Gilliard and Company began serving families in Fall 2020. The CEO, Whitney Gilliard, defined Gilliard and Company as a 501c (3) nonprofit that focuses on ending the foster care to homelessness pipeline as well as serving other resources including trauma intervention and essential support services for individuals and families in the foster care system.
Gilliard said she has been in the system and she knows what it’s like. She said she also knows what it’s like to be marginalized and to feel like someone’s service project, so G&Co is very intentional in making sure that’s not the case for the young adults who join their program.
“We are very genuine in what we do, and I am a firm believer in lived experiences,” Gilliard said. “You can’t necessarily reach people unless you truly have been in their predicament, and I believe that, along with our genuine intentions, is truly what captured the heart of our community.”
Gilliard said when people think of foster care, they generally do not think of quality, and a value of G&Co is to ensure that their young adults do not have less than quality experiences. “One thing we never, never, ever waver on is the quality of care that we give to them,” Gilliard said. “It doesn’t matter how expensive; it doesn’t matter how out of the way; it doesn’t matter how inconvenient — they deserve it and we stand firm on that.”
Gilliard said that she wants young adults to feel hope for their future when they work with G&Co.
“I hope that Gilliard and Company emulates that we are the most hopeful place on earth,” she said.
Gilliard said for G&Co to have won Best Nonprofit Organization in the ‘Best of Savannah’ means the community sees what the organization is doing and stands right behind them. The CEO said she feels the acknowledgement is less of an accolade and more of the community speaking back to the organization.
“I feel like getting this award is the entire community of Savannah looking at us saying ‘keep going, keep doing your work, keep pushing,’ and ‘we’re here for you and we’re standing after you,’” Gilliard said. “That’s the message that we received and it is very encouraging.”
THE ARTICLE FEATURED BELONGS TO CONNECT SAVANNAH
WRITTEN BY: BRANDY SIMPKINS
Living over 18 places has taught me that every child deserves a home. Being a survivor of child abuse has taught me that every child needs to be heard. Growing up in foster care has taught me to bloom where I am planted. Being a mother and a wife has taught me to be resilient. Operating a charity has taught me that people really do want to help. Providing homes for youth in care has taught me that bad days does not mean a bad life. Advocating for children has taught me to be brave.