United Way of Greater Atlanta is on a journey to improve the lives of children and families throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Nearly half a million children in our region live in communities with low or very low child well-being. Through our Child Well-Being Mission Fund, we invest in nonprofit partners that provide the supports necessary to strengthen the community. We recognize that it takes many different nonprofit partners to meet the complex needs of families. In January, we opened a request for proposals for our 2022 Child Well Being Mission Fund with grant awards being announced in May. For this round of investments, we focused on new nonprofit partners with targeted funding opportunities for small; grassroots; and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations. Overall, the median budget size for the organizations funded was $550,000. We also debuted organizational capacity building opportunities to provide partners with an opportunity to strengthen their organizational processes in order to undergird their programmatic efforts. Overall, 88% of the organizations funded have a budget size of under $2,000,000 and more than half of those receiving grant awards are BIPOC organizations.

“I am very impressed with the intentionality and thoughtfulness during this open request for proposals, and how amazing it is to be able to transition our investments in this way,” says Angel Maldonado, Co-Chair, Community Impact Committee. I know the team has been working extremely hard. I am really inspired that new organizations had the chance to receive funding, and I love the fact that even for those that didn’t get a chance to be funded in this round, the team will continue to work with them and continue to be a resource to them.”

United Way received a total of 122 applications to review across all investment portfolio areas. After a thorough review of each application, United Way is pleased to announce that 32 applicants were awarded grants ranging from $25,000 – $150,000 under the following strategies:

  • Strong Learners:
    • Build Reading Skills – 4 grants
    • Increase Healthcare Navigation – 1 grant
  • College and Career Ready:
    • Career Pathway – 2 grants
  • Economic Stability:
    • Secure Housing – 1 grant
    • Basic Needs and Equitable Access – 6 grants
    • Build Wealth – 6 grants
  • Brighter Future:
    • Strengthen Resident Leadership & Learning – 3 grants
    • Community Organizing & Civic Engagement – 3 grants
  • Capacity Building:
    • Organizational Capacity Building​ – 5 grants
    • Resiliency Planning Capacity Building – 1 grant

 

In this funding cycle, investments were also made through our strategic partnership with the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to address learning loss​ through our College and Career Ready investment portfolio area. Those grant awards are scheduled to be announced by the end of May,” says Mary Benton, Co-Chair Community Impact Committee. I participated as an independent reviewer for grant applications in this open request for proposals. It was very interesting to be able to see the application process and what United Way is asking of the organizations in order to gauge if they will be a good fit to help us reach our goals. I was very impressed with the process and was happy to do it.”

Putting our community’s children on an equitable path to fulfilling their potential requires us to work together toward a single, shared agenda. United Way knows that together, we can ensure this is an equitable, thriving community. That is the work of the Child Well-Being Mission Fund.  For more information on the grant awards for our open request for proposals or to donate to the child well-being mission fund, please click here.

This story was previously published on SaportaReport.com.

United Way of Greater Atlanta is on a journey to improve the lives of children and families throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Nearly half a million children in our region live in communities with low or very low child well-being. Through our Child Well-Being Mission Fund, we invest in nonprofit partners that provide the supports necessary to strengthen the community. We recognize that it takes many different nonprofit partners to meet the complex needs of families.

In January, we opened a request for proposals for our 2022 Child Well Being Mission Fund with grant awards being announced in May. For this round of investments, we focused on new nonprofit partners with targeted funding opportunities for small; grassroots; and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations. Each of the Requests for Proposals (RFPs) identified specific strategies that we are looking to fund within each Investment Priority area: Strong Learners, College and Career Ready, Economic Stability and Brighter Future. In addition, the fifth priority area addressed was Capacity Building to address significant operational and/or programmatic impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grantees for the Learning Loss grant will be announced later this month. If you have questions about our RFP process, please submit them here

Grantees: Strong Learners

Leap for Literacy | Strategy: Build Reading Skills | Award: $50,000

The Bonner Office for Civic Engagement  | Strategy: Build Reading Skills | Award: $50,000

Fayette FACTOR | Strategy: Healthcare Navigation | Award: $25,000

Family Heritage Foundation Inc. | Strategy: Build Reading Skills | Award: $25,000

Share the Magic Foundation, Inc. | Strategy: Build Reading Skills | Award: $50,000

 

Grantees: College and Career Ready

Cobb Works | Strategy: Expand Career Pathways| Award: $75,000

Strive Atlanta | Strategy: Expand Career Pathways | Award: $100,000

 

Grantees: Economic Stability

Amani Women Center  | Strategy: Build Wealth | Award: $40,000

On the Rise Community Development, Inc. | Strategy: Build Wealth | Award: $35,000

