Atlanta-based law firm was awarded Child Well-Being Impact Champion Award at annual State of the Children event

By Bradley Roberts

King & Spalding has had a longstanding partnership with United Way of Greater Atlanta. When the Atlanta-based law firm first learned the nonprofit had launched its Child Well-Being Movement in 2017, it was a no-brainer for them that they would give United Way complete support.

“We’ve supported United Way for a long time, and we’ve tried to be a good partner in a lot of ways—through the annual giving campaign, representation on different boards and committees, volunteer projects — we’ve tried to plug in a lot of different ways,” says Lauren Abbott, community affairs manager for King & Spalding. “Through that longstanding partnership, we understand and respect the level of expertise that [United Way has] as far as convening different stakeholders and being the expertise in the community.”

On May 9, King & Spalding was awarded the Child Well-Being Impact Champion Award at United Way of Greater Atlanta’s annual State of the Children event. The Impact Champion Award goes to organizations that provide significant support to the Child Well-Being Impact Fund.

King & Spalding and its employees are actively engaged in the work United Way is doing, and they understand the importance of setting up a child for his or her best opportunity for success.

United Way saw two years ago after its strategic planning meeting that the zip code a child lived in too often determined the fate of that child. United Way saw that children living a few miles away from each other don’t have the same experience.

While some children came to school rested, well fed and prepared for class, others lacked the same access to healthy foods, health care and other community resources.

United Way saw that, statistically, because of what zip code a child was born into, he or she was handed a disadvantage beyond their control. Through a set of 14 measures, United Way calculated at the time a child well-being score of 58.9.

On May 9, officials announced the score had improved in two years to 61.8. That equates to a change in the lives of more than 82,000 children in the region living in low or very low child well-being.

King & Spalding is the leading law firm contributor to United Way of Greater Atlanta and has been for 16 consecutive years. In 2018, King & Spalding raised more than $875,000 for United Way from 615 committed donors. The firm has raised more than $11 million since 2008.

King & Spalding’s commitment to United Way extends even beyond monetary donations, though. King & Spalding partner Meghan Magruder serves on the United Way board of directors, Abbott said.

She said the organization was moved by the data and research that was presented to them in 2017.

“It’s hard not to be on board [with the Child Well-Being Movement],” Abbott said. “We have a lot of personnel who are in different areas of the city— it’s Atlanta, everybody is scattered all over the place— and it made you realize there are these pockets of need in almost every community. It helps us visualize that, when you are giving to United Way of Greater Atlanta, you are giving to all of the counties.”

While everybody knows there’s a need that exists, Abbott said King & Spalding liked how United Way was able to zero in on a specific need and use a data-driven approach to make sure the work they are doing in the community makes the greatest impact where there is the greatest need.

“State of the Children was the first time we’ve seen the status update and the grand plans to move the needle, and that it has been working,” Abbott said. “It makes a difference to have those targeted efforts in certain areas. It’s encouraging to see the progress, and we’re trying to think about creative ways to share that moving into campaign.”

The law firm encourages its employees to give to campaign, and they always encourage them to be “as generous as possible,” Abbott said.

Personnel at King & Spalding are encouraged to be active partners to United Way throughout the year, not just during campaign. Last year, King & Spalding partnered with the United Way Volunteerism team to plan five community service events for lawyers and staff, and in June, as part of a firm-wide day of service, volunteers visited the Hughes Spalding Hospital in Atlanta to host a craft party for pediatric patients.

Additionally, they’ve completed care package, meal packing and literacy kit projects among many other community projects outside of United Way.

“The Child Well-Being Movement just clicks with us,” Abbott said. “Anything that is data driven, you are speaking our language and it’s something that we can connect to.
“Education, housing, hunger, no matter what motivates you to give, you can speak to all those things through the lens of supporting children in the community through United Way.”

United Way unveils new Child Well-Being score, praises importance of partnerships during annual report

By Bradley Roberts

United Way of Greater Atlanta on May 9 at its annual State of the Children event reported out the progress made in Greater Atlanta’s 13 counties to improve the well-being of its children.

A previous Child Well-Being Score of 58.9 had improved in two years to 61.8. That equates to a change in the lives of more than 82,000 children in the region living in low or very low child well-being. United Way is on its way to reaching the goal of improving the lives of 250,000 children by 2027.

This means the movement is working, according to United Way of Greater Atlanta President and CEO Milton Little Jr.

Little presented this at the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta to a room full of volunteers, donors and stakeholders May 9. Little highlighted the importance partnership played in making drastic improvements in such a short time.

