Kellogg brings good news to metro Atlanta’s children

By Maria Saporta

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing a grant of $1.28 million to help expand “Smart Start” — the early learning initiative of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

The two-year grant will be used to replicate a program called “SPARK,” a national school readiness model thw creates broad community partnerships among early learning centers, faith-based organizations and family and social service nonprofits.

The Early Learning Community Based Partnerships help make sure that children are prepared for school by engaing their parents in the early learning experience; by linking families to needed social services and by building a grassroots leadership to advocate for improvements in policies and systems to improve standards for pre-school-aged children.

In metro Atlanta, this initiative will provide technical assistance and resources to the various community partners so they can implement a parent engagement and school transition program model.

“These efforts have resulted in increased parent participation and leadership in early education and schools, lasting partnerships among schools, community organizations and families, and significant improvement of school readiness skills aligned with Georgia’s Early Learning Standards,” said Sharen Hausmann, vice president of Early Learning for Atlanta’s United Way.

To learn more about Smart Start and the Early Learning Community Based Partnerships, visit

Meanwhile, Dennis Lockhart, president of Atlanta’s Federal Reserve Bank; and Beverly Tatum, president of Spelman College; continue to co-chair a business community initiatve for the United Way to figure out what Georgia can do to improve the success of its younger citizens by focusing on early childhood learning.

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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