17 reasons United Way of Greater Atlanta had a great year!
1. United Way of Greater Atlanta launched the Child Well-Being Agenda this year, setting out strategic goals to improve child well-being in our region. We set a goal to improve the well-being of 250,000 children over the next decade. We also unveiled the Child Well-Being Index, including interactive maps, which allows Greater Atlanta residents to better understand the issues in their community.
2. The City of Atlanta announced that they would partner with us on Homestretch, a $50 million initiative to reduce homelessness—the biggest effort yet to make homelessness brief and rare in the city of Atlanta.
3. Our 10th Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast, featuring keynote speaker Geena Davis, raised $16,296 through on-site text-to-give to fund innovative, preventative mental healthcare for girls who are vulnerable to sex trafficking. We also celebrated 10 years of dedicated impact from our best women leaders.
4. We set a goal this year to provide 60,000 meals to kids in our community who face hunger during the summer. For kids who rely on free or reduced lunch during the school year, sometimes lunch can be hard to come by when school is out. Through Silence the Growl, we surpassed our goal and provided 65,481 meals to fill hungry bellies all across our thirteen counties.
5. Through Night for a Brighter Tomorrow, our Young Professional Leaders (YPL) raised enough funds to open a brand new Kids Home Initiative site in Clayton County. Thanks to YPL, critical services to keep kids stably housed and in school were brought to one of our region’s areas with most critical need.
6. Our Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) celebrated 25 years of success. VIP trains Greater Atlanta’s best and brightest volunteers (over 2,200 to date!) to serve on nonprofit boards all over our region.
7. With several of our awesome partners, we co-hosted two mayoral forums to help Atlanta make more informed voting decisions during this year’s election cycle. Through these forums, local leaders shared their goals for children and families all across the city, starting important conversations about the work our leaders will focus on in upcoming years.
8. In partnership with the Westside Future Fund and the Chick-fil-A Foundation, we launched the Westside Volunteer Corps. As Atlanta’s Westside grows and thrives, we want to ensure residents can be a part of—not a by-product of—Atlanta’s Westside success story.
9. Another successful year for our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) in the books! This year, 565 volunteers prepared more than 15,500 tax returns all across Greater Atlanta. This resulted in savings of more than $15 million in refunds and tax preparation fees, alleviating a major burden for our community’s families.
10. We celebrated the launch of Learn4Life, a collaborative effort to ensure educational success for children in Greater Atlanta. By sharing data, learning from each other and highlighting and investing in practices that are working here today in our region, we believe Greater Atlanta can be on a trajectory that ensures all of our students learn for today and learn for life.
11. At this year’s C3 Conference, we awarded the SPARK Grand Prize to Goodr, a sustainable waste management app that leverages technology to combat hunger. Goodr redirects surplus food from restaurants, event centers, airports and businesses to the millions of people who are food insecure. Since winning the prize, they have kicked off several neighborhood food programs and have been one of our best volunteer partners!
12. This year, our 211 contact center celebrated 20 years of service to Greater Atlanta! 2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year that connects people to resources that can put food on tables, keep lights on or even provide clothes after a house fire. Help is provided so that all children, individuals, and families can be put on a path toward well-being. As of last year, 2-1-1 has responded to nearly 8 million people.
13. This year was a tough year for many, and you showed us the powerful community spirit of Greater Atlanta by uniting for Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief. 250 volunteers assembled 1,000 care packages, and we shipped out even more supplies to our neighbors in need.
14. Shout out to our Tocqueville Society! United Way of Greater Atlanta boasts the largest Tocqueville Society of any other United Way in the network. We are proud to work in such a generous community.
15. United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Gifts in Kind (GIK) warehouse provides donated inventory and products from companies across Greater Atlanta to nonprofit agencies. This year, we distributed nearly $3 million worth of donations to our partner nonprofits to help them work better and more efficiently.
16. This year, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officially confirmed that the City of Atlanta has met the federal benchmarks and criteria for ending veteran homelessness. This means that we have all of the supports in place to effectively end veteran homelessness in Greater Atlanta! There has already been a 70 percent drop in homeless veterans in Atlanta over the past five years.
17. And best of all, we got to spend our whole year changing lives, helping our community thrive and spreading smiles with YOU!
We had an awesome year working with you to make Greater Atlanta a better place to live, work and play. Let’s make 2018 even better!
Want to learn more about how to get involved with us? Visit our website! You can also connect with us on social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – to stay up to date on everything we have going on all year long.
Happy New Year from your friends at United Way of Greater Atlanta.
Ashton Brasher is the Internal Communications and Content Manager at United Way of Greater Atlanta.