Joining Forces, Raising Resources: Succeeding as Partners in Business, Government and Philanthropy

The numbers are, quite simply, amazing.

Metropolitan Atlanta is home to more than 5 million people, is growing non-stop, and hosts the headquarters of more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies.

More than 96 million people a year travel through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which means that, on a daily basis, ATL hosts approximately 250,000 travelers.   That’s more than the population of Orlando, Providence, or Winston-Salem traveling through the busiest and most efficient airport in the world every single day.

Delta Air Lines, with its 1,000 daily flights from just Atlanta, travels to 326 destinations in 59 countries and employs more than 80,000 people worldwide.

Impressive, on all counts.

For every Fortune 500 company that calls Atlanta home, for every flight out of Hartsfield-Jackson, for every Delta ticket sold, there are countless Atlantans who are critical in keeping our region on a strong growth trajectory.

One of our region’s most important partners is United Way of Greater Atlanta, which invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties. As one of the largest United Way chapters in the United States, it has an annual budget of $100 million.

Offering such assistance does not come easily: it takes time, effort and money.  The City of Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson, and Delta Air Lines are stepping up to provide such resources.  On October 17th, the Mayor’s Inaugural 5K on the 5th Runway will be held at Hartsfield-Jackson, with all proceeds to benefit United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Far from being a typical 5K race, this will give runners and walkers a chance to step out on a course usually traveled only by aircraft – the 5th Runway at Hartsfield-Jackson.  The runway will be closed early that Saturday morning to allow participants the chance to set a new personal record, run with friends, or simply walk along a runway most Atlantans drive under while motoring down I-285.

A true collaborative effort, The Mayor’s Inaugural 5K on the 5th Runway proves just how well organizations such as the City of Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson, and Delta Air Lines can work together to benefit Atlanta’s residents while also raising much-needed funds for United Way of Greater Atlanta.

You, too, can join forces and raise resources by registering to run or walk in the Mayor’s Inaugural 5K on the 5th Runway.  Follow the link, register, and join The City of Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Delta Air Lines as we show how business, government and philanthropy can succeed together.

Miguel Southwell

Miguel Southwell is the aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.


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New Beginnings – The Community Foundation has Moved!

By Alicia Philipp, president of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

By Alicia Philipp, president of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

By Alicia Philipp, president of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

It is not New Year’s Day, but I have the same feeling – turning over a new leaf, new beginnings!

The Community Foundation has moved to 191 Peachtree Street after 26 years in our former space. The newness of fresh paint and a space designed for today’s work is exhilarating. Lots of collaboration and meeting space with light coming in the windows, is so important to our work. A new day!

It is also a new day in other ways. We are putting the finishing touches on a new three-year strategic plan that is bold and aspirational. We will be pushing hard to expand our philanthropic reach and impact. The metro area has so many strengths that can be built on to address some of the deep, systemic problems we face. The role for The Community Foundation as the “community’s endowment” has never been more needed. Come see our new space and come be part of our transformational work.

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3 Reasons to Work for a Nonprofit

United Way of Greater Atlanta Three Reasons to Work for a Nonprofit

I’ve been working at United Way of Greater Atlanta for about six months now. I decided to switch to the nonprofit sector because I wanted to work for an organization whose culture matched its mission.

I am extremely pleased with my decision, so much so, I’d like to encourage you to consider a nonprofit career too!

Here are three reasons you should consider working for a nonprofit:

  1. You get the opportunity to give back – It may sound cliché, but it never fails. Every time I interview someone and ask why they are interested in working for United Way – or any nonprofit – they say it’s because they want to give back. They are highly intelligent, super skilled people who could work anywhere they want, but they make the conscious choice to work for organizations that are motivated by a mission to serve others and the community. If this is your passion, and you’re looking to make a larger impact beyond what you get from volunteering or donating, you should definitely consider a nonprofit career.
  2. You work with like-minded people – The majority of people who work for nonprofits are motivated by a passion to serve. (See #1.) So you will be surrounded by people who have similar values, goals and interests. These commonalities make it easier to collaborate, innovate and integrate with members of your team, and even leaders at the executive level.
  3. You learn how to work with tight budgets – Nonprofit organizations have to be very thoughtful about every cent they spend. As a result, you learn pretty quickly how to work within tight budgets. Limited resources force you to think outside of the box to make things happen, and that way of problem solving can transfer to other parts of your life as well.

