ATLANTA, GA – United Way of Greater Atlanta announced today that the CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dr. Raphael Bostic, has been appointed as the 2021-22 Board Chair. Dr. Bostic has been on United Way of Greater Atlanta Board for two years and he will now be joined by four new Board members, including Dr. Lisa Herring, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools; Chloe Barzey, Managing Director of Accenture; and Sarah Clamp, a partner at EY, and Jessica Corley, a partner at King & Spalding. United Way of Greater Atlanta engages and brings together people and resources to drive sustainable and equitable improvements in the well-being of children, families, and individuals in the community.

“At the Atlanta Fed, we recognize the importance of making the economy work for everyone, and our work in this area aligns with the efforts of the United Way of Greater Atlanta to help reduce inequity and bring about a more inclusive economy,” says Dr. Bostic. “As the new board chair, I am very excited to have four new directors who bring a diverse set of skills, experiences, and perspectives. Their addition to our team will allow us to accelerate progress towards our strategic goal of improving the well-being of children and families across the region.”

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s vision for Greater Atlanta is a thriving and inclusive community where every person, regardless of race, identity or circumstances, has equitable opportunities to live a healthy life and to acquire the education and skills they need to earn a sustaining wage so that they may achieve their full potential. The organization’s Child Well-Being Agenda concentrates on the direct correlation between child well-being and thriving communities. While there are many groups doing excellent work, there are gaps in resources in areas of low child well-being, and insufficient alignment among services and resources to drive sustainable change. By providing the necessary attention to resource gaps, and building partnerships in each community, United Way is looking to improve the long-term outlook of the region.

“Education is the greatest equalizer and I believe in the inner strength, power, and talent of all children. Success does not rest on where we begin in life but how each of us maximizes our talents and pursues our purpose. The concept is critical in serving, supporting and educating children and future leaders,” says Dr. Lisa Herring, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. “I’m proud to join United Way of Greater Atlanta’s board to provide insights and expertise to move the organization’s mission forward and to create and equitable future for all.”

New additions to United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Board of Directors are:

United Way of Greater Atlanta serves 13 counties in the Greater Atlanta area: Butts, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale. Of the more than 1.3 million children living Greater Atlanta’s 13-county region, close to a half a million live in communities with low or very low child well-being.

About United Way of Greater Atlanta

United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way in the nation, engages and brings together people and resources to drive sustainable and equitable improvements in the well-being of children, families, and individuals in the community. We have improved the lives of 82,000 children, but together, we can do MORE. The organization unites with more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Mission Fund to create an equitable future for all. Let’s do MORE, together. Unite for MORE today! For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

ATLANTA – June 10, 2021 – As our region continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a critical need for investments that broaden access to vaccines for communities that do not have equitable opportunities to receive them. Education to address vaccine hesitancy, especially among immigrant and minority communities, is also a priority to ensure maximum vaccination levels across the metro area.

To make vaccine access more equitable, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta have committed $1.125 million in grants to 23 organizations addressing these challenges. Grants will be administered as the ninth and final round of grants made possible through the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This round of funding, which is focused on moving our region forward from emergency response to recovery, also includes four grants totaling $550,000 to bolster capacity for nonprofits and nonprofit leaders; 15 grants totaling $1 million to nonprofits focused on comprehensive summer learning opportunities including social emotional supports and to address the digital divide; and 13 grants totaling $650,000 to organizations leading on policy and advocacy, for a total of $3.325 million awarded in this round.

In the initial stages of vaccine roll out in Georgia, as few as 7% of the Latinx population and 16% of the Black population were receiving vaccines compared to 24% in the white population and 33% in the Asian population. In response, the Community Foundation partnered with the Metro Atlanta Chamber to convene leaders from across the region to focus on access to, and education about, the vaccine with a goal of reaching an 80% vaccination rate in the region by July 4. This work informed the latest round of grants to nonprofits that are well positioned to move rapidly and have direct, immediate impact in targeted communities. Grant recipients range from those working broadly across the region to those focusing their efforts on a specific language-speaking population or zip code. All grant recipients are detailed below.

“Since the launch of the COVID-19 Fund in March 2020, its aim was to be nimble and pivot as needed to respond to the most critical need at a given time,” said Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “From its initial days funding immediate needs including food access for neighbors in need and childcare for first responders, the Fund’s later rounds focused on changing priorities, including technology for remote learning for students, housing and mental health. This final round of grants focuses on initial steps from response toward recovery and today’s most pressing need, ensuring that our region’s rate of vaccinations improves so that we can truly begin to move forward and return to some sense of normalcy.”

With the COVID-19 grant cycles now complete, moving forward, the Community Foundation and United Way will continue to partner in place-based work to address the needs that COVID-19 exacerbated in our region, especially the racial inequities that emerged in areas ranging from healthcare outcomes to access to essential resources.

“The fact that we pulled together the COVID-19 Fund, secured financial commitments from individuals, corporate partners and private foundations, and made our first grants in a matter of days last March is a testament to the power of partnership,” said Milton Little, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “Now, moving forward, we will work in partnership with our community to develop and deepen place-based strategies that engage local stakeholders, aiming to address the root causes of the challenges that COVID-19 laid bare on our region.”

A grand total of $28.2 million from the COVID-19 Fund has been mobilized to benefit 478 nonprofits in its nine funding cycles. Today’s announced grants, as well as those made in the earlier rounds, are listed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website.

Grants for vaccination access and education were prioritized to organizations that are predominantly led by Black and Latinx people as representatives of communities that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in our communities. These organizations work across a variety of social and economic issues that are critical to recovery for the region and are explicitly working toward improving the lives of people of color, including immigrant and refugee communities.

