United Way of Northeast GA 2023 Annual Report

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United Way of Northeast Georgia




Tanya Adcock

President, St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital

Dr. Jennifer Benford

Lead School Social Worker & System

Homeless Liaison

Barrow County School System

Alex Borges

Family & Community Engagement Specialist

Clarke County School District

Dr. Philip Brown

Superintendent, Jackson County School System

Jackie Davis

Site Buyer for Athens, Caterpillar

Ryan Doss

Owner, Provisions Accounting

Ryan Hammock (Finance Chair)

SVP—Middle Market Manager Pinnacle Bank

Lawrence Harris Trego ED

Miller Heath

Assistant VP—Lending Officer

First American Bank

Alicin Hendricks

Business Development Coordinator

Jackson Spalding

Kay Keller (Secretary)

CEO, United Way of Northeast Georgia

Kathryn Lookofsky

Regional Coordinator, Region 5 Georgia Department of Labor

Scott Lowry

Attorney, University of Georgia

Joe Moon (Campaign Chair)

Business owner, Accelerate Commercial & Business Velocity Technology

Sean McCallen

Director of Finance & Accounting Golden Pantry

Dawn Meyers

Regional Social Emotional Learning Specialist, Foothills Education Charter High School

Tonya Powers

Economic Development Director

Franklin County Industrial Building Authority

Board Chair Message

The first time I heard of United Way Northeast Georgia was through Harrison Poultry some 20 years ago. My boss at the time oversaw our workplace campaigns so I quickly became familiar with the organization. About 12 years ago, I began running our workplace campaigns at Harrison Poultry. Regardless of what industry your company may operate in, we are all in the people business and we must care for those people. At Harrison Poultry we have a long tradition of helping our employees and I always saw the same belief in the way United Way operated. They were there to help those that needed help.

Over the past year in my role as Chairman of the board, I have seen board members step up to take on more active roles in supporting United Way. While we have made progress, we are still working. It is with this commitment to increase our

Tifanie Ring

Executive Director, New Path 1010

Michelle Roberts

Retail Market Manager

Epps Bridge Synovus

Johnelle Simpson


Fortson, Bentley & Griffin

Jason Smith (Past Board Chair)

Chief Operating Officer

Piedmont Athens Regional

Dr. Susan Stancil

Chief Academic Officer

Oconee County Schools

Jen Welborn

Director, Institutional Advancement

Athens Technical College

Devin Wood (Board Chair)

Corporate Human Resources Manager

Harrison Poultry

Jaime Young

Director of Partnerships Coactive Institute

campaign goals and exposure to our mission across the Northeast Georgia Region that will allow us to meet more needs.

When moving to the Community Impact funding model, the updated grant process allowed more organizations to have the opportunity to apply for funding and give their programs more visibility in the community. I believe United Way of Northeast Georgia still has so much to offer the community. It is the relationships and connections that are crucial to strengthening our impact.



As I wrap up my fifth year with United Way of Northeast Georgia, I am grateful for where we have been and where we are headed. We have been through a lot of transition as a staff and organization. We learned and grew through all of these changes and are even more solidly rooted to meet the highest priority needs of Northeast Georgia.

“Thank you for trusting us to direct your giving into the strengthening of our region.”

We have now completed our fourth year of funding under our Community Impact model, focusing on basic needs, early childhood success, and workforce development. We extensively researched (with focus groups and data analysis) more than 5 years ago to set our intention on these areas – not knowing for sure that we would be so absolute on our road ahead. It seems so long ago that we set these focus areas as our guiding lights. I have shared often that it is as if we had a crystal ball into the future. We have found that as important as these areas were all that time ago, they are even more impactful now.

Your donations in these areas of investment are truly making a change and impact on the people of Northeast Georgia. Thank you for trusting us to direct your giving into the strengthening of our region. It is with your willingness to advocate, give, and volunteer that our staff, Board of Directors and volunteers can do the work to LIVE UNITED.




