Where We Were: In 2016, United Way of Greater Atlanta shared that half a million children in the Atlanta area live in communities with high levels of low child well-being. With the goal of improving child well-being, the Child Well-Being Mission Fund was created for the purpose of investing heavily on strategies that closely aligned with the Child Well-Being Index.

Where We Are: Since the creation of the fund, the regional child well-being score has improved the greatest in Clayton and DeKalb Counties and has improved overall from 58.9 to 61.8 – indicating an improvement in the well-being of more than 82,000 children; however, this increase is not enough. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the existing inequitable conditions many families face in our region.

Where We Are Going: United Way of Greater Atlanta aims to improve the lives of 250,000 children by 2027 through the adoption of a new investment strategy that is responsive to equity analyses and builds community capacity to ultimately bring about social change. This new investment strategy prioritizes comprehensive systems change over non-connected strategies that focus on individual and family behavioral change.

Grantmaking Foundations

Value Statement: Children and families living in low and very low child well-being communities have increased access to equitable, comprehensive, evidence-based systems of support and services. We are seeking proposals that:

  • Utilize an Equity Lens – meaning strategies that identify and attempt to rectify the factors in a community that foster unequal access to supports and resources that are necessary for children and families to thrive
  • Are Community-driven – meaning strategies that strengthen the overall capacity of a community through innovative and collaborative efforts that center community voice
  • Promote Two-generation Outcomes – meaning strategies that promote the well-being of children and their families through coordinated services and opportunities that work synergistically to improve the circumstances of the entire family
  • Utilize a collaborative approach – meaning that organizations form effective partnerships that create a network of supports and resources in order to improve their service delivery and create better outcomes for children and families

Diversity Policy: 

United Way of Greater Atlanta is committed to applying an equity lens in its reviewal and decision-making process regarding each funding request.

Approaches: Approaches provide the vehicle and foundational elements needed to bring about significant social change in the four investment priority areas. United Way of Greater Atlanta welcomes innovative ideas and strategies that incorporate the following:

  • Direct Services provide active supports, services and/or programming to individuals and families, designed to help the client, participant or person reach a specific goal or multiple goals.
  • Systems Change interventions are designed to fundamentally alter the components and structures of systems, such that policies, regulations, resource flows, and practices shift to align towards increasing Child Well-Being.
  • Capacity Building supports improvement and internal development work for organizations or collaborative entities to increase operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational effectiveness.

Investment Priority Areas

United Way of Greater Atlanta will focus resources on partners who are aligned to our grantmaking values, priorities and vision, and whose work fits within our four investment priority areas. The Investment Priority areas identify opportunities where investments in those areas are likely to yield the highest impact for improving the regional child well-being scores.

Strong Learners because meeting or exceeding 3rd-grade reading standards is one of the most important of the 14 child well-being measures.

GOAL: double the percentage of strong learners living in low CWB communities who are strong readers (20 to 40%).

Funding Strategies include:

  • Increase Access to Early Learning:Ensure more young children have quality learning experiences at home, at quality early childhood providers, and in the community.
  • Build Reading Skills:Expand literacy-focused resources at after school and summer enrichment programs while also engaging more community volunteers as tutors.
  • Increase Healthcare Navigation:Provide support for families to navigate untreated chronic health conditions, mental health challenges, and other family health issues that get in the way of school attendance.
  • Strengthen Family Engagement:Foster the natural leadership that parents have as their children’s first teacher, brain builder, advocate and coach.
  • Secure Housing & Basic Needs:Ensure children and their families have the food, shelter, transportation and technology that are fundamental to achieving educational outcomes, healthy lives and reaching economic stability.

College and Career Ready because if youth can graduate from high school ready for higher education and high-growth careers, they have a clear path to the middle class and the region’s prosperity.

GOAL: improve college and career readiness by 10% or for 15,000 youth in communities with low CWB.

Funding Strategies include:

  • Strengthen Academic Support:Improve academic outcomes by ensuring youth have quality after school and summer experiences that foster academic outcomes, leadership development and planning for future careers.
  • Expand Career Pathways:Create opportunities for youth to explore careers, build soft skills that employers prefer, and experience work while still in school - all with the goal of opening doors to high growth careers.
  • Increase College Planning:Provide tools and resources for youth and their families to navigate the complexities of selecting, applying to and funding post-secondary education.
  • Secure Housing & Basic Needs:Ensure children and their families have the food, shelter, transportation and technology that are fundamental to achieving educational outcomes, healthy lives and reaching economic stability.

Economic Stability because economic stability is the foundation for economic mobility. Without it, children have little chance of moving out of poverty.

GOAL: Improve family financial stability by 10%.

Funding strategies include:

  • Secure Housing & Basic Needs:Ensure children and their families have the food, shelter, transportation and technology that are fundamental to achieving educational outcomes, healthy lives and reaching economic stability.
  • Close the Skills Gap:Create easy access to job readiness programs, increase opportunities for hands-on work experience, and provide financial support to secure credentials in high demand careers for low-wage workers and opportunity youth.
  • Access to Childcare & Afterschool:Increase access to quality early learning and youth enrichment programs that are flexible, affordable and accommodate parents’ work and training schedules.
  • Build Wealth:Provide supports so that families build financial literacy skills, improve credit scores, access financial products and attain assets that create economic mobility for themselves and the next generation.
  • Manage Health:Provide access to health services so that individuals are better able to manage their health, work consistently and live independently.

Brighter Future because a zip code should not be the greatest predictor of future success.

GOAL: Construct a Brighter Future for 7,500 children living in three priority communities by improving Family Financial Stability by 15%; reducing student mobility by 25% and increasing academic achievement by 15%.

Funding Strategies include:

  • Strengthen Resident Leadership & Engagement:Increase leadership development opportunities for individuals, civic groups and community coalitions.
  • Community-Driven Innovation:Engage residents and local leaders in the innovation and redesign process of a neighborhood, in order to implement best practices in education, income, education, health, and housing.
  • Community Organizing & Civic Engagement:Strengthen skills of individuals and groups to participate in civic action, build broader coalitions, and advocate for improvements in their communities, which supports efforts that amplify the voice of residents.

Furthermore, priority will be given to proposals that include provisions for meeting the basic needs of residents. United Way of Greater Atlanta believes access to basic needs is fundamental and essential to improving overall child well-being and should be interwoven in the strategies of all proposals.

Basic needs include access to food, shelter, comprehensive healthcare, and transportation which is fundamental for children to learn and thrive.

Finally, United Way of Greater Atlanta believes collaboration is critical between public and private, non-profit, community-based, and government organizations to create the layered safety net needed in each community to ensure equal access is established for all programs. All requests for funding must demonstrate how collaboration and communication will be fostered or improved in communities as a way of sharing resources and connecting residents to available supports.


What We Will Fund:

  • Innovative initiatives that inspire systems change in targeted communities and that positively impact family and child well-being in one of the four investment priority areas
  • Direct services that offer specific, tailored programs to improve outcomes in our investment priority areas
  • Smart and thoughtful strategies that build the capacity of nonprofit organizations working in one of our four investment priority areas, or build the capacity of communities in place-based work

What We Won’t Fund:

  • Work with a focus that is outside of the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s service area
  • Capital Campaigns
  • Politically motivated efforts or lobbying
  • Initiatives that are not supported by data and evidence-based practices