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Column: Atlanta region gets failing score on Child Well-Being Index

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 6, 2018

The United Way of Greater Atlanta is partnering with more than 30 other nonprofits to focus on the well-being of children in the Atlanta region.

It has developed a Child Well-Being Index — organized by ZIP code — to illustrate the regional portrait of children and pinpoint the disparities in the region.

The Child Well-Being Index gives the region a failing score of 58.9. The coalition of nonprofits is forming a “movement” to raise the overall child well-being score to 68.9 by 2027 by focusing on 250,000 children living in the most critical areas.

Kid Well-Being

Interactive map on Kid Well-Being (Special: United Way of Greater Atlanta)

“This is an example of how we are beginning to organize outside of our traditional partners,” said Milton Little, president and CEO of Atlanta’s United Way. “We are trying to improve the well-being of kids in Atlanta. It’s part of the re-engineering of United Way into a year-round fundraising volunteer engagement entity focused on a specific set of outcomes over the 10-year period.”

The United Way and its partners have secured more than $87 million from donors in the past year that will be invested in the community — most through agencies that have demonstrated an ability to improve child well-being.

Also, United Way, for the first time in four years, has accepted new applicants to its investment process, so that now more than 40 new agencies in the region will receive support.

“The social and economic costs of not addressing these issues are staggering,” said Madelyn Adams, director of community benefits at Kaiser Permanente and member of both the Child Well-Being Steering Group and Community Engagement Council. “With a renewed focus on the areas of greatest need, together, we can make a collective impact on our community.”

Stephen Scherger, chief financial officer at Graphic Packaging International and Atlanta United Way’s board chair, said it is necessary to expand partnerships with other organizations to truly have an impact. The new United Way partners will join existing partners to improve the region’s ability to address the needs of children and families in the greater Atlanta community.

“No one can create large scale, lasting changes alone,” Little said. “To change the futures of 250,000 children within 10 years will require more than just our efforts and those of our partners. We need leaders in the civic community to come together in the Child Well-Being movement. The stakes are high. If our kids don’t reach their potential, neither will we as a region.”

Georgia Tech and Delta

Delta Air Lines will be the first participant in the corporate sustainability program of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.

The center, founded in 2013, launched the program to deepen ties between Georgia Tech and select corporations that demonstrate commitment to environmental and social sustainability. “Our mission aligns everything we do with two primary outcomes: integrating sustainability into business education and practice and facilitating innovation in business through sustainability-inspired ideas,” said Michael Oxman, the center’s managing director. “This new program capitalizes on the Center’s strengths as a catalyst and connector to the business community.”

The corporate engagement initiative will have guest lectures, joint research and workshops on sustainability topics and trends. Delta’s engagement will also support undergraduate and MBA experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and research.

Steve Tochilin, Delta’s general manager of environmental sustainability, said the airline is looking forward to working with the center to develop “even more sustainable business practices” and to help advance sustainable business education and research at Georgia Tech.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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