Sunday, August 21, 2011

ReelAbilities ATL Atlanta's First-Ever Disabilities Film Festival Premiering in October 2011

Georgia Community Support and Solutions announces its first annual film festival October 1-6, 2011 at venues across metro Atlanta. This film festival will promote the appreciation and understanding of individuals living with different disabilities. Lynne M. and Howard I. Halpern will host and co-present the film festival, which will include ten films featuring or made by people with disabilities.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival was founded in New York and was designed to change the public's attitude toward people who have diverse disabilities. ReelAbilities ATL is continuing the success, by using the power of film to focus on people living with disabilities from across the globe. To meet the goal of building community through film, ReelAbilities ATL has already established partnerships with 23 Atlanta community organizations. After each screening, there will be discussions with actors, experts, and filmmakers exploring the awareness of disabilities.

The complete festival schedule will be available in late August. Tickets will go on sale by September 1st. For more information please contact Judy Marx at (404) 634-4222, ext 267 or by email at or 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Children’s Village at Christian City Asks For Help With Needs List

Two boys who live at The Children’s Village with
donations from a recent Milk and Cereal drive organized
by Mrs. Mary Ruth Kimsey, a resident of Christian City.

The Children’s Village at Christian City is in need of the following items and would appreciate any help the community can provide:

Sponsor A Child: Choose a boy or a girl to sponsor and receive a photo, profile and regular updates. $30 a month helps to pay for basic needs such as food, clothing and education

· Donations to Graceland Thrift Shop. Proceeds help to pay for the education of the children who live in the cottages. Volunteers are needed to work in the Thrift Shop to accept donations, sort, and help with customers

· Gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, or Publix

· Cleaning supplies

· Zip-lock bags

· Canned fruits and vegetables

· Peanut butter

· Individually wrapped snacks and drinks

· Dental hygiene products

· Personal hygiene products

· Kid friendly cereals

Please contact Heidi Becker at 770-703-2636 for drop off details or for more information about the Children’s Village and how you can Sponsor A Child. Christian City has been caring for abandoned and abused children in a family centered residential setting since 1965. Children live in cottages with full time houseparents. Over 1,000 children have called Christian City “home.” For more information, please visit our website at

Monday, August 01, 2011

Fayette Senior Services Adds 10K to Annual Run/Walk and Establishes New “Fayette Charity Classic” to Benefit Fayette County Non-profits

Fayette Senior Services (FSS) annual March For Meals 5K/1 Mile Run Walk will have a new look and expanded purpose when the 4th annual event is held next year on March 17, 2012. Thanks to help from the City of Fayetteville and the Fayetteville Police Department, FSS will be adding a challenging new 10K route to its existing 5K and 1 mile run/walk. In addition, FSS has renamed the event The Fayette Charity Classic with proceeds to not only benefit non-profit Fayette Senior Services, but other Fayette County charities as well. The Fayette Charity Classic 10K as well as the 5K will both be USA Track and Field (USATF) certified and qualifiers for the Peachtree Road Race.

Dawn Davis, FSS Health, Wellness, and Program Manager is the event’s race director. Davis worked closely with Capt. Lynn Crawshaw of the Fayetteville Police Department to develop the route that begins at Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center located at 4 Center Drive in Fayetteville (across from the Fayette County Justice Center). Says Davis, “By expanding the event to include a 10K we are able to leverage the success of our former March For Meals Run/Walk. Our goal was to attract a larger audience to a fitness activity and in turn increase awareness–and financial support–for the programs and services that we provide to our community’s seniors.” Davis adds, “We then took our expanded event one step further and designed it to help other Fayette County charities, many of which continue to face challenges as a result of the current economy. It’s a win-win for Fayette Senior Services, the charities who wish to participate, and the community as a whole.”

Event details and registration packets are still being finalized and are expected to be available soon. Anyone interested in receiving more information should send their name, address, and phone number to Fayette Senior Services, Inc. For more than 30 years, Fayette Senior Services, Inc. (FSS), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, has been making a meaningful difference in the emotional, social, and physical well-being of older adults; preserving their independence, improving their quality of life, and connecting them to the community. FSS offers supportive services such as Meals On Wheels, Transportation, In-Home Personal Care/Homemaker Services, Information Assistance, Care Management, and more. For active older adults age 50 and better, Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center offers a wide variety of social, leisure, fitness and recreational activities and the award-winning Ultimate Café. For more information visit or call 770-461-0813.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Children’s Village Asks For Community Support

The Children’s Village at Christian City is in need of the following items and would appreciate any help the community can provide:
  • Child Sponsorships for only $30 a month to help to pay for their basic needs
  • Donations to Graceland Thrift Shop. Proceeds help to pay for the education of the children who live in the cottages. Volunteers are needed to work in the Thrift Shop to accept donations, sort, and help with customers
  • Gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, or Publix
  • Dental hygiene products
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Peanut butter
  • Individually wrapped snacks and drinks
Please contact Heidi Becker at 770-703-2636 for drop off details or for more information on the Children’s Village and how you can become a child sponsor. Christian City has been caring for abandoned and abused children in a family centered residential setting since 1965. Over 1,000 children have called Christian City “home.” For more information, please visit our website at

Monday, June 06, 2011

Honoring Educational Achievements of Georgia’s Foster Care Youth

19th Annual Celebration of Excellence

More than 260 foster care youth will be honored and recognized for their educational achievements at the 19th Annual Celebration of Excellence. The Celebration of Excellence is a statewide graduation event and scholarship program for youth in Georgia’s foster care system who are graduating from high school, GED programs, vocational school or college. The event will be held on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at 6 p.m. at Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts.

“Foster care youth encounter countless obstacles during and after foster care which make them less likely to attend and graduate from high school or college,” said Commissioner Clyde L. Reese, Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS). “This year’s graduates were able to overcome the odds and accomplish academic success. Their determination and will to succeed is to be commended and celebrated.”

Eric Anderson, a former foster care youth, will deliver the keynote address. He will share lessons learned during and after life in foster care. As a professional speaker and magician, Anderson has shared the stage with Talk Show Host Sean Hannity, Former First Lady Laura Bush, Home Run King Hank Aaron, and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and former President of the United States Jimmy Carter.

The event is sponsored by DHS’ Division of Family and Children Services, Independent Living Program, Juvenile Law Committee of The Young Lawyers Division of The State Bar of Georgia, and numerous private businesses and organizations.

The Celebration of Excellence is the high point of a three-day Atlanta visit for teens transitioning out of the foster care system. These teens will also attend the Higher Education Institute, a two-day information and resource forum designed to teach the importance of professional etiquette, money management and understanding legal rights.

Celebration of Excellence is open to the public and is attended by foster parents, child welfare workers, business leaders, child and legal advocates, and legislators throughout the state.

For more information, please visit

Monday, May 16, 2011

Liberty Tire Recycling to Clean Up Illegal Tire Dump at Site of Atlanta-Area Arts Center

/PRNewswire/ -- Pittsburgh-based Liberty Tire Recycling, the premier provider of tire recycling services in North America, is donating its tire collection and reclamation services to help an Atlanta-area community center facing a dilemma. Crews from the company's plant in Atlanta will collect and recycle as many as 1,000 scrap tires that were illegally dumped on the property of The Arts Exchange (750 Kalb Street, SE, Atlanta, GA). The reclamation will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 .

"The warmer months are upon us, and abandoned tire piles can be a haven for vermin and insects. They can also cause a fire hazard. The Arts Exchange certainly doesn't want to face such a situation when they host outdoor activities for children," said Dewey Grantham, regional sales manager for Liberty Tire Recycling. "When the center contacted us to tell us what they were facing, we were happy to offer our assistance at no charge."

Employees at The Arts Center have been working to resolve the situation since they discovered the tire piles last fall. When they began making inquiries into how to remove the tires, they learned that the center may be charged as much as $2 per tire to have the scrap tires removed. This would have resulted in thousands of dollars in costs.

"We are a nonprofit arts center that aims to provide affordable work space for visual and performing artists. Our tenants include African dance companies, an online digital arts magazine, and a youth steel band," said Lisa Tuttle, member of the board of directors for The Arts Exchange and a studio artist. "As you might imagine, we have limited resources. We are pleased that Liberty Tire is willing to perform this service to us and to the community at no cost."

