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The Ripple Effect of Local Philanthropy: Local Nonprofits to Consider this Giving Tuesday



Giving Tuesday is a global day for giving back. It falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following the shopping frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Launched in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, the day aims to shift focus from consumerism to charity. Some ways to celebrate include donations, volunteering and doing social good. 

Over the years, it has become an international movement, inspiring generous acts worldwide.

This Giving Tuesday, consider the impact you can make in your local community. There is competition for donations from large, national nonprofits. Yet, local organizations provide an opportunity for meaningful, close-to-home contributions. 

Below are five local organizations worthy of your attention and support. 

Boy with a Ball: transforming communities through youth

Boy With a Ball, a nonprofit rooted in faith, collaborates with a diverse network of leaders, donors, volunteers, religious groups, educational institutions and businesses. 

The organization’s core mission is to empower young people to make sustainable changes in their communities. According to Communications Director Molly Johnson, Giving Tuesday serves a purpose beyond a single day of fundraising. 

“It’s not just a 24-hour donation window for us,” Johnson said. “It actually kicks off a season of impactful giving that extends through the end of December.”

During this giving season, the organization solicits contributions and releases special content to underscore the long-term effects of these donations. 

“From Thanksgiving to December 31, we share updates and insights about the tangible impacts of giving,” Johnson explained. “We also outline our vision for the upcoming year. It’s an exciting and crucial time for our mission.”

Financial transparency is a hallmark of Boy with a Ball. 

“These funds are used to broaden our efforts in communities and schools,” Johnson said. 

Donations can serve multiple purposes, such as providing snacks for the mentoring program or funding tutoring for a student for an entire year.

In fact, Giving Tuesday has evolved into one of the nonprofit’s most crucial fundraising days, often drawing first-time donors. On some occasions, the day’s contributions have funded specific initiatives like Velocity, a school-based mentoring program.

Boy with a Ball is committed to transforming Gwinnett County by empowering its young population and strengthening family bonds. 

“We’re here to help young people realize their dreams, bolster family cohesion and, in turn, build a safer, more vibrant community,” Johnson added.

Those interested in contributing can do so either by volunteering or offering financial support. 

“Both kinds of giving make a transformational difference in young lives across Gwinnett County,” Johnson said. 

Monetary gifts grant access to resources and mentorship, while volunteers contribute to the personal development of emerging leaders.

For more information or to get involved, contact Maria Bortolucci at Maria.Bortolucci@boywithaball.com or visit the organization’s website at boywithaball.com.

Cultivation Foundation
Cultivation Foundation
, stemming from Cultivation Brewery in Norcross, Georgia, established its roots in the late summer of 2022. 

Born from a modest brewery, this philanthropic endeavor prioritizes community relationships. 

Its vision revolves around supporting local charities and the local environment. This foundation’s mission is to create positive change for the underprivileged members of its local community.

Cultivation Foundation Plant Donation

The term “cultivate” deeply resonates with the team at Cultivation Foundation. They have ambitions to leave a lasting mark on the Norcross community. By identifying and supporting local charities that mirror their values, they aim to fill gaps where assistance is needed. 

Their contributions include donations to local food pantries, aiding in setting up family holiday gift stores, and collaborations with organizations like Norcross Cooperative Ministries

Cultivation Foundation Plant Donation

They also partnered with Peachtree Corners’ newest meat market, Union Brothers Market, to raise money with a whole pig roast in 2023. Such activities further highlight the vast scope of charitable work that lies ahead.

This Giving Tuesday, the spotlight shifts to hyperlocal philanthropic initiatives as the holiday season commences. The foundation works hard so that its impact in Norcross remains innovative, substantial and beneficial to those in need.

Cultivation Foundation Union Bros Hog Roast

As part of its journey, the foundation is unveiling the 2nd Annual Cultivation Cup Golf Charity Tournament, scheduled for October 30, 2023. 

Cultivation Golf Tourn Group Shot

Profits from this event will bolster both the Cultivation Foundation and Norcross Cooperative Ministries. Interested participants can register on their website.

Those wishing to support Cultivation Foundation can learn more at cultivationfoundation.com or email info@cultivationfoundation.com.

Cultivation Foundation Golf Tourn

Georgia Center for Opportunity: investing in lives and communities
The Georgia Center for Opportunity aims to break down the barriers that perpetuate poverty, working both at the grassroots level and advocating for policy change at state and federal levels. 

In addressing community challenges, the Center believes a multifaceted approach is essential. 

The organization goes beyond meeting immediate local needs by actively engaging with the community to gather insights. These interactions inform wider policy initiatives aimed at fostering a thriving environment. 

This Giving Tuesday, the center is spotlighting transformative tales and introducing fresh pathways to support its mission, like Ms. T‘s journey.

