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.