 

  1. 100 Black Men of Atlanta: $42,500 for the design, coordination, and execution of vaccination efforts on the West Side/Vine Cities communities within zip code 30318.
  2. Amani Women Center: $28,500 for the design, coordination, and execution of vaccine awareness/education campaigns in African-specific languages.
  3. Black Child Development Institute (BCDI) – Atlanta: $50,000 to expand testing/vaccine access and outreach efforts for faith-based partners within Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties.
  4. Center for Pan-Asian Community Services: $50,000 to expand vaccine accessibility to communities served in DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.
  5. Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc.: $25,000 to expand COVID-19 testing/vaccination awareness and outreach efforts in metro Atlanta.
  6. CORE: $250,000 to operate COVID-19 mobile vaccination units.
  7. CovidCareGA: $20,000 for COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the metro-Atlanta region.
  8. The Family Health Centers of Georgia: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts throughout metro Atlanta.
  9. Feminist Women’s Health Center: $25,000 for COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
  10. Georgia Charitable Care Network: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts at charitable clinics in metro Atlanta
  11. Good News Clinics: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts in Hall county.
  12. Hispanic Alliance GA: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts to improve accessibility in Barrow, Forsyth, Gwinnett and Hall counties.
  13. Interfaith Youth Core: $25,000 for COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts in metro-Atlanta.
  14. Latin American Association: $25,000 for COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts of the Latinx community in metro-Atlanta.
  15. Latino Community Fund: $100,000 for the design, coordination and support of vaccination efforts within Latinx communities.
  16. Los Niños Primero (Children First): $50,000 for COVID-19 vaccination efforts and outreach in the Latinx community.
  17. The Nett Church: $12,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts.
  18. Refugee Women’s Network, Inc.: $28,500 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts in refugee and immigrant communities within Clarkston.
  19. Ser Familia, Inc.: $50,000 for COVID-19 vaccination efforts and outreach in the Latinx community.
  20. Southside Medical Center: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts throughout metro Atlanta.
  21. The Twenty Pearls Foundation, Inc.: $33,500 for expanding COVID-19 testing/vaccine access, education and awareness in South Fulton communities.
  22. Unidos Latino Association, Inc.: $35,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts and outreach in Newton and Rockdale counties.
  23. VOX ATL (aka VOX Teen Communications): $25,000 for COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts focused on youth vaccination in the metro-Atlanta region.

Capacity building enables nonprofit leaders and organizations to develop the skills and resources they need to strengthen their work. These capacity building investments were responsive to the current COVID-19 landscape. Grants awarded to build capacity for nonprofits include:

  1. Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement: $150,000 to provide capacity building resources for the development of a coordinated care system.
  2. Center for Civic Innovation: $100,000 for a self-care/mental health fund and accompanying programming to support Women of Color community leaders and entrepreneurs.
  3. Georgia Center for Nonprofits: $125,000 to lead 30 Resiliency to Recovery Strategy and Roadmaps program grantees through GCN’s Resilience to Recovery Cohort, including expanded training and $2,500 stipends per organization.
  4. Latino Community Fund: $175,000 to provide capacity-building resources to Latinx-led and Latinx-serving organizations.

The pandemic has set back learning for students in our region and access to summer learning programs is critical to addressing further learning loss. Grants awarded for education include:

  1. 21st Century Leaders: $45,000 for a summer learning program, which will enhance STEM leadership development skills as well as address digital divide for youth in metro Atlanta.
  2. Agape Youth and Family Center: $100,000 for summer learning programs, including work to close the digital divide, in the city of Atlanta.
  3. Atlanta CARES Mentoring Movement: $75,000 for summer learning opportunities that focus on literacy and STEM while addressing the mental health and well-being challenges related to the COVID-19 disruption of the learning environment that is impacting metro Atlanta students.
  4. Center for Pan-Asian Community Services: $100,000for summer learning programs and technology needs for students.
  5. Community Guilds (STE(A)M Truck): $30,000 for STEAM summer learning programs in Clayton county and the Westside of Atlanta
  6. Community Teen Coalition: $40,000 for a six-week summer program simulating a college-going experience.
  7. Corners Outreach: $50,000 for summer programing serving children and teens at three locations.
  8. Fugees Family: $50,000 for the Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School that provides intensive summer support in DeKalb county.
  9. Inspiredu: $100,000 to address the digital divide for students across five metro districts.
  10. LaAmistad: $100,000 for the summer learning program, including work to close the digital divide, serving the Latinx community in metro Atlanta.
  11. Latin American Association: $100,000 for the Latino Youth Leadership Academy and Summer Academic Enrichment Program.
  12. Los Niños Primeros: $50,000 for a virtual summer learning program with a primary focus on children who are immigrants and/or Hispanic or Latinx focused on academics, language acquisition and the arts.
  13. Odyssey: $40,000 for a summer learning program with a focus on communities south of I-20.
  14. SEM Link: $20,000 for a STEM summer learning program in South Fulton and the City of Atlanta.
  15. Raising Expectations: $100,000 for summer learning programs in the Westside of Atlanta.

 

Now more than ever, supporting a strong civic ecosystem that includes policy and advocacy partners is essential for the recovery of the metro Atlanta region. Grants awarded for public policy and advocacy include:

  1. Asian Americans Advancing Justice: $50,000 to increase equitable access to COVID-related information, targeting AAPI, immigrant and other communities of color.
  2. Equity Foundation of Georgia: $50,000 to continue efforts to engage LGBTQ people within their local communities.
  3. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute: $50,000 to improve communities throughout Georgia through policy efforts.
  4. Georgia Coalition of the People’s Agenda: $50,000 to increase civic engagement around issues like health, economic and education equity and power mapping.
  5. Georgia Muslim Voter Project: $50,000 for policy and advocacy building in Muslim communities.
  6. Georgia Shift: $50,000 to increase access to civic participation through voting access, education and advocacy.
  7. Georgia STAND-UP: $50,000 for civic engagement and mobilization for communities of color.
  8. New Georgia Project: $50,000 for civic engagement and mobilization for communities of color.
  9. Project South: $50,000 for policy and coalition building to improve access to resources for COVID-19 relief.
  10. Solutions Not Punishment : $50,000 for the completion of the data gathering project, “A Safe Atlanta” to recommend and provide alternatives to policing  in the City of Atlanta.
  11. The Arc: $50,000 for the Grassroots Connectors program that builds trust in rural areas of the state where information and resources for communities and people with disabilities is scarce.
  12. Women Engaged: $50,000 to build power and provide leadership development targeted toward Millennial and Gen Z Black women.
  13. Women on the Rise: $50,000 for civic engagement and organizing work targeting Black women, LGBTQ, gender non-conforming and women with disabilities

 

About United Way of Greater Atlanta

United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way in the nation, focuses on ensuring that every child in Atlanta has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. The organization invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Impact Fund and works to help children succeed in school, improve financial stability of families, provide affordable and accessible healthcare and end homelessness. For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contact:

Chad Parker, 404.358.5055
cparker@unitedwayatlanta.org

Laura Salvatore Adams is passionate about public health work. But, more recently, she’s seen how the importance a community places on the health of its citizens can impact a family’s ability to grow its wealth.