Once the tires are collected, Liberty Tire Recycling will grind the tires into crumb rubber, which is a component in a host of eco-friendly products on the market today. Those products include rubber mulch for landscaping and playgrounds; infill for synthetic athletic fields; and rubberized asphalt, which is used by municipalities across the country to make roads more durable and safer.

"Liberty Tire Recycling has a well-deserved reputation for remediating illegal tire dumps across the country. Since the company's founding, we have cleaned up more than 150 dump sites littered with nearly 40 million scrap tires," said Jeff Kendall, CEO of Liberty Tire Recycling. "We are hoping that a few hours of work at The Arts Exchange will go a long way toward creating a safer environment for the people who rely on the center."

For more information on Liberty Tire Recycling, visit


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Friday, April 29, 2011

Red Cross Sends Help After Deadly Tornadoes Blast Through the South

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is helping thousands of people after Wednesday's deadly tornadoes destroyed neighborhoods throughout the southern region of the country.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with those who lost loved ones or have suffered through these deadly storms," said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. "Red Cross disaster teams are working around the clock to help the thousands of people whose lives are turned upside down. More Red Cross assistance is on the way."

"Our top priority right now is to provide food and shelter to the thousands of people throughout the South and Midwest affected by these storms," Shimanski said, adding that the Red Cross is also distributing relief supplies and providing emotional support and basic health services to disaster survivors.

Hardest hit was Alabama, where Governor Robert Bentley has activated National Guard troops to help in the devastated areas. The Red Cross is sending disaster workers, materials, blood products and equipment into the state. Nearly 40 emergency response vehicles are on the way, along with 25,000 ready-to-eat meals. Red Cross Blood Services is moving hundreds of blood products into the area, and Red Cross nurses and mental health workers are being deployed to help people cope with the aftermath of this disaster.

More than 1,600 people sought refuge in 65 Red Cross shelters Wednesday night as the storms forced them from their homes. Red Cross shelters are open in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina and Texas.

"Tornadoes and floods have devastated communities and uprooted families across many states, and the Red Cross is working hand-in-hand with our federal and community partners to get assistance to people in need and help them recover," Shimanski said.

More than half of the country has been affected by this continuous band of damaging weather, disrupting people's lives from North Dakota to the East Coast. In the last several weeks, Red Cross disaster workers have provided thousands of overnight stays in shelters, distributed thousands of clean-up and comfort kits and served hundreds of thousands of meals and snacks.

The Red Cross is able to respond quickly when emergencies happen with the help of corporations who are members of the organization's Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). ADGP members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.

ADGP members include Walmart, UPS, UnitedHealthcare, The TJX Companies, Inc., Target, State Street Foundation, State Farm, Southwest Airlines, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Northrup Grumman, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Morgan Stanley, Merck, Lowe's Companies, Inc., Kraft Foods, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, John Deere Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, GE Foundation, FedEx Corporation, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Darden Restaurants, Inc, ConAgra Foods, Cisco Foundation, Aon, Altria and 3M.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster, both here in the United States and around the world. Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. To make a donation, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Krispy Kreme and the Law Enforcement Torch Run® Are Teaming Up to Raise Funds and Awareness For Special Olympics

Officers will take to the roofs of Krispy Kreme Doughnut shops throughout Georgia from 6 a.m. on Friday, April 29 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1

27, 2011 /PRNewswire-/ -- Krispy Kreme is once again teaming up with Georgia police officers to "raise dough" for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Georgia during the first weekend in May. Officers will take to the roofs for Georgia's ninth annual "Cops on Doughnut Shops" weekend from 6 a.m. on Friday, April 29 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, where they will collect donations from customers as they eat, sleep and play on the rooftops of ten Georgia Krispy Kreme stores. Due to the success of the event in years past, Cops on Doughnut Shops is being held at participating Krispy Kreme stores across the country, raising money for local Special Olympics programs.

Georgia's 2010 Cops on Doughnut Shops event raised an amazing $97,000 for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Georgia. In addition to accepting donations from Krispy Kreme customers, the officers will also make calls to local individuals and business leaders asking for pledges, and local celebrities and community leaders are being asked to lend their support up on the roofs throughout the weekend.

Following are the participating Georgia Krispy Kreme stores for Cops on Doughnut Shops 2011:

Albany – 400 N. Slappey Blvd.

Athens – 3703 Atlanta Highway

Atlanta – 295 Ponce de Leon Avenue

Buford – 3387 Buford Drive

Commerce – 40103 Highway 441 South

Duluth – 1550 Pleasant Hill Road

Lilburn – 4129 Highway 78

Marietta – 299 Cobb Parkway, South

Riverdale – 6689 Highway #9

Roswell – 791 Atlanta Street

"Cops and doughnut shops just naturally go together in people's minds," says Allison Kaczenski, Special Olympics Georgia. "We decided to have some fun with it and help a worthy cause. What better way to create awareness and raise money for the Special Olympics than to put police officers on the roofs of Krispy Kreme stores?"

"Supporting local communities and programs that touch and enhance the lives of young people has been part of our Company's history for more than 70 years," said Brian K. Little, Director of Corporate Communication for Krispy Kreme. "We are very proud to be part of these unique events again in 2011."

Customers who donate $5 or more to the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics will receive not only the sincere thanks of participating officers, but could also receive treats from Krispy Kreme ranging from a free doughnut to a free dozen Original Glazed doughnuts every month for a year. Corporations, organizations or individuals donating $1,000 or more will receive a free Krispy Kreme doughnut party for their employees.

The mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is to raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement worldwide. Law enforcement officers from the 50 United States, 10 Canadian provinces and territories, and 5 countries carry the Flame of Hope in honor of the Special Olympics athletes in their area and around the world. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grass-roots fund-raiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world. Last year, this international program raised over $34 million to support Special Olympics programs. More than 85,000 law enforcement officers from thousands of agencies have carried the Flame of Hope and have raised more than $200 million since the Torch Run's inception in 1981.


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Converse Unveils Basketball Courts at Atlanta's Historic Piedmont Park

/PRNewswire/ -- Today (April 21), CONVERSE Inc., unveils two new basketball courts at Piedmont Park in midtown Atlanta, Georgia, along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and NBA legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving. The Converse basketball court donation, consisting of one full court and one half court, is part of Converse's commitment to fostering community involvement through basketball in the city of Atlanta.

Marked with the iconic Converse Star Chevron logo, the basketball courts will provide youth with the opportunity to play basketball in an area that has not had courts before. Before the court presentation, Converse will hold its Open Gym session with Atlanta youth. Converse Open Gym, founded in 2007, provides an opportunity for kids to play basketball in a free, safe and unrestricted environment in major metropolitan markets including Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Boston. Over 50,000 kids have been touched by this program nationally, 17,000 of which come from the city of Atlanta.

"Converse is thrilled to celebrate basketball and the donation of these courts with Piedmont Park Conservancy, as they continue to implement their Master Plan to enhance the park for future generations," said Geoff Cottrill, Chief Marketing Officer of Converse. "We have enjoyed working with the City of Atlanta over the past few years to help inspire children through the game of basketball, and are happy that basketball is now a part of this beautiful, historic park."

Since 2008, Converse has led and sponsored an array of community-based programs in the Metro-Atlanta area including, several Converse Open Gyms, and title sponsorship of The Health Education & Communication Center of Atlanta's (HECCA) HOOPATLANTA Bounce Back program. The Bounce Back program is a multi-tiered community program where Converse has donated over 5,000 basketballs to Atlanta's Parks and Recreation Department, Atlanta Public Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools and Dekalb County Schools and supports scholarship programs in the Dekalb County School System and Gwinnett County Public School System.

"Physical activity and sports participation help foster the social skills that our youth need, so we are excited about the new basketball courts at Piedmont Park and the fitness pilot programs Converse will begin to lead soon at our Centers of Hope," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "Converse was one of the first corporate supporters of the Centers of Hope campaign, and their contribution is one of the reasons why we were able to secure a portion of the funds needed to reopen our recreation centers."

This court donation is a result of a partnership with Piedmont Park Conservancy, The City of Atlanta's Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, and The Health Education & Communication Center of Atlanta (HECCA).