The UNITED Way of Northeast Georgia makes positive, sustained, and measurable change through: identifying regional needs; collecting, sharing, and removing barriers to local resources; and building nonprofit capacity


A UNITED Northeast Georgia region where everyone has the opportunity and resources to grow, succeed, and thrive.




We work together to accomplish our mission. Partnering with communities, private business, nonprofit partners, and all stakeholders to improve the quality of life in Northeast Georgia is not just what we do, it is who we are.


We are trustworthy. United Way of Northeast Georgia can be relied upon by the communities and families in our region.


In partnership with our communities, United Way of Northeast Georgia co-creates useful and unique solutions to solve some of our region‘s most pressing challenges.


We recognize the importance of shared goals. For Northeast Georgia to grow, succeed, and thrive, we believe that fostering community and valuing all families in the region we serve is essential.


Implementing our community impact model means we work to produce successful, desired results in improving well-being across Northeast Georgia.



Kay Keller, President & CEO

In February 2019, after serving on the United Way of Northeast Georgia board for two years, Kay moved into her present leadership role. Kay has lived and worked in the Athens-Clarke and Oconee area her entire life and is passionate about building community through collaboration. Her diverse experience includes economic development, work in the power industry and small business ownership and civic leadership as chamber president in Oconee County. Kay and her husband of 30 years have two children, Brooke and Jacob, a son in law, Jared and grandbaby, Reese.

Jordan North, Director of Development

Jordan joined United Way of Northeast Georgia in August 2022. Prior to that, she enjoyed a career in sales and marketing, and is also a small business owner. Jordan lives in Jackson County and when she’s not spoiling her furbaby, William, an English Cream Golden Retriever, she’s giving back to her community through Rotary, chamber work and volunteering. What Jordan loves most about her job is expanding her knowledge about the areas United Way serves, working with its wonderful nonprofit partners, connecting with communities and LIVING UNITED!

Courtney Etheredge, Director of Community Impact

Courtney’s career at United Way began in September 2023. Prior to that, she utilized her Master of Social Work degree to help children and families impacted by trauma at several nonprofits, and also served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Courtney enjoys connecting with community members and working with organizations and their programs to make the greatest impact for those they serve. She resides in Athens, and in her downtime you’ll find her listening to a podcast, cooking something new with her husband, and playing with her pup, Charlie.

Ann Volk, Office Administrator

Ann retired from AT&T in 2018 and quickly decided retirement was not for her. She briefly worked for a local CPA before joining United Way of Northeast Georgia in June of 2022 as the Office Administrator. Ann has lived in Oconee County with her husband, Richard, since 1994. She has two daughters and four grandchildren. She loves cooking, crafting, reading, and sewing.

2023 ANNUAL REPORT 7 United Way of Northeast Georgia, Inc. Statement of Activities – Cash Basis For the year ended December 31, 2023 Revenue Workplace Campaign 1,368,624 Planned Giving 53,355 2-1-1 61,902 Fundraising Events 30,953 Investment Gain (Loss) 27,712 Total Revenue 1,542,546 Expenditures Program Services 1,041,777 Fundraising 211,965 Management & General 134,421 Total Expenditures 1,388,163 In 2023, United Way of Northeast Georgia invested to serve our communities! $1.04 MILLION INVESTED IN COMMUNITY


Golden Pantry Golf Tournament

September 18, 2023 at Georgia Club

Every year, Golden Pantry hosts a golf tournament to raise funds for United Way of Northeast Georgia’s Community Impact Grants. In 2023, the tournament raised $73,000!

Golden Pantry goes above and beyond to make this event a huge success, not only for us but for the players enjoying a day giving back and learning about the work our LOCAL United Way is doing across our region. Golden Pantry doesn’t just stop here, they always engage with our local United Way whenever they can. We have members of their incredible team who volunteer their time on our board and committees. They are always willing to show up at a volunteer engagement, set up, plan, and sponsor events. Plus, they dedicate a giving pump to United Way, and allow 211 informational videos to play on pumps and 211 posters to be placed in common areas of their stores so employees and customers can access information about resources they may need.

