Georgia Education Foundation Announces Annual Fundraising Campaign

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GEF provides educational support and mentorship program for small businesses throughout Georgia

The COVID – 19 pandemic and its economic repercussions have hit Georgia small businesses hard, resulting in unprecedented levels of unemployment, furloughs, reduced revenues and business closings across the state. The Georgia Education Foundation (GEF), the non-profit educational arm of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC), is kicking off a fundraising campaign in an effort to help local companies survive the storm. Through the GAGives effort that culminates on December 1st in #GivingTuesday, the GEF is encouraging Georgians to donate to help keep the doors of small businesses open in all of our communities. The funds raised will power the programs and initiatives of GEF, including the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection, a 1-year coaching and mentoring program for small companies headquartered in Georgia.

The Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection, entering its 20th year, was founded by Georgia Governor Roy Barnes in 2001 as the first state-sponsored mentoring initiative in the nation. The program transitioned to the portfolio of the Georgia Education Foundation in 2011 through a partnership between the state of Georgia and the GMSDC. Each company accepted into the program is matched with a Georgia corporation from a related industry or market segment for a year of meetings, retreats, training sessions and one-on-one mentoring. Each pairing develops a comprehensive growth plan for the protégé firm which sets the goals for the year. Program alumni have emerged to become some of the largest and fastest growing small businesses in the nation, having won a long list of national and regional awards and honors in recognition of their accomplishments, rapid growth and operational excellence. The GMPC is widely regarded as the finest program of its kind in the state.

Coaching and mentoring support has been identified as one of the top drivers of small business success. With the extra stress placed on Georgia businesses by the pandemic economy, it is ever more important to connect small businesses to critical resources that can help them to not only survive but thrive. Many small business owners have chosen to pivot in these challenging times, offering new lines of business or starting new companies altogether to respond to a changing marketplace. The GMPC is the perfect environment for those firms to acquire the acumen they need to master their new realities.

The President and CEO of the GMSDC, Stacey Key, sees this campaign as vital to the livelihoods of so many entrepreneurs in Georgia. “I have never witnessed a more challenging business climate for our small business constituents,” said Key. “A large percentage of the companies who have closed may never open their doors again, which can have devastating impacts on the employees, families and communities those firms represent. We must do all we can to head off this crisis and help them to survive.”

Early giving is already underway at the #GAGives website – All funds received will support program costs for the GMPC and other educational programs for small and minority businesses. For more information about the GMSDC and its programming, visit

About the GEF
The Georgia Education Foundation (GEF) is the educational non-profit of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. (GMSDC), a not-for-profit organization that fosters value-driven business partnerships between corporate entities, ethnic minority-owned businesses and government entities in the state of Georgia. The GEF assists small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs in their efforts to drive business growth, create jobs and strengthen communities in Georgia. The GEF offers a variety of educational program, including the George Mentor Protégé Connection, a one-year premier small business mentoring program. For more information, call 404-589-4929 or visit

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Emily Yang
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