In addition to the Piedmont Park basketball courts' unveiling, Converse is the title sponsor of the HOOPATLANTA Classic, Georgia's largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The tournament takes place April 23rd at the Georgia World Congress Center and fuses physical activity, the best in creative basketball match-ups and entertainment to create a unique experience for all.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Home Depot Foundation Pledges $30 Million to Veterans Housing Issues

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Home Depot® Foundation announced a pledge of $30 million over three years to address veterans' housing issues. The Foundation's financial commitment will be amplified by associates from The Home Depot, who will volunteer their time and home improvement know-how skills to projects across the country.

"Our nation's veterans have made great sacrifices for our country, yet the statistics show that many of them face severe housing needs due to disability, lack of affordable housing and unemployment," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO, The Home Depot. "Their plight is very personal to all Home Depot associates because we have more than 35,000 veterans who work for us and an estimated 1,500 associates serving on active duty at any given time."

The Foundation's initiative will kick off immediately by providing a total of $3.1 million to Fisher House Foundation, The Mission Continues and Volunteers of America to repair and rehabilitate facilities and homes serving veterans of all ages. In addition to funding, each of these partnerships will be supported by Team Depot, the Company's associate-led volunteer force.

Fisher House Foundation provides comfort houses for the families of veteran and active duty military patients receiving medical care at major military and Veterans Affairs medical centers. The Home Depot Foundation is providing a one-year $500,000 grant to repair and enhance many of the organization's 54 existing houses. Where possible, Team Depot volunteers will complete the work, ranging from making bathrooms handicapped accessible, to painting and landscaping.

"Our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation will allow Fisher Houses across the country to partner with skilled volunteers from local Home Depot stores to refresh and enhance our homes," said Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House Foundation. "Since we began serving our nation's military families and wounded warriors, over 142,000 families have been guests in our homes. We are grateful to The Home Depot Foundation for their generous support."

Volunteers of America is one of the largest nonprofit providers of affordable housing in the U.S., with a focus specifically on veterans, low-income families with children, the disabled and senior citizens. The Home Depot Foundation is providing a three-year $1.8 million grant to repair and rehab properties where veterans and their families live. First-year projects include the rehabilitation of residential facilities in Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami, serving approximately 275 disabled and/or homeless veterans and their families at any given time. Each project will include numerous opportunities for Team Depot volunteers to get involved as well.

"Our organization has served the needs of veterans for more than 60 years," said Volunteers of America National President Mike King. "We feel a deep responsibility to serve those who have served our country, and understand that safe, decent housing is the foundation for a successful life. Our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation allows us to address both the quality and the quantity of our veterans housing. It's the factor that turns affordable housing into homes, and makes the difference between simply keeping people alive and giving them a life."

The Mission Continues provides opportunities for returning veterans to serve as citizen leaders by leading volunteer projects in their communities or by completing fellowships with nonprofit organizations. Along with a $1.05 million grant from The Home Depot Foundation, Team Depot will work with volunteers from The Mission Continues to complete more than 100 community projects during 2011. In addition, a disabled veteran will be placed at The Home Depot Foundation for a six-month fellowship to assist with project management for all volunteer projects.

"Our veterans are an asset. We appreciate that The Home Depot realizes the value that these dedicated men and women bring to our country, even after their time in uniform," said Eric Greitens, CEO of The Mission Continues. "We are excited to bring Mission Continues volunteers and Team Depot members together in service to build stronger communities."

The Foundation will continue to evaluate and add new partnerships to address veterans' housing issues. For more information about The Home Depot Foundation's veterans' initiative, please visit

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Monday, April 11, 2011

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association … 25 Years of Giving Hope and Making Miracles

Eighteen years ago, Thomas and Jodi Sornsin of Tempe, Arizona, were desperate for a miracle. Ben, their two-year-old toddler, needed a liver transplant to survive. Adding to the pain and stress of a critically ill child was the fact that Ben’s illness, diagnosis and transplant came as a complete surprise.

Many transplant families have time to prepare, but the Sornsins did not. On New Year’s Eve 1992, Ben came down with a cold. Two weeks later he was fighting for his life. What happened? Ben was diagnosed with complete liver failure due to a virus of unknown origin. Ben went from being a healthy toddler to a sick child in a hepatic coma in a matter of ten days.

According to Jodi, “Ben was in a coma in the ICU and only hours away from death. We received the news that a liver had been found and he would be transplanted the next morning … a true miracle.”

While Thomas and Jodi were living at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles to care for Ben, they were confronted with the financial reality of Ben’s transplant. Their health insurance was going to cover only about $100,000 of the transplant bill. Jodi remembers being called to the hospital’s finance office repeatedly and asked how they were going to pay the medical bill. Frankly, neither Thomas nor Jodi knew how that was going to happen.

They needed help, and they needed it quickly.

Meanwhile, friends and family members started asking how they could help this young family, and one friend introduced the Sornsin’s to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA).

“I made the call to COTA as soon as we heard about this amazing organization and the person on the other end of the phone told me not to worry about the money -- COTA would help us. Once COTA was on board, and our team of volunteers started a fundraising effort, we were never called to the hospital’s finance office again,” said Jodi.

Their second miracle? According to Jodi it was being able to concentrate on their baby’s recovery and not worry about the mounting bills.

A team of volunteers made up of family members, friends and co-workers from Hunter Contracting began working with COTA’s team of professionals almost immediately to launch a fundraising effort with a goal of raising $200,000. According to Jodi, “It was truly amazing how people came forward to help because they saw Ben’s photo on a collection canister or on the television. One man, previously a stranger to our family, saw Ben’s photo, got involved and spearheaded efforts that raised $45,000.”

“Giving Hope … Making Miracles is more than a slogan for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association -- it is a guiding vision,” said Rick Lofgren, President of COTA. “The Sornsin’s story is, unfortunately, all too common… a child who needs a transplant combined with financial issues jeopardizing that child’s life and the family’s future. The miracle is the community that works together to give a family hope.”

Lofgren continued, “COTA was founded in 1986 when a baby boy from Bloomington, Indiana, needed a liver transplant. The community rallied and raised more than $100,000. Even though the child died before a liver became available, their efforts were not in vain. Their efforts started COTA and COTA has since helped give hundreds of children like Ben a second chance at life.”

When COTA celebrates its 25th anniversary in April, Ben will be 20-years-old. He is more than six feet tall. He is a college sophomore honor student working towards a degree in criminal justice. He is a swimmer who swam competitively in high school and at the National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games. And Ben is healthy.

Ben Sornsin is a miracle -- thanks to the selfless gift of a liver donation. And thanks to the hundreds of Arizona volunteers who worked with COTA to make sure a sick little boy had the chance to become a healthy and happy adult.

“When your child is dying and you need a miracle … COTA is there for you. All those years ago our hope was that we would one day have a normal life. Ben has had a few health-related ups and downs over these nearly two decades post-transplant, but for the most part we are a normal, and very thankful, family.”

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association is a national charity that provides fundraising assistance to transplant families. Since 1986, COTA’s priority is to assure that no child or young adult is denied a transplant or excluded from a transplant waiting list due to lack of funds. 100% of all funds raised in honor of transplant patients are used for transplant-related expenses.

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association’s 25th Anniversary Highlights

· The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) was founded in 1986 following a successful fundraising effort in Bloomington, Indiana. That initial fundraising placed a local toddler on the national liver transplant waiting list.

· Not long after Indiana volunteers raised funds for his liver transplant, they realized other families needed similar help. That core group of committed volunteers founded the Children’s Organ Transplant Association 25 years ago.

· Over the past 25 years, more than 1,600 families have come to COTA with overwhelming financial needs. Every transplant family has received no-cost assistance.

· The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) began working with young adults with single cell genetic disorders requiring a transplant in 1992. Since then, more than 300 young adults have received COTA assistance.

· No charge for services -- a hallmark in 1986 that is still a firm commitment made by the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to every COTA family.

· Open access to services was important to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association in 1986, and it is still important today. Other than legal residence, age and status as a transplant patient, COTA has no other qualifying criteria.

· The Children’s Organ Transplant Association continues to work with families who came to the organization since 1986. After a transplant patient begins work with COTA, they never get ‘too old’ for COTA services.

· The Children’s Organ Transplant Association has been a partner with transplant centers across the country for a quarter century. Together, COTA and transplant professionals are giving hope to transplant families.