Top 15 Workplace Campaigns

A workplace campaign unites employees and gives them an opportunity to donate, volunteer and support causes that matter to them. Through their place of work, they make a LOCAL community impact.


Caterpillar – Athens


Harrison Poultry

Piedmont Athens Regional

ABB Motors & Mechanical

Tocqueville Society

Johnson & Johnson Solvay

HomeGoods/TJ Maxx


Barrow County School System

Jackson County School System Eaton

Oconee County Schools

Madison County Board of Education McLane

The Tocqueville Society recognizes local philanthropic leaders and volunteer champions who have devoted time, talent, and funds to create long-lasting changes by tackling our communities’ most serious issues. This level of giving is met with an annual donation of $10,000.

Michael Garrett Stanley Kleven Brian & Susan Mashburn Individual through the Lachenmyer Charitable Fund

Get Connected. Get Help.

Individuals from across the15-county Northeast Georgia region can receive free and confidential referrals to needed health and human services with a simple call to 2-1-1 or by texting their zip code to 898-211, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

The service is manned by Community Connection Specialists who speak directly with callers – in English or Spanish – to understand their needs and make sure they get connected to the most appropriate local resource(s). Additionally, there is an online database of resources available, 24/7, so our neighbors can find the assistance they need, whenever they need it.

Not only does 211 connect individuals to needed resources, but 211 also allows us to see realtime needs data in our community. In 2023, the top three requested services were housing help, utilities assistance, and food relief On occasion, callers may request a referral to a service that is not available in their area. This is called an unmet service. The two highest unmet service requests in 2023 were for assistance with paying motel bills and homeless motel vouchers.

To access our online database, update agency services, or view real-time needs data through 211, visit our website.

8,503 referred services in 2023

87% of requested services were met with a referral.

2023 ANNUAL REPORT 9 How to access 211 Text your zip code to 898-211, Call 706-353-1313, or visit our website

In 2023, United Way of Northeast Georgia invested $1.04 million to serve our communities! Of this total, $800,000 was allocated in Community Impact Grants to fund 29 programs that support our three focus areas: Basic Needs, Early Childhood Success, and Workforce Development.

Together with our grant recipients, we are meeting the most pressing needs of our communities and demonstrating succesful outcomes.

Basic Needs


 85 percent of program participants experiencing homelessness moved to stable housing.

 100 percent of program participants report assistance met their needs after facing a defined emergency.

Early Childhood Success


 Across six different programs, 716 parents demonstrated increased parenting skills and knowledge.

 952 children participating in one of four different programs met kindergarten readiness benchmarks.

 93 percent of children across five different programs met developmental milestones.

Workforce Development


 Across five different programs, 969 students were enrolled in post-secondary training, certification, or education one year after high school graduation.

 81percent of program participants aged 16-24 were engaged in work.


Basic Needs

 Athens Community Council on Aging – Meals on Wheels

 Athens Area Homeless Shelter – Almost Home Emergency Shelter

 Project Safe in collaboration with Peace Place and Circle of Love – Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Services

Early Childhood Success

 Atlas Ministries – ATLAS Primary Prep

 The Ark Family Preservation Center

 Quality Care for Children – Creating Quality and Ensuring Access

 Oconee Area Resource Council – Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

 Ferst Readers

 Brightpaths – First Steps/Healthy Families

Workforce Development

 Ashton Hope Keegan Foundation – Educational Program

 University of Georgia Foundation – Georgia College Advising Corp

 Extra Special People – Java Joy

 Northeast Georgia Regional Commission – Job Training and Career Paths for Young Adults

 Love.Craft Athens – Love.Craft Athens Trainee Fund

 Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Manufacturing Institutes for High Shool High Tech Students with Disabilities