Adams is one of many United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Young Professional Leaders who volunteered in the LINC and YPL affinity group’s Child Well-Being Hackathon on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“I think, typically, hackathons are a half day, full of events, and with our hackathon we wanted to sort of replicate what you see in the business world,” Adams, a YPL board member, says. “We wanted to bring together multiple organizations and have them solve some sort of problem in a short time frame.”

 Lauren Rock, Director of Individual Engagement in the Office of Development for United Way, says this hackathon was an “evolution of United Way’s historical MLK Weekend event” called the Day of Innovation, which was first hosted by United Way with LINC members about six years ago.

The event has evolved over time and the format changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it allowed LINC and YPL to host a unique skill-based volunteer opportunity.

“This year they are focused on introducing young professionals to United Way’s Investment Priorities, and a more expanded representation of organizations that share in their commitment to Child Well-Being,” Rock says. “On Jan. 18, we were joined by: Atlanta CARES, Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency, Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, Everybody Wins Atlanta, Sneaker Ball Atlanta’s FEATS and InspirEDU.”

These organizations were selected based on a set of criteria that amplified youth voices, created digital access to literacy tools and increased equitable outcomes for communities impacted by structural racism, Rock says.

An event participant said the event was ‘a very fulfilling experience, much better than dropping off goods at the office.”

“For an event that typically lasts a half day and that has overwhelming success in person, we knew that the limitations of the virtual world might impact the overall experience,” Rock says. “Fortunately, the feedback has blown us away and encouraged us to begin planning our next hackathon.”

Adams moved to Atlanta from Topeka, Kansas for school—but Atlanta’s been her home for the past six or seven years, she says. It’s no longer just “a stop along the way,” but where she has settled and set roots for her family. The Emory University graduate has a master’s in public health with a focus in health policy and management. But the hackathon work on MLK Day centered around the issue of economic stability, she says.

“Partner organizations came into the hackathon with a challenge they needed help with,” she says. “I partnered with the Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency, and what they were doing had to do with their overall strategy and branding from where they are now compared to where they want to go.”

Making sure families are financially stable starts with making sure a family remains healthy, Adams says.

“What brought me to volunteer more with United Way at first is public health, but as I’ve gotten more involved, it becomes apparent that a part of public health is economic stability,” she says. “It’s hard to pay attention to public health when you aren’t [financially stable].”

United Way of Greater Atlanta has recently aligned its work to invest in four priority areas to improve the well-being of children, families and their communities across Greater Atlanta. United, we can make sure children grow up as strong learners who are college and career ready—we can make sure families that are economically stable are set up for the best possible success for the future.

United Way’s economic stability work focuses on improving job skills while addressing factors like housing, financial education and health costs, which helps ensure families convert an increase in income to sustained wealth—that last point is what grabbed Adams’ attention.

“That’s what I’m most interested in these days. It seems crucial to providing long-term sustainable change in these communities,” she says. “I feel like all of the investment priorities United Way has I align with.

“I just want to bring whatever skillset I have to make those things happen. Being a [YPL] board member, it’s not just about our ideas, but how we can execute more of what United Way wants to do. We are really passionate about this work.”

If you are passionate about giving back to your community, join the LINC and Young Professional Leaders affinity group.

Editor’s Note: This story’s featured image is from Housing Justice League’s Facebook page. 

 

Atlanta is a community full of champions—people who work each day to improve the quality of life for every single person in that community.

Greater Atlanta needs even more champions, though, if we’re going to change our standing as the “Capital of Inequality” in America—a title we’ve carried for the second-straight year.

But first, in order to do that, we have to address the facts. Today, news and researchers have brought to light the facts around racial wealth disparities that exist and have for some time.

White families have substantially more wealth than Black families.

According to a report from the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, the median household income in Atlanta for white families is $83,722 compared to $28,105 for Black families.

The average African American-owned business is valued at roughly $58,000. Whereas the average white-owned business is valued at $658,000.

Homeownership can be another key component of wealth building, and we see the same trend here. After rebuilding from the 2008 recession, in Greater Atlanta about 70 percent of white families are homeowners compared to 46 percent of Black families.

It’s a trend not only here in Atlanta and in the South, but across the United States.

These disparities arise from a system steeped in racism and founded upon it. Families living in neighboring zip codes don’t have the same opportunities as those just down the road.

Think of your community as a forest of trees—they represent our health system, education system, financial system and even our housing system.

While a tree may appear healthy, sometimes it takes looking beneath its surface and examining its roots and groundwater to find that it’s a root system in decay.

Our community, similarly to this forest, can only thrive from the ground up, and it becomes our challenge to address the unseen ideologies—the groundwater— that feed policies and investments into the roots of our communities. The groundwater that should provide essential nutrition and make a system strong is tainted by systemic racism.

 

Weather the storm

 

Housing policies from the 1940s determined where banks, developers and government would or would not invest in Atlanta. Neighborhoods that were predominantly Black were marked as not eligible or worthy of investment. They were outlined on maps and ultimately this practice was called “redlining.”

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well-Being Map shows that despite the fact discriminatory redlining practices officially ended in 1967, the disinvestment and its after-affects continue. Black and Brown Atlantans have suffered despite their individual efforts. Home values, education investments and opportunities to accumulate wealth were limited.

We need champions to call out these problems—champions like Alison Johnson.

Alison is the executive director of Housing Justice League, a community-led grassroots organization. Housing Justice League’s mission is to work with tenants and renters to stimulate their power and drive positive impact in organizing for fair housing and tenant rights.

Housing Justice League also uses this position to provide education and support to tenants and renters while informing policy that can help reverse this inequity in housing.

