The University of Georgia has received a $1.5 million pledge from Chick-fil-A Inc. to support the development of a new statewide youth leadership program and an annual youth leadership summit at UGA.
“I am immensely grateful to our friends at Chick-fil-A for their generosity and their commitment to helping the University of Georgia make a positive impact on our home state,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Building the leadership capacity of our youth is essential to securing a bright future for Georgia for generations to come.”
The new Youth LEAD Georgia program will provide college and career readiness through leadership development for 30 to 40 rising high school sophomores and juniors each year from across the state.
In addition, a youth leadership summit will take place each year on the UGA campus, bringing together high school students who represent all 159 counties in Georgia.
“Today’s young people are our future, which is why Chick-fil-A is proud to support Youth LEAD Georgia and its leadership development efforts across our state,” said Brent Fielder, senior director of corporate social responsibility for Chick-fil-A Inc. “This program provides an opportunity to overcome geographic barriers and socioeconomic differences by creating a network of young leaders throughout Georgia and teaching them essential leadership skills — like integrity, conflict resolution and strong communication — so they can positively influence their communities.”
The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, will create and implement both Youth LEAD Georgia and the annual summit.
“Creating a pipeline of leaders is one of the most important things a community can do to help ensure its sustainability and resilience,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach. “This generous pledge from Chick-fil-A will allow us to help teenagers across the state develop and hone the leadership skills they need to be successful themselves and to help boost the communities where they live.”
During Youth LEAD Georgia, participants will learn leadership skills, develop awareness of issues facing Georgia and explore ways to apply their knowledge to issues within their communities. Youth will also have an opportunity to gain exposure to postsecondary opportunities, businesses and industries.
“Together, Youth LEAD Georgia and the annual youth leadership summit will bring young people together to develop skills that will help them succeed after graduating high school, and they will build a community of future leaders equipped to strengthen our state,” said Matt Bishop, Fanning Institute director. “We are proud to partner with Chick-fil-A on this effort and appreciate its commitment to Georgia’s future.”
The Fanning Institute will partner with youth leadership development organizations from around Georgia for student recruitment and program delivery.
Information regarding the nomination process will be announced soon, and the inaugural Youth LEAD Georgia program will begin in 2023.