The Foundation seeks to strengthen teaching and learning in public K-12 districts in Georgia by investing in educators through high quality professional development, equitable practices that support relevant and effective pedagogy and recruitment and retention initiatives. The Foundation will place priority on projects with potential for scaling and replication.
Research shows that students of color taught by educators of color are more likely to maintain high test scores, graduate high school, and succeed in college. Additionally, students’ wellbeing is positively impacted when they see their racial-ethnic, cultural and gender identity reflected in the educators that teach them. However, in metro Atlanta, Black male educators make up only 8% of the education workforce which serves a significant Black male student population. Noticing a similar lack of representation in their district in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, two teachers began to organize monthly meetups across the city with other Black male educators to discuss educational equity and support each other. In less than a year, using online tools, they grew their base to over 500 teachers across the country, formalized an operating structure and founded Profound Gentlemen in 2014.
Today, Profound Gentlemen builds local communities of male educators of color with the mission of retaining them to impact boys of color in school districts, charter networks and individual schools. Using a cohort model, they support educators nationally with a priority on North Carolina, Georgia and Illinois as regions of focus (currently serving 254 educators). Cohorts are comprised of approximately 20 gentlemen categorized by their experience level who meet bi-monthly for professional growth and peer support. Each member creates a Professional Development Plan focused on character development (wellness, identity, mindfulness, social emotional learning, mental health), content support (pedagogical development and culturally responsive teaching), and community leadership (maximizing impact in the education sector and their school communities). Profound Gentlemen has seen this model prove effective over the years. In 2020, 98% of participants returned to the classroom the following school year and 30% of participants stepped into leadership roles in their communities.
Funding from the Dobbs Foundation will support the operations and growth of Profound Gentlemen cohorts in the metro Atlanta region in Clayton County Public Schools, Fulton County Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Atlanta Public Schools and Gwinnett County School District. Profound Gentlemen will seek to increase the number of gentlemen served in Atlanta by 50% each year over the next three years. In addition to the implementation of cohorts, Profound Gentlemen will convene workshops, conferences and retreats in the region as additional efforts to retain Black male educators in the classroom, improve their practice and have a direct impact on the teaching and learning for Black male students.
Grant amount: $50,000 in general operating support over two years
OutTeach works at the intersection of education and the environment with the mission of helping children live better lives through the health and academic benefits of outdoor learning. Their model combines building learning gardens at schools and a teacher training program to equip them to deliver standards-based experiential learning outdoors. OutTeach partners with Title I schools and currently works in 14 schools in the metro Atlanta region. A third-party evaluation of OutTeach revealed that 95% of participating teachers reported their students are more engaged learners and schools with outdoor learning reflected a 5.5% higher standardized test performance rate than those without outdoor learning. Dobbs funding will support job-embedded professional development from OutTeach at five Atlanta campuses as well as online professional learning cohorts and virtual lessons that include components of Social Emotional Learning.
Grant Amount: $50,000
A recent study by Georgia State University found that students in metro Atlanta are three to six months behind where they would have been had the pandemic not occurred. The study’s recommendations for academic recovery include targeted remediation tactics like high dosage tutoring for students who have suffered the largest reductions in achievement growth. Accordingly, the Dobbs Foundation renewed a commitment to TutorATL that started early in the pandemic. TutorAtl will provide free, online, on-demand tutoring throughout the 2021-22 school year in over 50 subjects, Advanced Placement courses, test prep and computer literacy. An initiative of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, the program is available to students in grades four through 12 in Fulton and Cobb Counties with a deeper relationship with the Atlanta Public Schools. Based on user surveys, 96% of students served by TutorATL report better grades, higher confidence and increased homework completion.
Grant Amount: $50,000
Many Georgians are familiar with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) as a public media outlet for television and radio. However, GPB also has an educational arm that provides digital learning content and technical assistance for classrooms across the state for all subjects and grade levels. GPB’s natural science courses are especially high quality and popular amongst the education community. Recently, due to the rise in digital learning and GPB’s efficacy, Georgia’s science teachers have asked GPB to produce Environmental Science content which has not existed previously. The Dobbs Foundation is underwriting the production of a first-ever Environmental Science digital learning series and accompanying materials for Georgia’s teachers to use in grades preK-12. The series will be comprised of six episodes that address the state’s Environmental Science standards as well as content about careers in the field.
