, including their own son, heroically endure multiple invasive surgeries and recover, but also several children tragically lose their lives. They discovered there is so much we don't know about CHD and that it receives so little funding. Their experiences during this time motivated them to call for a change—thus, Project Heart was born.

Meet Our Board

Tyler Thayer
Co-Founder & President

Tyler is originally a Nolensville native. After completing his undergraduate and Master's degrees in Architecture at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he and his wife Erica moved back home to Nolensville. Tyler didn't know anything about CHD until his son, Calvin, was born with a complex congenital heart defect. He now runs his own architecture design firm, Paradym Studio, and is acting President of Project Heart. He is passionate about promoting awareness and raising funding for CHD research.

Erica Thayer
Co-Founder & Vice President

Erica and her husband Tyler moved to the Nashville area from Knoxville in 2013. She is an Audiologist by trade, but became passionate about funding CHD research after her son, Calvin, was born with a complex congenital heart defect. Erica currently works part-time at Hearing Services of Franklin and volunteers her time fundraising, event planning, and as acting Vice President for Project Heart. She currently resides in Nolensville with her husband and their two children - Calvin, age 3, and Adelaide, age 1.

Meagan Hooper
Board Director

Meagan and her husband, Chris, reside north of Nashville in the Portland community. They have 3 children, Lily, Ava Grace, and Tyson. Meagan is a licensed teacher who is a homeschool mom and site director of an extended day program in Sumner county. She and her family became involved in the world of CHD after her son, Ty, was prenatally diagnosed with hypoplastic aortic arch, coarctation of the aorta, and an atrioventricular septal defect. Since his birth, Meagan and her family have pursued ways to make a positive impact on the heart community and raise funds for CHD research.

Brianna Shank
Board Director

Brianna is a Registered Nurse who obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Arizona State University in her home state of Arizona. After becoming a nurse over six years ago, she quickly found her passion in caring for children in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. When her and her husband Connor moved across country, to the Nashville area, she began working at Vanderbilt in the same unique specialty and cannot imagine doing anything else. She joined Project Heart because she has a deep desire to see the world of CHD research thrive and has the great honor of seeing its benefits in action within the medical setting.

Connor Shank
Board Director

Connor began his career in small business having started two successful companies before entering the world of Corporate America in Information Technology. He obtained his Bachelors of Science in Communication and speaks regularly at conferences and seminars in his field. Connor and his wife, who works in the pediatric cardiac nursing field, have been active in the CHD community for many years supporting families and organizations in Phoenix, AZ. He partnered with Project Heart almost two years ago after moving to Nashville, TN, and is passionate about seeing technology advance and contribute to incredible cures for children afflicted by CHD as well as increase awareness through public speaking about the need for CHD research.

Ruben Chavez
Board Director

As a part of Caterpillar Financial Services and previously Philips Healthcare, Ruben focuses on process improvement and efficiency on an international and multi-million dollar scale. Coupled with his educational background in science and previous work with non-profits, his experience focuses on ensuring Project Heart has an organizational foundation and strength that will provide scalability for regional growth and expansion into a greater national focus along with ensuring that Project Heart meets the expectations of today's conscious donors. Ruben and his wife, Andrea, live in Nashville with their spoiled dog, Bailey.

In-Kind Partnerships

Generously donates their time and resources to keep our accounting transparent and organized.
Discounted their services to design and rebuild our awesome website.
Donates photography and videography gear for all of out content creation endeavors.
Discounted their services to help us build a strong story brand.
Donates Colby Red Wine to all of our events.
Donates studio time so that we can create awesome videos and photos of our Heart Warriors!