One of the things I love about Atlanta (besides planting pansies on December 4)) is that when it comes to stepping up to solve the city’s social problems, people show out. The first month we were here, Larry & I went to a Rotary breakfast at 7:30 on a Monday morning and about 1,750 people turned up — holy fruit cup! So when the venerable Atlanta Women’s Foundation threw its 14th annual fundraising luncheon at the World Congress Center in October, I kind of guessed it would be a scene.
Atlanta women did not disappoint. In stilettos and boots, Chanel and pearls, thousands of women poured in to support this foundation that since 1986 has funded organizations working to break the generational cycle of poverty for women and girls in Atlanta. From legal aid to community health, homeless to teen pregnancy, job skills and education to domestic violence, refugees to seniors — the nonprofits that AWF carefully chooses for its grants provide one of the only safety nets still working for those less fortunate.
And man, is there ever a need. Atlanta has more children living in poverty than any other city in America. Only 64% of Atlanta girls will graduate from high school, 62 Atlanta teenagers get pregnant every day, and 78% of teen moms who drop out of high school are living in poverty. The numbers don’t lie, but the mission of AWF is to permanently change them.
Women Business Owners started the Atlanta Women’s Foundation — and the heavy hitters in the business community showed their love. Coca-Cola, UPS, Air Tran, Sue & John Wieland and Mercedes-Benz were sponsors, as well as Kaiser Permanente that celebrated its 25th year in Georgia with a $250,000 grant to AWF, and feisty hometown phenom Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX, who wowed the crowd with $50 gift certificates for all, to celebrate her 10th Year of Great Rears — and made (10) $10,000 grants to worthy women’s groups. Amazing!
In one afternoon, AWF raised over $500,000 for needy women and girls in Atlanta, and we were rewarded by listening to Malaak Compton-Rock, humanitarian, UNICEF activist, and wife of Chris Rock, talk about creating a spirit of giving at home and out in the world, saying,”The best and blessed of us must help the rest of us.”
Amen to that, sister! My friend Danita Knight, an irresistible force of positivity, was chair of the event and made it her mission to meet her numbers. And boy, did she ever!
My $100 goes to help fill the Atlanta Women’s Foundation giving chain that over 24 years has awarded $113 million in grants to more than 250 nonprofits…and changed the future for thousands of Atlanta women and girls. To join me, click here.