In The News
Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2016 11:08 pm in the Moultrie Observer
MOULTRIE — Oftentimes, people are characterized as born-leaders; however, more often than not, leaders are grown. Colquitt County School System, GeorgiaLEADS, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce have partnered to grow the future leaders of Colquitt County.
Beginning in January, students in kindergarten through fifth grade began receiving research-based leadership instruction coupled with language arts lessons centered on curriculum developed by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.
“This research-based curriculum recognizes that everyone has leadership potential and introduces the concepts of leadership, citizenship, and character traits associated with effective leaders,” shared Curriculum Director Marni Kirkland.
Colquitt County was selected as a pilot community to introduce the Elementary Youth Leadership In Action (YLIA) curriculum. As a result of a needs-assessment process, community leaders identified youth leadership as a top priority. Infusing Fanning’s YLIA curriculum into classroom instruction at the K-5 level addresses this concern.
“If we are to affect change for the better for students and the community, we must be data-driven in our decisions,” shared Superintendent Samuel DePaul.
Colquitt County, a GeorgiaLEADS community since 2015, is one of a number of communities across the state that have identified critical challenges through grassroots input from citizens and other community stakeholders.
“While the top priority is developing youth leaders (grades K-5), taking this program to the secondary level (grades 9-12) ranks close behind. The third recognized priority is to engage ‘non-usual suspects’ in becoming and growing leaders in our community,” shared Moultrie-Colquitt County Chamber Marketing Vice President Tommie Beth Willis. “Recently, GeorgiaLEADS hosted board governance training workshops locally where some 65 volunteer board/committee members were trained on board/committee protocols.”
Archway Public Health Professional Whitney Costin shared, “The Colquitt County Georgia LEADS working group was very intentional in prioritizing leadership into the youth of our community. It is our goal that by having this curriculum piece in the elementary schools we are opening the eyes of each student to their leadership potential and showing them how they can impact our community.”
Lauren Healey, Public Service Associate at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development shared, “We are very excited to be working with the Colquitt County community and the Colquitt County School System in particular. This is a great opportunity to infuse leadership development into core classroom instruction. Our evaluation of this work over the next few months will strengthen the curriculum. We are hopeful that educational outcomes will be improved and that the great work Colquitt County is piloting will be replicated in other communities across the state.”See more
Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2016 10:26 pm
Leadership group provides training
With more than 65 attendees, there was an expansive group of non-profit organizations represented at leadership training Feb. 4 at Southern Regional Technical College. These participants will be able to apply the information from this session into their respective agencies strengthening their boards and encouraging leadership throughout the county, according to a press release from GeorgiaLEADS, which sponsored the training.
Nonprofit Leadership Development Training, facilitated by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at The University of Georgia was held Feb. 4 at Southern Regional Technical College.
This training was designed to help participants understand the making of a well–functioning organization, the importance of bylaws, ethics, non-profit life cycles and the relationship between the board and executive director/CEO.
With more than 65 attendees, there was an expansive group of non-profit organizations represented at the training. These participants will be able to apply the information from this session into their respective agencies strengthening their boards and encouraging leadership throughout the county, according to a press release from GeorgiaLEADS, which sponsored the training.
Another course, focused on volunteer management, will be offered Feb. 18. Please contact Angela Castellow at (229) 985-2627 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Whitney Costin at (229) 616-7084 or email@example.com for more information.See more
"The Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute (GNLI) is a program of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, a non-profit organization. GNLI has been operating for over 20 years, making a community impact in Gwinnett. “GNLI was started as a way to get every day citizen’s involved in improving their neighborhoods and communities,” says Ellen Gerstein, Executive Director of the Gwinnett Coalition.
"GNLI is a five-month program that meets one Friday evening, and day session on Saturday once a month. The Institute provides students formal leadership training, provided by the UGA Fanning Institute focusing on five core areas: understanding community leadership, effective communication, group decision making, building communities through collaboration and leading community change."
Source: Gwinnett Daily PostSee more
In this column, members of Georgia Humanities and their colleagues take turns discussing Georgia’s history and culture, and other topics that matter. Through different voices, we hear different stories.