After a separation, Ms. T, a mother of five, grappled with homelessness, losing her apartment and vehicle. 

The Lawrenceville Response Center, an instrumental partner, stepped in to provide shelter and later put her in touch with the Georgia Center for Opportunity in June. The center connected her to a local business and coordinated an interview with partnering employers. 

The mentoring initiative addressed Ms. T’s challenges, like participation and childcare constraints. Collaborating with Heirborn Servants, the center facilitated Lyft transport for her interview. 

By June’s end, Ms. T secured a warehouse associate position that started in July, which offered a sustainable wage. Working with her new employer, the center ensured a morning shift, facilitating afternoon time with her children and minimizing childcare hurdles.

Her contributions at work didn’t go unnoticed. Employers commended her proactive participation, spotlighting her zest during the company’s backpack drive project.

Reflecting on her two-month tenure, Ms. T remarked, “Things are going great. I’m beyond pleased with the job. It’s hard to believe it’s approaching two months; it feels longer.”

The center emphasizes that continuous backing, via one-time or recurring donations, provides stability.

Beyond financial aid, it encourages mentorship and volunteering, allowing the community to aid peers in their ascent from poverty. To collaborate with the Georgia Center for Opportunity, reach out to Info@foropportunity.org or dial 770-242-0001.

Growing Leaders: cultivating tomorrow’s trailblazers

Marking its 20th year in 2023, Growing Leaders focuses on more than just academics. The organization places equal emphasis on helping students develop emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills and academic achievement. 

Giving Tuesday is a key funding moment for them, attracting both longtime supporters and newcomers. These financial contributions allow the group to expand its reach, helping underserved students gain essential life skills and emotional well-being.

Growing Leaders celebrated its 20th anniversary in September 2023, marking two decades of imparting life skills and leadership to 2.8 million children.

At the event, the organization also shared its future plans, including a merger with the Maxwell Leadership Foundation and a goal to reach 40 million students.

Unlock lasting impact by becoming a partner with Growing Leaders. Your year-round volunteer efforts or financial commitments don’t just sustain the organization — they power transformative work in underserved schools and enrich extracurricular programs. 

It’s more than a contribution; it’s an investment in shaping tomorrow’s leaders. For opportunities to make a long-term difference, reach out to Anne Machemer at Anne@GrowingLeaders.com.

Promise686: changing lives in the child welfare system

Aiming to drive positive change for vulnerable children in the child welfare system, Promise686 has embarked on a campaign to amass $50,000 this Giving Tuesday. 

These designated funds offer a lifeline to families in the adoption pipeline and ensure they aren’t financially strained.

Promise686 channels approximately $300,000 in grants annually to families in the adoption process. A snapshot of this impact resonates in Eliana’s narrative, as shared by her adoptive parents.

“Eliana was introduced to us via a hosting program for Ukrainian orphans. At age 10, she spent six weeks under our roof. As her departure neared, she was candid: she wanted to stay,” they recalled. 

“Echoing her sentiments, we had, unbeknownst to her, already initiated the adoption process, nearing the tail end of our home study. Regrettably, she returned to Ukraine amidst a myriad of paperwork awaiting clearance. Over the subsequent six months, amidst a sea of forms, medical exams, and fingerprinting sessions, a Promise686 grant emerged as our saving grace,” they added.

“It bridged our financial gaps, setting Eliana’s adoption in motion. Six months down the line, our voyage to Ukraine marked a celebratory reunion. Today, as we vie for a Post Placement Support Grant to bolster Eliana’s educational needs, our gratitude runs deep.”

But Promise686’s fundraising isn’t restricted to Giving Tuesday. The organization offers many donation avenues, from tapping into their bespoke software to grassroots engagement in local church, Family Advocacy Ministries

To learn more about partnering with the organization, John Flores, VP of Strategic Growth, encourages you to reach out to him at JFlores@Promise686.org.

ReClif Community: amplifying autism support through collective giving

Since its launch in 2019, ReClif Community has emerged as a haven for families touched by autism, providing invaluable resources and events ranging from sensory-friendly movie outings to intensive parent communication training workshops. 

As they gear up for this year’s Giving Tuesday, the spotlight is on the collective power of small donations, which have been a game-changer for this growing organization.

What started as discounted events has blossomed into a rich catalog of fully funded community activities, thanks to the generosity of Giving Tuesday supporters in previous years. 

Activities include age-appropriate, sensory-friendly movie outings featuring titles like “Top Gun” and “Dungeons & Dragons,” family trivia nights, bowling at Bowlero and specialized events such as painting workshops.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ReClif pivoted in its mission to emphasize scholarship opportunities, providing financial assistance to families impacted by autism. 

Now, with the easing of pandemic restrictions, the focus is back on organizing more community outings, including a potential visit to the Fernbank IMAX or Planetarium, an initiative strongly championed by founder Reece.

