Annual Report FY 2020

Leadership Message – July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020

During a year marked by tragedy, struggle, and conflict, Georgia Appleseed remained steadfast in its commitment to increase justice in Georgia through systemic reform. Our remarkable Appleseed community proved that Georgians help each other through tough times and can look to a brighter future.

In the wake of the inexcusable killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, Georgia Appleseed listened to communities first and—when called to action—revisited our 2016 recommendations and report on violence against communities of color. Updating these recommendations will help us support the current movement to change our justice system with best practices, transparency, and healthier community engagement.

When the pandemic struck, community members told us that housing and educational access for low-income families were at immediate risk. Together with partners across the state, Georgia Appleseed led efforts to protect families from a wave of pandemic-induced evictions and provide children with needed educational supports when schools closed because of the coronavirus.

We quickly pivoted our existing network of statewide leaders to develop emergency responses and solutions to protect families, prioritize resources for the most vulnerable children, and develop innovative ways to deliver services. As a result, more children could attend school online, and schools were better prepared to meet the social-emotional needs of students, ensuring more learning and fewer behavioral problems.

We brought together more than 135 organizations across Georgia to advocate for supports for tenants and landlords. Our data collection efforts and analysis provided local communities with up-to-date information about how local housing courts adapted to the pandemic. And, in Clayton County, we partnered with the court to innovate an eviction prevention program that has kept hundreds of families in their homes and provided landlords with the money they need to stay in business.

As always, Georgia Appleseed looks to the future. COVID-19 has created new awareness of the inequities and inequalities faced by millions of Georgia’s children. That new awareness is an opportunity to bring new Georgians into our community of hope and compassion.

Together we will continue to build for all of Georgia’s children welcoming schools, healthy homes, and needed supports for children facing challenges from trauma, disabilities, poverty, bias, and racism. We hope you find inspiration as you read about our significant work and community outreach in this annual report.