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UGA leadership development effort expanding across Georgia

A University of Georgia leadership initiative will partner with seven new organizations over the next year to develop leaders equipped to address critical issues in communities across Georgia.

The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, developed the Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative in 2020 with private funding donated by members of the Fanning Institute Advisory Board, most notably a lead gift from the James L. Allgood Family.

Through the initiative, the institute provides resources and technical support to communities and organizations in Georgia seeking to enhance their leadership development efforts.

“Strong communities must have leaders from all walks of life who can identify challenges and know how to build the right team to affect change,” said Matt Bishop, director of the Fanning Institute. “The Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative allows us to support communities who share this commitment, but lack the resources needed to make it happen.”

The 2021 Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative recipients are:

  • The Baxley-Appling County Chamber of Commerce, which is redesigning its adult community leadership program to incorporate curriculum surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion as well as multigenerational leadership.
  • Forward McDuffie, which will develop and implement an entrepreneurial leadership academy in McDuffie County.
  • Lee County Family Connection, Inc., which is developing a new youth leadership program with a peer mentorship component.
  • The Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority, which is developing a youth leadership curriculum for the school system that focuses on soft skills.
  • Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta, which is incorporating leadership skills development into its training initiative for young Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the theatre industry.
  • The Towns County Youth Leadership Initiative, which will develop a new community-based youth leadership program.
  • The Wheeler County Chamber of Commerce, which will design and implement a new adult community leadership program for the county.

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“We are excited to partner with the Fanning Institute to create a new program that will develop engaged leaders who can address challenges and take advantage of opportunities in Wheeler County,” said Janice Mock, board president of the Wheeler County Chamber of Commerce. “The Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative will allow us to establish something sustainable that can impact our community for years to come.”

Over the next year, Fanning Institute faculty and staff will work with these organizations to develop and build out their proposed leadership programs.

“This year’s initiative elicited very strong proposals from communities and organizations of all sizes from throughout Georgia,” said Brittany Adams-Pope, Fanning Institute public service assistant. “The recipients represent all areas of our state and we look forward to cultivating successful partnerships with these organizations.”

As part of the Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative, communities are expected to sustain and continue the programming over multiple years.

In 2020, eight organizations partnered with the Fanning Institute to develop leadership programs through this initiative and implementation of those inaugural programs is ongoing.

“We worked with last year’s recipients to design and implement sustainable leadership development programs that will position them to take advantage of economic development and other opportunities,” Bishop said. “We look forward to partnering with this year’s recipients to achieve similar successes.”

The institute will accept applications for the next round of the Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative in spring 2022. For more information, click here.


Charlie Bauder Fanning Institute Public Relations Coordinator • 706-542-7039


Matt Bishop Fanning Institute Director • 706-542-6201

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