Jordan described the background of the Partners, including the criteria for the entities’ participation, and then described the results of 18 months of discussion generated by the various committees.
There are three issues especially affecting the county. The first is the high dropout rate. Although the situation has been much improved since 2001, when only 45 percent of high school students graduated, the current 70 percent graduation rate is still below the state average.
The second issue is the low rate of homeownership — only 20 percent of the people within the Griffin city limits own their own homes.
The third issue is single-parent births. Sixty percent of all babies born at Spalding Regional Medical Center are born to single mothers, with the numbers as high as 80 percent among blacks. Jordan said he was not saying single mothers cannot be effective parents but children from those situations have disadvantages even before they start school.
The Partners developed 33 recommendations for dealing with those three problems and others.
One of the means of implementing the recommendations is establishing a community resource center, which would serve as a one-stop shop for social services and job training. Jordan hopes the $1 million grant will establish the center permanently.
Abbott then came forward. She said Spalding County was one of only 34 communities to receive the grant.
She then described the “capacity building” the monies will be used for. There are five categories — leadership development, organizational development, program development, community engagement and revenue development.
In order to receive the grant, nonprofits from several nearby counties joined forces with the Collaborative.