· Over the past 25 years, the Children’s Organ Transplant Association has raised more than $60 million. More than 150,000 people have donated time and resources to COTA to help transplant families. COTA’s commitment to transplant families has not wavered.

If you would like to learn more about COTA, please visit

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fayette County: Grant Application Available for Noel November 2011

Funds Plans are underway for the 17th annual Noel November, A Celebration of Trees and a Tradition of Giving Back to our Community to be held on Saturday, November 12th. If your Fayette County non-profit 501(c)3 organization would like to be considered as one of the recipients for Noel November 2011, NOW is the time to apply.

The Fayette County Board of REALTORS just finalized its new grant application and welcomes any qualifying Fayette County organization to submit their request in writing. The process of choosing a charity each year is a tough task, especially when there are so many deserving organizations. The grant application provides a fair and equitable opportunity to compare the structure for dissemination of funds for each organization. The 4-page grant application is available online at or at

Applications must be completed in full and received by Friday, April 22nd in order to qualify for consideration.

In the past, net proceeds from the holiday auction have benefited numerous Fayette county charities and organizations, to include: The Fayette Youth Protection Home, Promise Place, the Joseph Sams School, Fayette Senior Services, Embracing Military Families, and Breast Cancer Survivors Network.

For more information, please contact Vickie Butler, Co-Chair at 404.402.4322, Stephan Curcio, Co-Chair at 678.480.9290, or the Fayette County Board of REALTORS at 770.461.2401.

The Fayette County Board of REALTORS®, is a voluntary professional association of approximately 500 licensed real estate brokers and salespersons engaged in all aspects of the real estate business throughout the county and surrounding areas. FCBR is the local advocate for the real estate industry in Fayette County, committed to protecting private property rights and free enterprise, maintaining ethical and professional standards, and enhancing the public’s awareness and confidence in REALTORS.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Aflac Commits $1.06 Million for Cancer Researcher Scholarships

/PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the company that helps employers enhance benefits offerings to employees, today announced it will donate a total of $1,060,000 to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to help defray the costs facing cancer researchers. The three-year scholarship awards focus on career development, scholar-in-training; a special program for high school students, and a task force on pediatric oncology. The company is announcing the scholarships this evening at the AACR-Aflac Incorporated Scholar Awards Reception in Orlando, Florida. A total of 43 researchers will receive scholarship funds from an initial installment of $265,000.

"Finding a cure for cancer has been our primary philanthropic cause for more than 15 years," Aflac Foundation President Kathelen Amos said. "Finding a cure begins with making sure our up-and-coming researchers have the tools they need to make a difference. We are honored to support the AACR any way we can."

Since 1997, Aflac and the American Association for Cancer Research have been partners in the fight against cancer. The collaborative efforts focus primarily on better understanding of cancer science, especially as it relates to childhood cancers. Aflac has provided scholarships for more than 600 young researchers since the inception of its partnership with AACR, including Dr. Charles Mullighan from St. Jude's Children's Hospital (see bio below).

"The Aflac award has provided crucial support in the initial stages of my career as an independent investigator," Dr. Mullighan said. "The award allowed me to pursue high risk studies examining the genetics of Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and the development of novel mouse models of ALL. These are clinically relevant studies as they have defined new genetic changes in this disease and helped elucidate their contribution to leukemogenesis."

In addition to the AACR Scholarships, since 1995, Aflac has raised and donated more than $62 million for the treatment and research of childhood cancer.

Facts about pediatric cancers

* Cancer is the leading cause of death in children under age 15. American Cancer Society (ACS 2010)
* Leukemia causes one-third of childhood cancer deaths. (ACS 2010)
* Mortality rates for childhood cancer have declined by 55 percent since 1975. (ACS 2008)
* There are estimated to be at least 270,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the United States.

2011 Scholarship Recipients

* Antonio L. Amelio, PhD - Scripps Institute, Florida
* Guillermo Armaiz Pena, PhD – University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
* Kofi Asomaning, MD – Harvard School of Public Health
* Gregor M. Balaburski, PhD – Fox Chase Cancer Center
* Daniel W. Bowles, MD - University of Colorado School of Medicine
* J. Chad Brenner, Graduate – University of Michigan
* Sara A. Byron, PhD - Translational Genomics Research Institute
* Qi Cao, PHD – University of Michigan
* Tooba A. Cheema, PhD – Massachusetts General Hospital
* Ru Chen, PHD - UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
* Brooke C. Christensen, PhD – Brown University
* Leonie H.A.M de Wilt, MSc – Virginia University Medical Center
* Jan B. Egan, PhD – Mayo Clinic, Arizona
* Inna V. Fedorenko, Graduate - H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Ctr. & Res. Inst.
* Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski, PhD - Salk Inst. Cancer Ctr.
* Nicolas N. Garnier, MSc - Lady Davis Institute, JGH
* Hossien A. Hamed, BS - Virginia Commonwealth University
* Linda Holmfeldt, PhD - St Jude Children's Research Hospital
* Shu-hao Hsu, Graduate – Ohio State University
* Jae Hong Im, PhD – University of Oxford
* Yuqi Jing, PhD - University Of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
* Neil Johnson, PhD – Dana Farber Cancer Institute
* Amjad P. Khan, PhD - University of Michigan Medical School
* Hyung-Gu Kim, PhD - Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
* James L. LaBelle, MD, PhD – Dana Farber Cancer Institute
* Andrea Lai, Graduate – McGill University
* Jill E. Larsen, PhD - UT Southwestern Medical Center
* Melissa K. McConechy. BS - BC Cancer Agency, University of British Columbia
* Andrew S. Moore, MBBS – The Institute of Cancer Research
* Britney L. Moss, Graduate – Washington University School of Medicine
* Min Ni, PhD – Dana Farber Cancer Institute
* Wen-Bin Ou, PhD – Brigham and Women's Hospital
* John R. Prensner, Graduate – University of Michigan
* Jeanine M.L. Roodhart, MD – University Medical Center Utrecht
* Mike R. Russell, PhD – Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
* Takaomi Sanda, MD, PhD – Dana Farber Cancer Institute
* Prasanna K. Santhekadur, PhD – Virginia Commonwealth University
* Punit Saraon, PhD – University of Toronto/Mount Sinai Hospital
* Timothy K. Starr, PhD - Univ. of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Ctr.
* Li Tao, MD - Univ. of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Ctr.
* Jose T. Thaiparambil, PhD - Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
* Chery Whipple, PhD - Dartmouth Norris Cotton Cancer Ctr.
* Kenichi Yoshida, MD - Cancer Genomics Project, The University of Tokyo

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Delta Pledges $1 Million in Cash, In-Kind Support for Japan Disaster Relief

/PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is pledging $1 million in cash and in-kind support to disaster relief efforts in Japan following last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. The airline's efforts are centered on two relief programs:

American Red Cross and Japanese Red Cross Society – The Delta Air Lines Foundation, Delta's company-managed giving system, is providing an immediate $250,000 cash donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society to support rescue and recovery efforts. This donation will be supplemented by cash contributions from Delta customers and employees who are encouraged to donate via a dedicated Delta-Red Cross website. Donations made at this site will be routed directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society's efforts to assist persons in affected areas. These donations are in addition to Delta's long-standing agreement with the American Red Cross to provide complimentary cargo and passenger capacity, if needed, to help move relief supplies and workers to and from disaster areas around the world.

SkyWish Asia – Delta has committed to match up to 5 million miles against customers' donations to World Vision Japan through its SkyWish Asia program. Delta customers are encouraged to visit the SkyWish Asia website where they can donate miles to World Vision Japan to help transport relief workers and supplies to Japan. World Vision has worked in Japan for more than two decades. In the wake of a disaster, World Vision is often one of the first organizations to begin relief work by distributing pre-positioned supplies.

In addition to the immediate $250,000 cash donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society and the up to 5 million mile donation to World Vision Japan, Delta will supplement any employee and customer contributions with additional cash, if needed, to fulfill its $1 million pledge.

Delta's Japan-based employees also are receiving any needed assistance through a nonprofit organization led and funded by Delta people known as the Delta Employee & Retiree Care Fund. Delta employees donate directly to this fund via payroll deduction or via their internal employee website. Donations will be used to assist any Delta employee in Japan seeking assistance in the wake of last week's events.

