As we close out Black History Month, I think it’s time we show some love towards the most important street in Atlanta – Auburn Avenue.
By Jared Teutsch, Executive Director Spring is here and across Georgia we are seeing signs of life in our gardens and landscapes. Those who pay attention to the sounds of the seasons will have also noticed a huge uptick in the amount of bird song each morning. There’s a cacophony of songs as our resident birds gear up for nesting season. Migratory birds are also on the move from their winter homes in Central and South America back to Georgia and other states where they will build their nests and rear their young. Bird migration is one of the most amazing feats in the natural world. Each fall and spring, billions of birds take to the skies, avoiding predators, and dodging turbulent weather as they travel between breeding grounds in the north and wintering grounds in the Caribbean or Central and South America. Some of these migration routes are epic, like the Red Knot that travels more than 9,300 miles one-way each fall and spring, pausing along Georgia’s coast to refuel. Or, the tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird, weighing about the same as a penny, that spends summers in Georgia and then, in a stunning migratory feat, crosses the Gulf of Mexico, a 500-mile trip, in a single 18- to 22-hour flight. Birds passing through Atlanta and other cities face an additional threat—glass-covered, brightly-lit buildings. Large, brightly lit cities wreak havoc on migratory birds as the ever-present glow of artificial light turns the normally safe nighttime sky into a perilous pathway. Bright lights both attract and disorient birds, causing them to flock to our illuminated spaces where they often collide with structures or become trapped in beams of light where they circle until they are exhausted. Current research estimates that between 365 million and 1 billion birds perish each year after colliding with buildings in the U.S. Atlanta is a particularly challenging place for migrating birds, ranking as the fourth most dangerous city during fall migration and ninth in spring for light exposure to migratory birds, according to a 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. With an estimated 250 million birds passing over Georgia during spring and 675 million birds migrating over in the fall, it is vital to learn about migration over our state and make our cities safer. While there are several pre- and post-construction solutions to reduce bird collisions, one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep birds from striking windows is to simply turn out the lights, particularly on the 20 or so nights of peak migration each year. In 2017, Georgia Audubon launched the Lights Out Georgia program to encourage people to turn out or reduce night time lighting during fall and spring migration and more than 1,000 people have enrolled. But while turning out the lights is relatively simple at residences, it can be more challenging for commercial properties where outdoor lighting is both decorative and functional. Thanks to a collaborative venture between Georgia Audubon and Dr. Kyle Horton, at Colorado State University, and a generous grant from the Disney Conservation Fund, Georgia Audubon has launched a new tool that predicts nights of high bird migration enabling Georgia Audubon to issue Lights Out Alerts via email on peak migratory evenings. While it may not be feasible to dim the lights every single night during migration, reducing or eliminating nighttime lights on the ten or fewer peak migratory nights each season is a much easier request and makes the program more palatable to commercial properties. To learn more about Georgia Audubon’s work to prevent bird-building collisions or to sign up to receive Lights Out Alerts on nights of peak migration, please visit https://www.georgiaaudubon.org/lights-out-georgia.html. Together we can make Georgia a safer place for migrating birds. This is sponsored content.
