Sometimes it really is the little things. When I check into a DoubleTree Hotel, I know that along with my room key, I’ll receive a warm chocolate chip cookie. The tradition of welcoming guests with a ...
(THIS IS A TEST BLOG. THE CONTENT WAS TAKEN FROM DELTA AIR LINES BLOG.) Earlier today, Delta crew members flew from Atlanta into New York-JFK. Flights began bringing the first customers in since New York ...
by SaportaReport Contributor Jamie Clements, a leader at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, recently shared his perspectives on the fascinating world of Broadway-bound productions and theatrical investing. Jamie, the Alliance’s director of development, brings both professional and personal passion and knowledge to theatre, and has watched numerous shows originally produced at the Alliance Theatre continue on to successful Broadway or off-Broadway runs. He generously fielded our questions to help others better understand this intriguing world. 1. Jamie, would you explain the Alliance’s history of sending productions to Broadway? a. Since its founding in 1968, the Alliance has premiered more than 100 original productions, launching important American musicals to Broadway, including the Tony Award winners The Color Purple; Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice; and Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Because Atlanta has helped us create such a remarkable venue, and helped support us attracting and hiring incredibly talented designers, costume artisans, set builders and theater run-crews (the people who actually make the shows work each night behind the scenes), the Alliance is in an elite group of less than a dozen theaters nation-wide who specialize in large-scale, pre-Broadway, world premiere partnerships. We have sent nine shows to Broadway and have quite a few in the line-up for future projects, including two hopefuls (Becoming Nancy and Maybe Happy Ending) in our current season. 2. How does the Alliance Theatre partner with investors and producers? a. It is not common knowledge that every show on Broadway is actually a for-profit company, and like most successful companies, the producers who originate these shows like to have a “beta test” or trial run to test their product before scaling it up to Broadway. Your favorites – Wicked, Hamilton, The Color Purple, The Lion King, etc. – all had one of these “out of town try-outs,” as they are called in the theater business, in big regional, non-profit theaters like the Alliance. During these trial runs, the shows change dramatically in rehearsals, and as the producers and directors hear and see the reactions from the audiences during what are called “preview performances.” A pre-Broadway show will often have 10-12 previews before Opening Night at the Alliance, with the show changing every single night until it “locks in” on Opening and remains the same for the remainder of the run. Because of this iterative process in previews, the producers are every bit as interested in our audiences as they are in our staff. The Alliance is a standout in the competitive world of pre-Broadway partnerships because of our diverse, engaged and invested patrons. 3. Does the Alliance Theatre profit when shows they produce go big? a. A wise Broadway investor once said “investing in a Broadway show is the most fun money you will ever lose!” When we enter into an agreement with Broadway-bound shows, the Alliance becomes an investor in that show, but we are most interested in sharing a great new story with Atlanta before the rest of the world sees it. Because we go to great expense to help build, costume and run a show, we do share in a small percentage of the profits after the show hopefully goes on to Broadway, national tours, and sometimes even when it is licensed to grace the stages of high schools, colleges, or community theaters around the country. Any money we receive in royalties is invested directly back into the work we do on our Atlanta stages and in hundreds of classrooms around the state of Georgia. We are always looking to be partners on high-potential shows, not only because they are great fun while they are in Atlanta, but also because we get to help export a great cultural product from Georgia that will then pay dividends we are able to reinvest in our city and community. 4. How have shows performed on Broadway? Any Tony Awards or other accolades? a. The Alliance has been incredibly fortunate with all of our Broadway-bound partnerships, but we are of course very proud of our three Tony Award winning shows (The Color Purple, Aida, and The Last Night of Ballyhoo). These shows were some of the reasons why The American Theatre Wing chose to award the Alliance Theatre itself with a Tony Award for artistic excellence in 2007. The Prom, which premiered at the Alliance in 2017, recently concluded 300+ performances on Broadway and received seven Tony nominations during this past awards season. In total, world premieres from the Alliance have garnered 30 Tony nominations and six Tony Awards. More than anything, the remarkable people attached to these shows – designers, actors, musicians, artists – all form incredible bonds with our patrons, staff and our city, so we see that as one of the best rewards each time we host a pre-Broadway partnership. 5. Have you seen any on Broadway? a. I was fortunate to see The Prom in the final week of previews on Broadway, just days before it had a fabulous Opening Night. It was the first show I’ve been able to see from “beta test” version here at the Alliance, all the way to scaled-up nationwide attention and fame. Selections from The Prom also kicked off 2018’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was a proud moment to watch. 6. What’s your favorite thing about Becoming Nancy? a. One reviewer noted that this is a “life-positive” show, and I couldn’t agree more. It is alive and energetic and exhilarating and funny and heartwarming. Exactly what I want from a great night at the theater. Becoming Nancy is currently running on the brand new Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre until Sunday, October 6. For more information, visit alliancetheatre.org. Featured photo: Jasmine Rogers, Nicole Medoro, Sally Ann Triplett, Zachary Sayle, Jessica Vosk, Lizzie Bea, and Matt Hetherington in the Alliance Theatre’s 2019/20 world premiere production BECOMING NANCY. Photo by Greg Mooney.
