Breakthrough 2019’s Education Panel – Building Student Networks

Breakthrough 2019’s Education Panel – Building Student Networks

Breakthrough 2019’s Education Panel – Building Student Networks

The first step in the Success Sequence is to get a good education. On Wednesday, September 11, attendees at Breakthrough 2019 heard from an outstanding panel describing how schooling is key to expanding opportunities for the impoverished in Atlanta and across Georgia.

Philip Ross of Bright Futures Academy speaking at Breakthrough 2019Philip Ross, of Bright Futures Academy, shared with us how he serves his 80 students in one of the most crime-ridden zip codes in the nation. Beyond the basics of a sound education, the goal is to prepare students for the workforce with solid soft skills. “The practical life skills are paramount to success for these young people. If you don’t know how to dress for an interview, shake a hand, and carry on a conversation with a peer in the workplace, you are not going to climb the ladder. You might not even get on the ladder,” Philip said.

Ana Rector, of Youth Entrepreneurs, shared an exciting statistic: 30 percent of her graduates go on to start businesses of their own and employ others. Her organization’s chief goal is to encourage students to think entrepreneurial—even if they don’t launch a business, that type of thinking will benefit them and their future employers. “Most of our magic happens outside of the classroom—that’s where we believe students learn and thrive, and they really figure out where they fit in the world,” Ana said.

Jim Hollinsworth, of the Path Project, noted that since his organization’s founding in 2010, the graduation rate in the troubled neighborhoods they serve has jumped from 45 percent to 90 percent. “The biggest challenge we see for students to graduate is simply having people who believe in them,” Jim shared.

There is a lot more about Breakthrough 2019 yet to come. Stay tuned for more videos and recaps in the near future. And be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get updates as they become available.

Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

Georgia might be the next state to restore voting rights to past criminal offenders.

The state’s Senate Study Committee on Revising Voting Rights for Nonviolent Felony Offenders held its first meeting Friday to discuss if it will take the step in criminal justice reform.

According to the Georgia Center for Opportunity, one in 13 adults in Georgia is in jail, prison, on probation or parole. That’s significantly higher than the national average of one in 31.

Read the full article here

Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

Georgia AG files legal brief protecting school choice

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr fears that if a Montana court’s restriction on school choice programs is not reversed, it will open the door for other state courts to enact similar laws. 

The Montana Supreme Court’s decision excludes religious schools from the state’s tax credit scholarship program. Carr alleges that the ruling violates the parents’ First and 14th Amendment rights by discriminating against and punishing them for their religious decision. It could also limit access to adequate education for another quarter million children, he said.

Corey Burres, spokesperson for free-market nonprofit Georgia Center for Opportunity, said the state’s goal should be to provide the best education to every student regardless of the source. The organization works to open doors for all students.

“At this point, a lot of education choices for impoverished areas come from institutions with religious affiliations, so by excluding that option, limits the options that children have,” he said.


Read the full article here

Recapping an amazing Breakthrough 2019!

Recapping an amazing Breakthrough 2019!

Recapping an amazing Breakthrough 2019!

On Wednesday, September 11, nearly 200 community leaders, nonprofit practitioners, business people, and concerned citizens gathered at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta for one unifying purpose: To find solutions that restore dignity and hope to the most vulnerable in our society.

Tim Carney Speaking at Breakthrough 2019Renewing civil society

In a particular highlight, American Enterprise Institute President Robert Doar and best-selling author Tim Carney discussed how to reverse the breakdown of civil society and community in modern America. Attendees were also treated to insights from on the key question of how to measure nonprofit effectiveness from Heather Reynolds, managing director of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities at Notre Dame. 



We also heard from community leaders working hard on the ground level to help as many Georgians as possible achieve the Success Sequence.

Employers such as Southwire and its 12 for Life apprenticeship program are reaching thousands of at-risk youth. By 2019, the program has graduated over 2,900 students and had an immense impact on Carroll County, Georgia, helping to increase the high-school graduation rate from around 60 percent to in the 90 percent range.

We also heard the heartwarming story of Michael Jones and Thrive Farmers. Jones founded the for-profit business to not only provide top quality coffees and teas, but to ensure the farmers who grow these crops are fairly treated and compensated.

It’s challenging to adequately address employment without talking incarceration and prisoner reentry, so we also heard from Doug Ammar of the Georgia Justice Project on smoothing pathways to careers for ex-offenders.


Education and family

Attendees heard key ideas on how to strengthen the first step of the Success Sequence—get a good education—from leaders at organizations and schools like Youth Entrepreneurs, the Path Project, and Bright Futures Academy.

The Education panel at Breakthrough 2019

Rounding out our time together, we were inspired by change-makers closer to home—leaders at FaithBridge Foster Care, Connections Homes, and Foster Care Alliance who are committed to the goal of finding a loving home for every foster child.


Breakthrough Going Forward

There was a lot of great conversations and we will be posting full session videos in the near future.  Stay tuned and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get updates as they become available.

Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

More jobs in distressed areas could reduce Georgia’s poverty rate

More job opportunities for the poor could be the solution for poverty in Georgia, a free-market solutions advocate says.

Georgia’s workforce and economy have shown promising growth, but new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau show poverty has declined in the state but still sits high above the national level.

 “This shows that there is much more to be done to address poverty here in Georgia,” Corey Burres, spokesperson for the nonprofit Georgia Center for Opportunity, said.

According to the Census report released this week, the average number of people living in poverty in the state has decreased by 2.8 percent over 2015-2016 and 2017-2018. The overall rate for the country dropped by 1.1 percent. Yet, the percentage of poor Georgians is 2.4 more than the national average, which is 12.3 percent.

Burres said one way to curb poverty in Georgia is to create more job opportunities in the impoverished areas of the state.

Based on the Census Bureau’s three-year estimates, there is an average of 1,522,000 people in Georgia living in poverty.

Read the full article here