"Japan is a core part of our global network and we are committed to finding ways to help those in need following last week's devastating earthquake," said Vinay Dube, senior vice president – Asia-Pacific. "Delta's 1,200 employees in Japan, backed by the support of 80,000 worldwide, are rallying together to do what we can to make a difference and we encourage our customers to join us by donating money or miles to our dedicated charities."

Due to stringent international security and customs requirements, Delta can only accept relief cargo shipments through pre-approved relief organizations including the American Red Cross. At this time, the Red Cross has requested monetary donations. Customers wishing to contribute in other ways should clear these requests through the Red Cross.

Delta is the largest U.S.-based airline in Japan with more than 40 peak-day departures from four airports – Tokyo-Narita, Tokyo-Haneda, Nagoya and Osaka. The company employs more than 1,200 people in Japan and operates an international flight hub at Tokyo's Narita International Airport.

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 356 destinations in 65 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline's service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, the world's largest airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Delta is investing more than $2 billion through 2013 in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Making ripples at The Children's Village

Earlier today I went to a lunch and took a tour at The Children's Village at Christian City. It wasn't the first time I've taken a tour and it won't be the last! I always drive away from a visit with my little brain furiously working trying to figure out how I can help.

As always I am awed by the dedication and caring of those who work at Christian City. It is inspiring to hear them talk about their mission to help kids. Every time I go out there I learn a little more and put those who donate, work, and volunteer on just a bit higher pedestal.

As the saying goes, these folks don't just talk the talk, they walk it. Their impact on the world is so much more than the proverbial pebble tossed in the lake. They throw boulders bigger than most of us could handle! They make some huge ripples.

Today I found out more about those who have donated to help at Christian City. Kool Aide donated a huge chunk to build a really nice playground for the children. Over 200 volunteers then got together and helped to prep and put the playground together.

Heritage Christian Church spent hours picking up rocks and sticks to clear the main area where the playground resides and someday a nice pavillion will rest.

Bob Adams Homes donated a lot to help build the first four cottages and admin offices. That's Phase 1. There are two more phases awaiting volunteers, donations and time.

Who else? There were so many mentioned today who have given so much. Some give $30 a month to support a child, others collect underwear and socks, some donate their time, some simply pray.

I wish I had a huge check book. I wish I had more time to raise money. I wish I could do more than just toss teeny-tiny little pebbles into the pond. However, I know that we all do what we can do and that if enough of us toss our little pebbles together we can make some huge ripples of our own!

They mentioned during the tour that if they could get 1500 people to donate $30 a month then the needs of the children would be covered. They're not quite half way to that goal. I figure that I can scrape up a dollar a day to help a local child in need. Shoot, I spend more than that on bottled water and drinks each day.

I'm going to think more on ways to help. Maybe I'll get a jar and start tossing change in it for the kids. I may not get to $30 each month, but it'll be something! Wouldn't it be cool to start a change for Christian City fund raiser? Hmmm... little ideas bubble and sometimes turn into something worth pursuing.

They need toilet paper, cleaning supplies, zip-lock bags, 13-gallon trash bags, body wash, toothpaste, peanut butter, boxed macaroni and cheese, individually wrapped snacks and drinks, kid type cereals... toothpaste, toothbrushes... pretty much anything that you need as you go about your daily life! I suppose that I could swing getting an extra on some of those things when I go grocery shopping. Ha, I bet if I cleaned out my closets I could find a ton of unopened things I thought I'd try and never used... somehow I don't think they'd appreciate some of the things I might find in my closets! I'll keep thinking.

Want to know more about The Children's Village? Christian City? Call them (770-703-2636) and ask for a tour... they do more than help kids, they have many services to help all ages. They've been around since 1965 helping children, then expanding to help the elderly. I hope you'll take a minute to connect and maybe make a few ripples of your own! - jmd

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Orchestra to Make Community Donation to Give Kids the World

The Whitewater High School Orchestra in Fayette County is paying it forward to an organization that helped one of its own while dealing with a life-threatening illness.

The Orchestra is scheduled to perform at the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, FL on April 2. Give Kids the World is a nonprofit organization that provides memorable, magical, cost-free experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families by arranging visits to the Central Florida attractions. Children and their families stay at the Give Kids the World Village during their visit.

Back in 2004, one of the orchestra’s families was granted a wish by the organization. They and their child, who was diagnosed with leukemia, stayed at the village and visited Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios, all at no cost to the family. Fortunately, this child’s story has a happy ending.

“The young man’s leukemia is in remission. Now it is our turn to repay the gift,” says orchestra teacher Darilyn Esterline.

The orchestra would like to give the nonprofit a sizable donation from the community immediately following their performance. Anyone interested in helping is asked to write a check, payable to Give Kids the World, and bring or mail it to Whitewater High School, 100 Wildcat Way, Fayetteville, GA 30215.

The orchestra leaves for Florida on March 31, so donations need to be at the school prior to their departure. More information about Give Kids the World is available on the organization’s website, www. Interested persons can also contact orchestra teacher Darilyn Esterline at 770-460-3935, ext. 219 or by email at

Another way to help is to provide items and supplies needed for the day-to-day operations of the Give Kids the World Village. A copy of a wish list is posted on the GKTW website, click on the “how to help” tab at the top. The school will collect these items as well to present along with monetary donations.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Diet Coke® and Heart Health Supporters “Flag” Heart Disease for Women & Their Families in Atlanta

(BUSINESS WIRE)--On February 22, Diet Coke kicked it old school and hosted a “Capture The Flag” tournament to raise awareness and funds for the West End Medical Centers and DeKalb Medical Cardiac Rehab. Female student athletes from Clark Atlanta University (CAU) played a "Capture the Flag" tournament at the CAU Vivian Henderson Gymnasium, with each team representing one of the organizations. At the end of the tournament, the West End Medical Centers received a $10,000 check, with the DeKalb Medical Cardiac Rehab receiving a $5,000 donation.

“In addition, the tournament was a fun way for the student players and the fans to get our hearts pumping while we helped raise funds for local heart health programs.”

The Heart Truth®, a national awareness campaign sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is embraced by millions of people who share the goal of better heart health for all women. For the fourth year in a row, Diet Coke is supporting the campaign and using its cans and bottles, advertising and digital assets to reach people to raise awareness and funding for heart health programs across the country.

“We all know a woman who may be at risk for cardiovascular disease—mother, wife, sister, friend—that’s why we joined Diet Coke in its continuing commitment to The Heart Truth® campaign. We know how important it is to educate people about the importance of heart health,” said Dr. Michael Brooks, President West End Medical Centers, a 501c3, federally qualified community health center. “In addition, the tournament was a fun way for the student players and the fans to get our hearts pumping while we helped raise funds for local heart health programs.”

“At the Coca-Cola Company, our operating philosophy is to Live Positively, and The Heart Truth® campaign very much embodies that idea. We are dedicated to encouraging new generations of people to be active, stay extraordinary and become advocates for heart health,” said Coca-Cola spokesperson Linda Brigham.

Those who couldn’t make it to the game can play “Capture the Flag” online throughout the month of February, American Heart Month. Simply visit and capture a flag. Each flag captured triggers a donation. This initiative is part of the continuing commitment of Diet Coke to women’s heart health. For the second year in a row, Diet Coke cans and bottles will have a new look throughout the month of February. The limited-edition packaging will include a stick figure carrying a heart flag, communicating how Diet Coke is supporting The Heart Truth®. In addition to the limited-edition cans and bottles, more than six billion packages of Diet Coke will carry The Heart Truth ® logo to raise awareness of women’s heart health year-round.

The Heart Truth® campaign has made great strides in raising awareness, but heart disease is still the number one killer among women. More people are becoming aware, but it remains a fact that more women die of heart disease than all cancers combined. There is still more work to do, so together, Diet Coke and The Heart Truth® campaign hope to continue generating awareness and motivating women to take action for heart health.

To participate, visit to capture a flag and generate a donation for heart health programs funded by NHLBI’s Heart Truth®. The more involved people are in the campaign, the more funds will be raised.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grandparent/Relative Caregiver Legal Workshop (Fayette)

Grandparents and Kin Raising Children, Inc., (GKRC) will hold a free, informational legal workshop, presented by Lindsay Verity of Atlanta Legal Aid’s Grandparent/Relative Caregiver Project in collaboration with DHS’ Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program, FACTOR and The Summit Family Resource Center. The workshop will be held on March 8th, from 9:30 am- 12 pm, at The Summit Church, 1373 Highway 92 South, Fayetteville. The workshop will cover legal matters relating to guardianship, custody, adoption of grandchildren and other children in kinship care. In addition to relative caregivers, this workshop will be valuable to educators, juvenile justice professionals, medical and mental health professionals, clergy, social service providers and others interested in the wellbeing of children and families.

