Parents Leadership Council raises over $1.2M for student programs

In another record-breaking year, the Parents Leadership Council raised over $1.2 million for student programs for the 2024-25 academic year.

The PLC is a service-oriented group of highly engaged parents of UGA students who provide funding to the university through their annual gifts. Once a year, the council awards grants to campus organizations that have a commitment to enhancing undergraduate student life.

The PLC Grants Program started in 2012 with roughly 150 families who awarded nearly $145,000 to 22 organizations. Today, the council has grown to more than 300 families, each contributing $5,000 or more annually and increasing the program’s impact exponentially. Over the last 12 years, the council has awarded nearly $7 million to UGA campus organizations and has become the number one supporter of the President’s Venture Fund.

This year, the PLC raised the bar further, simultaneously surpassing its fundraising goal and awarding a record amount in funding: 162 recipients received a total of more than $1.2 million. Grants went to an array of academic units and organizations focused on studentwellness, access to the arts, service-learning and more.

CAPS Assistance and Access Program

Austin Shedden, a psychologist with UGA CAPS, speaks with a student in his office.

The CAPS Assistance and Access Program, which removes financial and scheduling barriers for students seeking same-day mental health support from UGA Counseling and Psychiatric Services, received $44,732 in funding. The program covers the cost of an initial visit with a professional, so students don’t need to schedule an appointment or be placed on a waitlist before they can receive support.

Since the CAPS Assistance and Access Program’s founding in August 2023, its impact on student well-being has continued to grow. Over 750 unique students were seen at least once during the fall semester for a same-day intervention at no out-of-pocket cost to the student.

“The PLC has generously provided funding to CAPS for many years to support various programs and services that improve access to appropriate mental health care, particularly for students with complex mental health diagnoses and financial barriers to engaging in a treatment plan,” said Martha Dannenbaum, the executive director of the University Health Center. “This support is important because it helps us move toward equitable well-being for our UGA students.”

Washington Semester Program

(L-R) Undergraduate students Logan Williamson, Jacob David, Emma Brandwein, Caroline Schneider and De’Omini Daniely walk past the U.S. Capitol building.

The Washington Semester Program gives students the ability to intern full-time at an organization of their choice while still earning a full semester’s worth of credit hours. Students apply for and choose their own internships that can then be used as credit toward their undergraduate degree. Students selected for the Washington Semester Program live in Delta Hall, UGA’s residence hall in Washington, D.C.

This year, the Washington Semester Program received funding for two initiatives: Washington Semester Alumni Connections and Washington Semester Dinners with Alumni. The funding, more than $2,000 total, will help facilitate opportunities for students to connect with alumni and professionals in Washington and after they return to Athens.

“It’s really important to have a professional network of connections,” said Don DeMaria, the Washington Semester Program’s director and founder. “This grant was an opportunity to engage alumni beyond D.C. in a way that connects them back to campus, which I think is really important.”

Ramsey Palooza

Ramsey Palooza, an annual event held at Ramsey Student Center, received $6,670 in funding from the PLC. Ramsey Palooza gives students a chance to explore campus well-being resources with free fitness classes, food and activities.

The grant funding will be used to offset the cost of this year’s event, allowing more students to participate and experience all that the Ramsey Student Center has to offer.

“We love being able to contribute to a student’s overall experience at UGA,” said Lance Haynie, associate director for programs at Ramsey Student Center. “We love giving them that well-rounded experience and being a place to bring some balance to their student life.”



Embark@UGA is a campus-based initiative to engage students who have experienced foster care, homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. Embark@UGA connects students to an individualized support network designed to help them navigate UGA by linking them to resources that are reflective of their unique needs and circumstances.

The program also hosts events throughout the year that encourage community building, life-skill development and campus engagement. Embark@UGA continues to grow, and the $33,929 in funding it received from the PLC will be critical for the continuing enhancement of the program.

“Everything we do comes from the generosity of the UGA Foundation, the Parents Leadership Council and the money we’re able to raise,” said Carrie Smith, the director of Student Care and Outreach. “That money goes directly to serving the students.”