This week guest contributor JANET RECHTMAN, a senior fellow at the Fanning Institute and a Foxfire board member, offers lessons on how an organization can survive a disaster.
By Janet Rechtman
Since 1966, Foxfire students, teachers, staff, and volunteers have compiled a history of the people, communities, and traditions of southern Appalachia. Readers who found these stories through the beloved Foxfire book series have made the 106-acre Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center on Black Rock Mountain (fondly called “The Land”) a must-see destination for visitors from all over the world. The connections are equally strong when educators adopt an experiential education, which, for nearly 50 years, has also been known as the “Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning.”
In its early days, Foxfire became a national phenomenon. The Foxfire books were best sellers, with more than 9 million copies sold. There was a nationally distributed movie, multiple archived accounts of life in the North Georgia mountains, and three decades of courses and workshops on the “Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning.”
Then, Foxfire experienced a significant challenge. In 1992 the organization’s charismatic founder was indicted for molesting a student in his care. Pleading guilty, he served one year in the local county jail, after which he retired to Florida. Following this negotiated plea, the resulting corporate litigation, evidence of multiple wrongdoings, and settlements for damage to the victims who came forward brought an abrupt end to Foxfire’s early growth. While the harm done by the founder’s betrayal cannot be undone, Foxfire’s board and staff assumed accountability and settled legal matters in ways that respected the privacy of those affected. By adopting new stringent standards of protection for the students in its care, Foxfire became a model for other youth-serving organizations.
As a Foxfire board member and a teacher of nonprofit leadership, I have learned a lot about nonprofit sustainability through my association with Foxfire. Here are three key lessons I can share.
Lesson #1: There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
In the years following the founder’s guilty plea, much of the energy and resource base Foxfire had built during its early years dissipated. The scope and depth of the founder’s betrayal left a residue of anger, hurt, and distrust. Under strict legal supervision, the demoralized board and staff were hard pressed to reconstruct programs and outreach in a hostile environment. Still, Foxfire persisted, thanks in part to excellent insurance coverage and a cash reserve deep enough to sustain some catastrophic losses.
Most important were the relationships that had grown over Foxfire’s history. An attorney on the board provided pro bono legal services and expertise. Many unknown people continued to purchase the Foxfire books and visit The Land. The remaining staff members stayed the course through amazingly intense upheavals. Community members were quick to differentiate between the founder’s criminal behavior and the benefits they had enjoyed as Foxfire students. These relationships (sometimes called social capital) sustained Foxfire when funders and partners had disappeared.
Lesson 2: Rebuilding is not a straight line from here to there.
As the storms subsided, Foxfire’s leadership began to look at the future and to firm their belief in Foxfire’s educational approach and the organization’s role in documenting the culture and history of the Georgia mountains. In 1994 the board asked the new executive director to reengage the networks and to seek support for educational programming from major foundations. Few classroom teachers wanted to be associated with scandal, and foundations proved unwilling to extend further support, so Foxfire began to subsidize the educational function through an endowment established with the royalties from the Foxfire Book series.
Ultimately, using funds from the endowment to rebuild teacher networks proved to be unsustainable, given the financial requirements of Foxfire’s commitment to preserve invaluable personal and community artifacts donated by Foxfire “contacts” (folks who were interviewed in the magazine and book series). With this in mind, Foxfire’s board made the safety and security of these items in perpetuity its highest priority. In 1999 the executive director resigned, along with the staff she had hired to advance Foxfire’s educational work.
In 2000, with a new leader on board, Foxfire reinstated a range of community-focused experiential learning programs and established an educational partnership with Piedmont College, where longtime Foxfire stakeholders work to sustain the Foxfire teacher training, support research into the Foxfire approach, and provide leadership in the educational community.
Similar partnerships with the College of Education at the University of Georgia has led to increased interest in and support for research and practice in the Foxfire approach, and the Peabody Collection at UGA’s Russell Library houses part of the archives. Finally, Rabun County High School hosts a Foxfire classroom, where students continue to produce Foxfire magazine and add to the collection of artifacts and buildings on The Land. On Foxfire’s Living History Day, local families and volunteers in period dress present the activities of everyday 1800s Appalachian life, including open-hearth cooking, one-room school work and preaching in the chapel, blacksmithing, woodworking, corn-shuck doll-making, soap-making, and more.
