Atlanta-based law firm was awarded Child Well-Being Impact Champion Award at annual State of the Children event
By Bradley Roberts
King & Spalding has had a longstanding partnership with United Way of Greater Atlanta. When the Atlanta-based law firm first learned the nonprofit had launched its Child Well-Being Movement in 2017, it was a no-brainer for them that they would give United Way complete support.
“We’ve supported United Way for a long time, and we’ve tried to be a good partner in a lot of ways—through the annual giving campaign, representation on different boards and committees, volunteer projects — we’ve tried to plug in a lot of different ways,” says Lauren Abbott, community affairs manager for King & Spalding. “Through that longstanding partnership, we understand and respect the level of expertise that [United Way has] as far as convening different stakeholders and being the expertise in the community.”
On May 9, King & Spalding was awarded the Child Well-Being Impact Champion Award at United Way of Greater Atlanta’s annual State of the Children event. The Impact Champion Award goes to organizations that provide significant support to the Child Well-Being Impact Fund.
King & Spalding and its employees are actively engaged in the work United Way is doing, and they understand the importance of setting up a child for his or her best opportunity for success.
United Way saw two years ago after its strategic planning meeting that the zip code a child lived in too often determined the fate of that child. United Way saw that children living a few miles away from each other don’t have the same experience.
While some children came to school rested, well fed and prepared for class, others lacked the same access to healthy foods, health care and other community resources.
United Way saw that, statistically, because of what zip code a child was born into, he or she was handed a disadvantage beyond their control. Through a set of 14 measures, United Way calculated at the time a child well-being score of 58.9.
On May 9, officials announced the score had improved in two years to 61.8. That equates to a change in the lives of more than 82,000 children in the region living in low or very low child well-being.
King & Spalding is the leading law firm contributor to United Way of Greater Atlanta and has been for 16 consecutive years. In 2018, King & Spalding raised more than $875,000 for United Way from 615 committed donors. The firm has raised more than $11 million since 2008.
King & Spalding’s commitment to United Way extends even beyond monetary donations, though. King & Spalding partner Meghan Magruder serves on the United Way board of directors, Abbott said.
She said the organization was moved by the data and research that was presented to them in 2017.
“It’s hard not to be on board [with the Child Well-Being Movement],” Abbott said. “We have a lot of personnel who are in different areas of the city— it’s Atlanta, everybody is scattered all over the place— and it made you realize there are these pockets of need in almost every community. It helps us visualize that, when you are giving to United Way of Greater Atlanta, you are giving to all of the counties.”
While everybody knows there’s a need that exists, Abbott said King & Spalding liked how United Way was able to zero in on a specific need and use a data-driven approach to make sure the work they are doing in the community makes the greatest impact where there is the greatest need.
“State of the Children was the first time we’ve seen the status update and the grand plans to move the needle, and that it has been working,” Abbott said. “It makes a difference to have those targeted efforts in certain areas. It’s encouraging to see the progress, and we’re trying to think about creative ways to share that moving into campaign.”
The law firm encourages its employees to give to campaign, and they always encourage them to be “as generous as possible,” Abbott said.
Personnel at King & Spalding are encouraged to be active partners to United Way throughout the year, not just during campaign. Last year, King & Spalding partnered with the United Way Volunteerism team to plan five community service events for lawyers and staff, and in June, as part of a firm-wide day of service, volunteers visited the Hughes Spalding Hospital in Atlanta to host a craft party for pediatric patients.
Additionally, they’ve completed care package, meal packing and literacy kit projects among many other community projects outside of United Way.
“The Child Well-Being Movement just clicks with us,” Abbott said. “Anything that is data driven, you are speaking our language and it’s something that we can connect to.
“Education, housing, hunger, no matter what motivates you to give, you can speak to all those things through the lens of supporting children in the community through United Way.”