HOGANSVILLE, Ga. (Oct. 2, 2023) — The Atlanta United Community Fund, an associate-led fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, opened its seventh mini-pitch as part of the GA 100 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Hogansville, Georgia. The mini-pitch was built through a grant to Pioneer Youth, a nonprofit organization based in Hogansville that provides free after school programming to youth at the Pioneer Center.
GA 100 is a campaign created by the Atlanta United Community Fund and in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) with the goal of constructing up to 100 mini-pitches in under-resourced communities across Georgia.
Opened in January 2022, Pioneer Youth runs after school programming for hundreds of kids ages 7-17 years old. Pioneer Youth’s programming is free to the community and is fully funded by donors and grants. The majority of the youth who will utilize the pitch live in Hogansville, filling a need for a safe and fun place for local youth to connect while expanding what Pioneer Youth already offers.
The Pioneer Youth mini-pitch is a multi-purpose hard court encased by railing which features both soccer goals and basketball goals and is lined appropriately for each sport. Saturday’s launch event at the Pioneer Youth mini-pitch was attended by Atlanta United players Brooks Lennon and Miles Robinson.
“Nothing like this has happened in Hogansville before so to say this is exciting is an understatement,” said Emilee Abraham, Executive Director of Pioneer Youth. “Because of this pitch, our youth will have access to sports they might not have had access to otherwise. It's not only giving them access to playing sports, but it's giving them a safe place to play. It's become a beacon of hope in our community as more people realize what's happening here. As the pitch was being built one of our middle schoolers asked me why we did this for them. I was able to remind them that it's because they are loved, seen, and known – all things we desire for our youth to know when they are part of our program at Pioneer Youth.
"While we are so excited about giving our youth opportunities in sports through this mini-pitch, we are also excited about the life change that will happen here as our youth develop relationships with safe adults and coaches.”
Located between LaGrange and Newnan, Georgia, the Hogansville pitch marks the second mini-pitch of the GA 100 campaign built outside of the metro Atlanta area, joining Coastal Outreach in Brunswick, Georgia. GA 100 has also awarded grants for mini-pitches to organizations in Bainbridge and Augusta.
The Atlanta United Community Fund is part of a unique grantmaking program at the Blank Family Foundation. The fund is led by a committee of Blank Family of Businesses associates who inform funding priorities, evaluate grant applications, conduct site visits and monitor the impact of their grants.
The Atlanta United Community Fund awarded $1.5 million to LISC to lead installation of the first 20 mini-pitches across the state. Seventeen organizations received grants, and all 20 pitches are either completed or in development. The Community Fund recently awarded $3.36 million for the next phase of the GA 100 campaign to construct up to 30 additional mini-pitches across the state. It is now accepting requests for proposals in partnership with LISC for a matching grant of up to $100,000. For more information and to apply for GA 100, visit atlutd.com/ga100. The deadline for proposal submissions is Oct. 30, 2023.