Today’s the Last Day! Please RSVP by clicking here. The gala will be held at the Atlanta History Center at 6pm on Thursday, March 30, 2023, and includes a cocktail reception, live entertainment – with a special performance by the Atlanta Women’s Chorus, dinner, live auction and more. Please join us and Honorary Chair Ambassador Andrew Young as we celebrate Lucy C. Vance. Former Families First board member Monica Kaufman Pearson will serve as emcee! There are a few sponsorships and tickets still available, but the deadline is today! Click here or the above flyer for more details and to make your purchase. You may also email us at email@example.com for more information. Warmly, Paula M. Moody Paula M. Moody, LCSW, MS Chief Executive Officer Families First
Representatives from the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently joined Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology with a significant presence in the Atlanta area, to present three Atlanta-area small businesses with $10,000 grants in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. The business owners who received grants included: Joel Ferrer of Chef Joel Coco Cabana LLC, a restaurant delighting guests with unique cuisine, showcasing Chef Joel’s classically trained background and Cuban heritage. Vanessa Higgins of Clean Tu Casa, a cleaning, organizing and personal errand service company serving homes, small offices and short-term rentals in Metro Atlanta. Alejandra “Luz” Pelaez of UP Advertising, a multicultural advertising and digital marketing agency specializing in reaching the Hispanic market, ensuring companies communicate authentically. In interviews following the grant presentations, the recipients discussed the impact the grants will have on their businesses. Chef Ferrer highlighted plans to invest in upgraded technology, while Vanessa Higgins underscored that the grants will enable her to create jobs and Sebastian Uribe of UP Advertising noted an anticipated increase in sales. The grants were awarded as part of the Fiserv Back2Business program, a $50 million commitment to support minority-owned small businesses. In addition to grants, Back2Business connects diverse small businesses with critical resources, including complimentary small business coaching, leading technology solutions such as Clover and community partners. “We’re proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by supporting these inspiring businesses and all the small businesses that play a crucial role in Atlanta’s economy,” said Vivian Greentree, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Citizenship at Fiserv. “Providing funding and resources to help small, diverse businesses thrive is a key tenet of the Back2Business program and it’s wonderful to see the impact this program has made in cities all over the country, and especially here in our own backyard in Atlanta.” “It is an honor to partner with Fiserv and the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to celebrate and support entrepreneurs in the Hispanic community during Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Alex Gonzalez, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Through the Back2Business grants, Fiserv is providing access to capital and resources to help these three Hispanic-owned businesses grow and thrive.” In addition to facing difficult business conditions such as rising costs, supply chain challenges and labor shortages, Hispanic-owned small businesses have their own unique set of challenges. “Fiserv recognition and support of the Hispanic community, providing valuable grants and services at a critical time for small businesses through Back2Business, is key to assuring equitable opportunities for our community and to being seen as the vital force that we are for the economy and the great state of Georgia,” said Verónica Maldonado-Torres, President and CEO, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “When one group thrives, we all thrive as a society, and that is our goal at the GHCC – to match businesses with the resources, tools and opportunities to inspire them and help them reimagine the next for their company.” In addition to Atlanta, Fiserv has sponsored the Back2Business program in cities including New York, Milwaukee, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Tulsa, Oakland, Washington. D.C. and Omaha. To date, Fiserv has presented nearly 1,500 grants to small businesses through the program. This is sponsored content.
By Eric Tanenblatt, Chairman of the Buckhead Coalition The years-long cityhood debate made it possible—perhaps even easy—to view each other as adversaries with distinct and opposing visions for our community’s future. But we’re not rivals, and we never were; we’re neighbors, now and always. By now, you’ve heard that the Georgia Senate considered legislation that would have allowed for the fragmentation of Atlanta. A different path was chosen, and it’s time to move forward together to build the safest, most prosperous and best-run city possible. Buckhead is a unique economic engine—the sort of rising tide that lifts all boats, as President Ronald Reagan said. Considering its significant contributions to the local tax base, it’s not too much for Buckhead to expect that its trash be picked up, its sewers don’t overrun and giant potholes don’t persist. After years of feeling ignored and undervalued, city hall’s new leadership is finally taking Buckhead’s concerns seriously. The city’s recent and ongoing public services and safety initiatives, including a new police precinct and remote security infrastructure, show it understands the imperative to deliver for taxpayers. Thanks to the activism and engagement of residents and civic groups, Buckhead now leads the City of Atlanta in crime reduction, with crime falling by 14 percent year-over-year. That progress represents a decent down payment, but a great debt is still owed. And you better believe we’re going to collect. As Chair of the Buckhead Coalition, our priorities for the next year will include a continued focus on public safety. We will champion improvements to city services, transportation and infrastructure needs and zoning regulations through new and stronger partnerships with local and state officials and community organizations. The Coalition will continue implementing the Buckhead Security Plan, including placing more security cameras to complement the new police precinct in the Buckhead Village through a collaborative effort of the Coalition, Buckhead Community Improvement District and the Atlanta Police Department. The Buckhead model of civic and public-private cooperation is often imitated but never duplicated, because it’s taken decades of work to get us here. Today, Buckhead is as much a home to big businesses as small families. That these stark incongruencies exist simultaneously is a testament to the founding vision of the Buckhead Coalition and helps explain why our community is and will remain the jewel of Atlanta. But as we hold the city accountable to its most basic commitments of quality municipal services and public safety, it’s equally important that Buckhead neighbors tear down the artificial fences that the cityhood debate constructed between us. We may have favored different paths at one time, but now we’re walking the same one. As the old proverb says, go alone if you want to go fast but go together if you want to go far. Me, I hope we go far. This is sponsored content.