Continental breakfast will be provided beginning at 9:30 am. Seating is limited, please call ahead:

Betty Davis, GKRC Director of Caregiver Services, 770-487-9802; Carole Foran, GKRC Community Partnership Coordinator, 770-487-7655.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Georgia's Youth Receives a $323,392 Grant From Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia to Exercise Their Minds, Bodies and Souls

/PRNewswire/ -- As a part of its ongoing work to address childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in Georgia, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) today announced a three-year, $323,392 grant from its corporate foundation to Boys &Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) which will support the organization's proven health and wellness program, Triple Play, at local Clubs throughout the state.

Created by BGCA in 2005 with founding sponsor Coca-Cola, Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul encourages Club members to eat healthier (mind), become more physically active (body) and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships (soul). To date, more than one million young people have participated in the program.

"We are truly committed to improving the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities and Boys & Girls Clubs of America shares that commitment," said Morgan Kendrick, president, BCBSGa. "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is proud to support the Triple Play program because we know that if we give our kids a healthy start, they can hopefully avoid life-long health issues and spend their time achieving their dreams."

The Georgia-focused funds are part of a $5 million grant from the parent company's Foundation, which will support Triple Play programming in all 50 states and several Triple Play-related initiatives in 2011. These include an attempt to break a physical activity-related Guinness World Record and helping Club families get healthy through the second annual Triple Play Fit Family Challenge.

Boys & Girls Club of America estimates that the grant will benefit more than 1,620 youth throughout Georgia.

"Too many children are not eating smart and getting the proper amount of exercise," said Wayne Moss, senior director, Sports, Fitness & Recreation, BGCA. "Our Triple Play program directly addresses this issue by teaching kids fun ways to stay active, setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits."

Triple Play is proven to improve lifestyles and behaviors. A two year study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves. The study found that Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent.

The grant is an important part of BCBSGa's commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health throughout the state. Through its State Health Index – a compilation of public health measures – the health plan continually works to identify the issues most in need of attention and directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas.

"The State Health Index truly guides and shapes our work throughout Georgia," said Robert McCormack, medical director for BCBSGa. "By tracking our progress year-over-year we are working to make sure that the programs we support and the fine work of our non-profit partners really is improving health."

"The short- and long-term dangers associated with childhood obesity bring special importance to our work with Boys & Girls Club of America. We are excited to partner with our local Clubs to help them to head off one of the country's most pressing health challenges," McCormack continued.

More information about the Triple Play program is available at

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Keeping Atlanta warm: Geek Squad collects coats for Atlanta Mission

For a new year’s resolution of charitable giving, the Geek Squad Agents of Atlanta conducted a cold weather clothing drive with Best Buy store employees in support of the Atlanta Union Mission.

The Geek Squad estimated it would be able to collect approximately 200 cold weather items, but exceeded that goal by collecting over 400 items These items included coats, hats, blankets, scarves, and gloves of all sizes, shapes and colors.

“In the past we have worked with many community organizations like Relay for Life, Going Green Environment Seminar, Girl Scouts of America and Boys and Girls Clubs of America, to name a few.” said Brian Adamson, “We are very excited to be able to give back to our community, and we look forward to additional opportunities in the future.”

The Atlanta Mission, established in 1938, provides emergency shelter, residential discipleship, job attainment, and transitional housing to more than 950 homeless men, women and children daily.

With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, China, Mexico and Turkey, Best Buy is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services with a commitment to growth and innovation. Community partnership is central to the way we do business at Best Buy. In fiscal 2010, we donated a combined $25.2 million to improve the vitality of the communities where our employees and customers live and work. For more information about Best Buy, visit

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Georgia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Raises $1.9 Million at the 2010 Walk to Cure Diabetes

/PRNewswire/ -- More than 10,000 people participated in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Georgia Chapter's Walk to Cure Diabetes, raising more than $1.9 million. The proceeds from this extraordinary event go towards research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

For the second year in a row Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) led the fundraising efforts as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2010 Walk to Cure Diabetes, raising a total of $73,000 - $55,000 from the BCBSGa Foundation and more than $18,000 raised by BCBSGa associates. "Diabetes remains an epidemic in our country, and unfortunately there is a strong likelihood that we all know someone impacted by this disease," said Morgan Kendrick, President, BCBSGa. "This is certainly true for me, and for many of our 3,000 employees and 2.5 million members in Georgia, which is why we continue to support JDRF."

This event brought together hundreds of corporate, family and school teams, made up of thousands of people, who walked in support of finding a cure for diabetes. After the 5K everyone enjoyed a fun afternoon of games and live entertainment from local performers including Gym South, Sole Momentum and Lost City. Charlie Kimball, the only licensed driver with diabetes in the Indy Racing League, also showed his support by shaking hands and signing autographs for fans of all ages.

"We thank all of our corporate sponsors and volunteers for their hard work and support of the Walk to Cure Diabetes," said JDRF Georgia Chapter Executive Director, Clanci Jordan. "Due to the millions of dollars raised at the annual walks JDRF is able to fund the most promising science that will accelerate progress toward new treatments, and eventually a cure."

The Walk to Cure Diabetes is the fastest growing fund raising event in the history of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Today walks are held in more than 200 cities worldwide. Nearly 500,000 people nationally walked last year and raised $90 million to cure diabetes.

For information on how to get involved in the 2011 Walk to Cure Diabetes visit or call 404-420-5990.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Soma Intimates Announces Biannual Bra Drive

Editor's Note:  Love it, love it, love it!  Don't forget to include the bras from your rapidly growing young teens!  They would be great for the shelters, too!

/PRNewswire/ -- Soma Intimates, the ultimate destination for intimate and lifestyle apparel, announces its second bra drive to help women in need. From January 24th – February 14th, 2011, the retailer will collect new and gently used bras at 128 Soma Intimates boutiques nationwide.

The gently used bras will be donated to local women's shelters and breast cancer support groups in each region. Non-wearable donations will be sent to The Bra Recyclers, a textile recycling organization that ensures no bra ends up in a landfill. Customers at Soma Intimates boutiques can also buy new bras on the spot to donate to Dress for Success, an international non-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Soma Intimates' initial drive, first launched in July 2010, collected over 28,000 bras, more than doubling the company's goal. Based on this success, Soma Intimates decided to continue the charitable initiative twice a year as a way to help women across the country.

"We're excited to continue our bra drive in 2011," states Laurie Van Brunt, Soma Intimates' Brand President. "A bra is one of the least donated but most needed items. Donating sounds like a small thing, but it makes a big difference to women who have to make the choice between buying a bra and putting food on the table. The bra drive offers an opportunity for women to clean out their drawers at the start of the new year and give back to their local communities at the same time."

"Dress for Success Worldwide is grateful to be the recipient of new bras from Soma Intimates. New undergarments are a need for our organization, and we thank Soma Intimates and its customers for their generosity," states Blair Badenhop, corporate contributions manager, Dress for Success Worldwide.

For more information about Soma Intimates' biannual bra drive, please visit

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Friday, January 21, 2011

WellPoint Foundation Awards $5 Million Grant to Develop National Partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to Combat Childhood Obesity

/PRNewswire/ -- The WellPoint Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) have something strong in common when it comes to the wellness of children – the belief that living a healthy lifestyle today provides a pathway to a great future. It's this belief that spurs today's announcement that the WellPoint Foundation has signed on as a national partner of BGCA. The Foundation joins the organization as co-sponsor of BGCA's Triple Play program, along with founding sponsor Coca-Cola.

Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul is BGCA's proven health and wellness program. It was created in 2005 to encourage Club members to eat healthier (mind), become more physically active (body) and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships (soul). To date, more than one million young people have participated in the program.

The WellPoint Foundation, the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc., has committed $5 million over three years to support Triple Play. The foundation's funding represents its largest grant in its 10-year history and will bring the program to more communities and support several of BGCA's Triple Play-related initiatives in 2011. These include an attempt to break a physical activity-related Guinness World Record and helping Club families get healthy through the second annual Triple Play Fit Family Challenge.