I admit. Working for a nonprofit isn’t for everyone. But if it’s something you’ve been thinking about, go ahead and jump in! There is so much you can gain, both professionally and personally.

Sara CloudSara Cloud is the Learning and Performance Director at United Way of Greater Atlanta. She can be reached at [email protected]

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Neighborhood Summit: Embracing the Power of Education

By Tené Traylor, Senior Program Officer, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Tené Traylor, Senior Program Officer, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Tené Traylor, Senior Program Officer, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Neighborhoods are the building blocks of our region, shaping its character. They are where “community” begins. To support and further this thinking, the first annual Neighborhood Summit was held in September 2009 –a day-long event designed for residents from metro Atlanta counties to connect and discuss a common, inclusive agenda for strengthening the region. The Neighborhood Summit was co-developed by citizen groups and regional nonprofits to meet, exchange ideas and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Saturday, September 26, 2015 will mark our region’s sixth Neighborhood Summit hosted by the Neighborhood Fund, an initiative of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The event continues to grow and remains focused on strengthening neighborhoods while building a collaborative regional voice. The geographic reach is unique and expansive – resident, nonprofit, philanthropic, business and government leaders from Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Morgan, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Rockdale, Spalding and Walton counties attend to address regional issues and share solutions!

The 2015 Neighborhood Summit theme, “Embracing the Power of Education,” focuses on improving education from birth to career, showcasing neighborhood-based and state-wide efforts. In partnership with regional organizations such as the Atlanta Regional Commission, Metro Atlanta Chamber and United Way of Greater Atlanta, more than 600 attendees will attend workshops, visit exhibits and network with community leaders. The day will also feature an interactive lunch and closing plenary with Great Schools Atlanta and a regional leaders panel with representatives from regional organizations. An afternoon issues assembly focused on education equity and a Neighborhood Fund grant seekers workshop will conclude the day.

The Neighborhood Summit is proud to present Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, former superintendent of the DeKalb County School District as the opening plenary speaker at the 2015 Neighborhood Summit. Thurmond is the former superintendent of the DeKalb County School District, the third largest district in the state of Georgia.

Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Location: The Georgia International Convention Center,
2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta, GA 30337


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How 9/11 Changed Me

<a href=""><img src=""></a> <br><small>Picture of <a href="">New York City Center</a> thanks to <a href="">scotthudson</a> and <a href="">New York Pictures</a></small>

Photo by Scott Hudson

I was recently asked by a friend why I chose to transition from a long career in the private sector into a career in the nonprofit sector.  I told him that several years ago I decided to transition into the nonprofit sector in order to dedicate my energy, passion and skills toward helping others, rather than simply working to maximize profits.  I wanted to focus as much of my energy on leaving a lasting positive impact on my community and our world.  The seed of this career transition was planted 14 years ago on a day that none of us will ever forget.

After the horrific events unfolded on September 11, 2001, we collectively went through a range of emotions.  It began with shock and utter disbelief mixed with sadness, followed by a slow building rage that demanded swift revenge.  Those emotions were followed by a great feeling of pride and unity.  But soon after, we started hearing rumblings from our government telling us to now be afraid.  And as that fear was collusively pushed upon us, most Americans bought what Uncle Sam was selling.  But, I wasn’t in such a rush to buy those “freedom fries.”

For me, the next stage of the healing process had nothing to do with fear, rather its roots stemmed from intellectual honesty in a quest for meaning, answers and truth. So I asked myself one simple question; Why?  Unfortunately most Americans accepted the simple and most convenient answer… “They hate us because of our freedom!”

To answer that question, I spent a lot of time researching Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, along with their motives for the attacks.  I began to follow our government’s response to the attacks, while retracing many decades of America’s foreign policy footprints.  The things I discovered reverberated at my core, much like the seismic waves that registered on the Richter scale when the towers collapsed.

