By Emily Emshoff and Jason Tatum

With a new year to look forward to, we are also reflecting on this past year at the Gateway Center.  2013 was a great year for us filled with success, change, fresh ideas and new beginnings. We were able to serve thousands of clients and help them move into housing and journey into self-sufficiency, and hope to grow that number in the year to come.

Here are some of the highlights from the past 12 months:

In March, we had our first Directors Circle event at No Mas Cantina. It was an evening filled with food and fun and brought together many people in our community who are joined by a common interest in ending homelessness. We plan to continue this event in the coming year.

Since our beginnings in 2005 we have sought to provide the best services possible to all who walk through our door. As an organization that serves the community, we strive to be flexible and serve in the best way possible. Through constant assessment and identifying the needs of our city, we were able to make substantial changes to our programs that will serve to further our mission of changing lives.

Another highlight from this year was our first annual Human Clay event in September at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails. Gateway staff, supporters, donors and others joined for a night of celebration, fundraising and reflection on our progress over the years. Through this event we were able to raise over $57,000. We are beginning to plan our second annual Human Clay event, and hope to see you there in September! You can read more about this fantastic event [here].

With our transition in our programs there was new space to create within. After much deliberation and various considerations, a new program moved into our facility in October called Georgia Works!. Georgia Works is a 12-month program in which the participants reside at Georgia Works in the Gateway Center, work full-time and pay rent, while also building long-term savings. This new program is just another way to assist those who are experiencing homelessness and lead them to into self-sufficiency. We are happy to partner with Georgia Works and see how the program grows and succeeds in the coming year.

Throughout the year we were fortunate enough to be chosen to be a community partner with St. Joseph’s Hospital. They made a donation of over $20,000 to the Gateway Center, had numerous volunteers work with us and serve clients and donated many in-kind donations needed for us to continue to do the work that we do every day. We are so thankful for this partnership, and for all of their generous donations this year!

This past year also brought with it new faces to the Gateway Center.  New people started in administrative and case management roles, as well as various interns from programs around the country, such as Mission Year and the DOOR program. You can read through  many new hire and employee of the month interviews on our blog!

Moving on to the later part of the year, Georgia Gives Day was a huge success. On November 13, the Georgia Center for Nonprofits held a 24-hour fundraiser for hundreds of nonprofits around the state. In 24 hours we were able to raise $10,325 from individual donors combined with a matching Sun Trust grant. This was a great achievement, and we couldn’t have done it without our wonderful supporters and donors – so, thank you!

We finished out the year with our annual GIFT Campaign, which was an opportunity to connect local businesses and other organizations to the mission of Gateway in new ways.  There were many in-kind donations made throughout the holiday season from people all over the state.  We are incredibly grateful.

So that was 2013, and it was a fantastic year.  We are so thankful for those who volunteered, gave, and worked hard to accomplish this work.  We are excited to be in 2014 and looking forward to the great things that will happen.  There will be challenges and there will be changes, but we believe that with a strong community of people dedicated to changing lives and ending homelessness, many people in our city will find the tools to become self-sufficient in the next 12 months.  Stay tuned for more exciting develops and stories like those of Emmanuel, Joseph, and Russell.

Scenes from around the year:

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Vince, trying out the new fancy garden.

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Volunteers from Emory!

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United Way dropping off sandwiches with Chef Q!

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Lots of smiles in 2013, and even more for 2014.

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A Home Depot employee beautifying our walls!

Russel, our featured speaker at Human Clay, with Vince

Russel, our featured speaker at Human Clay, with Vince