2021 Annual Report | Gwinnett Coalition

2021 Annual Report

A Great Year Making a Collective Impact Feature Image

2021 Annual Report

Renée Byrd-Lewis

President and CEO

A Word From Renee

Collective is the word that comes to mind when thinking about the Gwinnett Coalition and the year 2021. I joined an established organization with a 30-year history of serving Gwinnett County and navigated the emergence from a worldwide pandemic. In reflecting on the past year, I’m reminded that (1) “we are in this together,” (2) the challenges facing our community are complex and interrelated, and (3) our challenges cannot be solved solely by any one organization.

This set the stage for an exciting 2021. The strategic plan adopted by the Board of Directors directed the Coalition to become more impactful and strategic. Specifically, the plan called for utilizing an impact-oriented process reflecting a leadership model important to the future growth of Gwinnett. This new direction resulted in an organizational shift from a planning and service agency to an operational model, called collective impact, that will allow us to increase our ability to create real and lasting change for Gwinnett.

First actions included evaluating existing programs for duplication in other Gwinnett organizations. Merging the G.R.E.A.T. Little Minds and Great Days of Service programs with Gwinnett County’s B2 Anywhere and Volunteer Gwinnett, respectively, yielded greater impact and offered increased resource utilization for all. Streamlining these programs freed up resources needed to establish the Coalition’s new collective impact operational model. This approach has a long track record of helping communities bring partners together in a more effective way. It will set a new standard for community development in Gwinnett County, a community of nearly one million individuals representing a vibrant mosaic of people, cultures and languages.

The collective impact model allows for people and organizations to come together in a structured way and encourages innovation, creativity, and the sharing of ideas to ensure our systems of support meet the needs of all residents. Individuals with lived experience together with subject matter experts explore all facets of an issue. A shared agenda is created, measurable work commences to “move the needle” on systemic issues, and data informs our collective progress. The focus is on long-term strategies that advance equity, address complex social issues, and lead sustainable lasting change. By breaking down the silos and understanding issues holistically, we can address the full range of needs that are essential to the well-being of all Gwinnettians. Our work is accomplished by:

  • convening stakeholders across industry sectors
  • facilitating courageous, culturally responsive conversations
  • centering evidence-based and promising practices
  • developing shared strategies, goals, and data
  • forming synergistic community partnerships to maximize impact
  • building and communicating a culture of intentional community investment

This new approach is reflected in our Resilient Gwinnett initiative whose mission is to build resilient communities within Gwinnett by creating a shared understanding of child adversity and resilience, promoting trauma-informed practices, and advocating for policy and system change.

Other initiatives include the evolution of Gwinnett Cares, the community’s collective response to COVID-19, resulting in a staffed call center and an online platform for residents to “get help and give help.” The Healthcare Roundtable engages health practitioners and residents on four key community health issues and is gaining momentum.

We are excited to play a lead role in impactful community development in Gwinnett County. With representative thought and dedicated engagement from public, private and philanthropic partners, we can create and implement promising solutions. We invite you to join us in building the community development engine that moves all residents of Gwinnett County forward. Become a Gwinnett Coalition Changemaker. To learn more, see gwinnettcoalition.org/give.


President and CEO
Color Line - Left

2021 Acheivements

Staff & Board

The Gwinnett Coalition team grew to better meet the needs of our ever-changing community. Learn more about our staff and our Board of Directors.

Brand Update

In 2021, the Gwinnett Coalition released a new brand reflecting its commitment to “moving the needle” on complex social issues and leading systems change to help ensure a more equitable Gwinnett. The vivid color palette pays homage to the diversity of Gwinnett residents who hail from all backgrounds, including cultures, faiths, professions, experience, and more. The font is modern and bold, and the gauge is an indicator of forward movement and a measure of progress. The tag line Driving Collective Impact signifies the Coalition’s new role as the backbone organization for community development. 

Watch this video to learn about the Coalition’s new approach to solving complex problems and about the brand evolution.

G.R.E.A.T. Little Minds

Gwinnett Reading Exchange & Art Transforms (G.R.E.A.T.) Little Minds book exchange program is a public art and public awareness campaign designed to inspire the love of reading, provide access to early learning children’s books in areas where books are scarce, and encourage an appreciation for public art in Gwinnett County. The idea was conceived by the Gwinnett Coalition’s Early Learning Committee in 2019. In 2020, program collaborators including Gwinnett County Public Schools, United Way and others, helped grow the number of book exchange sites to 48 enabling the distribution of thousands of children’s books into the community. In Q1 of 2021, this successful program transitioned to Gwinnett County’s B2 Anywhere to scale for even greater impact.