These discoveries led to the dawning of a new era in my life.  It was an era that no longer accepted apathy and complacency as the standard.  It was time to recalibrate and set new standards for how I viewed and interacted with the world.  Like a splash of cold water awakening me from decades of slumber, my mind was sharp and my mission was clear.

Now, I work hard not to let the convenience and comfort of opinion win out over the discomfort of thought, as John F. Kennedy so eloquently reminded us.  With critical thinking set as my North Star, I now seek personal, political, religious, and spiritual truth, and I embrace it regardless of what portrait it paints.  I also made the career change into the nonprofit sector, which allows me to dedicate my energy, passion and skills toward helping others in my community and throughout the world.

Like a Phoenix rising from the World Trade Center ashes, I emerged reborn and more focused.  No longer allowing myself to be one of the pawns in the game, I now strive to be the Grandmaster.  So as I reflect on that awful day back in 2001, it’s kind of ironic how the despicable and horrific acts of that day, which were intended to terrorize me, actually made me into a better human being.

Anthony King United Way AtlantaAnthony King is a development officer at United Way of Greater Atlanta. He can be reached at [email protected]

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When Teaching and Philanthropy Meet

By Staci Lynch, Philanthropic Advisor, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Staci Lynch, Philanthropic Advisor, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Staci Lynch, Philanthropic Advisor, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Good teaching is a talent, right? We all know those people who clearly have a “gift” for helping others to learn. My mom was a Kindergarten teacher for most of her career as an educator. I often witnessed her in action as she navigated the carpet in her small classroom, making sure each of her 25 or 26 students were engaged, happy, and thriving. She had tools for helping a child refocus. She would break up the day with songs and fun stories. She was stern but loving. She had high expectations for each of them – a confidence that all of her students could and would learn to read. She had the patience and determination to ensure that goal was achieved. Good teaching is an art. It’s a talent. It’s a gift.

This past weekend, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta hosted its 9th Planet Philanthropy, which is our opportunity to do a little teaching of our own. Planet Philanthropy is a program designed to introduce the next generation of our donors to philanthropy. We had 22 young people, ranging from ages 4 to 13, join us at Zoo Atlanta, our host for this year’s program. It was a day filled with animal encounters, conservation lessons, volunteer projects, and conversations about saving, spending and sharing. We also facilitated a grantmaking exercise so that the children could vote on which Zoo Atlanta initiative to support! The zoo’s education team was amazing, and I can say with certainty that each Planet Philanthropy participant left with a better understanding of the important role that nonprofits have in our community.

Staci Lynch presents at 2015 Planet Philanthropy

Staci Lynch presents at 2015 Planet Philanthropy

I’ll be honest – it can be challenging to teach these rather complex concepts to young people, but at The Community Foundation we think it’s important to begin somewhere. For us Planet Philanthropy is that platform. It’s that introduction to what it means to be philanthropic, to be civically engaged, to be thoughtful about your broader community. It’s an opportunity for the next generation to begin to explore and think about what issues they are passionate about.

I’ll end with this shout out and message of gratitude – thank you to ALL of the really dedicated teachers out there, who give tirelessly day in and day out to pass along knowledge and information to the next generation. We all benefit from your commitment to helping young people learn, grow and thrive! We don’t tell you often enough how important you are to our community.

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A Salute to Julian Bond, Our Community Champion

Photo by Richard Avedon














I admire the thought leaders of our world – globally, nationally and locally. They are our thinkers and doers.  Our leaders are our heroes. They create awareness while building ambassadors for their cause and their community.  They motivate change with their words and actions, committed to creating a greater tomorrow.

In the nonprofit sector, we are fortunate to collaborate with many social justice leaders daily.  It reminds us why we stand on the frontline of challenge, passionately fighting for change.

Today, I celebrate a heroic leader, an activist who demonstrated the excellence of leadership in the city of Atlanta. He didn’t just do the work, he mastered it and compelled others to follow.  Our hero, Julian Bond, former N.A.A.C.P. chairman and civil rights leader, has passed.

