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Philanthropy Thought Leadership

Make 2022 a year of equitable recovery

By United Way of Greater Atlanta

While recovery is underway in many parts of the community, and federal funds have provided temporary emergency assistance to thousands of families and individuals, many others were left further behind or more severely affected by the pandemic. A disproportionate number of these people are Black and brown people, and particularly women – a fact that impacts the well-being of our entire community. The 2021 Atlanta Regional Commission Metro Atlanta Speaks survey showed that two of three respondents believe that high levels of income inequality have a negative impact on the economy; and more than three in four say that ensuring racial equity is essential to maximizing economic growth in our region. Prominent economists have shared data supporting those beliefs. Equitable recovery is the path to improving well-being and prosperity for everyone in the community.

United Way and our nonprofit partners have identified six areas requiring our community’s urgent attention. Unaddressed, these areas of need will hold us back from achieving truly equitable recovery from the pandemic and arresting the disparities that predated it. But if we unite to tackle these challenges, we can power greater Atlanta’s potential to be the thriving, equitable region we know it can be.

  1. Children living in families that lacked the technology and support to keep up with their schoolwork need summer learning opportunities and emotional support to address the extreme stresses of disconnection during the pandemic. 
  2. Young adults whose paths to employment were interrupted by the pandemic need new connections to job networks, reopening the pathway to financial stability. 
  3. Families who lost their homes and are living in limbo in motels need access to permanent housing to stabilize their lives and livelihoods.
  4. Families and individuals who lost income during the pandemic and incurred oppressive financial and medical debts need relief from those debts to get back on track.
  5. Children, youth and adults whose mental health was damaged by the pandemic need accessible mental health services restoring their ability to thrive in school, careers and in the community.
  6. Nonprofits called upon to step up to unprecedented levels of demand now need the training and resources to continue to meet more complex and high levels of demand in the future.

Alongside strong partners and the generous support of donors, we are confident that together we can make 2022 a year of equitable recovery. We have a unique opportunity, post-pandemic, to launch targeted interventions to permanently solve for the persistent inequities that our region has long suffered.”


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