AT&T Foundation contribution to support Embark Georgia network

AT&T supports Embark

AT&T Northeast Georgia Regional Director External Affairs Paul Chambers, UGA Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development Director Matt Bishop. (Photo: Shannah Montgomery / PSO)

This article was originally posted on UGA’s Public Service and Outreach website on November 21, 2019, and written by Charlie Bauder.

A $25,000 contribution from the AT&T Foundation will help the University of Georgia increase college access and retention for youth who have experienced foster care or homelessness.

Embark Georgia, founded and run by UGA’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, is a statewide leadership network of higher education, k-12 and child welfare professionals who provide leadership and support for youth who have experienced foster care or homelessness and are enrolled in or interested in attending any postsecondary educational institution in Georgia.

Of the total gift, half will train employees on 12 University System of Georgia (USG) and Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) campuses to be designated points of contact for students. These contacts will undergo Fostering for Success Coaches Leadership Training.

“The contact on each campus is a source of support and connection on campus,” said David Meyers, Fanning Institute public service associate and Embark Georgia co-network director. “While that role in and of itself is significant, this additional leadership and coaches training will help these individuals more effectively guide students to available federal, state, campus and Embark Georgia resources that can help them better be able to succeed in college.”

With the remainder of the gift, Embark Georgia will provide emergency assistance funding to cover medical, transportation, housing or food needs for college students in Georgia who have experienced foster care and/or homelessness.

“At AT&T, we know every child has the potential to achieve something great,” said Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T Georgia. “As we work to cultivate a future of opportunity and promise for all Georgians, we are especially proud to support Embark Georgia and the University of Georgia’s meaningful work to connect our youth—tomorrow’s leaders—to resources that can help them realize their academic dreams.”

Since its establishment in 2012, Embark Georgia has established a designated point of contact for students at every USG and TCSG institution. Georgia is the first state to do this for both foster and homeless youth.

“Helping create a better educated and more prosperous Georgia is a key mission of a land-grant and sea-grant institution like UGA,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for Public Service and Outreach. “Our corporate partners recognize that and we appreciate their support for our programs.”

In all, the gift is expected to serve about 120 students across Georgia.

“Embark Georgia has led the way nationally to ensure that youth who have experienced foster care or homelessness have access to what they need to pursue their educational goals,” said Matt Bishop, director of the Fanning Institute, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach. “This leadership training will enable these USG and TCSG employees to help their schools develop more robust campus-based programs to better serve these students and keep them on track.”

For more information on Embark Georgia, go to