Gwinnett Great Days of Service Logo

Gwinnett Great Days of Service

Considered one of the most impactful community-focused events in the county, Gwinnett Great Days of Service was founded and led by the Gwinnett Coalition for more than two decades. Even during the pandemic, volunteers and organizations came together to provide mission-critical support for residents. More than 100,000 essential items were collected and distributed to direct service providers in the areas of hunger, homelessness, and healthcare.

With nearly one million residents, one weekend a year is no longer enough. In order to scale and meet the growing needs in Gwinnett County, Gwinnett Great Days of Service transitioned to Gwinnett County’s Volunteer Gwinnett which enables year-round volunteer opportunities and increased impact.

Gwinnett Cares Old Logo

Gwinnett Cares 1.0 (Emergency Response)

Gwinnett Cares, a grassroots, community-based, emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, began in 2020. Initially comprised of a small group of cross-sector leaders, the effort quickly expanded to include nonprofit, community-based, and governmental organizations from across Gwinnett County. In 2021, Gwinnett Cares expanded its work in supporting residents most impacted by the pandemic as well as educating residents about COVID-19 prevention and vaccine adoption. Thanks to strong cross-sector leadership, a commitment to collaboration, and steadfast dedication of volunteers, Gwinnett weathered the coronavirus storm and is more resilient than ever before. Today, Gwinnett Cares remains a leading and impactful community development initiative.

FY 2021
FY 2021 Expenses Pie Chart
FY 2021
FY 2021 Budget Pie Chart
FY 2021
FY 2021 Revenue Pie Chart

Program Highlights

Gwinnett Cares - Logo White
COVID-19 shined a light on inequities that exist in some populations in our community. In 2021, Gwinnett Cares evolved to better meet these needs by increasing access to resources through a web-based platform available 24/7. In addition, the Gwinnett Cares Helpline piloted a new program featuring four trained specialists and specifically geared to serve Gwinnett County Public Schools students. The goal is to meet people where they are and connect them to the resources they need. A partnership with the CDC Foundation focused on vaccine equity and education allowed us to expand this work even further.
Find Out More
Veterans Resource Center - Logo White
The Gwinnett Veterans Resource Center (GVRC) bridges the Veteran services gap, improving the lives of local Veterans and their family members through increasing awareness of resources, removing barriers to receiving care, and providing access to a full spectrum of Veteran-specific programs and services including education, medical and behavioral health, and community support.

Status: Active
Find Out More

Collective Impact Initiatives

The Gwinnett Coalition uses the Collective Impact model to tackle complex problems and achieve social change by convening cross-sector stakeholders, leveraging subject matter experts, guiding vision and strategy, aligning activities amongst community partners, establishing shared
measures, cultivating public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing funding.

Healthcare Roundtable with Tagline Logo
The pandemic has taught us that the success of a community is determined by the health and well-being of its members. The Healthcare Roundtable focuses on 4 critical health domains (infant and maternal mortality, infectious disease, mental and behavioral health, and equitable access to healthcare services) as determined by local leaders and subject matter experts.

Status: Active
Find Out More
Resilient Gwinnett Logo - White
Adversity can’t be eliminated overnight, but when we work together, we can begin reducing childhood adversity by promoting resiliency and healing. Our goal is to raise awareness about the adversities children and their families are facing, and how we can help them overcome hardships to find stability and be able to thrive. We proudly partner with Resilient Georgia to execute a proven, evidence-based model that delivers. Help us move the needle and become a champion for trauma-informed practices in our community.

Status: Incubation
Find Out More
Communication Icon


One of the backbone initiatives of collective impact is communication. If we are not communicating with our partners as a collective, we cannot make as big of an impact as our community needs.
Find Out More

Strategic Partnerships

While our work is focused here in Gwinnett County, we join forces with other organizations across the region to drive collective impact. We take input from our strategic partners so we can learn and improve as we work together to build a community where all residents thrive.

Invest & Be a Changemaker!

Become A Coalition Changemaker!