 Downtown Ministries – Our Daily Bread

 American National Red Cross – Youth Preparedness

 YWCO of Athens – Girls Club

 Athens Area Diaper Bank – Home Visiting Partners

 Northeast Georgia CASA

 Reach Out and Read – Northeast Georgia Early Literacy Intervention

 The Tree House Inc. – Nurturing Parenting Program

 Children First-SafeCare

 Eckerd Youth Alternative – Northeast Georgia Workforce Innovation and Opportunity ACT Out-of-School Youth Services

 ACTION Inc. – Opportunities to Excel

 Goodwill of North Georgia – Workforce Development for Young Adults

 Boys and Girls Club of Athens – YouthForce VocationReady

 Chess and Community – Young Scholars

 Athens Land Trust – Youth Workforce Development



Nonprofit Training Series

Our Nonprofit Training Series was back and better than ever in 2023! We kicked off the series with a Human Resources session, led by Natasha Ganem with Lion Leadership, and a Financial Management session led by Kimberly Liebowitz with Connect and Grow Consulting, followed by a tour of the Wimberly Center for Community Development.


Together with our co-presenter, Athens Area Community Foundation, we took time to FOCUS on building up our area’s nonprofits. Special thanks to Lighthouse Counsel for facilitating some incredible learning sessions!


MENTOR Georgia

Supporting our youth and young adults as they seek out work is vital to the growth and success of our region. In February, we hosted MENTOR Georgia and a number of local businesses to consider more ways we can engage young adults who are entering the workforce. Together, we are dreaming of ways to better grow Northeast Georgia by supporting our young adults!

Georgia Way Volleyball Team

Back in April, the Dawgs teamed up with Athens Community Council on Aging and the United Way of Northeast Georgia to make care packages and write notes for the elderly in our community!

DIVAS Freedom

Our staff had the opportunity to “Unlock Freedom” through The Freedom Experience with DIVAS Who Win Freedom Center. It was an experience unlike any other. We are grateful for partners and nonprofits like DIVAS Who Win – and its leader, Chanda Santana – for caring for our community.






In October, United Way of Northeast Georgia held its annual Days of Caring, where volunteers across the region came together to serve local nonprofits. We’re grateful for our individual and groups of volunteers from Caterpillar, UGA Facilities, BankSouth, LEAD Athens, Athens-Clarke County Government, Rotary Club of Winder, Grahl Construction, and UGA’s Terry College of Business.

Special thanks to our sponsors:

 Caterpillar

 UGA Facilities


 BankSouth

 Superior Air Management

 McLane Southeast (In-kind)



This year’s Signature Events raised $22,000!

Annual Meeting

We always look forward to our annual meeting – a time to celebrate our past year’s accomplishments and hear about the difference our grantees’ funds are making across our 12-county region. At this year’s event, held at Creature Comfort, we also honored some amazing individuals who work hard to support the mission of United Way of Northeast Georgia.

Congratulations to our awardees:

Volunteer of the Year – Dwayne Meyers with McLane

Volunteer Group of the Year – Piedmont Athens Regional

Live United Champion – Devin Wood with Harrison Poultry

Power of the Purse 2023

In April, women from across our 12-county region gathered at the Athens Country Club to enjoy lunch while engaging in conversation about ways to make a positive, sustainable and measurable impact on our community. The event featured a silent auction and raffle –all to raise money for United Way of Northeast Georgia’s Community Impact Grants.

Community Celebration

A great time was had by all during our Community Celebration at Terrapin Brewery, where we celebrated the amazing non-profit programs that will be funded by United Way of Northeast Georgia in 2024. Each program supports one of our three focus areas: Basic Needs, Early Childhood Success & Workforce Development.

During the event, we also recognized Mark Madison, Director of Community Impact, for the five years he has dedicated to the northeast Georgia community through United Way. Mark was the proud recipient of our 2023 Community Impact Award.