Bond’s work illustrates many examples of leadership, service and heroism. From age 17 to 75, his journey is indicative of a man who never gave up the fight. He was elected to our Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, not taking his seat until a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1967.  An advocate for humanity, Bond dedicated more than 20 years at the forefront of decisions that shaped Atlanta.

He led a life committed to thought leadership and activism.  Can you imagine the stories he has shared?  Sitting at the helm of young black Americans sharing their voice during the civil rights movement, Bond led the protests as a leader of peace. He graduated Morehouse as a co-founder and the communications director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  In an effort to promote legal advocacy, he founded the Southern Poverty Law Center.   His work, now serving as a legacy, covers the span of a lifetime. It is a constant motivation to remain at the frontline of challenge, creating change for one and all.

Notably, change requires a commitment to the work, advocating for the people and building a greater tomorrow. But when heroes fall, who will have the courage to do more than stand on their shoulders? Who will keep the conversation going to ensure positive change continues?

But when heroes fall, who will have the courage to do more than stand on their shoulders? Who will keep the conversation going to ensure positive change continues?

I am hopeful Julian Bond’s iconic work will continue to have a voice in our community, opening doors for all people. He is proof that superheroes do in fact exist. When we work together, we create a force – a superpower – that changes the world. I salute you Mr. Julian Bond, celebrate your life as a social justice hero and honor your commitment to service.

United Way AtlantaAllison Todd is the interim regional marketing manager at United Way of Greater Atlanta. She can be reached at [email protected]

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For Nonprofits, Cash Flow Management is King

By Lisa Cremin, Director, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Lisa Cremin, Director at The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Lisa Cremin, Director at The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

As a grantmaker, when reading nonprofit’s grant proposals and financials, it doesn’t take long to observe that cash flow management is a real challenge for many organizations, particularly small and midsized ones. Executive directors and staff of smaller nonprofits are uniquely talented in so many aspects of running their organization but many lack experience and training in financial management.

Without consistent cash flow forecasting and management, nonprofits leaders – just like business leaders- can find themselves in a corner when anticipated revenue doesn’t materialize as expected or scheduled. For a nonprofit dependent on grants, contributions or government contracts, it’s vitally important to understand when anticipated funds will arrive. All too often, nonprofit leaders find themselves to doing whatever it takes to keep their essential programs running. Which, as we know, is stressful.

Cash is king. Organizations need to have cash to operate, and they need to manage cash flow so they can predict cash flow shortages. Also, like for-profit businesses, they occasionally need access to bridge loan funds to bridge that gap. But these resources haven’t been there for undercapitalized small and mid-sized nonprofits, of which there are many.

bridge fingers w typeI’m proud to be a part of The Community Foundation where we have taken on these issues and just launched a great new resource to help –  The website has applications for our unique bridge loans for small and midsized nonprofits that have been declined for a loan by a bank. The site also has capacity building tools, such as videos on how to do cash flow forecasting; resources for learning about nonprofit finance, and even a place where nonprofits can get the help of a coach to demystify and build skills in doing cash flow projection.

Our goal is to help remove the perceived stigma and lack of knowledge about loans and cash flow. We want to give nonprofit leaders a clear and easy path for getting basic financial help and build on their strengths. Check it out and let us know what you think.

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Want a Stronger Community? Help Our Schools

By Demetrius Jordan, senior director of regional priorities at United Way of Greater Atlanta

Here we are, one year away from 20th anniversary of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. And there I was, 20 years ago, in 1995, a young, fresh-out-of-college expat teaching in Osaka, Japan. To put it in perspective, pagers were still high tech.

I remember regular calls and letters from family and friends about how Atlanta was faring in preparation to host the Olympics. And many of my new friends shared their excitement about Atlanta being the place to be.

As a Hotlanta native, I was very proud – for the most part. Yes, there were new buildings, sports venues and a host of good ole Atlanta charm on display, echoing Andy Young’s “city too busy to hate.” But as an educator at the time, sheepishly, I was all too familiar with the fact that unlike the way we would come to dominate the summer games athletically, we were not among the top academic-achieving nations competing on the world’s stage. The U.S. lagged behind many other developed countries, including Japan, South Korea, China and Canada. And Georgia was by far not at the top within the U.S.