By Gregg Simon, Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber As we move forward into a new decade, it is a perfect time to reflect on the economic state of metro Atlanta. Our region continued to enjoy significant economic growth in 2019 across our 29-county metro, across multiple industries. Before highlighting success stories, I want to emphasize the spirit of collaboration in economic development in our region. I recently attended a meeting with a business and their consultant as they visited Atlanta to evaluate our region against others for a new operation. A senior official from another organization explained to the visitors that economic development is a partnership in Georgia: when you speak to one of our organizations you speak to all of us. As someone who has promoted this collaboration for years, that comment was music to my ears. The strong partnership between the Georgia Department of Economic Development, utilities, local chambers, governments and development authorities, universities, the private sector and the Metro Atlanta Chamber is a strong team that continues to drive success. Layer onto this tactic partnership regional efforts including the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership and the Regional Market Alliance of the Atlanta Regional Commission and we are fortunate to be a region rich in economic development resources. A key economic driver for our region continues to be our significant population growth. Consider that our regional population is around six million people, making metro Atlanta the ninth-largest metro in the U.S. From 2017 to 2018, the population of the Atlanta MSA (29 counties) increased by an estimated 75,702 people, ranking fourth metro area in the nation for numeric increase in population. The Atlanta Regional Commission forecasts the 20-county Atlanta region will add 2.5 million more people by 2040, bringing the population to more than 8 million. This population growth has led to an influx of businesses and investment in our region. Notable projects announced in 2019 include: CarMax – This Richmond, Virginia-based automotive company selected a building in Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County for a 300+ person customer experience center. Chick fil-A – Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A decided to build its first company-owned distribution facility in Cartersville in Bartow County. The facility will employ over 300 people. Invesco – The Atlanta-based financial services leader that acquired Oppenheimer Fund is moving 500 jobs to Atlanta and recently broke ground on a new 300,000 square foot headquarters in Midtown Atlanta. Stitch Fix – A San Francisco-based e-commerce apparel company that offers online personal style assistance selected Lithia Springs in Douglas County for a 900-person distribution facility. These four projects are a sampling of the 83 companies that selected Metro Atlanta in 2019 for new or expanded operations that will employ more than 11,000 people over the next few years. In addition to the businesses selecting Atlanta for new or expanded facilities, real estate developers are partnering with communities across the region to create new residential, retail and office communities. A sampling of notable projects under construction or planned now include: Centennial Yards in the City of Atlanta, Halcyon in Forsyth County, the Mill on Etowah in Cherokee County, Pinewood Forest in Fayette County. Halcyon in Forsyth County is a 135-acre mixed use development that includes retail, residential and office space. The project features 250,000 square feet of office space that is already almost entirely leased before delivery. The Mill on Etowah in the City of Canton in Cherokee County recently received the Deal of the Year award from the Georgia Economic Developers Association and the Regional Redevelopment of the Year at the Metro Atlanta Redevelopment Summit. A former denim factory, the property is being redeveloped plus and additional 350,000 square feet into apartments, retail and office. Pinewood Forest in Fayette County is a new community for the creative class. Across the street from Pinewood Studios, the development under construction calls for 1,300 residences, along with a movie theater, a fitness center, pocket parks – and an entire town center. These developments demonstrate the strong investment in our region. We see continued growth in industry sectors such as logistics, digital health technology, cybersecurity, digital media, financial services/technology, software, smart cities/mobile technology and manufacturing. Layer in our 292,000 enrolled college students, world’s busiest and most-efficient airport, large concentration of headquarters of global brands, and a region that embraces diversity – you have the ingredients for continued growth. In summary, 2019 has been another great year for Metro Atlanta’s economy. Thank you to our statewide, utility, local chamber, local government and development authority, university, and private sector partners.