Rainbow Village | Strategy: Build Wealth | Award: $40,000

Refugee Family Assistance Program | Strategy: Build Wealth | Award: $25,000

S.H.A.R.E House | Strategy: Secure Housing | Award: $50,000

Youth Empowerment Success Services | Strategy: Build Wealth | Award: $35,000

Zion Hill Community Development Center | Strategy: Build Wealth | Award: $35,000

Community Farmers Markets  | Strategy: Basic Needs & Equitable Access | Award: $35,000

Concrete Jungle  | Strategy: Basic Needs & Equitable Access | Award: $35,000

Focused Community Strategies | Strategy: Basic Needs & Equitable Access | Award: $35,000

HABESHA, Inc. | Strategy: Basic Needs & Equitable Access | Award: $35,000

The Common Market Southeast | Strategy: Basic Needs & Equitable Access | Award: $35,000

The Pittsburgh Collaborative | Strategy: Basic Needs & Equitable Access | Award: $35,000

 

Grantees: Brighter Future

Canopy Atlanta | Strategy: Strengthen Resident Leadership & Learning | Award: $35,000

Clarkston Community Center Foundation | Strategy: Strengthen Resident Leadership & Learning | Award: $60,000

EndState ATL | Strategy: Community Organizing & Civic Engagement | Award: $150,000

YouthServ360 | Strategy: Strengthen Resident Leadership & Learning | Award: $125,000

Housing Justice League | Strategy: Community Organizing & Civic Engagement | Award: $125,000

Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University (HEART) | Strategy: Community Led Solutions | Award: $300,000*

*This grant is funded in partnership with the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation 

 

Grantees: Capacity Building

Grove Park Foundation | Strategy: Organizational Capacity Building | Award: $50,000

Showcase Group | Strategy: Organizational Capacity Building | Award: $25,000

Common Good Atlanta | Strategy: Organizational Capacity Building | Award: $25,000

Just Bakery of Atlanta | Strategy: Organizational Capacity Building | Award: $25,000

Together Friends Organization | Strategy: Organizational Capacity Building | Award: $25,000

Georgia Center for Nonprofits – GCN  | Resiliency Planning Capacity Building | Award: $71,250

 

 

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership (AAP) was launched in 2000 by community champions Conchita Robinson and Charles Stephens. AAP is a group of donors with shared affinities for philanthropy, leadership and service. The group was created to engage underrepresented members of United Way giving societies. In the first five years, AAP realized a 75% membership increase because of partnerships with previously untouched groups, including African-American small business owners. AAP also includes others who support the mission. Additionally, AAP engages members through volunteerism and advocacy, and offers ongoing opportunities for personal and professional development.

To put our community’s children on an equitable path to fulfilling their potential, we must improve the services and systems that support our children, their families, and the communities they grow up in. All young people require support to develop into successful adults and engaged citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated systemic inequities and barriers that Greater Atlanta’s youth and families face in their daily lives. According to a recent study, “Quantifying the Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Metro Atlanta Student Proficiency,” about 21,000 fewer students in English language arts and 29,000 fewer in math are now on track for grade-level proficiency in Metro Atlanta.

AAP’s signature program Powering the Potential is committed to improving outcomes for African American boys and young men in the Greater Atlanta area, through partnerships that will bridge the college and career readiness gap through increased academic supports, educational opportunities, and pathways to employment for middle and high school boys of color. United Way of Greater Atlanta’s College and Career Ready investment priority aims to improve the college and career readiness for 15,000 youth in very low and low Child Well-Being communities. Youth can graduate from high school ready for higher education and high-growth careers by improving their academic outcomes with access to afterschool and summer experiences, leadership development, employability skills and planning for future careers.

Addressing the achievement gap includes ensuring youth have access to high- quality learning and support services both in and out of the traditional school day as well as exposure to what is possible. United Way of Greater Atlanta and AAP’s efforts began with a laser focus on literacy and has expanded to providing over 1,059 boys and young men with additional learning opportunities targeted to support youth’s overall academic achievement and future success.

To support these efforts, please volunteer to support AAP’s Dream Bigger initiative, or register for the 6th Annual AAP Leadership Luncheon.

To help support United Way of Greater Atlanta’s work to address the root causes of racial inequities, to create a region where every person can reach their full potential, click here to donate to the Racial Equity and Healing Fund.

Learn more about AAP here.

Deadline for the STEMUp Youth Maker Competition has been extended to February 25th!

We are looking for innovative STEM-related ideas to solve problems in your local communities.  

This live competition modeled after the television show “Shark Tank” is an opportunity for young people in our region to use their ideas, voice, and leadership to improve our communities.  

The competition is open to middle and high school-aged students who are involved in STEM programming in the United Way of Greater Atlanta 13-county footprint. Up to three finalists will be selected to receive a monetary award up to $2,500.00 to support the implementation of their innovative idea. Employees from Cox Enterprises will be judging the proposals. 