Alison said in a Housing Justice Webinar hosted by Black Futures Lab that she was “born and raised” in the community of Peoplestown in Atlanta. She’s lived there all of her life, “leading the fight to mitigate the harm” caused by issues around redlining.

While she lives in Peoplestown, her family’s journey began with her grandfather in the old Atlanta community of Buttermilk Bottoms. She said her grandfather worked as a chef in a neighboring community, but Buttermilk Bottoms was where he would come home after those long days at work. She said the family was forced out of his community after the city’s “urban renewal” program came in to “clear away the slums.” They moved to what is now Old Fourth Ward, and after settling there, they were once again forced out of the community with the building of a new highway system.

The family moved then to Summerhill. This was where her parents met and married, her father a city employee and mother a stay-at-home mom who was a community volunteer that spent much of her time caring for Alison and her sister, who was deaf. Her mother and father were forced out of a rental home once again and into the Peoplestown community. It took several years, Alison said, for her family to finally secure homeownership.

It wasn’t much, but they “made it a home.”

So, Alison continues to be champion for those in Atlanta with similar stories, displaced by longstanding racist systems. She has become a champion to fight and mitigate the harm and displacement so many renters face.

“I want to make sure people who are living in these communities know exactly how important family is and how grateful we are for our culture…and how many storms we’ve been able to weather in order to remain and sustain in the communities where we are living,” she said in the video.

 

Address Groundwater Problems

 

In order to create the thriving community we aspire to—to create a housing system that can thrive—we must address the groundwater problems. We must end systemic racism and invest in solutions that address these root causes.

Homeownership in Atlanta has created this gap that has widened between white families and Black families. Private banking policies and national policies have created obstacles for Black families.

By not addressing these racial gaps, it has cost the United States $16 trillion.

United Way of Greater Atlanta announced the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund in July 2020 to tackle the systemic issues underlying the correlation between race and zip codes, place and equity. Others were taking on this challenge, too, but it was time to unite and heal together.

This is why United Way has partnered with and reached out to organizations involved in work addressing these housing gaps—organizations like Housing Justice League.

Do you want to become a champion for your community? Join United Way as we work to create a more just, equitable and inclusive Greater Atlanta. Donate today to the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund.

As a young professional in the working world, the biggest challenge I faced was learning how to create meaning outside of my career. College offers endless opportunities to get involved in the community through organizations and university sponsored events, but the professional world is much more fragmented and the opportunities are much harder to come by, especially when moving to a new city. LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.) gives individuals aged 22-30 the opportunity to experience a centralized community of people hungry to get involved.

Through involvement in the community, young professionals develop leadership, communication and organizations skills that prove to be invaluable in the workplace. In addition, the network of LINC members goes beyond our city to over 20 other markets, providing ample opportunities to expand your personal network and surround yourself with people who will push you in a positive direction. The most important way to build a purpose filled life is by getting involved with the community now. While it may seem like balancing a career and getting involved with the community can be a challenge, we are here to show you how.

Together, we have created an organization of individuals who are actively engaging in philanthropy, advocacy, volunteerism and leadership in the Atlanta community. United Way’s extensive network and ties to the community provide a tremendous opportunity to learn about where the greatest needs are in the Atlanta community. And it doesn’t stop here – many members further expand their involvement with United Way’s partner organizations outside of their LINC involvement. The opportunities for growth are endless, and LINC gives each individual the network and exposure to understand the needs of our community and make a difference.

When LINC was formed back in 2015, we were encouraged as a network to just “do good” stuff. We convened for happy hours and volunteering. What we have realized? That is not enough. To truly be involved now we need a new commitment to our members and city: to Show Up United. We have to take the lessons shared by the leaders that positively influenced our history, couple it with our innovative skills and talent to support action and education. LINC Atlanta is committed to providing those opportunities to you—our members and partners.

As United Way’s Child Well-Being reframes their work into four priorities: Strong Learners, Economic Stability, Brighter Futures, and College and Career Ready, LINC will focus on creating activities that promote action and education around one of these investment priorities each quarter. We encourage all LINC members and your networks to participate in these experiences, share your ideas by joining a committee, and helping us increase our impact through service.

Our first priority area will be Strong Learners focused on improving third-grade reading levels and overall educational outcomes in Atlanta-based communities with low Child Well-Being scores. Take five minutes to read more about this priority area, and then follow us on Instagram and join our Slack channel to stay in the know!

Mitch Hogan

2020-2021 LINC Atlanta Vice Chair

 

Want to connect with Mitch? Message him at linc@unitedwayatlanta.org.

YPL was founded in 2010 as a place where Greater Atlanta’s growing population of young professionals could come together and actively engage in philanthropy, advocacy, volunteerism, and leadership in our community. In 2020, YPL celebrates our 10th year of service and over the past 10 years, we have seen our annual service hours grow from less than 500 hours per year to over 1,500 hours per year and seen annual funds raised exceed $2.5 million.

While YPL has been historically aligned to the United Way Child Well-Being cause by focusing primarily on the United Way Kid’s Home Initiative, as we look ahead to our next ten years of service, the YPL Board Leadership team is excited to announce that we will be taking a more strategic approach to progressing child well-being by aligning to United Way’s new Child Well-Being Investment Priorities. These investment priorities establish a collective vision and shared agenda with unified measures of achievement, strategies for attaining success, and an established evaluation process.

The four Child Well-Being priority areas include: Strong Learners, Economic Stability, Brighter Future, and College and Career Ready. Each quarter, YPL will focus our philanthropy, advocacy, and volunteering efforts around one of these investment priorities. We welcome YPL members and guests to engage in upcoming quarterly events and activities aligned to each of these priority areas to increase child well-being in our community. Our first priority area will be Strong Learners focused on improving third-grade reading levels and overall educational outcomes in Atlanta-based communities with low child well-being scores.

Click on the links below to learn more about each of United Way’s investment priority areas and join us for upcoming events and activities to support each of these priorities over the next year.

Strong Learners – August, September, October
Economic Stability – November, December, January
Brighter Future – February, March
College & Career Ready – April, May, June

To learn more, join us for our first virtual social and game night of the year on August 27th. See you there!

Brandi Wyche
2020-2021 Young Professional Leaders Chair

Want to connect with Brandi? Message her at ypl@unitedwayatlanta.org.