By ULI Atlanta During the month of March, ULI joins the nation in celebrating the achievements women have made over the course of history — by amplifying women’s profound impact in the real estate and land use industries. ULI has made a global mission commitment to pursuing unrelenting efforts to shape the built environment toward diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities and by acknowledging the historical importance and influence of women in the industry, we are building a foundation for the next generation of women leaders in real estate to stand higher on. The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) is an important forum within ULI launched 10 years ago. In those 10 years, it has done some amazing work – and Atlanta has been at the forefront of pioneering programs like The Leaders. In 2020, ULI Atlanta’s WLI set out to launch “The Leaders” with the goal to increase the presence of women in the real estate and land use industry in leadership positions, board rooms and as speakers at industry conferences. The intention was to celebrate women who make extraordinary contributions to the built environment throughout the Atlanta region. The Leaders has grown to a list of women that are 70 strong, and we are now looking for nominations for our 2023 cohort. Please consider supporting a female colleague, peer, or friend by nominating her for this accolade today! Nominations and Selection Process: Nominations will be open between March 8 and April 10, 2023. The process is described below: Anyone can submit a nomination. Nominees will be asked to submit an official application for The Leaders between April – June. The Leaders will be selected by a committee of ULI member leaders who will meet to consider nominations and make final selections; and The final selection of nominees will be by the beginning of September. Strong Nominees will meet the following criteria: Minimum 15 years of work experience. Be located within the ULI Atlanta District Council, which serves Georgia and Eastern Tennessee. Have a dedication and commitment to the success of the Atlanta region. Contributed significant impacts and influence on the built environment through both personal and professional accomplishments. Contributed to positive community impact through volunteer service outside of work responsibilities. Demonstrated leadership in inspiring others in the real estate and land use industry. NOMINATE HERE About ULI Atlanta: ULI Atlanta is a District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI). As the preeminent, multidisciplinary real estate forum, ULI is a nonprofit education and research group supported by its diverse, expert membership base. Our mission is to “Shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.” ULI Atlanta has over 1,400 members throughout the Atlanta region and our broader geography which includes the entire state of Georgia and eastern Tennessee. ULI Atlanta is one of the largest and most active District Councils in the United States. This is sponsored content.
