History
Staff and Board
Message from Sherry

 

 

A Brief History of
Georgia Shares

Fourteen pioneering non-profits founded Georgia Shares in 1992. The leaders of several nonprofit organizations recognized that they shared a commitment to social change and a need for new income sources to support their work. They began the hard work of building a coalition, applying for non-profit status, learning to negotiate the tricky territory of workplace giving in a climate dominated by the United Way, setting up an allocations structure and designing logos and materials.

Georgia Shares quickly came to understand that there were two primary tasks: to build effective working relationships with the other emerging workplace giving federations; then, using this newfound coalition, to gain access to the City of Atlanta's workplace giving program.

By the summer of 1993 Georgia Shares and its sister funds had laid the groundwork to approach the City. Sherry Sutton, a former DeKalb County Commissioner, was hired as Georgia Shares' first full-time employee in 1994. Opening the City of Atlanta's workplace giving campaign was achieved through a combination of extensive lobbying of the City Council, persistent negotiations, threat of legal action by volunteer lawyers recruited by the ACLU, and press coverage which was not favorable to the City. The long battle ended when the City Council passed an ordinance opening the City's campaign to alternative funds in October of 1994. This success was a boost for alternative funds all across the country, and for City of Atlanta employees: since 1994, City employee giving has substantially increased, as employees give their funds to local groups they know and respect.

In 1995, Georgia Shares secured access to the Combined Federal Campaign and the State of Georgia's workplace giving campaign. Georgia Shares set a new national record for pledges made in a first year campaign in 1995. In the years since its founding, Georgia Shares' membership has grown and changed. In 1995, with the promise of the City of Atlanta campaign, Georgia Shares pursued new members and added nine new organizations. By 1997, recognizing a need to serve the whole state of Georgia, recruitment efforts targeted organizations outside the city of Atlanta.

Georgia Shares' work to build new financial resources for progressive non-profits throughout the state was significantly aided in the early years by funding from The Sapelo Foundation, without which Georgia Shares might not be operating today. In 1995, Georgia Shares formed a powerful alliance with the Southern Rural Development Initiative (SRDI), which has provided funding to support the work of increasing donations to our member groups, as well as training and a chance to network with sister funds in other southern states. Relationships like these are part of the support network that enables Georgia Shares to grow, evolve, and thrive.

In 2000, Georgia Shares had 28 member agencies, participated in 20 workplace giving campaigns, and distributed $143,000 in campaign revenue from the 1999 campaign. From humble beginnings around a table at the Georgia-Hill Community Center in 1992, the organization has grown to provide a stable source of income to its member agencies, become a place for networking and support among people working for common goals, and joined a national movement toward choice in giving at work.

             

 

 
For more information about getting involved, contact:
Georgia Shares
PO Box 78611 | Atlanta, GA 30357 | Phone: 404-284-4349 | Fax: 404-284-2667
Or email us at gashares@aol.com