United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Cole Society is the umbrella covering three different affinity groups: African-American Partnership, Young Professional Leaders and Cole Women United.

Cole Society has around 8,000 members who have invested millions of dollars into Greater Atlanta. To qualify for Cole Society, you must give an annual gift of $1,000 up to $9,999.

“Your contribution to the Cole Society enables you to participate in those three groups,” Eve Powell, a strategic leader who assists in an administrative capacity with Cole Society, said. “We don’t have a committee. We have a panel that we call our ‘advisory panel,’ and we have a dozen members who meet quarterly.

“We don’t have a focus area, specifically. Our focus is just child well-being.”

Improving the well-being of children in Greater Atlanta’s 13 counties has been the primary agenda for United Way since its last strategic planning meeting. Born out of this meeting was the Child Well-Being Index. United Way found certain zip codes where people were born created a barrier that prevented children to reach their life’s full potential.

A data committee looked at how we measure potential for a child. Fourteen measures in determining child well-being were selected. Compiled data showed half a million children in Greater Atlanta grow up without the resources, opportunities or social supports to reach their full potential. The index gave United Way a tool to measure this. The data was daunting, but the data created a common goal for the organization to work toward correcting.

There is now this organization-wide shared agenda, and all roads to giving point toward reversing the implications of the Child Well-Being Index. Affinity groups allow members to meet with other like-minded people who understand the importance of giving back to their communities.

“We don’t have any events that are just Cole Society,” Powell said. “We want people to get into an affinity group and be participatory in all that we do. You would give at the Cole level and you can be a member of the other three.”

Cole donors are a diverse group who unite around this common goal of helping others.

Powell doesn’t directly recruit new members for Cole Society, but she works in a planning and leadership role with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s development officers. These development officers work with corporate partners to recruit members for leadership giving, which opens them up to affinity groups.

Cole Society is named for Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, who served previously as board chair of United Way of Greater Atlanta and was former president of Spelman College, a historically black women’s college in Atlanta.

Cole believed we have the power to generate change and transform the tomorrows of people in the community, and through the Child Well-Being agenda, community members work together to build strong foundations and create opportunities for success.

Cole was board chair of United Way of Greater Atlanta as the nonprofit made the shift toward becoming an “impact organization,” Powell said.

“We were making a big shift from the old United Way where you give us money and we firm it out,” Powell said. “Now, you give us money and we have an agenda. We’re trying to impact specific areas. That’s what drives our investment leaders.”

Click here to learn about more ways Cole members can engage in their communities.

Cole Society consists of people in the Greater Atlanta area who have one shared focus: helping others. The mission is the same and Cole Society encourages people who have given to United Way to put more than just their dollars to work.

They are calling people to be leaders in the community.

“I think we are trying to build communities of like-minded people and people that think that it’s important to give back and invest in the health of our community,” Powell said. “What we’re asking people to do is step up and become leaders—that’s why this is called, ‘Leadership Giving.’

“We want to ask people to take a stand.”

To learn more about Cole Society, click here.

Last month, Tocqueville Society Champions gathered to discuss best practices and provide an update on the progress of our Child Well-Being Movement.

Child Well-Being Ambassador Tricia Holder shared an anecdote about how the Child Well-Being Heat Map is making a difference. A donor recently shared the map with a librarian in Gwinnett County Public Schools. Examining the Map, the school system’s librarian added additional routes to the book mobile so children in areas of very low child well-being could also gain access.

This is just one illustration of how awareness and discussion of the Child Well-Being Heat Map can positively impact communities and the distribution of resources.

Join the conversation. If your company has not already designated a Tocqueville Society Corporate Champion, please contact your Major Gifts Officer.

View Our Child Well-Being Map

Why Wednesday: Afton Herring

This week, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Afton Herring shares her why! Hear why she supports the child well-being movement, and is helping us create a Greater Atlanta where a child’s ability to thrive isn’t based on the luck of their zip code. To see how your zip code scores on our Child Well-Being Index, click here.



Are you committed to the cause of child well-being in Greater Atlanta? What’s the “why” behind your community service? United Way of Greater Atlanta wants to hear what drives you to give, advocate and volunteer. Share Your Why with us!

New Year’s Resolutions for a Thriving Community

Starting off 2018 with big goals to give, advocate and volunteer — but don’t know where to start? It’s a new year, and there are new ways to get involved, give back to Greater Atlanta and deepen your connections with your community.


Know the child well-being score for your zip code

As Ida B. Wells said, “The people must know before they can act.” At our State of the Children press conference in March 2017, as we announced the launch of the new Child Well-Being Index, WABE’s Rose Scott quoted Ida B. Wells as a reminder that to improve the well-being of our community, first we have to know the data.

What are the obstacles that keep Greater Atlanta’s children from thriving? With its 14 measures of child, family and community well-being, the Child Well-Being Index gives us insight into where our community stands presently — and how we can improve its future. And here’s the coolest part: Our interactive Child Well-Being Map makes it easy to get informed on the issues facing the communities where you live, work and play! Just enter your zip code to see how children are doing in your region.


Download the VolunHere app

Did you know that United Way of Greater Atlanta has a new mobile app? We’re making it easier than ever to volunteer when, where and how you want! So, download the VolunHere app to identify local volunteer opportunities and put your time and talent to work for your community. And, as always, you can also stay up-to-date on the latest volunteer opportunities via our website, or by following us on Facebook.


Join the Westside Volunteer Corps

In 2017, we partnered with the Westside Future Fund​ to launch the Westside Volunteer Corps — uniting residents, community members and business leaders who are committed to investing in the future of the historic neighborhoods on Atlanta’s Westside. Want to help revitalize the Westside? Become a member of the Westside Volunteer Corps to give your time on an ongoing basis, or you sign up for a one-time volunteer event like the upcoming Westside Volunteer Corps MLK Day of Service.


Become a community VIP

Did you know that United Way of Greater Atlanta’s nonprofit board training initiative, the Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP), has equipped more than 2,200 diverse volunteers to become effective board leaders? VIP participants build leadership skills throughout a 10-week, 40-hour training program that includes workshops on fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and financial and legal decision making. Applications are currently being accepted for United Way VIP’s spring 2018 training session!


Join a group

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s engagement groups and leadership giving societies allow you to make a positive impact on our region while also building your personal and professional networks. These caring communities of donors and volunteers drive sustainable improvements in the well-being of children, families and individuals in the 13 counties of Greater Atlanta. Learn more about joining a United Way group.


Share your why

What’s your “why”? What drives you to give, advocate and volunteer for the good of Greater Atlanta? Whatever it is — that’s your “why.” And we want to hear it! You can share your story with us online, or keep your eye out for our Share Your Why booth at upcoming United Way of Greater Atlanta events. In the meantime, check out Share Your Why videos from like-minded donors, advocates and volunteers to get inspired!