04-30-2019 · Kids Home Initiative · Young Professional Leaders


Group is more than 1,600 members strong and growing

By Bradley Roberts

There’s a group of young adults working in the Atlanta area with a shared vision to make an impact in the lives of children in Greater Atlanta’s 13-county region.

The Young Professional Leaders affinity group is made up of people 40 and under. It’s a step-up from the LINC group, which is available to people age 22-30. Members of YPL give $500 or more a year to United Way of Greater Atlanta.

“This is a group of people that have varying backgrounds, and they come from different places around the world, but they come together hoping to make an impact by focusing on the Kids Home Initiative,” says Lauren Rock, director of Young Professional Engagement at United Way. “We have various levels of professionals—you see vice presidents and senior managers and a lot of different backgrounds. The big thing, though, is that you have people that want to talk about the issues.”

YPL has adopted the Kids Home Initiative as its primary focus. With Kids Home, children become the focus behind finding a solution to combat Greater Atlanta’s complex issues. Kids Home is a comprehensive solution helping children avoid or escape homelessness by assisting children and families have secure and successful futures. They do it by helping kids stay in school.

Through Kids Home, Rock can introduce YPL members to the Child Well-Being Agenda of United Way of Greater Atlanta.

United Way uses 14 different data-driven child, community and family measures to determine an overall “Child Well-Being” score for each zip code in our 13-county region. This helps United Way leverage your donations in order to maximize the impact and reverse the implications of the Child Well-Being score. By using the child as the lens, United Way can then identify the big picture needs of the community.

Rock says YPL has chosen “basic needs and homelessness as an umbrella” to work under. It’s an easy concept to introduce, she says. The issue is one you can see across the city, and it’s something members can get behind.

“You know that people have basic needs like having clothes, something to eat and a place to rest at night,” Rock said. “The Kids Home [relationship] came out of what most identifies with this group.”

That collective decision to focus on the Kids Home Initiative comes from the YPL board, which is the governing body of the group that is more than 1,600 members strong and continually growing.

Many of those members inquire online or through meetings or volunteer events at their office.

There are some great benefits of joining YPL.

The affinity group takes Greater Atlanta, and it gives you a smaller community of people that you’re on the same level with. Members can be open and clear with one another.

YPL meets regularly with potential members, and the members of the board sometimes assist in recruiting.

The group has several core events that happen each year, Rock says. There is the HoliDAY of Service —on Dec. 1, more than 200 volunteers at nine different sites across the Greater Atlanta Region made a difference in the lives of 300 children and families—personal and professional development events, spring mentoring mixer, which is a partnership with the Tocqueville Society, SaturDAY of Service and The Night for a Brighter Tomorrow Gala.

The YPL Gala will be May 3 at 8 p.m. on the Roof at Ponce City Market.

Rock says funds raised at the Gala goes to support Kids Home directly.

YPL has the benefit of having enough events geared around a common issue together, which makes it appealing to members. There’s an added benefit of networking and getting to know people across many different industries who have similar philosophies and passions as you.

“There are a lot of young professional groups in Atlanta, but what makes us unique is that we’ve got an umbrella view of the city and the city’s organizations,” Rock said. “We have the opportunity to connect you to people in various industries that you may not be able to otherwise.”

To learn more about YPL, click here.