How long have you been involved with United Way?

More than 15 years.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way and Women United?

I love how the United Way helps in the community. Their approach to support low-income families in every aspect of their lives and to help them have a sustainable transition is admirable. The United Way really “gets it”. I love the affinity groups that the United Way offers and having the opportunity to serve with Women United has been an awesome experience. It feels special to work with a group of women who have the same passion as you do to support women in the community.

How do you link your professional and philanthropic interests?

I recently transitioned from a role of 17 years to a position more aligned with my passion to work in the community.  During this time, I have had the opportunity to work closer with organizations like the United Way and engage others by sharing how the United Way helps our community and how they can be a part of their mission.

What advice would you give to someone considering inviting the women in their life to get involved with Women United? 

I would share that Women United is a group of focused, like-minded, generous, women who have a mission to change the lives of all women, by providing support and encouragement.

Welcome to the one-stop-shop for all things Women United!  

This year, the Women’s Leadership Breakfast revolved around the theme of “pushing forward.” We want to keep that sentiment alive by encouraging YOU to stay involved with the critical work of United Way of Greater Atlanta. With that goal in mind, we’ve filled this page with pre-written email communications, social posts and advocacy activities to keep you involved well beyond the limits of a virtual event. Thank you for being community members we can count on! 

Join a Group 

1. Cole Women United: United Way’s Cole Women United mobilizes women from diverse backgrounds, educating them about philanthropic involvement and leadership, and engaging them in the work of United Way. Cole Women United is exclusive to women donating $1,000-$9,999 annually to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Join today! 

Already a member? Join the Board! 

2. Tocqueville Women United: Tocqueville Women United is a transformative group of committed business and civic leaders who purposefully serve as champions to ensure our community’s children reach their full potential, free from exploitation, under United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well-Being agenda. Membership is exclusive to women donating $10,000 or more annually to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Join today! 

Already a member? Join the Board! 

Learn About United Way Funds 

Women United Advancement Initiative: a comprehensive body of resources and programs that targets specific Economic Stability strategies and supports women from any walk of life, regardless of race, gender, creed or religion. 

Secure Housing and Basic Needs 

Close the Skills Gap 

Access to Childcare and After School Services 

Build Wealth 

Manage Health 

United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund: The correlation between race and zip codes with vulnerable populations and low levels of child well-being makes it critical for United Way to address place and racial equity strategically. The purpose of the fund is to reduce and prevent racial inequities across systems that impact child well-being (education, health, housing and economic stability) across the Greater Atlanta region. 

Network and Volunteer 

  • Women United Book Club: Join Women United for this new virtual personal development opportunity to read and discuss books written by and for women. Thursday, November 5th 
  • Coca-Cola Season of Giving:  The Coca-Cola Company’s Season of Giving is a collection of volunteer opportunities, created by United Way, through the holiday season, taking place across the United States and Puerto Rico. Volunteers can participate on-site, virtually or individually with DIY projects. Through December 31st 
  • Virtual Letters of Encouragement for A.G. Rhodes Seniors: Volunteer virtually by sharing words of encouragement to the staff and Senior residents of A.G. Rhodes Community Wellness Centers! Send pictures, letters, drawings, and videos to seniors in the Atlanta area to provide support and a little happiness to those isolated during the COVID outbreak. Contributions can be sent via email to Through December 1st 
  • Send a Smile to a Healthcare Worker: Join Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in encouraging the team with your messages of positivity. Share messages of hope, appreciation and encouragement by sending a smile. Through December 1st 
  • Mind-Bubble Virtual Tutor: Atlanta locals can register to assist with online tutoring sessions benefitting students in Dekalb County, and many students in grades 5-10 in the metro Atlanta area. This program is free to students and provides much needed academic support during time out of school. Through December 1st 

Spread the Word on Social! 

  • Facebook/LinkedIn: Did you know? Women occupied 60% of the total U.S. jobs eliminated due to COVID-19. Through the Women United Advancement Initiative, we can help women across Greater Atlanta gain access to job training, college completion support, health services, quality childcare and other critical resources to help them reach their greatest potential. Together, let’s push forward! #WomenUnitedATL 
  • Twitter: Did you know? Women occupied 60% of U.S. jobs eliminated due to COVID-19. Through the Women United Advancement Initiative, we can help women across ATL push forward through any challenge to reach their greatest potential. #WomenUnitedATL 

The only way forward is united. Let’s keep pushing forward! 

Click here for: Email Communications

Meet Karen Doolittle, our incoming Chair of Tocqueville Women United. As a member of the Tocqueville Society, Tocqueville Women United Cabinet and our Women’s Leadership Breakfast Host Committee, as well as a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2020, Karen is a community leader championing lasting change for Greater Atlanta communities.

