2021 Annual Report

A Great Year Making a Collective Impact Feature Image

2021 Annual Report

Renée Byrd-Lewis

President and CEO

A Word From

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 at the Gwinnett Coalition. The strategic plan adopted by the Board of Directors directed the Coalition to become more impactful and strategic and to utilize 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 a model of strategic impact.

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 strategic impact model. The Collective Impact approach 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 socio-economic needs that are essential to the well-being of all Gwinnettians. Our work is accomplished by adhering to the following guiding principles:

  • 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, resulted 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
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2021 Acheivements

Staff & Board

Our staff grew 325% this year! Find out 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 more about the evolution of the Coalition’s new brand.

Learn more about the Coalition’s brand update here and watch the video below to see how the new brand evolved.

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

Gwinnett Coalition rallied local community-based organizations to collectively address the concerns about reading deficits, literacy deserts, and early learning gaps impacting the educational success of our children. From this collective effort, G.R.E.A.T. Little Minds was born. The program made reading accessible, fun and interactive for Gwinnett’s school-age children. The Gwinnett Coalition initiative successfully grew and expanded in its efforts to reduce early learning barriers. In order to minimize duplication of effort and maximize resources, the G.R.E.A.T. Little Minds program transitioned to Gwinnett County B2 Anywhere in Q1 2021.

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Gwinnett Great Days of Service

One weekend a year is no longer enough to meet the ever-changing needs in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett Great Days of Service officially transitioned from the Gwinnett Coalition to Gwinnett County’s Volunteer Gwinnett program last year to offer year-round volunteer opportunities to better meet the growing needs of our community. Learn more about the transition and how strategic collaboration has allowed Gwinnett to exponentially expand our volunteer impact.

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Gwinnett Cares 1.0 (Emergency Response)

Gwinnett Cares was a grassroots emergency response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. What started as a small volunteer response has grown to one of our largest and most impactful community development initiatives yet. Thanks to strong leadership, the dedication of hundreds of community-based organizations, and the tireless commitment of thousands of volunteers, Gwinnett has weathered the coronavirus storm and come out stronger and more resilient than ever before.

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Works in Progress: Program Highlights

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Veteran's Resource Center

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: Incubation
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Healthcare Roundtables

As we’ve come through the pandemic, our community has a greater appreciation for the importance of public health and health equity than ever before.. Healthcare Roundtables offer a way to easily connect Gwinnett residents with healthcare information from trusted subject matter experts about real-time health concerns facing our community every day.

Status: Active
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Resilient Gwinnett Logo - White

Resilient Gwinnett

Widespread poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of needed social services, including mental health support, are social determinants of health that are at the root of widespread adversity, inequities, and trauma. The Resilient Gwinnett initiative is a comprehensive solution that addresses adversities experienced at both the individual and community level.

Status: Incubation
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Gwinnett Cares - Logo White

Veteran's Resource Center

As we learned to live with COVID-19, the Gwinnett Cares initiative evolved to encompass the Gwinnett Helpline so we can meet people where they are and connect them to the resources they need. Partnering with the CDC Foundation around vaccine equity allowed us to expand our work even further.
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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.
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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!