ATLANTA – Nearly 500,000 children in Greater Atlanta live in communities that lack the basic opportunities and resources that all children and families need to thrive. These communities are in zip codes where the majority of residents are people of color. These are also communities where COVID-19 hit hardest, exposing the health and economic disparities resulting from years of disinvestment and structural racism. The current spotlight on these disparities and recent civil unrest has created new momentum to address racial inequities and an opportunity to convert the moment into a turning point for advancing deep and widescale changes.

In response, United Way of Greater Atlanta has created the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund to tackle the systemic issues underlying the correlation between race and zip codes, place and equity.

“The urgency for racial equity embedded in this historic moment requires innovative strategies coupled with courageous action,” said Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer for the Partnership for Southern Equity. “The establishment of the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund adds significant momentum towards the realization of a more just and inclusive Greater Atlanta. The journey towards racial equity for current and future generations is a difficult path to follow. It is encouraging to witness United Way’s decision to choose a path seldom taken by our local civic leadership. I encourage others to choose this pilgrimage with us.”

United Way’s Board of community volunteers made the decision to match the first $1 million in donations to the fund to demonstrate their strong belief in the importance of its charter and its consistency with United Way’s Child Well-Being mission: to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential.

Since 2016, United Way of Greater Atlanta has been laser focused on addressing the reasons why Greater Atlanta sits at the bottom of the list of U.S. cities in terms of opportunity for social and economic mobility. A 2019 Bloomberg report named Atlanta “the capital of U.S. inequality” for the second year in a row. “Zip code should not be destiny,” has been a guiding force for the organization’s homelessness, human trafficking, early learning, and workforce development priorities.

“The correlation between race, zip codes and its effect on child well-being makes it critical for United Way to address place and racial equity strategically,” said Katrina D. Mitchell, Chief Community Impact Officer at United Way of Greater Atlanta. “The decisions and actions we make today will significantly shape the future. It is our vision that this fund will invest in structural solutions to catalyze effective, long-lasting change, address the root causes of racial inequity and prioritize hope, healing, and care during an unprecedented time.”

Funds will be invested in organizations in Greater Atlanta that are primarily focused on racial inequity challenges in their communities and on a regional level. Priority will be given to organizations:

  • Led by (executive leadership, staff, board) and focused on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities most directly impacted by structural racism
  • That are leading policy and advocacy efforts that intersect with on-the-ground civic engagement that is focused on people of color
  • That prioritize youth voices and take a multi-generational approach
  • Working on or adjacent to Racial Justice Efforts

 

Fund investments will be guided by an advisory committee and will utilize a racial equity impact analysis to aid in grant decisions.

Raphael Bostic, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (FRBA), and United Way of Greater Atlanta Board member, is a key supporter of the new fund and its timeliness. As Bostic said in an essay for a recent FRBA report, “Systemic racism is a yoke that drags on the American economy. By limiting economic and educational opportunities for a large number of Americans, institutionalized racism constrains this country’s economic potential. This country has both a moral and economic imperative to end these unjust and destructive practices.”

To donate to the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund, click here.

About United Way of Greater Atlanta

United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way chapter in the nation, focuses on ensuring that every child in Greater Atlanta has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. The organization invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Impact Fund and works to help children succeed in school, improve financial stability of families, provide affordable and accessible healthcare and end homelessness. For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contacts:

For United Way United Way of Greater Atlanta

Chad Parker, 404.358.5055

cparker@unitedwayatlanta.org

 

 

 

ATLANTA – April 6, 2020 – In March, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta announced the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to direct funding to nonprofits on the front lines helping our region weather this unprecedented health and economic crisis.

Today, our organizations announce the Fund’s third round of grants, totaling nearly $4.6 million, to 27 organizations for emergency response. A grand total of more than $8.7 million from the Fund has been mobilized for nonprofits to date. Grants made in the earlier rounds are detailed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website

Today’s grant recipients, and grant amounts, are: 

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs ($250,000) Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE) provides economic development to underserved people and communities including women and minority business owners. COVID-19 poses an economic calamity for entrepreneurs in these populations who generally have lower margins and cash reserves. This grant will cover operating costs of ACE’s Emergency Loan Product, providing working capital micro loans of up to $50,000 for current ACE clients along with up to six months of principal and interest payment deferment and technical assistance for clients to apply and secure funding.

Atlanta Partners For Education (APS Foundation) ($280,000) Atlanta Partners For Education (APFE) has been the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Foundation for nearly 40 years, serving as the gateway through which the corporate and philanthropic communities support student achievement and develop strategic solutions to challenges that impact APS students and families. The grant will support COVID-19 specific programs in nutrition and technology, providing free meals for students and families and securing laptops and internet access for distance learning.

Fulton Education Foundation ($300,000) The Fulton Education Foundation takes a needs-based approach for students of Fulton County, especially those experiencing homelessness, in foster care or living in motels, who face challenges including food insecurity and access to health supports. The grant will contribute to the costs of housing, food, and therapy for 1,765 Fulton County students presenting the greatest needs – experiencing homelessness, living in foster care or living in motels and connectivity and devices for virtual learning for Fulton County students.

Gateway and Evolution Center ($150,000) Gateway Center (GWC) serves a critical role in providing services to the people experiencing homelessness as the entry point to City of Atlanta’s Continuum of Care, including shelter, access to showers and laundry facilities, information on the COVID-19 virus and its symptoms, safety precautions and knowledge of access testing. Due to stay-at-home orders and the closing of some community kitchens, GWC is now serving additional meals and seeing an expanded population of individuals needing services. This grant will allow the agency to continue to provide services to the homeless population residing in their shelter and additional personnel costs. Serving the homeless population is critical in our region’s effort to flatten the curve.

Goodr ($250,000) Goodr provides food for those in need and recognizes that school meals are the only source of nourishment for many underprivileged children. Even with school-based food pickup options for students, many parents are now out of work, do not have reliable access to transportation and have an increased need for food in their homes. With an uptick in requests, Goodr is working to support more families and senior homes to help them through this pandemic and has hired additional drivers to deliver groceries and ready-to-eat meals. The grant will cover 30 days of service to more than 100 families in the community.

