Families First Announces New Board Members


Seasoned Business Leaders and Community Volunteers Champion Atlanta’s 131-Year-Old Family Service Organization

     ATLANTA – Jan. 28, 2021 –Families First, one of Georgia’s oldest nonprofits serving families and children in crisis with the mission to build resilient families so all children can thrive, announced five new board members including Dan Gordon, Junior Harewood, Brian Mandigo, Kirk Rich and Peggy Taylor. 

“We are thrilled and honored to grow our Board leadership with these five highly respected new members,” announced Families First CEO, DePriest Waddy. Dan, Junior, Brian, Peggy and Kirk are all dynamic and highly respected community conveners and strategic business experts, and they will make a significant impact as we continue to implement our new strategic plan and mission, and expand our reach to build resilient families and communities.”

Board Chair and longtime Families First supporter, Courtney Showell, Sr., shares: “Families First has been fortunate to benefit from countless volunteers that have had a profound impact on children, families and communities over the years. As we celebrate 131 years of service, I look forward to continuing the legacy of those who came before us and am proud to have these engaged, philanthropic community leaders join our Board of Directors.”

Dan Gordon is currently the Executive Director for Jabian Consulting. His prior experience includes roles as Chief Operating Officer of the City of Atlanta, Chief of Staff at Emory University and Vice President for The Arthur M. Blank Family of Businesses. He earned the highest Mayoral honor, the Phoenix Award, for his service to Atlanta. His community service includes Board Chair of Leadership Atlanta, Trustee for Outstanding Atlanta, a Member of the System Board’s Public Affairs Committee at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, plus senior leadership roles for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, the Host Committee for Super Bowl LIII and the National College Football Championship Host Committee. Gordon achieved both his MBA in Finance and Real Estate and his BA in International Studies from Emory University.

Junior Harewood is CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Georgia and Alabama Employer and Individual Health Plans. In his role, Harewood has legislative and regulatory oversight and is responsible for the overall growth and profit and loss performance of the health plan where he has worked for the past 25 years. He is a graduate of St. John’s University in New York, where he earned a BA in Government & Politics, and is currently completing an Executive MBA program at the University of Georgia. In addition to his service with Families First, Harewood serves on the board of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, regularly volunteers at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, is an alumnus of the United Way Volunteer Involvement Program and is a member of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Leadership Trust Committee. He and his wife have a daughter, Zoe, who they adopted with assistance from Families First last year.

Brian Mandigo is Vice President of Global Sourcing for The Home Depot, leading their efforts to source and develop products for their stores and online from around the globe.  Brian has served in a variety of roles there for the past 18 years, from Store Operations to Pro Contractor Services and Merchandising.  He is a graduate of The University of Kansas and lives in Smyrna with his wife Zayani, two children Lunden and Layla, and dog Clay. Brian shares, “Atlanta is a city of great opportunity, but there are many who are at risk of being left behind.  Families First is helping families connect to resources and build skills that can help them stabilize and take advantage of the opportunities our city provides.”

Kirk Rich is an Atlanta native and Principal at Avison Young, a global commercial real estate services firm. His passion is community and he currently serves as Commissioner at the Atlanta Housing Authority and Director on the Boards of The Hambidge Center, Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), and the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors (ACBR) where he is currently Vice Chair of the Diversity Committee. He is also a highly involved member of other community organizations, including the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Park Conservancy, Lake Rabun Association and Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. Rich holds a BS in Business Administration from Pepperdine University and is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta. Although he is new to the Families First board, he has been involved for more than a decade and assisted with their move to the current Westside headquarters.  Kirk shares, “It is imperative to really make a generational difference. We owe it to every child to assist in any way we can to create an equitable and full life.”

Peggy Taylor is an Investment Specialist with the large cap growth equity team at Atlantic Capital Management Company, where she has 26 years of experience. A longtime supporter of Families First, she has served on the endowment board since 2013 and has volunteered in various ways since the mid-1990s. Taylor has two daughters, Emily and Natalie.

About Families First

For 131 years, Families First has been one of Georgia’s leading social service organizations, transforming the lives of children and families in crisis by strengthening the family’s resilience and stability. By focusing on prevention and providing a personal “navigator” to guide families through the complex social services system, the organization’s holistic, comprehensive, results-driven approach moves families from surviving to thriving. Service impact areas include adoption, foster care, parenting classes, education support, supportive housing, counseling and behavioral health services. Visit www.familiesfirst.org and www.makeaplan.net for more information on Families First and its Adoption Program. See the latest activities on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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