The global pandemic upended life as we know it, and full recovery will not be fast or easy. But in the face of chaos, we learned that our community comes together to help each other and meet challenges head-on, no matter how novel or difficult.
The Urban League
entered 2020 ready to celebrate our centennial year in Atlanta. By March, we were forced to close our in-person operations and adapt to a new model of virtual service. Our staff, donors, partners, volunteers, and clients made the switch as quickly as possible to continue our core programs in employment, education and training, workforce development, financial services, and advocacy. At the same time, our team stretched to add services targeted to families hard-hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
Our Financial Empowerment Center became the Financial Empowerment and Emergency Response Center
. The economic shutdown and health crisis strained the ability of more and more people to meet basic needs for food, rental or mortgage payments, utilities, and healthcare. Parallel to our core mission of helping Black Americans build community and generational wealth was the accompanying imperative to help people simply survive. We became a lifeline to clients facing housing and food insecurity, job loss, insufficient childcare, and tenuous mental and physical health.
We also stepped up our advocacy initiatives in the wake of the deadly rash of police brutality cases and the assault on voting rights in Georgia and around the nation. With community, civic, and corporate partners, we launched a robust campaign to increase voter registration and participation. And we worked with elected officials on measures to improve police-community relations, end vigilante justice, confront racism in the criminal justice system, and empower citizens to have a say in their own governance.
I am grateful for the partners and supporters – long-running and new — who stood by the League this year and pivoted to help us extend a hand to those in dire need. And I am thankful for the corporate and community partners who joined us in accelerating our drive to fight the racial disparities and injustices that threaten our shared future.
Please take care of yourself as we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and step into new political realities in 2021. United, we can start the League’s next 100 years off with sustainable accomplishments that ensure equity and justice for all.
The League’s Pathways to Empowerment Program serves over 3,200 individuals annually, and the demand for our services far exceeds our capacity to serve more people in need. Your support will enable us to empower more people to embark on a new pathway to success this year. Accordingly, we ask you to be as generous as you can so we can increase our reach by 10 percent and do more to uplift families and communities in 2020.
Nancy Flake Johnson, President/CEO
Tai Roberson, Board Chair
Larry McHugh, Centennial Fundraising Chair