Jen Hatmaker Headlines GEEARS’ Annual Luncheon on Giving Tuesday
Jen Hatmaker’s talk at GEEARS’ Annual Luncheon (click here to see the photo highlights) this week began with uproarious laughter. From the parenting trenches, she shared photos of her son’s shamelessly awful cake décor. Quickly, however, Jen moved on to discuss trauma and recovery. She shared encouragement for “littles” parents, “Keep going!” and invited audience members to voice their challenges—from caring for parents with dementia to 3am parental worry loops. Then she led us all in a chorus of, “Same.”
This deft swoop from hilarity to heartbreak to hope and community perfectly matched our 2023 fundraiser at the Whitley Hotel. This year is bringing unique post-pandemic challenges for the young children, families, and educators GEEARS serves.
“Today, with federal emergency funding for child care in Georgia ended, the sector is on the brink,” our Executive Director Mindy Binderman said in her own speech. “A federal report found that the funding saved families with young children who rely on paid child care about $1,250 per child per year and helped hundreds of thousands of women with children enter or rejoin the workforce more quickly. The program helped 220,000 child care providers keep their doors open and reached 96% of counties nationwide—helping to protect child care for as many as 10 million kids nationwide. But now that the funding has expired, we at GEEARS are hearing about the hard choices that child programs are facing . . . A long-term solution remains necessary, and we are committed to work with our partners to find one.”
That quest requires funding, and at this sold-out Giving Tuesday event—our largest ever—audience members responded to Board Chair Stephanie Blank’s challenge to support GEEARS in multiple ways: “We want you to be fully engaged with all that we are doing at GEEARS,” she said. “Your support enables us to bring families down to the Capitol, so their stories can be heard by our legislators . . . Oftentimes, that’s what will move legislation. It enables us to conduct research that highlights where the challenges are, and where the solutions are as well. And it allows us to bring engaging speakers to Georgia, who help us continue to educate leaders, not just at the legislative level but also business leaders, philanthropic leaders, folks like yourselves, on the importance of the birth-to-five space.”
In addition to all our attendees, we were grateful to the GEEARS community members who joined our host committee: Abi Auer, Jay and Jackie Berkelhamer, Helping Mamas, The Junior League of Atlanta, Eydie Koonin, Stephanie Langford, Erin Meyer, Brigitte Peack, The Pipes Family Foundation, Lauri Strauss, and Rashida Winfrey.
We are also incredibly thankful for our event sponsors:
The Naserian Foundation and The Liz Blake Giving Fund, The John and Maria Upchurch Family Foundation, Comcast, and Sheri and Steve Labovitz
If you weren’t able to join us at the luncheon or add GEEARS to your Giving Tuesday contributions, it’s not too late! Please click the button below to contribute to our critical work in the coming year and beyond.
About Jen Hatmaker
Jen Hatmaker is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books including For the Love and her latest project, Feed These People: Slam Dunk Recipes for Your Crew. She is the delighted curator of the Jen Hatmaker Book Club and host of the award-winning For the Love podcast, and she leads a tightly knit online community where she reaches millions of people each week. Jen is a co-founder of Legacy Collective, a giving organization that grants millions of dollars towards sustainable projects around the world. She is a mom to five kids and lives happily just outside Austin, Texas.
Early Education Champions:
The Liz Blake Foundation
Sheri and Steve Labovitz
The John and Maria Upchurch Family Foundation
Jay and Jackie Berkelhamer
The Junior League of Atlanta
The Pipes Family Foundation