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06.04.2014

Alumnus and Bulldog 100 Honoree works to lead Georgians out of poverty

Georgia has the third highest poverty rate in the nation, and about 20 percent of Georgians live in hunger-threatened households. On any given night, about 28,000 people are homeless in Georgia, half of whom are children. These startling statistics have motivated John R. Moeller Jr. (BBA '93) to mobilize communities and serve others in poverty-related ministries throughout his career.

Moeller is currently the president and CEO of Action Ministries, Inc., a nonprofit focused on leading people out of poverty in Georgia. Action Ministries was recognized as No. 45 on the 2014 Bulldog 100 list. 

“Once you know the struggles and challenges that families in Georgia face every day, it’s impossible to turn away,” Moeller said. “As a native of this great state, I’m consistently moved by the fighting spirits of the people we serve. They make me want to work harder to ensure their success.”

With a $6 million operating budget and locations in Athens, Augusta, Gainesville, Rome and Atlanta, Action Ministries also operates a women’s residential addiction recovery program, Breakthru House, in Decatur and regional hunger relief and housing initiatives throughout the state.

Action Ministries Athens provides hunger relief, education and housing specifically to those in need in the Athens community. Our Daily Bread community kitchen has served its guests with meals and transformational services since 1989.

Under Moeller’s leadership, Action Ministries launched the regional initiative Smart Lunch, Smart Kid in 2012 to provide summer lunches to children who receive free and reduced-price meals during the school year. The program has grown exponentially each year, and the nonprofit expects to deliver more than 200,000 lunches to children in their own neighborhoods in the summer of 2014.

UGA alumni who reside in North Georgia are invited to get involved individually or as part of a corporate challenge in a sandwich-making day or other Action Ministries hunger-fighting efforts in their own communities.

To learn more about Action Ministries and the work they do in Georgia or to volunteer for a sandwich-making event, please visit www.actionministries.net or email Executive Director Mark Hellman at mhellman@actionministries.net.

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10.15.2014

Pulaski County students experienced life at UGA

Guest Blogger: Michelle Wilder Rivers (MA '10)
Program Coordinator
Archway Partnership

To demonstrate the possibilities available through higher education, the Hawkinsville LIFE League worked with the UGA Archway Partnership and the Office of Institutional Diversity to bring students to campus in July. The goal of the trip was to increase the awareness of postsecondary education opportunities, and to provide direct access to college admissions information. 

LIFE League teaches life skills and encourages excellence through basketball and other programs for at-risk youth in Pulaski County.

The day started with a UGA police escort for the students similar to that given to the football team on game day. Basketball games at the Ramsey Student Center were preceded by a reception during which numerous UGA administrators welcomed students.

Throughout the day, students participated in events including tours of the Ramsey Student Center and Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall (where they met student-athletes Nasheema Oliver, Kenny Gaines, Marcus Thornton and Chris Conley). Students had lunch at the Village Commons dining hall and emjoyed an interactive session with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. LIFE Leaguers ended their day with pictures in front of Sanford Stadium before heading home.

Units across campus made the day possible including: Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, Terry College of Business, Mary Frances Early, UGA Athletic Association, Recreational Sports, Parking Services, Food Services, UGA Police Department and Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

  

Those involved hope that providing these students with a day on the UGA campus illustrated the possibilities that exist through post-secondary education. It was a great day for the Bulldog Nation and I felt lucky to be part of such a life-changing event for so many young people.

Click here to view more photos from the students' visit to UGA. 

More information about the Archway Partnership, a unit of Public Service and Outreach at UGA, can be found at www.archwaypartnership.uga.edu.

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10.10.2014

Alumnus Sets Sights on Vonage

Former Google executive Alan Masarek (BBA ’82) is making big moves.

Later this year, Masarek will be joining Internet phone service provider Vonage as the chief executive officer. He will also serve on the company’s board of directors. Vonage, which is based in New Jersey, is an international company that reported $829 million in revenue last year. The company also has ties back to Georgia, with its business services division moving to Cobb County in the near future.

Over the years, Masarek has served as president of a healthcare IT company and co-founded AdOutlet, an online media buying platform, and Quickoffice, an app provider that was acquired by Google in 2012. Most recently, he was the director of Chrome and apps at Google.

Congratulations on your continued success, Alan! The UGA Alumni Association wishes you the best of luck in your new role.

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10.06.2014

UGA Alumni See Success in Startup Companies

Several alumni are enjoying success in Atlanta's competitive startup environment. Technology startups seem to be popping up all over Metro Atlanta and three UGA alumni are leading the charge with their innovative businesses.

The brainchild of Adam Wexler (BBA ’07) and Devon Wijesinghe, Insightpool uses social media to help its clients, including Intercontinental Hotels, Chobani Inc. and A&E Networks, market more effectively to their target audiences. Last week, Insightpool announced it had raised $4 million in funding and plans to expand its Altanta headquarters later this year. The company's staff roster will also expand by approximately 75 individuals. This growth will help Insightpool as it helps businesses mine social networks for top influencers, prospects and potential customers. 

Adam Wexler (BBA '07) on right

Insightpool isn’t the only startup taking Atlanta by storm. Michael Tavani (ABJ ’02), co-founder of ScoutMob, is launching SwitchYards, a startup focused on business to consumer (B2C) relationships. Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, SwitchYards hopes to bring consumer- and design-focused startups together to build new and innovative brands.

Tavani plans to launch two to three B2C startups per year, including mobile applications and e-commerce. Those that break even within 15 months, will continue to receive funding.

  

Michael Tavani (ABJ '02)

Everett Steele (AB ’06) launched Kanga, a mobile application that crowdsources shipping, moving and delivering, in Atlanta earlier this year. The application, which will be expanding to Athens later this month, connects individuals needing something moved or delivered with people who are looking to make some extra money.

    

Everett Steele (AB '06) 

As Atlanta continues to grow as a major technology hub, the UGA Alumni Association looks forward to hearing about the continued success of these three alumni and their businesses.

Do you know of other UGA alumni running successful startups across the country? We'd love to hear about them! Please email Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) at jelewis@uga.edu. 

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