By S. Kelley Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Action Ministries According to recent headlines from popular business sites, the United States is currently experiencing the longest period of economic growth in history at over 122 months. The last stretch of similar proportion was from March 1991 – Mar 2001 (CNBC). This expansion has created wealth, jobs, and massive GDP growth over the past decade. This is clearly a feat unmatched in our country, and one that assumes everyone has benefited. Unfortunately, a higher tide is not raising all boats in our harbor of prosperity. This week we will look beyond the numbers to see who might be left behind and explore opportunities to remedy the imbalance. In May of this year the non-partisan Brookings Institute reviewed the economic expansion in depth, across the globe with some interesting findings. Overall income equality has improved since 2000, with significant upward mobility being recognized by the 50 poorest countries. The opposite was true in 34 of the most advanced economies, United States included, where income inequality worsened (Brookings, Is inequality really on the rise?, May 2019). Income inequality is measured by something called the Gini Coefficient or Gini Index, where 0 is perfect equality and 1 is perfect inequality. According to the Census Bureau, who has been tracking the index since 1912, we are at 0.4845 as a country…Georgia is 0.4822, and Atlanta at an alarming 0.5728 as a comparison. Over the same 10 year period of economic growth, this index actually worsened by 3% in Georgia (US Census Bureau, Data Table B19083). It can be tempting to conclude that the economic expansion only benefited the top earners, and perhaps some exploration into a disproportionate benefit is needed. Income concentration is only one factor, although it does make for a good headline. One culprit that often gets away without penalty is our “point of view.” We live in a world of instant data, instant decisions, and unfortunately an insatiable demand for instant solutions. The reality is that income inequality is not a new phenomenon and it continues to worsen due to an infatuation with policy solutions that are are more concerned with a big splash during the next election cycle, without consideration of the investment needed to sustain upside for the next generation. Rhetoric that offers “free _____ for _____”, or “universal ______” (fill in the blanks) does little to address the systemic challenges facing families living in poverty. At that same time, cuts to social safety net programs for the sake of saving a few bucks in taxes are equally misguided. Some how we must find a way to meet immediate needs as a first step, without ignoring the structural reforms that empower opportunity at a longer trajectory point. Poverty and income inequality are related, and we can say that income inequality is a factor in poverty. Balancing the proverbial ledger may not be the lasting solution we need to address all of the long-term struggles though. Shifting our “point of view” to look beyond the numbers may reveal some real, albeit not headline worthy, solutions that begin to address the inequalities naturally developing in our community. Perhaps it is time we find a measure that helps define success with “human development” in addition to economic development. The United Way of Greater Atlanta is attempting to tackle this for our region with its Child Well Being Index, using data to determine where we should focus our efforts. This has been a valuable tool for my organization, as we work smarter to address the inequalities and systemic challenges facing our community. At Action Ministries, we try to work to address both immediate and long-term needs, with a focus on engaging families for the future. Where we provide food resources to communities, trust is established, leading to financial literacy programs involving the entire family. Rental assistance may offer a budget reboot for a family, but community is built through workshops that introduce families to each other and repair the social safety nets lost during displacement. None of this work is flashy, or will break in the evening news, but it is worthy. Taking the long view means that we may not witness the real impact of the work on the next generation, but we just might change the trajectory of a family’s future for the good. To learn how you can help, go to https://actionministries.net/ehp/
by Teri Nye, Park Pride Project Manager At the beginning of each year, I take stock of the park planning projects in the year ahead. Atlanta is a small, small point of the planet, but with news of each storm, flood, drought, and raging fire around the world, I see that Park Pride’s work in parks and greenspaces must support the critical role that nature plays in maintaining our quality of life. Even without this pressure, 2020 is an ambitious year for Park Pride. Not only are we playing a role supporting the public engagement effort for the City of Atlanta’s Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan, but also: the Nature for All – Atlanta initiative will launch in earnest, in partnership with Trees Atlanta and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (with the support of the Turner Foundation), and the first wave of the three year pilot of the Atlanta Community Schoolyards Initiative (which will open schoolyards in “park-poor neighborhoods” when school is out of session) will wrap-up, and we will kick off a new round of school projects. This project is done in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, Urban Land Institute and Atlanta Public Schools. Everyone deserves access to nature has emerged as the unofficial theme of Park Pride’s focus in 2020. For this reason, we decided to officially make nature the focus of the 2020 Parks and Greenspace Conference under the title The Nature of Our City. For many, urban parks are one of the few places