By Michael Davis, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Deputy Executive Director My fondest childhood memories are rooted in experiences in my family home. It was a familiar, safe place where I felt connected and belonged. Growing up in south Dekalb, home meant holidays, Sunday dinners, and everyone playing sports in our front yard. My mother lives there today, and it remains a refuge where family and friends gather and celebrate. I became a legacy homeowner in 1995 when I purchased by first home in southwest Atlanta. Like the generation before me, I am striving to create a sense of place and well-being for my own daughter. Stable homeownership matters Most Americans still view homeownership as a crucial part of the American dream. However, we are amid a national housing affordability crisis where many can’t afford to buy a home. Further, legacy homeowners nationwide with modest-level and fixed incomes in gentrifying neighborhoods face challenges of staying in their “forever home” due to soaring residential property taxes. The security of owning the place you live unlocks opportunities for many aspects of our lives, which include employment, education, health care, and retirement savings. Strong families are characteristic of vibrant and robust neighborhoods, which play an essential role in family, work, community, and civic life. Property ownership can build generational wealth Playwright August Wilson once said, “Land [is] the only thing God ain’t making no more of.” Homeownership is a crucial wealth-building tool for communities and households of color that can narrow the racial wealth gap. For many Americans, the home is still the largest, most significant investment made in their lifetime. According to Forbes, household wealth is 1,469% higher on average for homeowners compared to renters, excluding home equity.” Black homeownership in Atlanta jumped by 4.6% from 2019 to 2021. The increase could be “an early sign” that programs designed to make homeownership more accessible like down payment assistance are “starting to make a mark,” said Nicole Bachaud, a senior economist at Zillow. But it comes with challenges. The census bureau indicates that at the end of 2020, the homeownership rate for black families was 44% compared to 75% for white families. The COVID pandemic fallout disproportionately impacted people of color, and the expectation is that the gap will widen. The impact of property taxes is intensified in rapidly redeveloping areas Property taxes are one of the highest annual homeowner costs. Residential property taxes are regressive, requiring modest-income people to pay a higher portion of their income in taxes than those who are wealthier. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s 2018 Who Pays? report found that nationwide, the poorest 20% of taxpayers paid 4.2% of their income in property taxes, compared to 3% for middle-income taxpayers and 1.7% for the wealthiest 1% of households. In areas where residential home values are rapidly increasing, the regressive impact of residential property taxes is intensified, particularly for homeowners who purchased their homes decades ago in now gentrifying neighborhoods. Helping BeltLine residents stay in their homes The Legacy Resident Retention Program (LRRP) was launched in October 2020 to assist long-time homeowners in the Atlanta BeltLine’s four equity priority areas where the risk of displacement was greatest. The program helps residents stay in their homes by paying property tax increases through the 2030 tax year. Every year LRRP pays the Fulton County Tax Assessor the amount of the property tax that has increased beyond each participant’s 2019 property tax amount. The program operates as a grant and does not need to be paid back. We are incredibly grateful for our generous supporters Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Georgia Power, Bank of America Neighborhood Builders, Rocket Community Fund, Tull Charitable Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente. And we are welcoming continued philanthropic engagement. LRRP Homeowner Resident Participant Profile Average Age 63 Average Income $35,900 Average Household size 1.78 Average Years of Home Residency 24 Average Home Value $264.453 Though the LRRP program is open to any age homeowner, the average participant age is 63. Most of the residents’ income (93%) is below 80% of area median income (AMI). This is equivalent to $54,000 for a one-person household and $77,120 for a four-person household (based upon 2022 US HUD Metro Atlanta AMI). The average number of people living in these homes is 1.78, and they have lived in their homes an average of 24 years. The average participant home value is $264,453. LRRP Homeowner Resident FMV and Tax Assessment Projections* Average LRRP Participant’s Home Purchase Price $112,912.48 Average Home Fair Market Value (2019) $162,291.51 Average Home Tax Assessment Value (2019) $64,916.60 Average Home Fair Market Value Projection (2030) $491,558.27 Average Home Tax Assessment Projection (2030) $196,823.31 Average Home Fair Market Value (2019-2030) +202.88% *Values are from a baseline of 2019 with projections to 2030. Policy reform is the long-term solution The long-term solution for managing property tax increases due to rapidly increasing property values is not philanthropy. Donations are not the means to maintain our historic communities. One possibility is if a family in a gentrifying area sees their property tax bill surge to an unaffordable level, a circuit breaker credit kicks in to offer relief. This targeted approach assists fixed-income, low- and middle-income families without significantly reducing overall tax revenue. Residential property tax policy enacted and implemented at the state and city level can provide permanent relief for families whose property taxes surpass a certain percentage of their income. This is sponsored content.