The story is not that much different today. While we have made significant educational gains here in Georgia and across the country over the past 20 years, we are far from the proverbial finishing line. In a recent study, “Georgia came in dead last in the rigor of its reading proficiency standards in both fourth and eighth grades, and near last in math.” It makes me question whether our students will be prepared to compete in a global market.

Based on a Stanford University study, the potential impact of improving our students’ science and math scores is an estimated $41 trillion boost to the U.S. economy. But if Georgia’s education standards remain too low, we may find ourselves simply handing over any competitive advantage to those more prepared with a stronger workforce; leading tomorrow’s businesses and driving global decisions.

I am equally troubled by the dialogue online following the article about Georgia’s standards. It’s far too easy to ride the coat tail of a narrative that solely casts blame on teachers or administrators. What I found striking in Japan was a clear cultural and community-wide commitment to education. Georgia educators struggle very little with lesson plans and instructions, but are exacerbated by the drains and toxic stress many underachieving students endure outside the classroom.

I’ve heard you can tell the future of a community by how well it treats its children. That’s why one of my favorite days while living in Japan was the annual national Children’s Day Festival, where the entire community celebrated kids.We have an opportunity to do that here. Both experience and research demonstrate student achievement is impacted by what happens outside of the classroom as well as what happens within it.

Whether I’m on the football field with the coaches, in the corporate boardroom with business leaders or in the classroom with my children’s teachers, I hear that we are a concerned, committed community. So how do we change the conversation from being fixated on systems-level issues only to a dialogue about community-based solutions? We have the power to work collectively to not only voice our shared aspiration for a globally competitive standard, but also to bring our skills, knowledge, commitment and compassion together to lift up struggling schools and ensure the next 20 years casts a very different picture.

Demetrius Jordan United Way of Greater Atlanta

Demetrius Jordan is senior director, regional priorities at United Way of Greater Atlanta. He can be reached at [email protected]


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Dog Days for Atlanta Donors with Smoking Hot Results

By Rob Smulian, vice president of philanthropic services, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Rob Smulian, vice president of philanthropic services, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Rob Smulian, vice president of philanthropic services, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

August is, well, hot. Everything is sticky. Even my seersucker suit seems to sizzle. So, what does this have to do with The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, breathtaking views from the Alston & Bird conference room on the 49th floor of One Atlantic Center, and a presentation from financial guru Michael Miller of Colonial Consulting on July 28? The Community Foundation’s investments are boiling up big success for our donors—which means we are able to give more money to more nonprofits to do more good throughout the region. Miller, who manages The Community Foundation’s pooled asset portfolio, is a recognized leader in the field of investments for large foundations and universities. His chops include 29 years in the business, multiple degrees from Columbia, a CFA designation, and a team of 66 colleagues who collaborate with him to sniff out great investments for our Foundation.

I was honored to sit alongside 48 attendees in the room Alston & Bird provided to hear Miller’s insights on our portfolio’s performance and key trends in global markets. Yes, we focus on long-term results using a highly diversified algorithm more complicated than my dog Little Bear’s sniffing process at the dog park. We are also crystal clear about our dual objectives: first, investment returns to maintain charitable distributions at a rate that is meaningful for impact; and second, to increase the value of our pooled assets at a rate greater than inflation. Whether you are a Doberman or a King Charles Spaniel, that’s a darn good bone.

Donors to The Community Foundation can select from investment options that are right for them:

  • The Investment Pool where assets are invested broadly among institutional money managers;
  • American Funds offering a diversified portfolio of mutual funds;
  • A Conservative Fund that focuses on preserving principal and maintaining a high degree of liquidity;
  • Individually managed funds that provide custom designs with the investment advisor of the donor’s choosing.

Atlanta is a vibrant city of dedicated donors giving of their time, talent and treasure. At The Community Foundation, we take those passions and connect them to nonprofit purpose. If your dog days of summer are being spent on the hunt for the right treat, The Community Foundation is a place where you can receive the flexibility and benefits of a private foundation with the tax advantages and simplicity of administration. So sniff us out, you might find the bone of a lifetime!

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