to escape the bustle of city life and to experience the regular, and replenishing, joys of nature. Unfortunately, throughout history, parks have too often been considered a “nice to have” amenity: a luxury for boom times, but typically first on the chopping block during economic downturns. During those downturns, the maintenance of many parks is whittled down to essentials only; sometimes, the “essentials only” approach to maintenance remains a lingering challenge even as budgets rebound. We now realize that parks and nature are essential elements of a healthy city. Just as we know that access to parks and nature help people cope with their lives by providing emotional and physical benefits, they also help cities cope with daily stressors. Parks are vital infrastructure and offer public services: they control floods, relieve our sewers, replenish our water reserves, and stabilize our soils. They are, in fact, as essential to our cities as clean drinking water, medical care, and reliable sanitation. Parks also preserve habitats for a complex mix of resident and migrating wildlife. Park Pride’s conference will approach our exploration of The Nature of Our City through several lenses: Parks and health Access to nature Parks as natural infrastructure Parks as habitats Parks as reflections of a city’s character We have several amazing keynote speakers lined up who will give us a holistic understanding of the important role that nature plays in creating, maintaining, and defining a city. Diane Jones Allen, D. Eng., ASLA, RLA Program Director for Landscape Architecture, College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs, University of Texas, Arlington. Principal Landscape Architect and Owner, DesignJones, LLC. Diane Jones Allen’s research and practice is guided by the intersection of environmental justice, identity, and sustainability in cultural landscapes. She is also dedicated to helping cities develop resiliency in the face of climate change and climate-related stressors. In 2017, she participated as a member of the ASLA Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resiliency. Diane also serves on the Board of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), contributing to the diversity and climate change sub-committees. David G. Haskell, Ph.D. David Haskell’s work as a writer, scientist, and sound recordist reminds us that life’s substance and beauty emerge from relationship and interdependence. His first book, The Forest Unseen, was finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction and received numerous other honors. Haskell’s latest book, The Songs of Trees, examines the life-giving links between people and trees. Drew Lanham, Ph.D. Drew Lanham is a professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University. In his teaching, research, and outreach roles, Drew seeks to translate conservation science to make it relevant to others in ways that are evocative and understandable. As a Black American, he is intrigued with how culture and ethnic prisms can bend perceptions of nature and its care. His research focuses on songbird ecology, as well as the African-American role in natural-resources conservation. Lanham is an author and award-nominated poet; The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, was published in 2016, and Sparrow Envy in 2017. Kristine Stratton, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) A staunch advocate for environmental conservation and equity issues, Stratton believes strongly in NRPA’s mission to advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. Her belief that everyone has the right to clean water and a healthy environment aligns with NRPA’s vision that everyone deserves a great park. Mark your calendar. The 2020 Parks and Greenspace Conference will be held at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Monday, March 23. Early-bird registration is now open. I hope you’ll join us to be inspired by these keynotes and help ensure that, over the next decade, nature in Atlanta becomes accessible to everyone!
By Dr. Eve Byrd, Carter Center Mental Health Program Director Access to mental health care is a basic human right. As we enter a new decade, we are heartened to see global mental health disorders gain the attention and resources needed to be on par with the human and economic toll they cause around the world. One in four people will experience a mental illness at some point, and the World Health Organization (WHO) names depression as a leading cause of disability. Mental health and substance use disorders are associated with significant premature deaths. Recent WHO data cites mental illness as responsible for 30% of nonfatal diseases worldwide. Yet, many countries are not prepared for this neglected and misunderstood challenge. The tide is beginning to turn. In the last couple of years, there has been an unprecedented interest in global mental health. Health ministers from all 194 countries committed their nations to specific objectives and targets in the WHO Mental Health Action plan. Business leaders are becoming more aware of the economic losses caused by mental health problems in the workforce. Mental health is higher on the agenda at key United Nations meetings and the annual World Economic Forum. Globally, leaders are realizing the benefits of placing a higher priority on well-being. Many countries are also starting to integrate mental health into their national health plans, but we have a long way to go for nations to fund behavioral health on par with other equally debilitating illnesses. Liberia is an example of a country constructing a mental health infrastructure. In 2010, building upon nearly two decades of fostering peace and democracy in Liberia, The Carter Center Mental Health Program launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) an initiative to help create a sustainable mental health system in Liberia. At that time, the country had