“You are here this morning because you invested in the future of this community,” Little said.
“No one organization can change the lives of the more than 1.3 million children living in Greater Atlanta. The differences we have made these last two years have come in large part because of partnerships.”

United Way saw two years ago after its strategic planning meeting that the zip code a child lived in too often determined the fate of that child. United Way saw that children living a few miles away from each other don’t have the same experience.

While some children came to school rested, well fed and prepared for school, others lacked the same access to healthy foods, health care and other community resources.

United Way saw that, statistically, because of what zip code a child was born into, he or she was handed a disadvantage beyond their control.

Through a set of 14 measures, United Way calculated a child well-being score of 58.9. On May 9, Ginneh Baugh, VP of Strategy and Knowledge Development at United Way, reported on new numbers displaying the region’s progress.

Baugh said fewer communities in 2018 displayed low or very low child well-being scores. Those numbers dropped from 38.7 percent of the region to 30.6.

Baugh said while our average for the region was 58.9, there was a 40-point gap between the low and high child well-being communities. We saw the greatest improvements in Clayton and DeKalb County.

“We’ve made place a priority,” Baugh said. “You can say, ‘Yes, we’ve raised the score overall,’ but what’s happening to those places that have lower scores? When you look at the map it’s a little disheartening to see places with scores below a 55.”

United Way put a focus on those areas of the map, though, Baugh says.

“Now we can say there are fewer communities with low or very low child well-being,” she said. “We’re making progress in the places that matter.”

This kind of progress is taking place across the region, and it’s encouraging, Baugh says. There’s a continued trend in improved graduation rates and children getting access to health care. Clayton County, which had a previous score of 36 in 2016, improved to 41 in 2018.

But there’s still work to be done. You can learn more about this work and how you can contribute by checking out United Way’s 2018 stakeholder report.

There are still gaps to be addressed, Baugh says. For example, African-American children are twice as likely to be born underweight, and Hispanic youth are still less likely to graduate from high school.

“We can’t stand still and say all the children are well when we’ve got these disparities,” Baugh says. “That’s part of our journey ahead.
“Based on the data, the future is promising.”

Little echoed this in his closing remarks.

“The path to a thriving community starts with the children,” Little said. “A community can say it is thriving only when all its children are thriving. We need to keep building that infrastructure of partnerships that make progress systematic and gains sustainable.
“Here at United Way, we will continue to focus our resources on powering the progress and orchestrating the partnerships that underlie it.”

Join us for State of the Children: Progress through Partnerships as we recognize our partners and provide an update on how we’re moving the needle to improve the well-being of 250,000 children by 2027. Award nominees to be recognized are listed below. From these nominees, a total of seven award winners will be announced.

 

Child Well-Being Impact Fund Champion Award Nominees (corporate, foundation)

  • Alston & Bird LLP
  • Bank of America
  • Cousins Properties
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Enterprise Holdings
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Genuine Parts Company
  • Grant Thornton
  • Graphic Packaging
  • Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools
  • Havertys Furniture
  • Holder Construction
  • King & Spalding
  • Lockton Companies
  • Oxford Industries
  • PNC
  • Printpack
  • Publix Super Markets, Inc.
  • RentPath Gives Back Foundation
  • Rogers and Hardin
  • Rollins
  • Starbucks
  • SunTrust
  • Synovus
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Wells Fargo

 

Volunteerism Champion Award Nominees (individual, corporate)

  • Child Well-Being Advocacy Taskforce
  • Amy Corn
  • Chris Peck
  • Cox Enterprises
  • Katina Asbell
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Patricia C. Williams
  • Primerica Foundation
  • Rachel McBride & Will Lewis
  • Rhonda Moore
  • Salesforce.com
  • Wayne Ellison

 

Partnership Champion Award Nominees 

  • Atlanta CareerRise
  • Banneker High School Student and Family Engagement (SAFE) Center
  • Clayton Scorecard Learning Groups
  • Community in Schools Atlanta
  • GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Early Students
  • Georgia Public-Private Partnership for Teen Pregnancy Prevention
  • Get Georgia Reading
  • Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
  • Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia
  • Junior League of Atlanta
  • Learn4Life
  • Neighborhood Nexus
  • State of Hope (DFCS)

 

Place-Based Work Champion Award Nominees

  • Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI)
  • Clayton County Government
  • Clayton County Schools
  • HTI Catalysts
  • New Life Community Ministries
  • Partnership for Southern Equity
  • Raising Expectations
  • Southern Education Foundation
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • TransFormation Alliance