Hearts to Nourish Hope ($150,000) Hearts to Nourish Hope was established in 1995 to meet the needs of high-risk populations in Clayton and Gwinnett counties in areas of education, workforce development, housing and essential needs. Grant funding will go toward housing support for families with children, senior citizens and those most vulnerable during this time. Specifically, funds will help provide housing and utilities with a focus in the Southern Crescent, an underserved part of the region.

Hosea Helps ($200,000) Hosea Helps (formerly Hosea Feed the Hungry) works with families in the City of Atlanta to prevent homelessness, address hunger in children and to ensure that individuals in poverty or at risk of poverty have financial resources and tools to become stable. Because of COVID-19, Hosea Helps has increased distribution of food and supplies while also assisting partner organizations. The grant will help cover the costs of purchasing food for box distribution to 19,000 individuals, rent/mortgage assistance for 65 individuals/families, and increased staffing and equipment costs to be able to serve additional individuals and families in need.

Housing Plus, Inc. ($125,000) Housing Plus, Inc. (HPI) is a comprehensive solution to homeless issues in the greater Atlanta area. Due to COVID-19, HPI has moved to digital platforms to address safety concerns while focusing on rapidly rehousing and providing basic needs support to individuals experiencing or fleeing from domestic violence and trafficking situations. All referrals come from a network of pro-bono law firms. Funding will support efforts to serve these vulnerable individuals and help to reduce the number of families who will be facing eviction and homelessness in the coming weeks.

International Rescue Committee in Atlanta ($150,000) International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides comprehensive case management support for refugee and immigrant populations throughout the greater Atlanta region. Staff has now transitioned to virtual service for clients. Due to travel restrictions, admission of refugees to the U.S. has been halted and IRC anticipates a reduction in federal funding. The grant will allow IRC to continue to provide resources including healthcare and employment benefits for immigrants and refugees.

LaAmistad, Inc. ($100,000) LaAmistad assists 300 Latino students and their families annually. Many students qualify for free/reduced lunch programs, and their parents largely work low-income jobs that are now being severely reduced. During the COVID-19 crisis, LaAmistad’s staff has had weekly calls with families served to determine specific needs for each, which include rent support, medical care and online tutoring. This grant will allow LaAmistad to provide approximately two weeks of emergency food supplies to the families it serves.

Mercy Care ($150,000) Established in 1985, Mercy Care provides compassionate, clinically excellent healthcare to those in need, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. Mercy Care is working with multiple partners and agencies to ensure the homeless community, especially the street-bound population, have access to the necessary health services to test and treat individuals with COVID-19. The grant will help cover the additional costs of Mercy Care’s expanded services and efforts to address COVID-19, including expanded telehealth services.

Meridian Educational Resource Group d/b/a Whitefoord, Inc. ($243,000) For 24 years Whitefoord has focused on ensuring children are healthy, safe and prepared for school through early childhood education and health services. Whitefoord’s two clinics have remained open to meet the basic health needs of the community, including offering COVID-19 testing as well as dental, mental health and physical health services. During the crisis Whitefoord has implemented phone-based screenings, telehealth capability and online education resources for families while school is closed. The grant will help fund the continuation of these services for Whitefoord’s population, more than 28% of whom are low income with increased need for social safety net programs.

Metropolitan Counseling Services ($90,000) Metropolitan Counseling Services provides affordable mental health services for the residents of Georgia. Prior to the crisis, more than 90% of the mental health services provided occurred through in-person individual and group interactions. Given the social distancing measures established, counseling has shifted to technology-based forms, which is difficult for both the clients and the therapists. This grant will support the increased cost for services, including supervisory consultation, staff training, client assistance and software enhancements.

Midwest Food Bank – Georgia ($50,000) Midwest Food Bank (MFB) works to alleviate hunger and malnutrition locally and throughout the world and provide disaster relief without discrimination. MFB currently serves more than 300 nonprofit organizations in the Southeast, 270 of those in the Atlanta area, serving nearly 155,000 individuals and families each month. The grant will help cover an anticipated 35 percent increase in food demand and distribution due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Nicholas House, Inc. ($75,000) Nicholas House, Inc. supports low-income families experiencing or at-risk of being homeless in metro Atlanta. Some individuals have mental health conditions or underlying conditions that increase their risk for COVID-19, such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and high blood pressure. The organization maintains a shelter and also provides rental assistance for clients living in apartments. This grant will help to cover the costs of food, sanitation supplies, emergency assistance to families facing eviction and expanded services to prevent homelessness for more families across the metro Atlanta region.

Norcross Cooperative Ministry, Inc. ($200,000) Norcross Cooperative Ministry is a coalition of churches that provide services to low-income and homeless families in their community. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the cooperative typically served 50 to 70 families per day. Today they have seen a 700 percent increase in families needing support, including past clients whose situations have worsened, new clients who are homeless or live in extended stay hotels and others with vulnerable housing situations. The grant will help to cover rent assistance, temporary lodging, and food for clients for the next 60 days.

North Fulton Community Charities($200,000) Since 1983, North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC) has addressed homelessness and hunger in North Fulton county, serving nearly 10,000 annually. Due to the current climate, NFCC has had to close their thrift store, their main source of revenue, while seeing a significant increase in need. NFCC is also seeing greater need among self-employed and small business owners. Grant funds will help support restocking food pantries and providing financial assistance to populations including single working mothers, custodial grandparents and immigrant families.

Open Doors Solutions, Inc. ($150,000) Open Doors Solutions works primarily with those transitioning from homelessness, many of whom are single parents with at least two children, into safe, affordable homes. Open Doors works with landlords and property management companies to help lower barriers to housing access. This grant will support current efforts to provide housing through a referral system and provide rental assistance, freeing up desperately needed capacity in the shelter pipeline.

Partnership Against Domestic Violence ($10,000) Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) was founded in 1977 to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empower its survivors. PADV is currently still offering shelter services and a 24-hours crisis line, providing safety planning, remote counseling and legal advocacy. This grant will assist those currently facing domestic violence issues via shelter services or emergency motel stays, to ensure housing security and protect children and vulnerable populations from high levels of abuse likely to happen during increasingly stressful periods.