Thus, with careful management and an annual payment from the endowment, Foxfire has continued its mission despite many challenges.
Lesson 3: Resiliency requires resources
Researchers at Emory University have found that knowing one’s family history is a key contributor to resiliency: people who have living connections to stories from their past are better able to handle life’s setbacks than those who have little or no roots in history. In this way Foxfire’s collection of interviews, photographs, music, artifacts, and buildings serves as a memory bank for people who live in the North Georgia mountains. Foxfire thus contributes to a sense of identity and rootedness in a rapidly homogenizing world.
The same is true for nonprofit organizations: resiliency begins with a deep appreciation of mission and traditions, which, in turn, energize stakeholders to sustain the work. As board members, we had to resist the temptation to romanticize Foxfire’s survival as a result of the appeal of our mission, lest we minimize the lingering impact of the founder’s crimes. The fact is, without the endowment created through Foxfire’s early success and its highly recognized brand name, Foxfire would most likely be a footnote in the annals of education and a fond memory of folks who live near The Land.
Instead, through a combination of mission, money, and commitments by people from all walks of life, Foxfire is poised to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in 2016. Indeed, the celebration has already begun; in October, Foxfire received a Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities.
Immediately following the Foxfire founder’s indictment, high school students in the program went to businesses in Clayton and asked them to display a poster that said “Foxfire Still Glows,” referring to the bioluminescent mushroom that inspired the name of the organization. That is the key to survival: Foxfire continues to this day and into the future because of its own luminosity — a self-generated glimmer instead of a self-promoting flash in the pan. As we move into our second half-century, our hope is that the glow of Foxfire will continue to light the way for communities and educators alike.
Janet Rechtman is a Senior Fellow at the J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia, and a Foxfire board member.See more
"Forsyth’s Peer Court follows an all-youth model, said Emily Boness, public service assistant for the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a unit of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia. Student volunteers take on every role in a court setting, including judge and jury.
"Some models across the state use an adult judge, Boness said. She is the program coordinator for the peer court in Athens — an all-youth model — and provided technical assistance and training for Forsyth’s court.
"The Forsyth County Peer Court Program is the sixth of its kind in Georgia. The court in Athens has been running for three years, and there are programs in Fulton and DeKalb counties."
Source: Forsyth County NewsSee more
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce announced at its annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast on January 13, 2015, that it will partner with the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development to pilot a statewide community leadership development initiative called GeorgiaLEADS in conjunction with the celebration of its 100th anniversary, which is being marked this year.
Guided by the belief that leadership is key to economic success and that those communities that embrace leadership development gain an inherent competitive advantage, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia have partnered to create GeorgiaLEADS. The program will ultimately ensure a continuum of leadership development opportunities at the youth, adult and regional levels throughout our state.See more
Posted: Monday, January 26, 2015 11:30 pm | Updated: 11:30 pm, Mon Jan 26, 2015.
Carroll County has been chosen as one of 10 Georgia counties to launch a new leadership development program, under partnership with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and University of Georgia.
Carroll County will be a community for GeorgiaLEADS, created by the Georgia Chamber and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at University of Georgia. The program is based on the premise that leadership is the key to economic success and leadership training will give the communities a competitive advantage.
“This will build on what Carroll County has already put in place over the years with the Carroll Leadership Academy,” said Donna Lackey, senior vice president of business development and local LEADS coordinator for Carroll Tomorrow and Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. “The academy has been successful for more than 27 years and has graduated more than 500 trained leaders. It’s recognized by the state as one of the best, and I think that’s the reason we were chosen.”
Lackey said the state initiative will take the Chamber’s current leadership program “to the next level,” creating opportunities for students, adults and alumni of former leadership classes. The program has a five-year commitment, she added.
She said LEADS will bring leadership training to diverse groups, such as at-risk students, young adults and people already in the workplace.
“One goal is to create a Junior Chamber of Commerce, made up of students selected by their respective schools,” Lackey said. “We also see a strong need for young people to develop the ‘soft skills’ they need to be good employees.”
