Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who Wants to Be Mayor?

This week, I listened to four of the Atlanta Mayoral candidates as they spoke to the Atlanta chapter of the Association of Professional Fundraisers. The participants were Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood, Kasim Reed, and Jesse Spikes.

They each bring a wealth of experience with them: work in the corporate world, the not-for-profit arena, politics on the state and local level, and a passion to make the City of Atlanta better. As they were speaking about the many challenges facing our city, I wondered why anyone would want the job of Mayor?

Because they were talking to a group who are mostly employed by nonprofits, the candidates spent a lot of time talking about how important nonprofits are to Atlanta. Georgia is home to more than 8000 nonprofits and Atlanta hosts the national headquarters of several national and international charities: Care, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and many more.

The most glaring omission on the part of the panel was direct human services. For more than 40 years, Senior Citizen Services has been the safety net for older citizens “enabling seniors to enjoy a high quality of life, maintaining their independence and dignity.” We do that by providing home-delivered meals to frail seniors through our Meals On Wheels Atlanta program. We keep seniors in their own homes through our Home Repair Services program and through our Adult Day Care program. We give seniors an outlet for socialization through our eight Neighborhood Senior Centers. We provide transportation to shopping and medical appointments through our CareShare program.

The City can’t be all things for all people; nor can Senior Citizen Services. However, we know that each day we are helping many of our “seasoned saints” live fuller, richer, and safer lives in their own homes in Atlanta.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing

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