This week is very special because it’s the week we celebrate the 91st birthday of a truly remarkable human being, my dear friend and mentor, Ambassador Andrew Young. Words cannot adequately express my admiration and gratitude for this great man, who has played such an integral role in shaping our country’s history and inspiring future generations. Ambassador Young has lived a life of service to others, from his work as a civil rights leader and lieutenant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to his tenure as a mayor of the city of Atlanta, to his time as a congressman, and a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He has been a tireless advocate for justice and equality, and his legacy continues to inspire people around the world. On a personal note, Ambassador Young has been a mentor, a friend, and a true hero. He has always been there to offer guidance and support, and I am constantly amazed by his wisdom, his kindness, and his unwavering commitment to making the world a better place. His legacy of leadership and service is a constant source of inspiration for me and for everyone at Operation HOPE. Ambassador Young has been a true blessing to our organization, and we are proud and honored to be in his social justice, moral, and spiritual lineage. His leadership and vision have helped shape our mission to empower underserved communities and promote financial dignity for all. We are grateful that he has lent us his voice to amplify our message, his shoulders on which we stand, and his giant heart to help us achieve our goals. For that, we are forever grateful. To our hero, we pray that your day was filled with love, joy, and happiness. May you continue to inspire us all with your leadership, your vision, and your unwavering commitment to justice and equality. And may you continue to be a beacon of hope for future generations. Happy birthday, Ambassador Young. We are all blessed to know you, and we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you in the years to come.
By Lily Samuel When it comes to health, it’s important to recognize how interconnected the world is. No nation, including the United States, can be truly safe until all countries have core public health capabilities and reliable health systems to protect all communities regardless of their social, political, economic or environmental circumstances. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s newly released Global Health Annual Report, “CDC Advances Health Equity Around the World,” emphasizes the importance of promoting health equity and minimizing health disparities across the globe. Global health inequities arise from many factors, including lack of access to healthcare, the rise of drug-resistant pathogens, gaps in immunity to vaccine-preventable diseases and the impacts of the changing climate. To address these inequities, CDC’s Global Health Equity Strategy takes a human rights approach focused on improving the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of global health programs. The strategy recognizes that there are multiple ways to pursue the right to health, and it sets specific goals to help countries eliminate health disparities. The CDC Foundation has worked with CDC for more than 25 years, building public-private partnerships to identify and resolve common health priorities and advance health equity worldwide. Through these partnerships, we strive to advance health equity by focusing on changing the systems, both formal and informal, that have created and perpetuated global disparities in health outcomes and catalyzing cross-sector collaboration for sustained impact. As highlighted in CDC’s report, the CDC Foundation partners with CDC on a variety of key priority areas that include building the capacity to detect, respond to and prevent the spread of diseases like malaria and expanding access to critical public health services and infrastructure in countries like Haiti and Ukraine during times of crisis. The report also features our partnership with CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen the capacity of malaria laboratories and experts on the African continent focused on monitoring malaria drug resistance, equipping a laboratory in Senegal to offer the same trainings and services as CDC’s Malaria Lab. This partnership supports global efforts to ensure that malaria therapies retain their efficacy and demonstrates who we work to ensure that the systems for addressing infectious diseases like malaria are in place in the countries facing the greatest burden of those diseases. The report also features CDC and CDC Foundation’s research, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on the efficacy of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in Mozambique and Burkina Faso. This research will inform future vaccine policy that may help these countries achieve higher and more equitable PCV coverage and save the lives of thousands of children. The global health community has renewed its commitment to lessening the burden of these and other diseases on vulnerable populations all over the world, and we believe that our greatest impact will be made through collaboration. Together with CDC, we aim to create a healthier and safer world that is better prepared to equitably address the next global health challenge and help people achieve their healthiest potential. Read the full report here. This is sponsored content.
