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ATL Business Chronicle

Column: Bo Young gives back with GiveLocally.net

By Maria Saporta
Friday, December 17, 2010

For Andrew “Bo” Young III, the son of Atlanta’s former mayor, his new role as CEO of GiveLocally.net combines his family’s altruism with his business interests.

The for-profit website is a grass-roots philanthropic endeavor that matches generous people with individuals and families at a critical time in their lives.

“This is by far the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” said Young, 37. “I’m fulfilling my entrepreneurial urges and I’m doing what my parents and grandparents expected of me, which is to give back.”

The GiveLocally website was founded in California by Brad Newman, who Young met through a friend. Young became so interested in the concept that he signed on and helped organize some investors for the site, which went live this summer.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Young, who maintains his residence and his longtime company, Young Solutions Inc., in Atlanta. “We never imagined it would grow so quickly. We are in about 45 states.”

Currently, the site has about 100 profiles of people and families in need. GiveLocally pre-screens each one of its profiles to make sure that their stories are real.

One of those helped was a single father of three girls, with one suffering from epilepsy. He had lost his job as a car salesman because of the economy, and had fallen behind in his rent. Within a month, donors raised $645 for the single dad, which has helped him remain in his home.

“A big part of what we do is trying to help people who have had some sort of hardship,” Young said. “So many Americans are just making ends meet, and any surprise can just make everything collapse.”

The website accepts donations as small as $5. Young said he was inspired by how so many Americans used text messaging to give $10 donations to help Haiti after the earthquake.

The grass-roots philanthropic effort can help donors see how their contributions are directly helping people.

Young said the site keeps 18 percent of all donations “to keep the lights on” and to pay researchers who screen the potential recipients. He and the other founders basically are donating their time, but they do own a stake in the site.

“We are giving people the opportunity to have a platform to search for qualified recipients,” Young said. “We have had tremendously positive responses from both donors and recipients.”

JA Hispanic Outreach

The Goizueta Foundation has awarded a $733,600 three-year grant to Junior Achievement of Georgia to expand the organizations JA Hispanic Outreach Program.

The JA Hispanic Outreach Program was launched in 2002 in response to the low graduation rate of Hispanic and Latino students in our state, said Jack Harris, president of Junior Achievement of Georgia, in an e-mail. “Since that time, our annual outreach has grown to serving over 16,000 Hispanic students annually.”

Harris went on to say that the award will allow Junior Achievement to expand its outreach even further. It also will give the organization the “funds needed to ensure our programs are of the highest quality and deepest impact.”

The volunteer-led program was designed initially after the findings by the Manhattan Institute showed Hispanic students were dropping out of school at a higher rate than their peers.

Their immigration status and a lack of feeling associated to a school were among the reasons given for the difference.

The JA outreach initiative includes programs in the classroom, job shadowing opportunities and a college pipeline effort, as well as an after-school leadership program for Hispanic and Latino middle and high school students.

Economic educators

The Georgia Council on Economic Education’s executive committee has elected three new board members to serve three-year terms.

They are Vincent Baria of ING Investment Management; Jeffrey Koerner, chief operating officer of Cotton States Insurance Co.; and Eddie Bennett, social coordinator of Cobb County Schools.

The Georgia Council on Economic Education helps teachers teach economics through workshops, classroom materials and programs, such as the Stock Market Game and the Georgia Economic History Project.

Milton Jones, managing partner of Integrated Capital Strategies LLC, is chairman and Gary Price, managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, serves as vice chairman. Matthew Wolfersberger, director of research for the Georgia Retirement Systems, is secretary and treasurer.

DeCosta honored

Former Atlanta airport chief Ben DeCosta has received one of the top awards in his industry. The Airport Consultants Council presented him with the 2010 ACC Aviation Award of Excellence.

The organization said DeCosta was selected to receive the award because of “his strategic and visionary leadership and steadfast commitment to interacting, collaborating and partnering with industry and government not only during extensive development at the world’s largest airport, but also throughout his career.”

DeCosta stepped down in July and now has established his own consulting company.

Spring splash

The Georgia Aquarium now has a new date for “the Big Splash” — a major black-tie fundraiser for the Marcus Autism Center. The new date will be March 26, 2011.

Originally, the Big Splash had been scheduled for Nov. 13 to coincide with the opening of the Georgia Aquarium’s new dolphin exhibit. But the dolphins weren’t going to be ready for prime time on that date, so organizers decided to push the event back to when the dolphin exhibit was ready to open.

The event already has attracted some major sponsors. At the $50,000 level is Norman Window Fashions. Contributing at the $25,000 level are the Arthur M. Blank family of businesses; Elaine and Ken Langone; the UPS Foundation; Wilmington Trust and the Marcus Foundation.

Maria Saporta

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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