2021 Annual Report
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. 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
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
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 1.0 (Emergency Response)
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.
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.