A Worker from a Young Age In 1933, Dorothy Bolden began working as a domestic worker for a white Atlanta family near her Vine City home in the Westside community. She was nine years old. Every day after school, she’d work at the family’s home, caring for their baby, washing diapers and cleaning the house. In 11th grade, she dropped out of school and began working full-time as a domestic worker. She would begin at 8 a.m. and finish in the early evening, just after dinner. Despite working nearly 12 hours a day, she only earned $3 per week. For Bolden, domestic work was the only lifestyle she knew. When she was born in 1924, her mother was a maid and washerwoman. Before she began working on her own, Bolden and her brother would deliver the laundry their mother washed for other families. The work was grueling. From the beginning, Bolden longed to leave the domestic workforce, but was limited by an injury she suffered at age three, which left her eyesight severely damaged. She attempted to attend design school and work in a mailroom, but her poor vision made it near impossible. She ultimately landed back as a domestic worker. Unfortunately for many Black women at the time, this was a vicious cycle. Domestic work was one of the few careers readily available to them due to a litany of restrictions caused by segregation. It was unrightfully viewed as an unskilled job, resulting in low wages, long hours and poor treatment. At the age of 16, Bolden experienced poor treatment firsthand. Her employer demanded she stay late one evening to wash dishes and tidy up the house. With nightfall just around the corner, she refused and left. On her way home, she was confronted by two Atlanta police officers who promptly arrested her for talking back to a white woman. She was jailed and eventually bailed out by her family at great financial expense. Family, Misfortune and Motivation A few years later in 1944, Bolden met Abraham Thompson and the two were married. The couple had nine children together— three passed away at a young age and the other six lived on to adulthood. Bolden took a few years off from work to care for her family, but economic conditions were unfavorable and forced her back into the domestic workforce. This time around, with years of experience under her belt, she was able to command a higher rate with some larger homes paying her as much as $90 per week. Still, the pay did not satisfy the exhaustion. Each day, she would wake up at 4 a.m. to travel to the white neighborhoods she served, then return home in the evening to prepare meals and care for her children. While she claimed to like the work to some degree, the exhaustion it caused and the mistreatment she suffered at the hands of families she served were taking a toll. One day in 1955, Bolden was watching TV when she saw the news of Rosa Parks in Alabama refusing to give up her seat. The exhaustion she saw in the fellow labor worker’s eyes inspired her to move for change, and that’s when her mission began. A Quest for Change Bolden quickly dove into the world of activism, volunteering with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and her impact was immediately noticeable. She played an integral role in school desegregation, voter registration and housing reform. Bolden was still unsatisfied, arguing that desegregated schools and housing was pointless when Black women working as domestic workers couldn’t even afford clothes for their children to attend the schools. That’s when she turned her attention and activism toward the cause closest to her heart, supporting her fellow domestic workers. Having grown up in Vine City and working tirelessly to build an activism network in the community, she turned to her new neighbor on Sunset Avenue and asked for some guidance on how to form a union for her fellow workers. That neighbor was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King had heard of Bolden’s work with local organizations and encouraged her to move forward with the formation of a union, saying he knew she had the ability to do it herself. So she did. Forming a union required her to meet with her constituents. With years of domestic work experience herself, she knew there was little to no time for them to meet outside of work hours, so she met them at the one place she knew they’d be every day— the bus. For months, Bolden would ride buses at the same time domestic workers were traveling to and from their jobs. She championed her cause, urging domestic workers to join her in forming a union – and they agreed. A Union is Born In 1968, more than 70 domestic workers elected Bolden as president of the newly-formed National Domestic Workers of America, one of the first of its kind in the country. While the organization had national in its name, it primarily served women in the Atlanta area. The union’s first goal was to train the domestic workers in skills, including cooking, shopping, child care and elder care. Though