Salvation Army ($200,000) The Salvation Army’s food pantries remain open with higher demands, and several locations have expanded pantry hours and transitioned to drive-through feeding programs as well as food delivery through mobile kitchens. The Salvation Army is currently serving approximately 1,300 families and 4,000 individuals per week, and expect this to increase. Demand has increased at their two shelters in Atlanta and in the rapid re-housing program in Gwinnett. The grant will support these services and the increase in rent/utility assistance requests from those that are impacted by job loss or reduced hours due to COVID-19.

Ser Familia ($100,000) Ser Familia is dedicated to strengthening Latino families through programs that support healthy family environments, as one of the only sources of counseling provided in Spanish in the state. Many of Ser Familia’s clients work in hospitality and construction, some of the first sectors to be impacted by furloughs and layoffs. Group counseling sessions (including domestic violence support groups) are now limited to 10 people per session, which has led to an increase in the number of sessions and increased staff hours. This grant will increase the organization’s capacity to continue providing no-cost mental health counseling in Spanish, as well as provide food, emergency assistance and transportation for people who have been denied services from other emergency assistance providers who require a state ID or social security number.

Sheltering Arms, Inc. ($250,000) Sheltering Arms serves vulnerable infants, children and their families throughout metropolitan Atlanta. This grant will help the organization respond to the on-going needs of Sheltering Arms’ families for support, including Family Support Coaches to help families navigate resources and systems; purchasing and distributing diapers, wipes, formula and other goods for the hygienic needs of families; continued learning, development and family engagement; and the development of a food pantry to ensure that families are able to access food during the crisis.

Southside Medical Center ($250,000) Southside serves more than 45,000 people annually, providing services on a sliding-scale fee. More than five percent of Southside’s patient population are served in a language other than English and more than 57 percent live on low income up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level. During this time, Southside Medical Center will continue to see patients when clinically necessary at 11 locations throughout metro Atlanta – with walk-in sites operating in Butts, Clayton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Fulton counties. Southside is maximizing the use of telemedicine services to lessen patient wait times in clinics, and to use directly with those who can (or should) shelter-in-place at home. Additionally, Southside is collaborating with state efforts around COVID-19 by utilizing its mobile medical unit to provide rapid response testing.

State Charter Schools Foundation of Georgia ($200,000) The State Charter Schools Foundation of Georgia provides support and funding to state charter schools throughout Georgia, including 18 schools located in the greater Atlanta community, who serve nearly 9,000 students. These schools are providing distance learning to students while they are closed and ensuring equitable access is crucial – the most critical needs are technology devices and internet access for low-income students and remote tutoring for at-risk students. The grant will allow the organization to purchase technology devices and pay for internet access for 1,341 low-income students and provide remote tutoring services for 905 high-risk students for six weeks.

Sweetwater Mission ($155,000) Sweetwater Mission provides food, clothing, education and support services to neighbors in need. It is distributing food in response to the crisis – each car receives  50 pounds of bread, eggs, meat, milk and additional items, and 60 pounds if there are children in the home. Sweetwater is providing food to an average of 85 families in need per day and grant funding will assist while need continues to increase as the effects of the virus are experienced.

Wellspring Living ($195,000) Wellspring Living supports domestic sex trafficking victims, and those at risk, with specialized recovery services through four residential programs, two community-based programs and graduate services. During the COVID-19 crisis Wellspring Living’s community programs are supporting participants virtually and residential programs remain in operation, requiring the need for hiring clinical support staff and providing personal protective equipment, as well as serving additional food due to increased requests and decreased donations. The grant will support Wellspring Living’s rapid response to these increased service needs as requests for their services continue to rise.  

Zion Hill Community Development Center ($125,000) Zion Hill Community Development Center seeks to promote revitalization and redevelopment of selected areas in metropolitan Atlanta and to empower citizens through economic, residential, social and educational programs. Zion Hill has adapted services from walk-in, face-to-face appointments to an online delivery system. Zion Hill will use grant funding to provide technology and online delivery service addressing transitional housing, rapid rehousing and utility support. In response to the pandemic, Zion Hill has also expanded its service areas from only South Fulton to include City of Atlanta and Clayton counties.

Grants from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund focus on immediate and critical needs to support those most vulnerable. United Way and Community Foundation staff, with the guidance of a volunteer steering committee comprised of leading individuals from civic, corporate and nonprofit sectors across the region, are identifying additional organizations currently providing or receiving requests for support. This includes working closely with the State of Georgia’s Coronavirus Task Force Committee for Homeless and Displaced Persons, and other state and federal supports that are to be issued in the coming days and weeks.

The Fund was announced March 17 with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta committing $1 million and United Way of Greater Atlanta contributing $500,000 to seed the Fund. As of today, commitments have been secured from  the Coca-Cola Company, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, each donated $5 million to the Fund in support. Other current funders include the City of Atlanta, Truist Foundation,The Goizueta Foundation and The Klump Family Foundation contributing $1 million each, the Sara Giles Moore Foundation and Regions Bank contributing $100,000 each, Wells Fargo and Global Payments contributing $250,000 each, The Primerica Foundation contributing $50,000, the Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and The Vasser Wooley Foundation, Inc. contributing $25,000, and $25,000 jointly from 11Alive and the TEGNA Foundation.

Individuals and families impacted and in need of support can contact United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2-1-1 Contact Center. Due to high call volumes, texting is the quickest way to get in touch with United Way 2-1-1. Text 211od to 898-211 to get a list of resources by zip code. The 2-1-1 database is another quick way to find resources during this time of increased call volume. 2-1-1 is a valuable resource that is available 24-hours and 7 days-a-week.

The need continues to rise as stories accumulate from across our neighborhoods. To donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, click here. Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis. Details on how nonprofit organizations can share their need will be released this week via the Community Foundation’s website, as well as a grant process specifically for arts organizations. The next round of grants will be announced mid April.

