This story, written by Charlie Bauder, was originally published on UGA Today on Aug. 3, 2023.
This past January, UGA received a $1.5 million pledge from Chick-fil-A Inc. to support the development of Youth LEAD Georgia, a new UGA-led statewide youth leadership program, as well as an annual youth leadership summit at UGA.
“Communities of all sizes continue to nominate outstanding youth to participate in the program,” said Matt Bishop, director of the UGA J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, which is creating and implementing both Youth LEAD Georgia and the annual summit. “We are excited about the interest in Youth LEAD Georgia and look forward to assembling an inaugural class that represents all corners of the state.”
Nominations will remain open through Sept. 1 and nominated youth will have until Sept. 30 to complete their application.
An adult must nominate students, after which the student and their parent or guardian will receive an email with a link to the application form. For the selection committee to consider students, they must complete the entire application form.
There is no cost for student participants. Meals, transportation for tours and program activities, and program materials are available through the pledge from Chick-fil-A. Those selected for the inaugural Youth LEAD Georgia class will be expected to attend all sessions and will be invited to the annual summit in July 2024 at UGA.
During Youth LEAD Georgia, Fanning Institute faculty will work with the youth to build their leadership skills, develop awareness of issues facing Georgia and explore ways to apply their knowledge to issues within their communities. Also, youth will learn more about postsecondary opportunities, businesses and industries in Georgia.
To support youth in applying those leadership skills, Rodney Bullard, CEO of Atlanta-based nonprofit The Same House, has made a $100,000 gift over the next three years to UGA. Bullard’s gift will provide funding for Youth LEAD Georgia participants to plan and implement specific projects in their respective communities.
“This new gift to UGA’s Youth LEAD Georgia program will not only benefit our participants but also help these youth have a meaningful impact in their communities,” said Bishop. “We appreciate Rodney’s commitment to the program, and we look forward to working with both him and Chick-fil-A moving forward.”
Such an effort aligns with the mission of The Same House, Bullard said.
“Inspired by other leadership programs, Youth LEAD Georgia is exactly the kind of program of collegiality and collaboration that we want to foster in tomorrow’s leaders and as a legacy to the state of Georgia,” Bullard said. “It covers three of our key focus areas: youth, education and training, and community improvement and development through the service projects the participants will undertake over the next three years.”
Bullard, along with fellow Georgia businessman and colleague Fred Hicks, has been instrumental in shaping the programming and curriculum.
UGA will announce the inaugural Youth LEAD Georgia class this fall.
Those wishing to nominate a youth for Youth LEAD Georgia may do so here.
For more information on Youth LEAD Georgia, click here.