United States

Birdies Fore Love Impact: East Lake Foundation

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Since the Birdies Fore Love program started over 10 years ago, RSM has supported hundreds of charities in local communities around the United States and Canada, with the grand total of donations amounting to more than $17 million. Read about one of these deserving charitable organizations below to better understand the impact Birdies Fore Love has on the communities where RSM’s people live and work.

The challenges East Lake Foundation (ELF) faced when it was founded in 1995 were daunting. A dilapidated and violent public housing project, a failing school, a dearth of opportunities for community members. By joining forces with residents, government, nonprofits and others, ELF tackled its mission to provide tools for families to build a better life for themselves and future generations through cradle-to-college education, mixed-income housing and community wellness.

ELF's leadership and partnerships led to the construction of affordable, mixed-income rental housing and a new public charter school. ELF also coordinated development of other facilities, enlisted early education partners and launched college-career readiness, job readiness and wellness programs to help families move out of poverty and nurture a healthy community. This work has lowered crime, increased employment, improved student performance and engaged residents in healthy activities.

In 2019, RSM's Atlanta office chose ELF as its Birdies Fore Love office competition recipient and donated more than $43,000 to it. These funds have helped ELF and its community partners offer critical educational and wellness services for children and youth in East Lake, which ultimately foster student growth and achievement that help ensure successful futures through college and beyond and reduce the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Birdies Fore Love funds help support:

  • College and career readiness, which ensures that middle and high school students at East Lake's Drew Charter School are aware, eligible and prepared for post-secondary choices in college and careers
  • The RISE After School Program, which reinforces and supplements school-day STEAM and project-based learning for Drew Charter students from preschool through seventh grade
  • The First Tee of Metro Atlanta, which provides golf and life skills instruction for school-age children in East Lake
  • The Sound Learning collaboration with Drew Charter School and Georgia State University, which enhances music education for students from preschool through high school at Drew Charter and the East Lake Early Learning Academy
  • East Lake Healthy Connections, which offers health care access and education benefiting children and youth in East Lake

In December 2019, ELF received support from participants in RSM's national Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Summit held in Atlanta. In the spirit of holiday giving and service, RSM employees assembled 55 bicycles and scooters provided as holiday gifts for children and youth living at ELF's Villages of East Lake and in a neighboring apartment complex. The families came to the hotel to pick up the bikes, scooters and helmets and socialize at a reception with RSM employees. ELF staff shared details about the work in East Lake with RSM employees.

ELF Grants Manager Jessie Bond said, "We believe there are several spheres of impact from this event: providing bikes and scooters for families that were unable to purchase them; providing young people with a gift that facilitates healthy physical activity; increasing RSM employee understanding of ELF's charitable work and the needs of economically disadvantaged families; and inspiring both RSM and ELF to find additional ways to work together for the benefit of East Lake children."

She believes supporting Birdies Fore Love is important because the resulting dollars and volunteer activities have a direct impact assisting underserved children in the numerous communities where RSM employees work and live. "RSM's commitment to service and community engagement is inspiring! The East Lake Foundation is thrilled to work with RSM employees who believe that community service is a vital part of their work life. We look forward to more opportunities for engagement in the months and years ahead."

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