This year, STEMUp Competition proposals will address equity and inclusion of one of the following community issues: the Digital Divide, COVID-19 Public Health Crisis, Academic Support for Youth (Learning Loss), Increase Employment Rate, College Planning and Preparation and other community equity issues that can be solved with STEM.  

An area of priority for United Way of Greater Atlanta includes improving engagement in STEM by underrepresented groups, social innovation, and partnerships with STEM-related businesses. 

Learn more about STEMUp: Youth Maker Competition >>

Apply here for the Competition and show off your innovative ideas! >>

 

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Atlanta has a strong and diverse business sector, many post-secondary educational institutions, first-rate nonprofits, and a civil rights legacy that has grown into a movement ─ all of which have elevated our status to one of national recognition of activism and change. And yet, structural inequities born of racism create conditions that all too often entrench youth and young adults in cycles of poverty. Atlanta is ranked number one in economic inequality, a dynamic that fuels enormous economic and human negative repercussions for our city and the ability to realize our young people’s greatest potential.

At the United Way of Greater Atlanta, we’re committed to ensuring young adults have the tools to build a brighter future. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 65 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. Education and training programs can help young people gain these skills. Work-based learning programs can teach non-cognitive skills, provide valuable guidance and effective interventions to help establish core work-related skills. To date, we have connected over 10,000 youth to education and employment opportunities.

Now, we’re turning the tide and working to become a national model for how best to drive transformational change in addressing the multi-layered issue of youth employment. United Way has a vision to build out a Youth Apprenticeship System called CareerReady ATL focused on creating multiple pathways to economic well-being for Black, Hispanic and other youth of color and developing the talent pipeline to meet the needs of our diverse industries. And we know this initiative is necessary – based on our Child Well-Being Index, a young person’s zip code is a greater predictor of our children’s future achievements, earnings, and life expectancy than their talent, hard work, or other factors. Our goal is to create 4,000 high-quality Youth Apprenticeship opportunities within the Greater Atlanta region.

Our efforts are intentionally building programs that reach into our schools and create pipelines to good jobs through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs connected to high demand industries that pay family sustaining wages. We are building a comprehensive workforce development initiative that will create sustainable career pathways with youth at the center. “The COVID pandemic has changed the game all the way around, from the way that we do work, to the way that we provide youth development services, including the way that we do apprenticeships. It gave us a social impetus and a drive to be able to look at marginalized youth, those furthest from opportunity, to have the networks to help support their success and progression into a career”, according to John Helton, Executive Director of Atlanta CareerRise and a close partner with United Way in the youth apprenticeship space. “The pandemic has created a drive and awareness and willingness to energize resources around this group of youth.”

This is a pivotal moment for positive impact of the future economic and community well-being in metro-Atlanta through changing the trajectory for youth and young adults. So, they choose the future they want to see for themselves and their community.

This story was previously published on SaportaReport.com.

This year, United Way of Greater Atlanta will provide assistance to more than 381,000 individuals and families across Greater Atlanta’s 13-county region. From the Child Well-Being Mission Fund, the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund, and the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, we’re providing sustainable and equitable improvements for the well-being of children, families and communities.

Because of our generous donors, more children will receive quality childcare, families will receive basic needs and housing, youth receive college planning, and families are provided with tools to build wealth. Read on for some highlights from the last year.

Child Well-Being Mission Fund

The Child Well-Being Mission Fund ensures lasting, equitable and collaborative solutions to the critical problems that stand between us and a better quality of life. The fund includes four investment priorities – Strong Learners, College and Career Ready, Economic Stability, and Brighter Future.

  • $43.92 Million Distributed
  • 223 Nonprofits Funded via 267 Grants
  • 381,000 Services Provided

82% of our grants are direct service grants, which provide active supports, services and/or programming to individuals and families.

Strong Learners 25,703 children will become stronger learners through securing housing and basic needs for their families, providing support to build reading skills, helping to strengthen family engagement, increased access to health services, and access to quality early learning.

College and Career Ready 104,326 youth will be supported for higher education and high-growth careers through strengthened academic support, expanded career pathways, increased college planning and secure housing and basic needs.

Economic Stability 113,062 individuals will gain access to childcare/afterschool care, job skills, financial training, and housing and basic needs, in order to reach economic stability.

Brighter Future 123,389 individuals will be supported through investments that expand key coalitions, increase civic participation, and improve advocacy that directly improves communities in Clayton, South DeKalb, and South Fulton counties.

United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund

Nearly 500,000 children in Greater Atlanta live in communities where the majority of residents are people of color and lack the basic opportunities and resources to thrive. The United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund tackles the systemic issues underlying the correlation between race and zip codes, place and equity.

