Membership in the Magnolia Society is open to any woman who donates at least $500 to United Way of West Georgia, Inc. (whether on her own, in partnership with her spouse or completely through the contribution of her spouse). Magnolia Society hosts an annual Spring Luncheon that is open to members and prospective members, as well as a fall member event.

In addition to those events, members are encouraged to participate in efforts to support our Signature Focus Issue, Early Learning activities such as book distributions to physicians’ offices and public health offices, and book distributions to the summer feeding sites.

Signature Issue: Early Childhood Education

Seven years ago, United Way of West Georgia asked a group of committed volunteers to come together to create a Women’s Leadership Council, creating more structured and ongoing opportunities to raise awareness around early childhood education. Our Women’s Leadership Council, the Magnolia Society, has brought together a diverse group of women to raise funds in support of early childhood education and to lead the community in taking action. The Signature issue for the Magnolia Society is Early Childhood Education.

While looking for unique ways to increase our impact, the need for action around early childhood education and school readiness became clear. Children in West Georgia are reaching kindergarten with vastly different experiences—some are reading by the time they enter Pre-K and others come without exposure to basic ideas such as colors, shapes and letters.

With so much of a child’s brain development happening before the age of five, it’s critical to reach children and parents as soon as possible and in as many ways as possible. United Way of West Georgia and Magnolia Society play an important role in leading much-needed community change around early childhood education.

In West Georgia, there is a striking lack of understanding of how critical the first five years of a child’s life are to their ongoing education. A child’s brain develops 80% of its capacity by the time he or she reaches the age of three. By five, the brain has developed to 90% of its capacity. Many parents don’t realize how important it is for them to read to, sing to and talk to their young children. They assume education starts in kindergarten, when in actuality, it needs to start at birth.

If a child enters kindergarten behind, their chances of reading on grade level by third grade are much slimmer. If that child isn’t reading on grade level by third grade, they are four times less likely to graduate from high school.

To combat the lack of awareness around early childhood education, our volunteers are meeting with the community stakeholders, holding awareness events across the county, raising funds, and working with community organizations, local government and child development centers to find solutions that help us reach more children and parents in West Georgia. These collaborations, our Success by 6 program, and our connections to partner agencies allow us to lead this movement.

Magnolia Society volunteers are working to bring early childhood education to the forefront of community leaders’ and parents’ minds. With much more work to do, we are committed to expanding our reach every year, making early childhood education a priority for all throughout West Georgia.

Since 2011, The Magnolia Society has raised approximately $165,000 for Early Learning programs for school readiness. One of the ways they raise funds is through The Signature Fund Raising Event, which is LaGrange Has Talent. LaGrange Has Talent takes place in November and showcases Troup counties local talent. The talent ranges from singers to instrumentalist to magicians and so on. Everyone is encouraged to participate, no matter your age or talent. LaGrange Has Talent would not be possible without our generous sponsors and donors. Thank you!

If you would like to participate in LaGrange Has Talent or be a sponsor, go to: for more information and to sign-up.

It takes a lot of volunteers to put a large event like this together and for it to run smoothly. If you would like to volunteer, please contact United Way of West Georgia at 706-884-8292.

Congratulations to Our 2021 Winners!

Pictured above are LaGrange Has Talent 2021 Grand Prize Winners, “Kite Strings”. The violin sibling trio, Jacob, Andrew, and Shealyn Kite won $2,000 and the hearts of the judges and crowd.
The People’s Choice Award, raising the most money and winners of $500, went to the band “Eleven Times Lola”. Band members not pictured are Benjamin Braden, Hudson Cauble, Ethan Duffield, Hope Headrick, DJ Hightower, Inman Huffman, Lennon Headrick-Bailey, Claudia Lundy, Tylynn Moncy, John Harden Roberts and Herra Thurman.