2018 Super Bowl Ads – Commercials or Politics?

What a game. There's comfort in camaraderie, rallying behind a fellow, feathered football team. Congrats to the Super Bowl LII champion, Philadelphia Eagles. 

Almost as exciting as the game itself, the commercials have taken on their own importance as a part of the "Big Game's" pageantry. A growing trend from company's is to showcase a stance surrounding some our most polarized social issues. You might remember last year's Airbnb "We Accept" commercial. 

Certainly not every company set out to make a statement, but it was impossible to avoid the civic tones struck in a large portion of ads. Will this trend continue? Will companies continue to put themselves forward as the moral compass within our country? 

As the head of a nonprofit, I love seeing billion-dollar marketing budgets being used to spread awareness about our communities most pressing needs. Here are 5 ads that stood out to me:

Disaster Recovery (Budweiser)

Budweiser promoted their effort to send clean water to Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico after the recent hurricanes. According to Budweiser, their Cartersville, GA brewery has provided 2 million cans of water this year alone.

Clean Water (Stella Artois)

Like Budweiser, another beer company, Stella Artois this time, focused on water. Matt Damon, co-founder of Water.org, promoted their partnership and encouraged viewers to buy a beer chalice (here) to support safe drinking water in developing countries.

Diversity (Coke)

Coke's ad promotes the diversity of its brand and products and links that to the diversity of its customers, aiming for a message of unity and inclusion. 

Nationalism (WeatherTech)

WeatherTech promotes a nationalist message with their commercial, featuring the building a factory alongside images of the USA flag. The commercial ends with:  “At WeatherTech, we built our factory right here in America. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?”. 

Win or Fail? (Dodge)

In Dodge's "Built to Serve" ad, the use of an excerpt from a Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech probably seemed like a good idea, but the backlash online has the company looking tone deaf and opportunistic. But, people are talking... 

Is this nothing more than smart advertising, or are companies taking BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s recommendation (see Larry Fink’s open letter to CEO’s), and taking more responsibility for their effects on society? 

What do you think about this trend? Let us know on Twitter.

P.S.  My favorite non-political ad was “Alexa loses her voice.” What was yours?



Atlanta Unites Over Supper and Service

And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.
— Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution"

Reverend Dr. King's passion for service and helping others is at the core of our work. Our mission and values to ignite a passion for service and create life-long community volunteers through civic engagement, diversity and inclusion, community partnerships, and the pursuit of excellence read more like a quote from one of his iconic speeches than something we try to pursue everyday. 

To say the MLK Day holiday is important to us is an understatement. Our small, but mighty team, dedicates months of our year to planning and executing a series of events to try and honor his legacy and commitment to service the best we can. Because this year is the 50th Anniversary of his assassination and the MLK Day of service fell on his birthday, we went big and asked you to go big with us. Once again, you stepped up and 1,800 volunteers showed up to serve at 30 projects across metro Atlanta! 

Special thank you to all of our sponsors, volunteers, nonprofits, and schools who came together to help make it all happen. Keep reading to view more details and to view photos from our 2018 MLK Day events.  

2018 hands on atlanta signature sunday supper

On Sunday, January 14, 2018, nearly 200 corporate and civic leaders came together at The Gathering Spot to break bread and barriers at the Hands On Atlanta Signature Sunday Supper. Hosted by 11Alive's Cheryl Preheim, the evening was full of meaningful dialogue and featured a moving performance from actor Leon Rogers, as he relived portions of Reverend Dr. King's "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution." 

The focus of the night was a fireside chat with Prosperity Now's Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Nathaniel Smith of Partnership for Southern Equity. The two shared the stage to explore Reverend Dr. King's "Poor People's Campaign" and take a closer look at the issue of economic inequality then and now. Dedrick brought a national perspective, while Nathaniel held a local lens on the challenges (and work) being done right here in Atlanta. Other speakers included Jay Cranman, Hands On Atlanta President and CEO, V.P. of Community Relations for Coca-Cola North America, Lori George Billingsley, and the CEO of Points of Light, Natalye Paquin.

The diverse room of attendees had a chance to then discuss the issues presented to learn from each other and form some solutions on how to solve the problem of economic inequality. 