"As champions of youth health promotion, we recognize that reducing childhood obesity rates lowers the risk for many preventable diseases," said Lance Chrisman, executive director of the WellPoint Foundation. "By aggressively targeting youth and families through Triple Play, we strive to instill life-long healthy habits at an early age – before bad habits set in."

Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO of BGCA, added, "America is faced with challenges when it comes to the health and well being of our young people. Thanks to the support of the WellPoint Foundation and the continued support of Coca-Cola, Boys &; Girls Clubs are continuing to make a positive impact on improving the health of the more than four million young people we serve."

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Earth's Best® Invites Parents to Write the Book on Nurturing Baby the Purest Way

/PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing parents' passion for purity when it comes to raising their babies, the Earth's Best® brand asks parents, grandparents and caregivers to help write the book on Nurturing Baby The Purest Way™. Each tip and memorable milestone submitted to the online Earth's Best Generation Pure™ Baby Book, located at, results in a $1 donation (1), to Vitamin Angels, a charitable organization providing nutrients to infants and children in need around the world.

"Some of the best advice for Nurturing Baby The Purest Way comes from Earth's Best parents and with the online Earth's Best Generation Pure Baby Book we're providing a forum for sharing this valuable guidance," said Kim Bremer, Senior Marketing Director for the Earth's Best brand of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. "As parents help us write the book on raising a generation of Earth's Best children, they'll also help nurture future generations by way of the contribution by the Earth's Best brand to Vitamin Angels."

Parents are asked to submit tips and/or milestones coinciding with the following chapters: Nurturing While Nursing, Better for Baby, Tending to Toddler, Wholesome Household and Purely Memorable Moments. Contributors will have the ability to share their submissions to the online Earth's Best Generation Pure Baby Book via Facebook, and receive $5 in Earth's Best coupons by mail while being entered for a chance to win an Earth's Best product package valued at up to $500.

Earth's Best charitable partner, Vitamin Angels, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that aids newborns, infants and children under the age of five in need of essential micronutrients, especially Vitamin A, which promotes good health and supports healthy young immune systems. In 2010, the Vitamin Angels organization distributed Vitamin A to more than 24 million children in 35 countries across three continents.

"The health, wellness and future of children are of utmost importance to Vitamin Angels and Earth's Best, so we are excited to be part of the Earth's Best Generation Pure Baby Book program," said Howard Schiffer, President and Founder of Vitamin Angels. "The contribution made possible by Earth's Best parents will help children around the world attain good health and the opportunity to lead meaningful and productive lives."

From organic infant formula, jarred foods, infant cereals and toddler snacks to chlorine free diapers and wipes, Earth's Best®, a brand of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: HAIN), provides wholesome, natural products made with the freshest, purest ingredients. Earth's Best parents have their own recipe for success for Nurturing Baby The Purest Way and the online Earth's Best Generation Pure Baby Book enables them to share their "tricks of the trade" with other moms and dads both seasoned and new.

For more information on the online Earth's Best Generation Pure Baby Book and the Earth's Best brand's wide array of food and personal care products, visit Or visit us on Facebook.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kicks for Causes to Benefit "Caring for Causes" and "Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation"

A charity kickball tournament called Kicks for Causes will take place on February 26, 2011 at Atlanta's Silverback Stadium. It will benefit Caring for Causes, a nonprofit organization supporting local charities, as well as Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The tournament is double elimination and will be held at Atlanta Silverbacks Stadium. The tournament will be day long beginning at 9am-7pm, with spots for 64 teams this year. The brackets will be divided into two divisions: Competitive and For The Cause. Registration fee is $235 per team with an early bird special before January 1, 2011 and $255 after. Registration ends February 15th.

Prizes will be awarded for champions and the winners will direct proceeds to the charity of their choice. There also are plaques given away for top teams plus fun socials awards. Social awards include best 80’s costumes, most money raised per team, most spirited, traveled furthest distance, and much more.

Kicks For Causes is centered around having a good time, meeting new people, playing recreational games of kickball, and bringing community awareness to local charities. If you haven't played kickball since the 4th grade or if you are a seasoned veteran, this tournament is for you. Beginners, experts and everyone in-between are more than welcome to join - our only requirement is that you are at least 21 years of age and want to have a fun time for charity!

Kicks for Causes has raised over $30,000 to benefit Susan G. Komen over the past few years and we hope to raise more this year! Contact Lane Parker, at, for registration information.

Pick a Team, Pick a Charity, and Register Today!
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Opportunity to Double the Impact of Gifts for Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Ends January 15, 2011

/PRNewswire/ -- Consumers can have their gifts for Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America matched by donating to Bank of America's "Gift for Opportunity" fund through January 15, 2011. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation will match donations to the fund up to $1 million. Contributions can be made at any of Bank of America's 5,900 banking centers across the country or by visiting

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation contributed $1 million to initiate the "Gift for Opportunity" fund to support Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. With this donation, more than $1.2 million has been raised to date, with potential to raise another $1.8 million more through generous consumer donations and the bank's corporate match.

As evidenced by the USDA's Economic Research Service, the issue of hunger continues to affect a growing number of Americans. In fact, more than 50 million Americans, including 17 million children and 3 million seniors, are food insecure. The need for food is particularly great in the wintertime, when food insecure Americans often have to choose between paying for heat and meals for their families.

"As the economy recovers, there are thousands of families that still face making difficult choices as to whether to pay their electric bill or put food on the table," said Kerry Sullivan, President of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. "With the creation of the 'Gift for Opportunity' fund, we're looking to make peoples' donations go further, easing this burden so that families can get the nourishment they need."

According to Feeding America's Hunger in America 2010 study, 46% of client households served by Feeding America report having to choose between paying for utilities or heating fuel and food. Additionally, child hunger remains alarmingly high. One in four children was at risk of hunger in 2009. Feeding America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America are two primary organizations addressing food insecurity in children. Feeding America is the nation's leading hunger-relief organization and Boys & Girls Clubs of America's network of some 4,000 clubs provides a safe place for children to obtain healthy meals.

"There are nearly 10 million children under the age of six living in food insecure households," said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America. "The Feeding America network is able to address this issue through our great partnership with Bank of America and the 'Gift for Opportunity' fund. Hunger is a pressing issue year-round, and we could not help food insecure Americans without charitable support. It's through the support of Bank of America and its customers that we're able to make notable progress in the fight against hunger."

"We are grateful to Bank of America for helping Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide the young people we serve with the opportunity for a great future which is a challenge when so many American families are food insecure," said Roxanne Spillett, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "We simply cannot expect America's young people to reach their full potential if they are denied a healthy and nutritious food supply."

The Bank of America "Gift for Opportunity" fund is administered through the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund, a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information about the Bank of America "Gift for Opportunity" fund, visit

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Harlem Ambassadors Show to Benefit Advo-Kids CASA

HA Dance

Harlem Ambassadors tickets available!

Tickets are now available for the Harlem Ambassadors Basketball Show, to be held March 4, 2011 at Newnan High School at 7:00 p.m. Tickets purchased before Feb. 1, 2011 will be entered into a drawing to win a Publix Gift card.

Tickets, purchased in advance are $9 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Tickets at the door at $11 for adults and $9 for students and seniors or $7 with two new, un-opened school supply items for the foster kids serviced by Advo-Kids CASA, Inc. Children under 4 are free.

Tickets may be purchased online or at 141 W. Solomon St. Griffin, GA 30223-3017

All proceeds will benefit Advo-Kids CASA, Inc.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dillard's to Donate more than $1.7 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities(R) (RMHC(R)) through Sale of Southern Living Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

Dillard's, Inc. (DDS: NYSE, "Dillard's") announced today that it will make a significant contribution of more than $1.7 million to local chapters of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC). This donation was made possible through the sale of Dillard's exclusive Southern Living Ultimate Christmas Cookbook.

In 2010, Dillard's offered an exclusive, custom-edition Southern Living Christmas cookbook. This 288-page hardbound book is a go-to guide to the season with over 340 delicious recipes and hundreds of inspiring photographs and ideas to make the holidays memorable.