Today, hear Karen share why she lives united:



Ready to join Karen and other United Way changemakers? Click here to learn more about Women United. 

If you’re interested in guiding Tocqueville Women United strategy, community impact, and long-term growth, we invite you to inquire about joining the Tocqueville Women United Cabinet.  Tocqueville Women United is a group of female Tocqueville members and community leaders who help generate, organize, direct, and influence the activities and dollars of the United Way of Greater Atlanta.  

For more information, please contact Michelle Marshall, Senior Director of Women’ Leadership Initiatives

You’re working a full-time job, and it’s barely enough for you to support your family, but you get by — many times it’s thanks to the support from your neighbors, resources in town, local nonprofits, churches, etc.

You’re straggling that line of poverty, but things are OK for now. You have a lot to be thankful for — you have your health, your children, a job — but then the unthinkable happens.

You or your spouse gets laid off, you get into a car accident or suddenly somebody needs surgery. Any one of these things can send you spiraling out of control and below the poverty line — the bills pile up; the bank is calling, and they are going to repo your car if you don’t come up with the money soon. You pawn some furniture, a couple of pieces of jewelry and you have enough to get through the week.

But then the next week comes. Nobody would have ever chosen to live in a situation like this.

Just because someone is living in poverty doesn’t mean it’s all their doing. This was a common takeaway from a Poverty Simulation hosted by the United Way of Greater Atlanta Women United Affinity Group on Feb. 21 at the AT&T Mobility, LLC office in Brookhaven.

Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families across Greater Atlanta, and exercises such as these poverty simulations work to bridge the gap of misconception surrounding poverty to an understanding that this can happen to anyone.

It’s an interactive experience. Before checking in, participants were given nametags to corresponding “families,” which were labeled by chairs set up in groups throughout the room — this is your “community.” Those chairs were boxed in by tables that represented community resources: Social services, banks, churches, pawn shops, businesses, schools, etc.

Each of the chairs came with a packet and assignment for each of the family members with a description. Some of the families had single mothers, fathers who had been laid off, children who needed to attend school and basketball practice or toddlers and young children who couldn’t provide for themselves.

You have all of these people to consider, and every one of your decisions can impact those in your family. So, you have to be strategic and work together.

United Way saw two years ago 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 child, community and family measures, United Way calculated at the time a child well-being score of 58.9.

On May 9, 2019, United Way announced the regional child well-being score had improved to 61.8, which represents a change in the lives of 82,000 children.

“How are the children in your community doing?” says Kisha Stanley, senior director of Volunteerism at United Way. “When we think about how we go out and educate people about Child Well-Being, we think about the Child Well-Being Index scores, and this encompasses things like third-grade reading and graduation rates.

“Poverty is at the crux of all of that. A kid’s success and the direction they go shouldn’t be determined by the zip code they are born into.”

So, families represented in that room relied on their community for support.

In the 60-minute process, participants went through the full gamut of emotions in this immersive simulation. Several of them lost their jobs and were forced out of their homes, and some of them were living in homeless shelters.

“Also, some of you have been robbed and you don’t know it yet,” Stanley tells the group during one of the breaks.

The anxiety builds with each passing 15 minutes, which represents one week.

“You see these things happen with certain people when you’re already living on the [poverty] line, and then one bad thing can just screw everything up,” says Chasitye Jackson, who participated in the simulation. “I already had sympathy for people, but I think that I’ll have more compassion just thinking about it because nobody chooses to be like this. Everybody wants to provide for their family.”

Jackson was a 15-year-old daughter in the simulation, and she said the biggest thing that struck her from the experience was how the family had put all of its focus on money instead of the emotional needs of the family.

Other families benefitted from having a two-parent household, even though they only had one steady income.

“I was an 8-year-old,” says Sibyl Slade, “so the first thing I noticed is that I couldn’t provide any input. I didn’t see a lot of my mom because she was working, but I saw my dad because he was the one laid off. Dad being more available allowed us to get errands run and dad knew where to get the services.”

But then Slade said her mother was “arrested” because her employer had written her a bad check. She was forced to go to jail, and then they had to make sacrifices to get her out.

The group discussed how they managed the difficulty of each situation.

“This is a simulation, this is fun, but this is real life for a lot of people,” Stanley says. “Regardless of what walk of life we are from, we all had some unconscious bias about people in that situation. But they are people, too. They are part of our community.”

If you want to help care for the people in your community, donate to the Child Well-Being Impact Fund. You can also look for other ways to volunteer and advocate for United Way in your community.