The organization’s rise has been assisted by enduring relationships within the Lilburn community and beyond.

Among them are Janice and David Whitcomb, title sponsors of the yearly “Aces FORE! Autism” golf fundraiser. Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves first baseman, along with his wife, Nicole, continue to be strong advocates and supporters of ReClif. 

Over 95 families have attended free Braves games through partnerships with the Atlanta Braves Foundation, cementing community ties.

With Giving Tuesday just around the corner, ReClif Community is optimistic about building momentum. The global movement has not only enabled them to expand their reach, but also allows them to make their offerings free to participants.

For those interested in contributing to the impactful work of ReClif Community, involvement isn’t just a donation; it’s an investment in a cause that transforms lives every day. 

For more information, reach out to Reece at reece@reclif.com. Participation in Giving Tuesday can have a lasting impact, creating a ripple effect of goodwill that benefits not just individuals, but the entire community.

Building community together

As Giving Tuesday continues to grow in prominence globally, its message remains clear: even during rampant consumerism, we must prioritize giving back.

Embracing this spirit, focusing on local organizations can lead to tangible change right in our backyards. The efforts of such groups, often overshadowed by larger entities, serve as a cornerstone of community welfare. 

This year let’s redirect our attention to those working tirelessly nearby and recognize that sometimes, the support we can give is closer to home than we think.

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Doing Good

UGA Legend Shares Words of Wisdom at Salvation Army Luncheon



Former UGA head football coach Mark Richt recently spoke at a Salvation Army luncheon about faith, community, and of course, the Bulldogs.
Photos by Jon Avery of The Salvation Army

The role team sports play in building authentic relationships is pretty apparent, especially the relationship between a coach and the individual players. 

Showing strength often means showing vulnerability as well. And sometimes the strongest people can have their vulnerable moments. That’s what the Salvation Army’s ministry is all about – helping those who need a hand. 

To further that message, one of the most noteworthy coaches in University of Georgia football history, Mark Richt, shared his insights as the keynote speaker for the 10th annual “Doing the Best” luncheon on May 9 at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta NE. The event is one of the main fundraisers for the Salvation Army of Gwinnett County.  

Coach Richt’s journey

Richt shared his personal experience of being recruited out of high school and eventually going into coaching, highlighting the challenges and rewards of the journey. 

“My mom taught me what it means to love unconditionally,” said Richt. “And my dad and I connected through baseball … he taught me how to love and respect people … unfortunately he’s no longer with us.”

Having that groundwork at home helped underscore the value of relationships in sports, he said, adding that’s what helped overcome obstacles in coaching and in life.

Richt coached the Bulldogs from 2001 to 2015 and The University of Miami from 2016 to 2018. He retired with a record of 171-64.

His UGA win total is second only to Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley’s. He was named the 2002 and 2005 SEC Coach of the Year and is currently the 10th-winningest coach in SEC history. Last year, he became the fifth coach from Georgia and the fifth Hurricanes coach to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

The impact of faith

He shared with the audience how his faith in God helped him overcome fears and doubts – even while battling Parkinson’s disease, emphasizing his hope in the future glory of heaven.

“I got Parkinson’s, and as most people know, it’s a progressive disease that gets worse over time. It affects your movement. I get muscle rigidity,” he said. “When I got the diagnosis, I thought, ‘Well, what do I do?’”

He said he decided he was going to enjoy the blessing he had while he could. And he encouraged the audience to do the same.

“We are grateful to have Coach Richt join us for this milestone year of the Doing The Most Good Luncheon,” said Captain Paul Ryerson, commanding officer of The Salvation Army of Gwinnett County. “The need remains high for many in our community, and the funds raised through this event will allow us to continue to serve as a resource and bring hope to our local neighbors.”

Visit southernusa.salvationarmy.org/gwinnett to learn more.

The Salvation Army of Gwinnett County “Doing the Most Good” by the numbers (2023):

  • 51,134 pounds of food donated,
  • 640 number of households that received food donations,
  • 1,461 nights of shelter provided,
  • 54 number of households that received rent/mortgage and utility assistance,
  • 738 families received gifts at Christmas through the Angel Tree program and
  • 1,979 children received gifts at Christmas through the Angel Tree program.

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Doing Good

Water at Work Ministry Partners with House of Light Orphanage



Water at Work Ministry, an Atlanta-based charitable organization is proud to announce its partnership with House of Light Orphanage.
This is Pastor Lucas who opened the house of light orphanage in 2006 with the goal to care for his own child with disabilities and others who could not receive care elsewhere. Pictured with his is Water at Work’s Executive Director Dan Blevins (a Peachtree Corners resident).

