he Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and GeorgiaForward
(GF) recently named Brenda Belcher as the new GeorgiaForward Managing Director. Belcher is an experienced external affairs and nonprofit management leader. Known for her systematic approach and relationship-focused stakeholder engagement, she brings significant knowledge in the creation, growth and management of innovative and sustainable programs. In her new role, Belcher will be a catalyst of cross-sector, statewide conversations and partnerships.
Prior to joining GMA and GF, Belcher led government affairs and policy for the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). She amplified ASSP’s voice in Washington by building advocacy coalitions and spearheading a national research symposium. Belcher also managed programs and development with the ASSP Foundation.
Belcher holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She completed two Master of Arts programs at the University of Chicago, one with the Harris School of Public Policy and one with the Committee on International Relations. Belcher sits on the Center for Family Resources’ Young Professionals Board and is a proud graduate of the Marietta Citizens’ Academy.
In late 2019, GMA and GF entered into an administrative agency agreement to enhance statewide support of GF’s programs. Previously housed at Central Atlanta Progress, GF is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working to strengthen communities, unite Georgia and create a talent pipeline within the state. The organization fulfills this mission through its annual GeorgiaForward Forum of thought leaders and idea generators and its flagship program, Young Gamechangers. This leadership-action program brings together Georgia’s brightest minds under the age of 40 to help solve community challenges.
“GeorgiaForward is a relatively young organization with large aspirations to improve the lives of all Georgians. We have chosen to partner with GMA at this point in our history due to association’s incredible reach into Georgia’s cities of all sizes and its deep talent of staff and resources,” said A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress and chair of the GeorgiaForward Board. “GMA has been a wonderful supporter of our work since our inception and we know that together we can help take our Young Gamechanger programs to the next level. We are very excited about the 2020 Young Gamechanger programs and those of the future under this new and innovative agreement.”
Through this agreement, GeorgiaForward will remain an independent 501 (c)(3) organization with its existing Board of Directors. GMA will provide GF administrative services for the implementation, management and promotion of its current and future programs. GMA will also coordinate meetings of the GF Board of Directors, maintain all GF financial accounts and procedures and provide GF other administrative, technical and research support as needed.
“GMA is privileged to enter into this agreement and welcome Brenda and her wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for building civic and community identity to the association.” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson. “This new partnership is another opportunity to serve our 538 member cities and complements the efforts of GMA’s Placemaking Collaborative, the Georgia Cities Foundation and our many economic and community development partners from across the state.”