George McCanless, President, United Way of Central Georgia
United Way of Central Georgia
Our mission is to advance the common good in the 14-county, Central Georgia area. We focus on education, income and health – the building blocks of a good life. Additionally, we work with our 34 partner agencies is to disrupt the cycle of poverty in our area. Studies show that a focus on early childhood development and grade level reading yield the greatest return on investment and that’s the focus of our Education Committee.
United Way of Central Georgia’s greatest contribution to Middle Georgia.
Our greatest impact is our annual fundraising campaign. This year we hope to surpass $5 million to provide critical funding to 34 agencies that impact 190,000 lives. Other important initiatives include our 24/7 help line, free tax service for qualified individuals, Read to Succeed, Great Start Georgia which helps women with pregnancy and parenting, and RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) for underprivileged youth.
Why education is such a powerful, life-changing tool.
At United Way we have children who don’t know anyone who ever has held a job. They don’t have positive behavior to model. Hopefully, part of Education Together is showing these children that through education you can be anything you want to be. The American Dream may sound corny, but at the end of the day, it still works. If you get an education, within boundaries, you can be anything you want to be.
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My hope for Education Together.
No one agency or entity can solve all of our problems. Working collectively, the Education Together partners can have an immediate, positive impact on the lives of graduating seniors. In addition to the opportunities Education Together can provide for students now, I look down the road. Middle and elementary school children may see this and realize that if they prepare themselves, they have the opportunity, regardless of their circumstance, to use education to craft a better life.
How I will define the success of Education Together.
This isn’t sports – there’s not a specific score. If we improve one child’s life, I consider that a huge success. If we take one child who got through high school and might not have been able to go to college and we do that, we’re successful. You can’t put a value on improving a human life. I’d consider changing one student’s life a success for Education Together, but I think we’ll do a lot more than one.
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