  • $3 Million Raised
  • 7 Nonprofits Funded Through Initial Grant Round
  • $1.2 Million Granted as Multi-Year Commitments
  • Average Award of $105,889 (Additional round of funding to be considered in Fall 2021)

COVID-19 Response and Recovery

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, in collaboration with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, provided support grants to nonprofit organizations to provide services to people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund rapidly distributed dollars to nonprofit organizations so that they could quickly get help to children and families impacted by COVID-19.

  • 14 Million Services Provided
  • $28.2 Million Distributed via 598 Grants
  • 481 Nonprofits Funded

We’ve improved the lives of 82,000 children, but we can do more. We know every child whose life we change will go on to change the lives of countless others, and when we work together our community impact grows exponentially to create an equitable future for all.

Work this important is never over or done alone. Can children, families and Greater Atlanta communities count on you? Unite for more today.

Jennifer Swain and the staff at youthSpark saw what could only be described as a “gap in the juvenile court system.” It needed to be addressed.

“We have historically worked in the area of child sex trafficking since our beginning in 2000,” Swain, who is Executive Director of youthSpark, says. “Since Georgia’s sex trafficking movement has grown and expanded under the [Statewide] Human Trafficking Task Force, we’ve begun to intervene with the juvenile court as soon as possible. So, we’ve built out a space for youth services for girls who have experienced exploitation, and then we began serving boys and LGBTQ+ youth.”

The programs were non-gender specific, Swain says. They created programs geared toward LGBTQ+ youth to provide a safety net to support them in school and “increase their voice around sexual identity and gender.”

But Swain says there were still problems with how data around LGBTQ+ youth was being collected in the court system. She said the Fulton County Juvenile Court system didn’t collect sexual orientation data “nor did they identify and report that data in young people.”

So, youthSpark, a longtime partner of United Way of Greater Atlanta, joined with Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform in a project that would enhance youthSpark’s capacity and the juvenile court’s system to become a national leader in creating a fair, inclusive and respectful culture.

This Capstone Project is called “Intentional Culture Change to Reduce LGBTQ+ Youth Discrimination, Victimization, & Overcriminalization,” according to a press release from youthSpark.

The project focuses on eight primary goals and objectives developed from an intensive review of youth experiences, quantitative data on the challenges LGBTQ+ young people face in Fulton County and a review of recommended best practices in serving this vulnerable population.

“We don’t know a lot about the LGBTQ+ population in the Fulton juvenile system, but the Atlanta homelessness study, or the Atlanta homelessness study we worked on with Dr. Eric Wright at Georgia State University, was the launching pad to see how to serve this population,” Swain says. “The way to do that was to find out how many of these kids identify in ways we don’t know.”

LGBTQ+ youth are at a much greater risk of becoming homeless. You can help United Way today provide more resources for LGBTQ+ youth and families.

The Capstone Project has potential to improve the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth and their families in communities across Greater Atlanta.

youthSpark’s Youth Services Center is at the heart of the organization’s work and serving LGBTQ+ youth is encompassed in that work. According to youthSpark’s 2019-20 annual report, since opening the Center in 2017, they have served more than 600 kids with 121 acts of crisis intervention, 2,200 instances of individual counseling, 565 group therapy sessions and more than 12,000 hours of intervention services.

Those direct services have helped youthSpark reimagine how to serve students and provide training for school—to make sure they are college and career ready.

The nonprofit’s goals align with United Way’s mission to improve the Child Well-Being of Greater Atlanta’s 13 counties and create an environment where all children can thrive.

“We are looking for organizations who can change the trajectory for young people,” says Michele Jacobs, Director of Youth Development at United Way. “We are looking for programs that remove systemic barriers and increase access to College and Career Ready opportunities for youth and young adults in low and very-low Child Well-Being communities. youthSpark is a unique organization that offers real solutions for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

“All their programs have been designed to create systematic change for trauma-exposed youth and the communities in which they live.”

Jacobs says grant managers and members of the Community Engagement team at United Way meet regularly to talk with organizations like youthSpark to find successes and challenges the organizations face. The goal is to help determine the level of support needed.

“We are true thought and collaborative partners in ensuring young people are equipped with resources they need to obtain education and secure positions in high-growth careers,” Jacobs says.

Swain has worked with youthSpark for 13 years and has been the executive director for over four years now. She says United Way’s support has been instrumental in allowing them to expand services.

“United Way has always supported our work, and when we transitioned our work over to the community-based response, United Way was our very first funder,” Swain says. “We’re very grateful for our partnership with United Way.”

When a community unites, lives can be changed. When we work together—pooling our resources, time and energy—our community impact grows exponentially to create and equitable future for all. Can children, families and Greater Atlanta communities count on you?