Ready ... Set ... Go

Our staff and board members are always looking to grow and learn in order to better serve our region. We have had the opportunity to attend two different Ready, Set, Go, Refresh sessions hosted by the Athens Area Community Foundation and they were incredible.

You make us proud!

A beautiful & inspiring afternoon was spent celebrating the incredible accomplishments of the Athens Chamber of Commerce’s Athena Award nominees. Among them is our very own CEO, Kay Keller. All of these deserving women have impacted our community by serving with passion and open hearts.

Director of Development Jordan North was named Ambassador of the Year for the Oconee County Chamber of CommerceGeorgia and a nominee for the Chamber’s Georgia DIamond Award! Plus, she was elected President of the North Oconee Rotary Club!

A seat at the table

Kay Keller and Board Member Kathryn Lookofsky attended the Northeast Georgia Workforce Development Board meeting,which was followed by the Georgia Chamber Congressional Luncheon. It was a productive day of learning and leading in business and workforce development!

Studio time

We had a great time on-air sharing about United Way of Northeast Georgia with Tom at Northeast Georgia Business RadioX.

Guest lectures

We love to invest our time in the next generation! Mark Madison spoke with students from the High-Tech Program at Georgia High School in Banks County. This program, offered by Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, delivers interactive training to students.

Jordan North and Courtney Etheredge guest lectured at North Oconee High School and shared about community impact and local resources to high school students pursuing careers in education.

New Faces

When Director of Community Impact Courtney Etheredge joined the team in September, she jumped right into meeting nonprofit leaders across our region. From packing food bags with New Path in Barrow County to touring The Ark in Franklin County, Courtney met with over 25 organizations to learn how their programs are impacting individuals in Northeast Georgia.

211 in Action

Throughout the year, Courtney Etheredge and Alison Alwes spoke with several training classes at Jackson County

Sheriff’s Department about how they can connect individuals to local resources by calling 211 or texting their zip code to 898211. When Officers see a need they don’t know how to help with, they can assist individuals by directing them to 211.

Growing our leaders

Kay Keller and Jordan North ventured to the big city to attend leadership meetings in Atlanta. Kay joined fellow United Way CEOs and staff from across the state to discuss how we can collectively expand our efforts to help all Georgians, while Jordan joined other Rotary presidentselect from Georgia at the annual PETS conference.

Making connections

Director of Marketing & Engagement Alison Alwes connected with regional business leaders at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce small business roundtable breakfast event.

A day in the life

Director of Development Jordan

North shadowed a Barrow County high school science teacher as part of the school system’s effort to engage business and community leaders in educating its students. She also joined fellow Rotarians for a nonprofit partner 5K!


Volunteer of the Year

Dwayne Myers was honored with our Volunteer of the Year award for his amazing contributions to the community and to United Way. An incredible connector, partner, and volunteer, Dwayne has served as our point person with McLane Southeast since 2008. Throughout the years, he has facilitated fun ways to get McLane employees involved in giving back, including their current Easter Basket auction.

Sharing the mission

Supporting our upcoming leaders is vital to the success of our region. Kay Keller spoke with LEAD classes from

Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce and Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, sharing the vital role United Way of Northeast Georgia plays in our region and in the nonprofit community as a whole.

Shining stars

We spent the morning celebrating the STAR Students & Teachers of Oconee County alongside Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Branch, and United Way Board Member Ryan Hammock.

Caring together

We love when organizations partner for the benefit of our community. Thank you Athens Community Council on Aging and Piedmont Athens Regional for presenting the Dementia Caregiver Workshop.

Scan the QR code to find out how you can invest in making an impact in our community. LIVE UNITED LIVE UNITED We are grateful for the loyal support of our Northeast Georgia community. Thank you for your contributions to our past achievements and to our continued success. STAY CONNECTED @UNITEDWAYNEGA
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