The Junior League of Atlanta recently announced $1 million in gifts to nonprofits to commemorate 100 years of service to the Atlanta community. And the Community Foundation played an integral role. Barrett Coker Krise, a senior philanthropic advisor for the Foundation, was co-chair for the Centennial Grants to Community along with fellow League member Lizanne Stephenson. Alicia Philipp served on the Advisory Committee for the Centennial Grants to Community.
Barrett provided some history on how this extraordinary process unfolded. “The League started planning for the grants 10 years in advance of their Centennial, with an ambitious goal to raise $1 million,” she said. Three years ago, Barrett and Lizanne were asked to launch the effort to give it away.
Their first step was to define their purpose: The Centennial Grants to Community’s goal is to award a transformational, million-dollar gift leveraging the Junior League of Atlanta’s legacy of leadership, capacity building and collaboration within the Atlanta Community.
Historically, the Junior League is not a grantmaking organization. Therefore, they needed to create a structure around the Centennial Grants to Community to ensure that nonprofits could engage with the League efficiently via the application process and would gain something from their involvement even if they were not awarded a gift in the end.
The League used the Community Foundation’s competitive grantmaking process as a guide. They also worked with the Georgia Center for Nonprofits who created a Design Thinking workshop for interested nonprofits to help think innovatively and collaboratively about their proposals. “The intent was not to fund business as usual at the nonprofits,” Barrett said. “We wanted innovative solutions that would move the needle for the community. And we encouraged nonprofits to partner with other organizations in a collaborative model, if that made sense for the project being funded.”
The League received 114 Letters of Intent, 28 organizations were invited to submit final applications, nine organizations were invited to participate in site visits and in the end three grants, totaling $1 million, were awarded. Funding will align with two of the League’s Issue Based Community Impact Areas, Generational Poverty and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children/Human Trafficking. The Centennial Grants to Community will provide seed funding for the Institute for Healthcare and Human Trafficking, the Generational Poverty Law Center and will help implement the Child Nutrition Program.
The winning organizations are the Atlanta Community Food Bank, a partnership of Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Georgia Heirs Property Law Center and Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Learn more about the specific programs to be funded here.
Grants will be awarded over a three-year timeframe allowing the organizations time to develop, launch, build and evaluate the programs. “We wanted to give organizations their very best chance at success given that this is a one-time grant,” Barrett commented. “However, we also view these grants as partnerships for the League that will last well beyond the three years.” The Community Foundation has a long partnership with the Junior League of Atlanta and will continue to be part of the Centennial Grants to Community through ongoing evaluation and oversight.
Congratulations to Barrett and her fellow League members on making such a transformational impact to our community!