just one psychiatrist, no national plan to address the mental health needs of a population recovering from civil war, and no laws to protect the rights of persons with mental illnesses. Photos of recent class of clinicians who began specialized training in mental health. This training is the result of a partnership between The Carter Center and the Liberia Ministry of Health. The Carter Center, the MOH, and its partners began training clinicians in mental health. Now there are over 250 mental health clinicians trained, with more than 100 specialized in the needs of children and adolescents. Their services are integrated into the primary care health care network across the country. Clinicians focused on children and youth provide mental health and psychosocial care in schools, clinics, and other child- and youth-centered settings. Liberia has a behavioral health services plan and has passed the country’s first mental health legislation protecting the rights of persons with mental illness. Additionally, the Center works with about 20 Liberian journalists to help educate them on mental health and debunk some of the myths still surrounding mental illnesses. The silence around mental health helps perpetuate stigma and misconceptions. Last year, Rosalynn Carter and the Rev. Bill Jallah, a mental health advocate in Liberia, wrote an op-ed titled “We are at the beginning of a global mental health revolution.” Jallah, who lives with a mental illness, heads up a Liberian advocacy group for people living with mental health conditions called Cultivation for Users’ Hope. This group, supported by The Carter Center, is instrumental to destigmatizing mental illness and working to help change policy as Liberia implements its first mental health law. Jallah attended a Global Ministerial Health Summit in Amsterdam in October 2018. At this conference packed with leaders, he shared his story to shine the light on his condition and give others hope for recovery. The time has come for millions of people affected by mental illnesses to have their voices heard and for policymakers to ensure that persons with mental illness receive quality care and support so they too can have the hope of living a happy and healthy life. There is no health without mental health. —— Don’t miss Conversations at The Carter Center: Atlanta’s Role in the Global Mental Health Revolution, January 14, 7-8:15 p.m., a public discussion featuring global mental health leaders from The Carter Center, The Center for Victims of Torture, United for Global Mental Health, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For free tickets, register here. ATTEND OR WATCH LIVE WEBCAST. Georgia’s Center for Victims of Torture is a member of the Georgia Global Health Alliance.
By Kate Sweeney It seems like a simple concept: Build neighborhoods that can accommodate people across all stages of life — from toddlers, to twenty-somethings, to those past retirement. Regional planners call them “lifelong communities.” Too often though, neighborhoods in metro Atlanta fail to live up to this promise. Many communities lack the sidewalks and transportation options needed by those of us who don’t — or can no longer — drive. And few offer the mix of housing types and price points needed to appeal to a broad range of incomes — much less adaptive features like ramps and wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs. This challenge is often framed as an issue specific to aging — (lifelong communities are also sometimes called “age-friendly”) — and so it’s of little surprise that it’s gained traction here in metro Atlanta, where one in four of us will be 60 or older by 2030. But neighborhoods that are pedestrian-friendly, affordable, and accessible to public transportation? These are hardly just an “aging” thing; rather, they’re booming in popularity among all age groups these days. Read on.
By Sharon A. Gay, Office Managing Partner, Dentons This fall I want to highlight something outside the usual legal realm: How the NFL—and the Pittsburgh Steelers no less—have played a key role in making Dentons a nationally recognized leader in diversity. You may have heard of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which was created by the late Dan Rooney and is now supported by his son, Art Rooney II, president of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rooney Rule requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach vacancies. In the years following its implementation, the number of minorities hired to fill head-coach roles doubled. The Rooney Rule inspired Diversity Lab, an incubator for innovative ways to boost diversity and inclusion in law, to adopt a similar Mansfield Rule for the legal field, named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the US. Dentons piloted the inaugural version of the Mansfield Rule in the summer of 2017. This fall, we achieved Mansfield Certified Plus status for 2019 after completing the Mansfield Rule 2.0 12-month certification program. The new certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color and LGBTQ+ lawyers for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral positions. The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to increase the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these opportunities. The “plus” part of the certification indicates that, beyond meeting or exceeding the pipeline consideration requirements for certification, Dentons successfully reached at least 30 percent diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of its current leadership roles and committees. Ensuring that lawyers from under-represented groups have opportunities for career growth and advancement—and the support to seize those opportunities—is a priority for me personally. This latest certification is another sign of the value we, as a firm, put on creating and sustaining a rich and vibrant workplace that reflects our clients and communities.
