CASA Glynn received a grant in 2013 from the Community Foundation to upgrade their server and computers.  No more lost data, freeze ups and frustration! 

One of the volunteers shared her appreciation.... "I have very limited computer skills and it was always a struggle to write the many reports.  I typically 2013 Bonney ck del to Carywould spend hours at the CASA office completing court reports, panel reports and monthly report.  Now there is a dedicated computer for CASA volunteers!  I am able to complete my work immediately and what used to take me hours now takes 30 minutes.  It frees me up to spend more time with my CASA child."

Summer Interns of The Gathering Place accompanied by Executive Director Lucas Ramirez paid the Community Foundation a visit recently to say "thank you" for past support....

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Dr. Hepburn expressed appreciation and queried them on the circumstances that brought them to our community, the learning and experiences that were most memorable and their future dreams and plans.  What came through loud and clear was an appreciation for the ministry of Gathering Place and our community. 

We wish them every success in their futures.

 

Baby Steps Creates Literacy Center at Head Start

 

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The African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” was clearly in the minds of the Glynn County volunteers, educators, businesses, and local philanthropists who gave so generously to transform a drab, grey cinderblock room at the Glynn County Head Start School into an “under-the-sea themed” literacy center that opened April of 2013.

The room was another effort in the “Baby Steps” Early Literacy Initiative of the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation to offer age-appropriate literature in a “print-rich” and visually stimulating environment. The community foundation plans to open several more literacy centers, accessible to children in areas where there are low income families. Plans also call for trained community volunteer readers to staff the rooms for regular readings.

A giant octopus, smiling shark, schools of fish, crabs, hot pink coral, and blue waves, are among the images that brighten the walls and bear print labels, thanks to the amazing artistic talent of early education teacher Amy Kramer and renowned local artist Nancy Muldowney, both of whom also directed the volunteers who offered assistance in transforming the room.

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Baby Steps Coordinator Maryellen Aiken added face-front book case displays and more than 300 books provided through donor contributions to the Baby Steps initiative at the foundation. Head Start was also able to provide two “smart board” type computers for the children to benefit from interactive literacy technology.

“It is imperative to provide children with the tools they need to learn how to read very early in the education pipe-line, and there's no better place to do this than at a Head Start program where we can reach well over 200 three and four year old children," said Lee Owen, executive director of Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation, whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Coastal Georgia by promoting and increasing philanthropy. “The room was a “perfect storm” of talent and generosity – from the creative genius and passion of Amy, to the sweat equity of teachers and parents, to the guidance from the College of Coastal Georgia’s education department.”

The goal of Baby Steps is to help ensure that every child in the community, no matter what socio-economic level, is ready to read and ready to succeed when they reach kindergarten. Providing better access to books and print-rich environments is just one of several ways that Baby Steps is accomplishing this goal – and making a “splash!”

Would a 10-17% annual return on an investment interest you?

According to Nobel Prize economics winner James Heckman and other leading economists, every dollar invested in early childhood education and literacy can yield as much as 17% in return.   These powerful returns come from children who achieve academic success and grow up to become productive citizens. An educated and literate community enjoys the benefits of reduced crime, decreased need for costly academic remediation, lower welfare rolls and fewer publicly funded safety nets, an increased tax base, and a more highly skilled workforce that attracts new industry. It is simply the very best investment in a community’s quality of life and economic development that one can make.

  • Up to 90% of the brain’s “architecture” is formed in the first three years of life
  • Children not prepared for kindergarten often cannot read and comprehend in third grade when “learning to read” is replaced by “reading to learn”
  • These are the children who are most likely to become high school dropouts

Northwest Mississippi’s community foundation launched a bold campaign three years ago to create an endowment for the community’s future and its early childhood education efforts. Endowed funds now exceed $2 million, built with six figure gifts and with donations as small as $10. With the interest alone, they have provided training for over 600 child care center workers, distributed over 1,000 book bags, advocated on a statewide level for increased pre-K funding, and established a resource and referral center.

If Northwest Mississippi can do it, can’t we?

The Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation invites you to join our campaign and make an investment in our Baby Steps Early Childhood Literacy Initiative. For the past 18 months a community-wide advisory council has met and has developed plans for specific projects that will ensure that our children from birth to age five get the start they deserve to succeed in school.

We are not asking for just another charitable donation, but rather an investment in this community’s future – perhaps a future that will have fewer soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters and drop-out prevention programs you may currently support with your charitable dollar.

The following communities are examples of many across the nation that have created permanent endowments for early childhood education efforts:

  • Aspen, CO  $1.2 million
  • Boulder, CO  $4 million
  • N.W. Mississippi $2 million  
  • Marin County, CA $35 million
  • Evanston, IL  $2 million
  • Miami/Dade County  $100 million

Here in the Golden Isles, we’ve seen many successful campaigns of this size over the past few years to support historical tracts and buildings, health, and animal welfare…all important, but are they more important to this community’s future than our community’s children?

A similar $2 million permanent endowment for early literacy programs in our community would sustain all the council’s proposed plans and programs on the interest alone – leaving the capital intact for future generations to continue supporting early education efforts, year after year, without resorting to annual campaigns. Now that’s an investment with impact!

Funds from the Endowment will be devoted exclusively and permanently to promoting early childhood literacy. Specific grants from the fund will depend on needs and opportunities that will change over time.

If you wish to make a difference, not just for a year but for the future of this community and its children, join us.

Please consider an investment to build a permanent endowment by donating either cash or non-cash assets to the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation for Baby Steps.

In 2015 the Board of the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation celebrated its tenth Anniversary and a multitude of early successes.

Yet, we recognize that the full promise of the Foundation is yet to be realized.

The coming few years are pivotal. We are intensely committed to forwarding our mission of strengthening our communities through engaged philanthropy.

StrategicPlanningwork

In step with the Foundation’s look back at its first decade, the Board engaged in a two-day strategic planning work session to look boldly ahead. The intensive session was a gathering of critical inputs from donors, grantees and stakeholders across our three-county area...a focusing on existing and emerging economic, social and demographic factors...and an examining of the experiences and best-practices of other highly successful community foundations.

The Board outlined an aggressive three-year strategic plan designed to stabilize and grow the Foundation. Three core thematic goals were established on which we will focus our energies:

Sustainability
- Creating lasting value for donors and the community.

Scope and Scale
- Growing the reach and depth of the organization.

Significance
- Strengthening the relevance and impact of the Foundation’s work.

strategic plan

Click the image to read the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan

Atlanta Foundation Awards Grant to Community Foundation for Baby Steps Early Literacy Initiative

The Communities of Coastal Georgia is pleased to announce that the Zeist Foundation based in Atlanta has awarded a grant to fund a part-time coordinator position for the community foundation’s Baby Steps early literacy initiative. “For an Atlanta foundation to recognize the potential our initiative holds to improve kindergarten readiness is tremendous affirmation,” explained Chairman Rees Sumerford.   “A nonprofit must be invited to submit a proposal and it must address the needs of at risk children, youth, and families in the areas of education, arts & culture or health & human services. Zeist looks for evidence of collaboration and innovation – and the trustees felt that they found both in our community-wide literacy initiative.

Read more: Zeist Foundation Makes Grant to Baby Steps