The Community Foundation will continue to update details for donors and nonprofits through its blog and via social media via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. To view updates from United Way of Greater Atlanta, click here or follow on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been leading and inspiring philanthropy to increase the vitality of our region and the well-being of all residents. With nearly 70 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation expands its philanthropic reach and impact by providing quality services to donors and bold, innovative community leadership. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation among 750 nationally, with approximately $1.2 billion in current assets, and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. For more information, visit: cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About United Way of Greater Atlanta
United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way chapter in the nation, focuses on ensuring that every child in Atlanta has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. The organization invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Impact Fund and works to help children succeed in school, improve financial stability of families, provide affordable and accessible healthcare and end homelessness. For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Media Contacts:
For United Way United Way of Greater Atlanta
Chad Parker, 404.358.5055
cparker@unitedwayatlanta.org

There are more than 25,000 children living in the five zip codes encompassing Fayette County, and while much of the county may celebrate success, we know there are still children in need. There are still kids who don’t have access to the same opportunities.

There are vast differences from zip code to zip code.

United Way of Greater Atlanta set out to map those differences in Fayette and the other 12 counties just over two years ago when it launched the Child Well-Being Movement. What United Way saw was that children growing up in one zip code didn’t have the same resources, social support or opportunities as those growing up a few miles from them. Through a set of 14 child, family and community measures, United Way calculated at the time a child well-being score for each individual zip code.

The region as a whole had the previous score of 58.9 — a failing grade. United Way found that about 500,000 children in Greater Atlanta lived in areas of low to very-low child well-being. This helped United Way form a single, shared agenda targeting low child well-being areas.

On May 9, United Way announced that the regional score had improved to 61.8 — that equates to a change in the lives of more than 82,000 children.

But, back to Fayette. Fayette County had a previous score of 82.2, and after the new data was released in May, that score actually decreased overall to 81.1. While still better than the region average, this still tells the story of nearly 6,000 children living in low child well-being communities — and there are disparities among Fayette County zip codes, with the lowest child well-being score of 69.4 in zip code 30214 and the highest of 84.5 in 30215.

There’s a story behind those numbers and behind those disparities.

United Way of Greater Atlanta and Fayette County Schools presented its Fayette State of the Children Community Conversation on Nov. 20 to give context to those stories.

Jennifer Young, regional director of United Way of Greater Atlanta in Fayette County, said there were notable improvements in high school graduation and an increase in people enrolled in post-secondary education, but there was also an increase in children in poverty.

In the 30214-zip code, Young says the Child Well-Being Score had dropped 3.1 points. She said there were improvements in high school graduation rates, improvement in college and career readiness and a decline in unemployment. But there was also an increase in children in poverty and families not financially stable.

In the neighboring 30215 zip code, the score improved to 84.5 in two years, Young says, which was an increase by 2.8 percent.

She said a reason for the drop in overall child well-being for Fayette County could largely be attributed to the change in standardized testing, which dramatically impacted third-grade reading scores and child well-being scores.

“When we talk about the data and everything behind the data, these are great points, but there are stories behind it,” Young says. “When you have access to early learning programs, we know they will have cognitive, social and behavioral skills. The access to early education is essential.”

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Barrow agreed with Young.

“One of the things I’ll say all the time [to his staff] is, ‘In God we trust, and everybody else we expect to see data,’” Barrow said with a laugh. “We dig down into it and drill down so we can better understand… It’s not just about the data, but we need to be able to interpret the data.”

Barrow says that “poverty is the beast that really impacts us all.” He said that poverty in the community can directly affect the well-being of students in schools. Barrow sat on a five-member panel with four other community leaders to discuss how they are powering the Child Well-Being Movement in Fayette County.

Colin Martin, president and CEO of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, says that the overall Child Well-Being of Fayette impacts the business community in addition to its schools.

“When we talk about Child Well-Being and how it impacts businesses, one short-term perspective is that all of our businesses have employees that are parents, and if those parents have to worry about, ‘Is my child fed?’ Then they are less likely to be productive employees.”

The county needs to be able to “create a climate” where businesses should be successful and nonprofit providers can provide assistance, Charles Rousseau says.

Rousseau is the District 4 commissioner for Fayette County. He says the county is currently doing well, but he said to use that success as a springboard to continue the work in the county.

Barrow said the discrepancies in Child Well-Being in neighboring zip codes was a “brutal reality” that the community needed to confront.

“One of the things we have to do as individuals and businesses and entities is you have to confront the brutal realities,” Barrow says. “One of the things we have to do is talk. We have certain schools within this zip code that may not be performing as well as other schools. That’s an issue of equity.”

But Fayette County Public Schools isn’t “short-changing anybody,” he says.

“We realize some schools may be more impacted by poverty, and we need more resources to overcome those barriers,” Barrow says. “Partnerships are critically important to what we can do as a group.”

Kim Schnoes, a financial planner and community advocate, agreed these partnerships were crucial. Schnoes is active in her community serving on a number of local boards. She stressed the importance of giving to organizations like United Way.

“I think it boils down to wanting to be able to bring out the best assets and best around us from the community,” she says. “We know this community is great, but we don’t want to rest there.”

Dawn C. Oparah, executive director of Fayette FACTOR, says one of the ways to improve the community is to speak up. She said it was important to continue this same type of dialogue within the community beyond just those in the room.

“The threat to [Fayette’s] Child Well-Being is not having the knowledge,” Oparah says. “When people don’t know, we can’t do. If you have the knowledge and the willingness, then we’ll continue to thrive as a community.”

Conversations like the on Nov. 20 are what help a community overcome its problems, Barrow says. He said it’s easy to point out those issues, but it takes more than that to address them. He said this type of work only happens through collaboration and partnerships with organizations like United Way.

“We can maintain the level of quality of life and even bump it up,” Barrow says. “I think we have the opportunity to have a world-class community, but it takes people working together and checking our ego at the door.”

#WhyWednesday: Nargis Aniston Hansen

Nargis Aniston Hansen is a travel manager for Mediacom 24-7 LTD at Pinewood Studios and a member of our Fayette Co. advisory board. Today, hear why she gives back to Greater Atlanta through United Way.

Fayette County communities can thrive today and reach their greatest future potential only if their children are thriving. That’s why our focus is on building a Greater Atlanta where every individual and family can thrive by making sure that every child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential.
Communities that can say, “all the children are well” have babies who are born healthy; kids who read proficiently by 3rd grade; teens graduating from high school prepared for college, careers and life; they grow up in secure homes, in safe neighborhoods, with healthy food, access to medical care to keep them healthy; supported by communities where people are educated, employed, and housed; with ready access to good healthcare and affordable healthy foods. Learn more here!