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.

By Maya Robinson

On December 4th a group of Wells Fargo employees took time out of their day to volunteer at AAP Build-A-Library Site, Raising Expectations. The group was organized by AAP Cabinet Member and Wells Fargo Senior Vice President, Hugh Rowden and his colleague Tammy Sanders.

“What is the difference between a checking account and a savings account? How old do you have to be to open your own savings account? How many types of savings accounts should you have as an adult?”

Those were just a few of the questions that volunteers from Wells Fargo asked the sixth grade students from the Raising Expectations afterschool program. By the end of their hour and a half session, the students were correctly answering questions about banking, money, and saving. The Wells Fargo volunteers, Linda Brown and John Stork, made the lesson fun and interactive with videos and prizes for each correct answer. At the end of the lesson, Wells Fargo presented the students with copies of Beating the Odds: Eddie Brown’s Investing and Life Strategies.

While the six graders were trained on financial literacy, two groups of Wells Fargo volunteers were busy with the younger students on more age appropriate projects. The fourth and fifth graders assembled care packages with special notes for local senior citizens. The contents of the care packages were donated by Raising Expectations and Wells Fargo.

The youngest students spent the afternoon reading aloud with Wells Fargo volunteers. The students who were old enough to read themselves chose their favorite books to read to the volunteers. Research shows that reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development.

To celebrate a successful afternoon of learning and volunteering, Bruster’s Ice Cream treated everyone to an ice cream sundae bar, thanks to Wells Fargo. Financial literacy and ice cream made the perfect pair!

Raising Expectations has been a long-time Build-A-Library site for AAP and grantee for Powering the Potential. Raising Expectations provides impactful youth development programming for youth in Atlanta communities. It is unique among out-of-school time (OST) programs in that it is longitudinal in its relationship with students. Students begin their relationship with Raising Expectations as middle school students and continue as they matriculate through secondary and embark upon their post-secondary plans.

If your company or group would like to volunteer at a Build-A-Library site, a staff member will be happy to coordinate.

Villages at Carver YMCA Impresses at AAP Leadership Luncheon

Of the many attendees at the 4th Annual AAP Leadership Luncheon, two young men stood out a head above the rest, Deron Dill and Christopher Wright, program participants from AAP Build a Library site at Villages at Carver YMCA.

These two gentlemen, along with the teen center director, Bilal Blake, were featured in a video about AAP’s signature cause, Powering the Potential of African-American Boys and young men toward academic achievement.

Villages at Carver YMCA is one of the original after-school sites that AAP invested in when the group took up the goal to improve academic outcomes for African-American young men and boys back in 2016. Today, students participate in the book clubs, leadership workshops, team building projects, creative writing classes and homework tutors. Tricia Crossman, United Way’s Senior Director, Youth Development, manages the program.

Hear more from Deron and Christopher here.