most workers already possessed the skills, Bolden and the union provided a formal training program, which helped them argue that the workers were now professionally trained and worthy of higher pay and better treatment. The union’s impact was noticeable; domestic workers were now receiving reasonable pay and there was a clear shift in the overall environment of the career, with many workers feeling more confident and proud of their work. Soon, similar organizations began to sprout up around the country, and the government took notice. In 1970, the union announced the first Maids’ Honor Day, during which employers nominated their employees to be recognized at a local gala to celebrate their hard work. Two years later, then-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter announced the day would be recognized as a state holiday. Bolden stood next to him …
By Taylor Ramsey, executive director, OneGoal Metro Atlanta Last week OneGoal Metro Atlanta hosted our second Student Summit at Clayton State University where 500 OneGoal juniors and seniors from across the metro area came together for a day of inspiration, connection and empowerment as they pursue their postsecondary goals. During this day, students have the opportunity to explore a variety of postsecondary pathways through workshops led by industry professionals, go on campus tours and attend our opportunity fair where they can connect with colleges, technical schools and other postsecondary programs. As a postsecondary access and success program, OneGoal developed this student centered event because we know that students need to see it to believe it. This high energy, celebratory day of learning is important against a backdrop of continued declining enrollment and well documented hesitancies about affordability and the value proposition of a postsecondary degree or credential. College enrollment declined by 9.4% across the pandemic, where students from low-income communities and students of color experienced the most adverse effects. Experts aren’t clear whether the decline represents a lingering pandemic effect or a more fundamental shift in student attitudes about the value and necessity of college. As a first-generation college student, I know firsthand the positive impact a college degree or credential can have on a young person’s trajectory. With 9.4% fewer students attending college, particularly from low-income families, this is likely to have a devastating effect on their lifetime earnings, job stability, and overall economic opportunities. As Georgians these shifts and declines in postsecondary enrollment should be of particular concern as we consider that nearly 60% of jobs in Georgia will require some kind of degree or credential yet only 30% of our metro’s young people are on track to get there. So, what should we do? Listen to our young people. I think we all need to more deeply understand what our students have experienced and how their attitudes towards school and higher education may have changed. We need to affirm and acknowledge the fears or doubts they may have about the value of a degree or credential and understand what, if any, misconceptions need to be dispelled. At OneGoal, we administer a ‘mindsets survey’ to better understand what our students believe and what they need as they pursue their postsecondary path. Events like the Student Summit are created in direct response to what our students have named. Exposure and postsecondary advising matters. Students need to see, feel and be immersed in the breadth of exciting career and postsecondary opportunities available to them. Our young people need opportunities to hear from role models, understand the costs and long-term benefits associated with various career paths. Students need opportunities to be inspired followed by practical information and an adult who can help them make sense of it all. Link arms. Across metro Atlanta and the state, there are some exciting opportunities for us to recommit to ensuring that our young people can fully participate in our booming economy through postsecondary attainment. GPEE’s recent goal of ensuring 65% of young people attain a degree or credential, Learn4Life’s postsecondary CAN, commitment from funders like the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and workforce development leaders like Georgia Power offer a blueprint for how to ensure that public and private entities come together to support students in pursuing their postsecondary goals, economic opportunity and lives of their choosing. After the massive disruption we have experienced in education over the past three years, we have a chance to reimagine postsecondary access for all of Georgia’s students by taking steps to influence policy and practice in ways that matter most for our region’s youth. To learn more about OneGoal, visit our website or reach out to Taylor Ramsey at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is sponsored content.
