Governor Brian P. Kemp announced on Monday, May 16, 2022, that more than $415 million will be awarded from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, a part of the American Rescue Plan to help Georgians, businesses, non-profits, and government agencies recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Way of Central Georgia received two grants from the Negative Economic Impact Fund. UWCG's flagship reading intervention and tutoring program, Read United, was awarded $722,729 to improve third grade reading proficiency and reduce educational disparities in the region. Brookdale Resource Center was awarded $3,741,517 to increase its capacity to serve people experiencing homelessness.
“Our balanced and targeted approach has also allowed us to ensure we are accounting for additional high-need areas," said Governor Kemp.
The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened existing economic and educational disparities and has exacerbated homelessness, particularly among students of color, those living in poverty, and those living in rural areas. Issues such as lack of access to technology, lack of support networks, and financial insecurity have taken a toll on the children of Central Georgia.
During a press conference held on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at City Hall, Mayor Lester Miller and United Way of Central Georgia President and CEO George McCanless announced the total grant amount and described how the money will be used for the community.
“We are honored the Negative Economic Impact Committee and the Office of Planning and Budget selected both of our requests from over 2,000 applications we understand were submitted. We know that in certain parts of Central Georgia, more than 35% of children are homeless, while third grade reading proficiency is considered a critical gauge for high school graduation. Expanding Read United and Brookdale strengthens our ability to disrupt the cycle of family poverty in our community,” said George McCanless, President and CEO of United Way of Central Georgia.
“In order to sustain a project like this for many, many years- touching many lives of people in our community, we had to have the funding. So, we set up the Brookdale Resource Center Board between Macon-Bibb County and United Way. The rest is history. It took that type of collaboration to get the attention of state officials,” said Mayor Lester Miller.
Brookdale Resource Center serves as transitional housing and a resource center for homeless individuals and families in Central Georgia. Brookdale Resource Center's 90-day program is designed to provide residents with the tools necessary to become financially stable and obtain housing. Brookdale has provided services to over 1,100 residents since January 2021.
Read United provides students in kindergarten through third grade with individualized tutoring and grade-level reading programs that address literacy challenges. Currently, Read United volunteers cover 183 classrooms in 25 schools in five counties in Central Georgia.
To learn more about United Way of Central Georgia and our programs click here.