With this year's record-high contribution, Dillard's has donated over $7.6 million to Ronald McDonald Houses since 1994. Denise Mahaffy, Vice President, said, "Partnering with Ronald McDonald House Charities gives all of us at Dillard's an enormous sense of pride. We are honored to support the Ronald McDonald Houses in our communities."

"The families that RMHC supports derive strength from each other, volunteers, staff, corporate donors like Dillard's, as well as from Dillard's customers. This generous donation will go to support programs like our Ronald McDonald House® program which provides families a 'home away from home' while their child is receiving treatment at a nearby hospital allowing families to focus on what is most important, their child," said Marty Coyne, president and CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities. "On behalf of the 12,100 children and families we serve every day through RMHC core programs, I thank Dillard's for this amazing contribution."
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'Do Good Get Rewards' Rewards Volunteers on MLK Day

/PRNewswire/ -- Do Good Get Rewards is supporting the 25th Anniversary of King Holiday by rewarding volunteers on January 17th, the National Day of Service. Volunteers earn points for the hours they work and redeem them for rewards such as vacations, hotel, restaurant certificates and more. It is the goal of the nation's first online volunteer rewards program, to increase and sustain volunteering all year round. At Do Good Get Rewards, Non-Profit organizations validate volunteer hours as quickly as accepting friends on Facebook. There is no cost for Non-Profits or volunteers to become members of the rewards program.

"We want to support the efforts of the incredibly hardworking organizations that make a difference in our communities in every way we can," states Founder of Do Good Get Rewards Tammy Allen. The volunteer rewards program and social networking site provides a simple system for non-profit organizations to post volunteer opportunities, track volunteers and their hours.

Non-profits rely heavily on volunteers, but more than one-third of those who volunteer one year do not donate their time the next year. That adds up to an estimated $38 billion in lost labor according to the 2009 Stanford Social Innovation review. Do Good Get Rewards, an online volunteer rewards program, wants to be part of the solution. The program was designed to give non-profit organizations a simple, free way to demonstrate appreciation to their volunteers and provide incentives to grow their volunteer base.

Volunteers for MLK Day can submit their hours for rewards points at To locate volunteer opportunities in your area you visit, We invite all Non-Profit organizations to sign up to reward their volunteers year round. The goal of Do Good Get Rewards program is to express appreciation to those millions of Americans who make a difference everyday and encourage even greater numbers to donate their time and talents.

For more information, please visit, or call 678.344.603.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

1,800 Power Line and Tree Crews From Over 10 States En-route to Assist 2,500 Georgia Power Restoration Workers

/PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 1,800 lineman and tree-removal personnel located as close as Florida and as far as Wisconsin are on their way to assist approximately 2,500 Georgia Power crew members with power restoration efforts.

Georgia Power storm planners have been working since Friday to bring in assistance from other states due to the severity of the forecast. Many of those coming to Georgia have received similar assistance from Georgia Power crews in recent years.

The company expects significant outages and challenges with power restoration due to ice on roads, tree limbs and power lines. Sleet and ice weigh down limbs – particularly on pine trees – sending them into power lines and causing widespread power outages. Removing and clearing trees and limbs from power lines and roads can be a time-consuming task, making the restoration process even more challenging.

If the weather interrupts electrical service, customers are urged to report outages by visiting our website, or by calling the Customer Care Center at 1-888-891-0938. This line is answered by an automated system designed to handle power outage calls quicker than speaking to a person; however, customers may also talk directly with a customer service representative.

To learn more about how ice and snow can interrupt power, visit our website to watch an interactive video. Major outage information will be available on Twitter @georgiapower.

Here are some safety tips for customers to follow when severe weather hits:

* Anyone with a life-threatening medical emergency should dial 9-1-1.

* Always avoid downed power lines. Any downed line should be considered energized and therefore dangerous. Report downed lines immediately to local public safety authorities and stay out of the immediate area.

* Avoid debris on the ground that may conceal downed power lines and make sure there are no downed lines before allowing children out to play. Do not attempt to make repairs to Georgia Power's electrical system or pull limbs off lines.

* Watch out for falling trees, tree limbs and power lines.

* Steer clear of Georgia Power crew work areas. Equipment and energized lines may be in the area that could create a safety hazard.

* When driving, watch for crews working along the roadways, and obey all traffic signs and directions around work areas.

* When leaving your home and power is off, turn off the main breaker as a precaution to avoid a power surge once the power is restored.

* Be patient. When major outages occur, Georgia Power crews must first restore power to transmission lines and distribution circuits before working on distribution lines that feed directly to homes and businesses. However, be assured that Georgia Power crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to customers.

* Customers are reminded to be careful when using portable heaters or other supplemental heating. Never place heaters near flammable materials or where they might tip over. Use fire screens to prevent sparks and embers from causing problems.

* Customers should exercise extreme caution if using candles during a power outage. Always keep candles away from flammable objects and never leave them burning unattended. Make sure flashlights have fresh batteries.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Project Overcoat

Project Overcoat provides thousands of new and gently used coats and blankets to men, women and children in need. The coats and blankets are distributed to nonprofit organizations in the United Way 13-county service area. This annual event is sponsored by Atlanta Union Mission, FOX 5, KISS 104.1 FM, FedEx, Kroger and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

If your nonprofit organization would like to receive coats and blankets from this year's drive, please complete the Project Overcoat application by clicking on the link below. The deadline to apply to receive coats and blankets is Saturday, January 22, 2011. All applicants must have a 501(c)3 and be located in any of the following counties: Butts, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, Rockdale.

Click here to register

Invitation from Sam Olens, Attorney General-Elect to participate in a Day of Service

Saturday, January 8, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
(Lunch Provided)

MUST Ministries
55 Elizabeth Church Rd NE
Marietta, GA 30060

Volunteer Contact and to RSVP:
Morgan Ingram |

Give Back to Those in Need by Helping with the Following Activities:
-Painting an interior classroom at the Elizabeth Inn Shelter
-Restocking two clothing closets at the Elizabeth Inn
-Sorting and stocking at our Donation Center Location

Please Dress Accordingly.
*If you can bring new winter caps and hats, gloves, lip balm, lotion and socks for our homeless community.

In honor of the inauguration of Governor-Elect Nathan Deal and the Constitutional Officers of Georgia, service days are being held in communities statewide.

MUST Ministries is a faith-based, 501(c) 3 non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing services to persons and families  in crisis while maintaining their dignity. MUST addresses the basic  needs of individuals, families, and children in the cities of Marietta, Smyrna and Canton.

Christian City Calls on Community With Needs List For Children and Seniors

The Children’s Village at Christian City is in need of the following items and would appreciate any help the community can provide:

Monetary donations

· Cleaning supplies

· Body wash for girls and boys

· Hair Products for African-American Girls

· Zip-lock bags

· 13-gallon trash bags

· Printer Paper
Paper plates, napkins, cups
Toilet tissue and paper towels
Dental hygiene products

Please contact Heidi Becker at 770-703-2636 for drop off or pick up details or for more information on the Children’s Village and how you can become a child sponsor. Christian City has been caring for abandoned and abused children in a family centered residential setting since 1965. Over 1,000 children have called Christian City “home.” For more information, please visit our website at

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Special Olympics Georgia Receives $80,000 Grant From The UPS Foundation

/PRNewswire/ -- Special Olympics Georgia received a $80,000 grant from The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS (NYSE: UPS). The grant will be used for the five state competitions hosted for children and adult athletes with intellectual disabilities across the state as well as the meals venue at the State Summer Games next May at Emory University.

Special Olympics Georgia is thankful to The UPS Foundation for their tremendous support as this will help serve more Special Athletes year round and at the state level games. Georgia Milton-Sheats, the CEO of the organization, said, "The incredible support we received from The UPS Foundation is a tribute to their commitment to the community at large and to the 23,078 Special Athletes involved in our program statewide. We truly could not afford to do rewarding work at this level without their support."

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Georgia, The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: non-profit effectiveness, economic & global literacy, encouraging diversity, community safety and environmental sustainability.

In 2009, the UPS Foundation distributed nearly $43.6 million worldwide through grants that benefit organizations or programs such as Special Olympics Georgia and provide support for building stronger communities.

"The UPS Foundation is committed to funding impactful programs that make a meaningful difference in our communities – so we are proud to support Special Olympics Georgia's efforts to increase the number of athlete participants and expand the volunteer program," said Ken Sternad, President of The UPS Foundation.

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