Watch the Signature Sunday Supper in it's entirety:

The Signature Sunday Supper was complimented by 50 self-hosted Sunday Suppers across metro Atlanta. In partnership with Civic Dinners, changemakers stepped up to host and attend these unique and fun events, sharing dinner and dialogue. Final numbers of attendees are still rolling in, but you can see some of the highlights here

2018 mlk day of service

To celebrate Reverend Dr. King's birthday, it was back to what we do best: rally ATLiens in service! In total we had 30 projects and almost 1900 volunteers come out from English Ave. all the way up Buford Highway.

It was cold, but that didn't stop volunteers from making their impact felt across the city. Parks, nature preserves and schools hosted several beautification projects, building benches, gardens, painting, and more! Volunteers delivered meals to seniors, planted trees at several cemeteries, packed medical supplies, and more.  

The day of service was larger than anticipated, thanks to the incredible support from the 20+ corporate sponsors who came out help us celebrate. A huge thank you and special shout out to our title sponsor The Coca-Cola Company, who's been supporting our MLK Day of Service efforts for almost 30 years! 

Inspired to act? Consider making a donation or sign up to volunteer!



3 Easy Ways to Give Back This Giving Season

Tis the season, Giving Season

It's here. That time of year where you get ALL the emails, pretty brochures, social media posts, phone calls, and even a carrier pigeon or two asking you to donate. It's pretty exciting to learn about the incredible work so many nonprofits are doing, but it can also be a little overwhelming, leaving you wondering where your dollars should go or how you actually donate.

Well, fear not. We've come up with 3 easy ways for you to give back to your favorite nonprofit (Hands On Atlanta ;)) to make a lasting impact throughout next year! 

1. Join Georgia Gives Day on Giving Tuesday!

Since 2012, Georgia Gives Day has helped raise over $13 million for Georgia nonprofits. On November 28th, they've teamed up with Giving Tuesday to prove giving a little--together, will do a lot for the causes you care about. Whether you can donate $10 or $10,000 (we'd love the latter), it all adds up to more volunteers solving more problems in Atlanta. That's more tutors to read to kids, more backpacks to fill with food, and more shovels to dig up dirt in parks. 

Getting started is easy. Click the button below to make a donation OR to start a fundraiser. If you start a fundraiser you can raise money for Hands On Atlanta from your friends and family. 

2. Become an Annual Member of Hands On Atlanta

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So you're short on time, but want to make a consistent, meaningful donation? Becoming an Annual Member of Hands On Atlanta just might be the right choice for you! In less than 2 minutes and just $8/mo, you can help us provide Atlanta with:

  • 1 Meals4Kids backpack for a weekend for 6 months OR
  • Education materials for tutoring 2 students per year OR
  • Snacks for 3 students at Saturday Discovery sessions for the year 

A little goes a long way. Plus, you'll be an official Hands On Atlanta member! Members will get access to exclusive news and events, a private Facebook group (starting in 2018), unlimited high-fives, and you'll own bragging rights with your friends. It's a pretty great deal.  

3. Click the Donate button.

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Ahh, yes. The ol' Donate button. In case you forgot where it was located. Head on over to our Home page and look for that blue button in the upper right hand corner. You can't miss it. Simply fill out the quick form, tell us what impact program you'd like your donation to go to and voila, you're done. 

You can toss funds towards our Civic Leadership Program, Americorps, TeamWorks!, Discovery, Meals4Kids, and more!

On mobile?

From the home page, just click the sandwich in the upper right corner to show the menu. Then, just hit the that big Donate button at the bottom of the menu. 


Now, we know what you're thinking, and the answer is "yes!" We're still going to send you an email or two, post our impact and the importance of our work on social media, and deliver a fancy little note in the mail in case you really like seeing all those things. Don't worry though, this year we've pardoned all pigeons from any volunteer work.

Thousands of Volunteers Rise Up for Hands On Atlanta Day

Thousands of Volunteers Rise Up for Hands On Atlanta Day

You did it Atlanta. You showed up by the thousands and helped celebrate the city's biggest day of service in grand fashion. From helping raise funds for hurricane relief efforts at our Kick-Off Party, to rolling up your sleeves and getting to work, you showed what it means to be an ATLien. You showcased what empathy and inclusion looks like and more importantly, what can be accomplished when service unites!