She said the Carroll program is just getting started and specific program information is not yet developed.
“We’re now in the inventory process,” she said. “We’re developing a list of programs we now have and what gaps need to be filled. That will lead to forming working groups for developing action steps.”
Lackey said GeorgiaLEADS will help in both workforce development and community awareness.
“Through these types of leadership programs, residents can find where their interests lie and take more interest in what’s happening in the community,” she said.
GeorgiaLEADS will be piloted in the 10 chosen communities and two regions, starting this year. The program will then be opened competitively to other communities and regions in the state in 2016 and 2017, with a target of bringing in 10 additional communities and two regions each year. The program will continue through 2019.
The 2015 community participants, in addition to Carroll, include Appling, Bulloch, Colquitt, Laurens, Richmond, Sumter, Troup, Towns and Washington. The 2015 regional participants include Northwest Georgia, Middle Georgia and Southern Georgia.See more
Column: Paul Bowers aims to keep Georgia Chamber relevant in 2015
Posted in http://saportareport.com/blog/category/abcarticles/ ABC Articles Date: January 13th, 2015, 11:47
By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Jan. 9, 2015
As Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers takes over as the 2015 chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 13, the word he keeps repeating is "relevance." The business organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. And for Bowers, what is most important is that the Georgia Chamber not only honors its past but pushes itself to be even stronger for the next 100 years.
"We need to make the Georgia Chamber even more relevant for all the businesses in the state,"Bowers said. "We have to make sure we have the leadership in place to build for the future."
Recognizing its responsibility to foster leadership throughout the state, the Georgia Chamber and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia will announce a new GeorgiaLEADS program at its annual Eggs and Issues breakfast on Jan. 13. The program will ultimately ensure a continuum of leadership development opportunities at the youth, adult and regional levels throughout our state.
In many ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Georgia Chamber President Chris Clark traced back some of the earliest publications of the organization — and the issues were all too familiar: transportation, education and business recruitment —including how to attract young people to the state. It's not surprising those were the issues important to Georgia 100 years ago, Bowers said. And it won't be surprising if they are still the issues 100 years from now. What matters is how the Georgia Chamber works on finding solutions that are relevant to each period of the state's development.
On that score, both Clark and Bowers said they are coming off of a strong 2014 — a year headed by Chairman Ernest Greer, vice president and Atlanta managing shareholder of the Greenberg Traurig law firm. Greer sought to broaden the scope of the Georgia Chamber to be more inclusive and transparent as well as become more involved in public policy on a year-round basis.
"One of the things that the Georgia Chamber has done is realize that its mission is to serve every Georgian — if someone is unemployed, to try to get them employed,” Greer said. “We have got to be an organization that focuses on issues. We can’t be an organization that’s just focused on legislation.”
Bowers agreed, but added that the Georgia Chamber also would keep a close eye on any legislation that could impact the state’s economic potential — either directly or indirectly.
"We are going to be very transparent,” Bowers said. “As (legislation) get proposed, if it’s going to hurt our brand in Georgia or if it’s going to hurt jobs being created in Georgia, we are going to oppose it.”
Meanwhile, Bowers said his goals during 2015 will be on making sure that the students graduating from Georgia’s schools and universities have the skills needed in today’s and tomorrow’s workforce. Investing in the state’s infrastructure —especially transportation —also will be key, he said.
Bowers, who also has been chair of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, said the organization will intensify its efforts to partner with local chambers throughout the state. Already the Georgia Chamber has established a federal agreement with 90 local chambers–bringing its reach to 27,000 members with a presence in every one of Georgia’s 159 counties.
In lieu of holding an annual dinner the night before Eggs & Issues (and competing with any festivities related to the Gov. Nathan Deal’s inauguration), the Georgia Chamber will hold a 100th anniversary black-tie gala in Atlanta on Saturday, April 25. It also will hold other centennial events throughout the state.
"It really is a privilege to be in this position at this time,” Bowers said. “We must ask ourselves what the next 100 years will hold for us and the relevance of our leadership for the future of the state.”See more