Introduction by John Ahmann, President & CEO, Westside Future Fund Our guest columnist this week is Tracy Techau, Scout Executive/CEO of the Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. Last month, we were fortunate to host Tracy along with a panel of Scout leaders and community partners as the featured presenters for the September 6th Transform Westside Summit. In case you missed it, you can read a recap and catch a replay of the Boy Scouts’ presentation on our Facebook livestream I am grateful to Tracy because he leads by showing up! Although he has metro-wide responsibilities, Tracy and senior members of his team have been regular attendees of the Transform Westside Summit. Thanks to Tracy’s leadership, they have made special efforts to stand up Scout Troops on the Westside. Read more about it below. I am also appreciative of David Moody’s leadership, last year’s Council Board President. A graduate of Morehouse College, David is the founder/CEO of C.D. Moody Construction Company, Inc. David is also the author of “Fighting Through the Fear: My Journey of Healing Through Childhood Sex Abuse”, and through his powerful testimonial seeks to help other victims of childhood sexual abuse recover. Thank you Tracy and David for modeling the Scout Oath in word and deed! Be sure to register and join me at the next Transform Westside Summit on Friday, October 18. What do Hank Aaron, Ivan Allen and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., share with the Westside? Scouting. Contributed by Tracy Techau, Scout Executive/CEO, Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America “Outdoor leadership” is a phrase rarely used to describe Atlanta’s Westside. But the Boy Scouts of America, which started programs in Metro-Atlanta in 1916, is playing a pivotal role in Westside revitalization efforts, and in building leadership skills among Westside youth. Over 15 Scouting programs serve the Westside community. Through our Scoutreach initiative, staff members called Program Specialists serve as the leaders for some Packs and Troops implementing the weekly leadership program. Scouts are provided with handbooks, supplies, and funding for activities and camp, at no charge to the family. Scouting has touched the lives of many of our city’s great business and political leaders, civic activists, educators, and even Hall of Famers, and many of them have served Scouting. Ivan Allen, Sr. was a founding member. Ivan Allen, Jr. served as a Council President, as did Ivan Allen, III. Maynard Jackson grew up as a Scout at Friendship Baptist Church. Hank Aaron was a Scout in Mobile, Alabama and says Scouting taught him skills through the Scout Oath and Law. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Scout at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Boy Scouts of America will continue to thrive and provide character building and training to our children through Atlanta’s great leadership. Our mission is critical. Children today are faced with obstacles that were not a challenge before – they want and need loyalty, trust, and kindness in their lives. They need a village to teach them to always strive to do their best and to serve their community. They need access to learning outside of school – training that sparks interests in future careers. Scouting allows children to try different things in a safe and controlled environment, a place where they can fail and learn. Failure in Scouting may have consequences, they might be a little wet and cold on a campout, or be a little uncomfortable in a leadership role, but they learn how to overcome challenges and lead confidently. Our mission may be lofty, but with the help of volunteers and community partners, we create leaders out of young people – and I think we would all agree that we need more leaders in our world. Our goal is to give every child the opportunity to be a Scout, no matter their background. Mike Dubose, President of Thermo Fisher Scientific, and VP of Scoutreach on the Council’s Board of Directors, leads the Scoutreach team that works to remove barriers that might prevent a child from participating. “In some neighborhoods, it is tough to find volunteers, especially among families who are struggling to make ends meet,” says Eagle Scout Dubose. “All children should have access to Scouting, especially those who have challenges at home.” “Scoutreach support is available to any Scout in need, but we have found that if we can go deep into certain neighborhoods like South Cobb, Marietta City School District, and the Westside, then our resources go further, and our impact is greater,” Dubose says. Dave Moody, President and CEO of C.D. Moody Construction, and past Council Board President, helped to launch the Westside Scouting Expansion in 2017. “Scouting has been in the Westside for decades. Through the generosity of our donors and the vision of our Scoutreach leadership we now provide over 15 programs at many of the churches, at Bellwood Boys & Girls Club, City of Refuge, KIPP, Community Concerns, Ashview Heights, the At Promise Center, and M. Agnes Jones,” says Moody. “Scoutreach is impactful, but it is also more costly than the traditional volunteer led model. Our paid Program Specialists bring consistency and hope to these young people. They show them how to do their best, serve their community and be leaders. To me, that sounds like one of the best investments someone can make,” Moody states. The Scouting ideals are found in two precepts that every Scout recites and lives, the Scout Oath and Law. Individually, the words are simple, but collectively they become words to live by. These principles make Scouting more than what people do, but rather who they are—and what they will be. The Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America is grateful for the 9,200 volunteers that serve our 32,000 youth, and the many donors who invest in Scouting to help build our children into future leaders. For more information on the Westside Scouting Expansion, visit www.atlantabsa.org/westside or call 770-956-3178 for information on how to support a Scout in need.