Water at Work Ministry, an Atlanta-based charitable organization dedicated to providing clean water solutions to communities in the Dominican Republic, is proud to announce its partnership with House of Light Orphanage, a haven of care and education to 40 orphans with disabilities.

Together, these faith-based organizations are inaugurating a sustainable water production business to ensure access to safe water for the orphanage residents and the surrounding communities in Ciudad Juan Bosch.

This business will help sustain House of Light’s mission to provide nurture and education to children, many of whom have experienced physical and cognitive challenges since birth and abandonment by their families. 

A dedication and grand opening ceremony for the water plant was held on Tuesday, May 14, with representatives attending from Water at Work Ministries, Rotary International, Be an Angel Foundation, the local Bella Vista Rotary Club, House of Light Orphanage and the local community.  

With the opening of Water at Work’s new sustainable water plant, the House of Light Orphanage will have a consistent and reliable source of clean water to meet the needs of the orphans and the surrounding community, ensuring access to water that is safe for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.

The plant has a production capacity of 5,500 gallons per day, and is designed to be a sustainable business that will generate revenue through water sales. Clean water will be produced and affordably sold in five-gallon bottles in the surrounding communities.

Profits generated by the water business will defray the orphanage’s expenses, thereby contributing to its continued viability and moving it toward financial independence. 

This project is just one more example of how this Atlanta-based nonprofit organization is working to empower and elevate local economies in the Dominican Republic.

Over the past decade, Water at Work has established eight fully-functioning water plant businesses across the DR. Each partners with local churches with the goal of meeting people’s physical needs through water and their spiritual needs through the Living Water of Jesus. 

While many people think of the DR’s pristine beaches and resorts, locals know that poverty is rampant in many parts of the country and countless people have limited access to basic needs, including clean water. With the ongoing crisis in neighboring Haiti, ministries like Water at Work are more needed now than ever before. 

“The partnership between House of Light Orphanage and Water at Work represents a significant step forward in addressing the critical need for clean water in underserved communities,” says Water at Work Executive Director, Dan Blevins, resident of Peachtree Corners. 

“By leveraging sustainable technology and innovative solutions, both organizations will make a tangible, life-giving difference,” he added. 

Water at Work Ministry 
Email: audrie@wateratworkministry.org 
Phone: 404-465-1447

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Rooted Interiors Unveils Largest Transformation Project Yet for a Family in Need



Grandfather's bedroom before and after // photos courtesy of Rooted Interiors

Rooted Interiors, a new non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives through design, has announced the completion of its largest transformation project to date.

With a commitment to providing complete interiors to individuals and families emerging from homelessness, Rooted Interiors continues to make a profound impact on communities, one home at a time.

The latest project marks a significant milestone for Rooted Interiors as it demonstrates the organization’s unwavering dedication to creating havens where families can plant roots and thrive.

Through meticulous planning, collaboration and the support of generous donors and volunteers, Rooted Interiors has successfully transformed a once hopeless space into a warm and welcoming home for a deserving family.

At the heart of this project is a single mother, accompanied by her two children and her father, who found themselves in dire circumstances after the mother fled from an abusive partner, forcing them to seek refuge at the Family Promise shelter in Athens, Ga.

Upon securing a new home, however, their relief was short-lived as they found themselves in a space devoid of warmth and lacking the essentials of a home.

With no furniture besides a dining room table, no washer and dryer and a malfunctioning fridge, their daily struggles persisted for three long months.

But Rooted Interiors didn’t just redesign the family’s space, they filled it with love and hope.

Through this project, the organization transformed the family’s house into a sanctuary, addressing not only their physical needs but also their emotional well-being. From carefully selected furniture to thoughtful décor choices, every detail was curated to create a space that felt like home.

“We are thrilled to unveil our latest project, which represents our continued commitment to serving those in need,” said Kristina McCalla, Founder and Executive Director of Rooted Interiors.

“Our Rooted in Renewal Program not only revitalizes physical spaces but also renews hope and stability for the family who calls this house their home,” she added.

Rooted Interiors offers a lifeline to families in need, empowering them to thrive and succeed in their journey towards independence.

“This journey is not just about creating aesthetically pleasing interiors; it’s about using the language of design to uplift and restore,” said Kristina McCalla, also Lead Interior Designer at Rooted Interiors.

“Rooted in faith and love, each project is a testament to the belief that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves a place that reflects their humanity and worth. By providing a thoughtfully designed and fully furnished home, we aim to empower families to thrive and succeed in their journey towards independence,” she explained.

As Rooted Interiors continues its mission to fully furnish homes for those emerging from homelessness, this project serves as a testament to the organization’s impact and the generosity of its supporters.

Through ongoing partnerships and community engagement, the organization remains committed to building brighter futures for individuals and families in need. For more information about Rooted Interiors and how you can support their mission, visit rootedinteriors.org.

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