As COVID-19 continues to evolve and impact the lives of people around the world, the need for additional effective treatment options continues to be at the forefront of global efforts to combat the disease. Emory University has entered into an agreement with Pfizer Inc. to advance research that may serve to help address this need and potentially save patients’ lives. Under the terms of the research collaboration, option and license agreement, Emory University’s Schinazi Laboratory, led by distinguished researcher Raymond Schinazi, and Pfizer will work together to identify and evaluate potential antiviral compounds for the treatment of COVID-19. As part of the collaboration, Pfizer will provide funding to the Schinazi group and collaborate on research to advance the preclinical development of these compounds. If successful, Pfizer will have the option to exercise exclusive rights to the leading clinical candidates and be solely responsible for further development activities. “We are thrilled to work with Pfizer, whose research and development efforts have led to significant advances in vaccine and drug development for COVID-19. Together, we have an opportunity to progress the discovery of a novel drug or drug combination to continue to fight against this formidable disease,” says Schinazi. “COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, a devastating effect on patients, communities, and economies throughout the world, and we believe it is vital to continue to invest in promising research that may help mitigate its impact,” says Charlotte Allerton, chief scientific officer, anti-infectives and head of medicine design, of Pfizer. “We’re pleased to be working with Emory University and the Schinazi Laboratory with the shared goal to bring forth scientific breakthroughs for people in need.” “At Emory, our scientists are global leaders in the development of innovative, lifesaving treatments, and Dr. Schinazi and his team have the deep experience needed to make breakthroughs in combating the viruses around us today,” says Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves. “This agreement with Pfizer will put us on a path to potentially help serve COVID-19 patients like never before.” Emory has been a global leader in drug discovery and development for severe life-threatening infections. Schinazi and his team have a long track record in the discovery and development of antiviral agents for treating infectious diseases. His work has identified agents used widely in the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and COVID-19 that have saved millions of lives globally. “This collaboration could offer us another tool to benefit people most vulnerable to COVID-19,” says Ravi Thadhani, executive vice president for health affairs at Emory University. “Reducing the rate of severe illness and hospitalizations would also benefit the clinicians and hospital staff who have been under enormous strain for the past three years.” This is sponsored content.
EY Americas Vice Chair, Sam Johnson succeeds Chick-Fil-A President/COO, Tim Tassopoulos, in advising Atlanta’s largest youth-development non-profit By Sam R. Johnson | Trustee Chair, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta | Americas Vice Chair of Markets and Accounts, EY Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has proclaimed 2023 the Year of the Youth, calling upon the community to rally around young people who are most in need. Sam Johnson, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta new Trustee Chair, shares his story on how giving back pushes us forward, and why he encourages corporate leaders to help provide more for our young people. Every time I enter a Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA), I am reminded of my own childhood. A young man raised in a single-parent household with no male role models, who could have been one decision away from becoming a statistic on the street The Boys & Girls Club played an important role in my life. As a result, I am humbled to be named the new BGCMA Trustee Chair and look forward to collaborating with the community to address issues affecting our youth now and in the future. BGCMA is working with civic and business partners to help the 25 Club locations across ten metro Atlanta counties increase program access to students ages 6 to 18 by 2025. How can you help us achieve this goal? Consider being a mentor, volunteering on a board for youth development, sponsoring a BGCMA summer camp, donating time or financial support to a worthy cause, or encouraging your company to collaborate with a nonprofit that supports children. Your contribution could be a critical game changer in helping us reach more kids, more opportunities, and more volunteers for great impact. Visit www.bgcma.org to find out more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, to make a bigger difference, and to support our mission. Learn more on Sam Johnson Sam is the EY Americas Vice Chair of Markets and Accounts, motivating 72,000 people to drive top-line growth and provide exceptional client service. He is a Certified Public Accountant, previously named in Savoy Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential blacks in Corporate America. A graduate of Morehouse College, Sam and his wife, Stefanie, reside in Atlanta and have three children: Jordan, Justin, and Jason. In addition to his role as BGCMA trustee chair, his current and previous affiliations include Grady Memorial Hospital Corporate Board of Directors, Metro Atlanta Chamber Board of Directors, Morehouse College Board of Trustees, and Metro Atlanta Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor to his Little, Malik. Visit LinkedIn and ey.com to learn more. This is sponsored content.