Grant Amount: $100,000
The Foundation invests in a culture of equitable conservation across Georgia with a priority on the coast; builds capacity for conservation of the Longleaf pine ecosystem; and makes selective investments in high value conservation initiatives across the state.
Founded in 2007, the Greening Youth Foundation (GYF) is committed to engaging and nurturing underrepresented youth and young adults while connecting them to the outdoors and careers in conservation. GYF prepares youth for employment within the conservation sector through internships, skills training and education programs. Examples of GYF’s flagship programming include its Historically Black Colleges and Universities internship program and the Urban Youth Corps, a year-long conservation workforce development program. These efforts notwithstanding, high school and college graduates of color largely struggle to connect with employers across the conservation sector due to hiring pathways that are traditionally inequitable. In response, GYF worked collaboratively with partners to launch The Bridge Project, a pilot hiring platform designed to connect a talented, diverse pool of potential employees with public and private employers across the conservation sector.
The Bridge Project is an innovative, two-day virtual hiring program held biannually in which qualified, diverse candidates are matched with organizations ready to fill full-time positions. In preparation, prospective candidates receive training to prepare them for the job market including resume writing, navigating Federal job applications, virtual interviewing and networking. Likewise, participating hiring organizations receive training on unconscious bias, cultural competency, and creating inclusive workplaces. Training, dialogue and bridge building continues during the program which culminates in a series of virtual interviews. The Foundation joined with co-investors to fund the project’s startup costs including a backend event technology platform, guest speaker fees, and staff time as well as continued operating costs to stage a second round of hiring.
Grant Amount: $80,000 over two years
Established in 1990 on Tybee Island, GA, the mission of the Tybee Island Marine Sciences Center is to cultivate responsible stewardship of coastal Georgia’s natural resources through education and conservation. With exhibits and programs, they work to inform and inspire while fostering a respect for natural resources that leads to a lifelong commitment of stewardship. Their signature education program, Sidewalk to the Sea provides exposure, experience, and connection to Georgia’s coastal and offshore environments for youth in Savannah-Chatham County’s Title I schools who represent the next generation of coastal stewards. The program delivers standards-aligned, cross-discipline curriculum using the coast as an outdoor classroom for students in grades kindergarten through five. Since inception, the program has served 33,928 children. Funding from the Dobbs Foundation will help to continue to fuel this important experiential environmental education program annually.
Grant Amount: $50,000
The East Coast Greenway (ECG) is a walking and biking route covering 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. Its “spine route” aspires to connect 15 states and 450 cities with a safe place for cyclists, walkers, and others of all ages and abilities to exercise, commute, and visit new destinations. To date, they’ve completed more than 1,000 miles of traffic-protected Greenway with an additional 780 miles in process which Dobbs funding will help with. Georgia’s route covers 165 miles from Savannah to St. Mary’s. While it connects some of the region’s most scenic spots, less than 10% of Georgia’s spine route covers traffic protected trails, making it the least developed of the Greenway’s 15 states. In time, however, ECG will function as an amenity connecting Georgia’s 100-mile coast and communities along the way. Nature-based economic development is the coast’s best option for a sustainable future and trails have been shown to be reliable, strong catalysts for local economies.
Grant Amount: $25,000
West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) is a community based, BIPOC led non-profit dedicated to growing a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable West Atlanta. WAWA has worked in service to and in partnership with the West Atlanta community since 1988 and was established to address illegal dumping, discriminatory wastewater treatment practices and other actions proving detrimental to the health and well-being of the people and environment of West Atlanta. Its mission is to improve the quality of life within the Proctor, Sandy, and Toy Creek Watersheds by protecting, preserving, and restoring the community’s natural resources. Powered by strong engagement from community volunteers, WAWA serves as a steward of ~400 acres of urban forest and greenspace in Southwest and implements a range of programming that includes youth education programs, community clean-ups, advocacy training and family focused community events. Funding from the Dobbs Foundation will support WAWA’s general operations over two years to ensure a cleaner, greener, healthier and more sustainable Westside.
Grant Amount: $50,000
The Foundation seeks to expand access to basic health services (i.e. primary, behavioral, oral, vision) through evidence-based approaches, and will prioritize capacity building investments to improve maternal health and child and adolescent mental health across the State of Georgia.
The Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI) is a collective impact initiative in which more than 100 stakeholders are pursuing a 28-year strategy for improving health in Fulton and DeKalb counties that is rooted in a social determinants of health model. First organized in 2012, it includes seven core priorities: expanding insurance coverage; encouraging healthy lifestyles and genuinely healthy choices; family pathways to economic opportunity; care coordination to improve healthcare quality; sustaining investment by documenting the ability to capture cost-savings for reinvestment; incentivizing preventive care through global budgeting; and funding innovation. ARCHI’s mission is to engage public, private, and community partners to improve healthcare and foster health for all.
Metro Atlanta has a high-quality healthcare ecosystem, a robust safety net, and a strong network of public and private social services with the means for making needed connections and referrals (e.g., United Way’s 211 resource database, ARC’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection). However, ARCHI partners continue to find that uninsured patients have difficulty navigating and receiving social services that address not just symptoms but very often the drivers of health challenges. Despite information and referrals, patients do not receive needed services and, as a result, health often worsens.
Several factors contribute: care providers cannot access real-time availability of services or make real-time referrals so it falls to patients to follow-up; follow-up is not simple as the “system” is complex; navigating and matching eligibility criteria for services with individual patients can be challenging; limited capacity within agencies result in wait lists; even when referrals are successful, there is no mechanism for sharing information which hampers follow-up.
To address this barrier to care, essentially a systemic flaw, ARCHI is iterating a real time, rapid referral program, the “Community Resource Hub.” With a focus on high-need patient populations are Mercy Care’s Decatur Street Clinic and Grady Health System, the pilot is prioritizing housing, nutrition, and transportation as these social determinants of health most negatively impact health for vulnerable patients.
The Foundation helped launch the pilot whose partners include CareSource, Partners for Home, Atlanta Community Food Bank, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Project Open Hand, Open Doors Atlanta, Kaiser Permanente, First step Staffing, Wholesome Wave, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and MARTA. Goals include 1) inform best practices in working with state and local government agencies; 2) document gaps in service delivery after a referral is made; 3) demonstrate need for on-going community case management capacity building; 4) measure successful service delivery; 5) improve data sharing between partners; 6) demonstrate proof of concept to spur further funding to bring the concept to scale; and, 7) use real time learning to refine plans for a multi-year launch across several health systems.
Grant Amount: $125,000 for Phase II
Community Helping Place (CHP) began in 1990 as a small food pantry operated by several local churches in Lumpkin County, GA. As requests for assistance increased, they recognized the need for a more structured approach with the capacity to grow. 31 years later, CHP is the largest non-profit, social services agency in Lumpkin County, serving one in six residents with a food pantry, emergency financial assistance, transportation, childcare, and the Anne Green Free Clinic where they deliver medical, dental and vision services at no cost. Having long outgrown 1200 SF of rented space where the Clinic serves 4,000+ established patients with over 1,500 patient encounters annually (estimated value of $2.4m), CHP launched a $460,000 campaign, to acquire 2.5 acres adjacent to its main facility and build a 3,000 SF modular building to serve as the Anne Green Free Clinic’s new home and provide room for growth.
Grant Amount: $100,000
In underserved communities across the country, 95% of students lack access to vision care and the proper eyeglasses they need to be successful in school and life. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 students across Atlanta face barriers to learning because they cannot see clearly. Vision To Learn (VTL) was founded in 2021 to solve this problem by providing free vision screenings, eye exams and prescription glasses to children in Title I schools through mobile vision clinics. This simple intervention is an effective, scalable and evidence-based solution to reducing educational and health inequities. The Dobbs Foundation is providing funding for VTL to continue operations in Georgia and will support 2,888 screenings, 720 exams and 575 pairs of eye glasses in Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County Schools this year.
Grant Amount: $90,000 over two years
Emory’s Urban Health Initiative (UHI) works to advance health equity through education and advocacy, collaborative partnerships and development of best practice models with low-resourced communities and those who work with them. UHI achieves its mission through training health practitioners to more effectively understand and serve patients and communities; building capacity and sustainable infrastructure within health and community systems to reduce health disparities; and developing culturally competent, community informed interventions that hold to the highest standards of excellence in community engagement and research. Significant health inequities facing the Black community were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, UHI’s Director Dr. Charles Moore developed the COVID-19 Faith Based Organizational Mitigation Program. The Foundation funded the pilot which seeks to leverage trusted relationships between pastors and congregations to better understand congregants’ beliefs about the pandemic and vaccines. In light of lessons learned, UHI and its partners will design and implement information sharing to minimize community spread within participating congregations and mitigate on-going impacts of COVID-19. The pilot will share its results and, if effective, UHI will pursue replication on a larger scale.
Grant Amount: $45,000