The Georgia Center for Opportunity

Peachtree Corners, GA   |


The Georgia Center for Opportunity's mission is to create opportunities for a quality education, fulfilling work, and a healthy family life for all Georgians.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Mr. Randy W Hicks

Main address

333 Research Court, Suite 210

Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 USA

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Formerly known as

Georgia Family Education and Research Council



NTEE code info

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (W05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (J05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Healthy Families Initiative

We have made it our mission at GCO to overcome barriers that
threaten family formation and healthy relationships. We are
driven by a belief — supported by experience and research
— that people from all walks of life are more likely to flourish if
they have an intact, healthy family and strong relationships.

Unfortunately, the reality is that divorce is common, and
cohabitation and unwed childbirth are on the rise. Even many
families that remain intact struggle to maintain healthy relationships.

For more than two decades we have worked to strengthen
families in Georgia, and in January we launched our latest project
focused on the Norcross and Peachtree Corners area, called the
Healthy Families Initiative.

This program is designed to focus on transforming relationships
and families in the Norcross and Peachtree Corners area through
a community-based collaboration between individuals, nonprofits, churches, and businesses. Our goal is simple but not
easy — increase healthy relationships, family formation and stability, and reduce childbearing outside of marriage.

Through this initiative members of the community can
participate in free workshops that focus on the pillars of healthy
relationships through proven curricula like 24/7 Dad, Boot Camp
for New Dads, Strengthening Families, PREP, and How to Avoid
Falling for a Jerk or Jerkette.

GCO has also partnered with subject matter experts like Dr. Brad
Wilcox, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and
Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of
Virginia. In addition to being an advisor for the project, Dr. Wilcox
is evaluating whether the project is changing attitudes in the
community about marriage and family life.

Local businesses, nonprofits and churches are the backbone of
the community, which is why HFI also recruits area businesses
and organizations to be involved in the program.

Population(s) Served

Georgia Center for Opportunity’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative began as an attempt to understand the driving force behind Georgia’s high recidivism rate and develop solutions to reduce this number. Since July 2013, Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) has convened monthly meetings of prisoner reentry experts from the nonprofit, government, academic, and private sectors. These meetings have focused on identifying barriers to successful prisoner reentry and solutions to remove those barriers. With the guidance of these experts, GCO has published reports and advocated for solutions that will help ex-offenders obtain employment, connect with their families, and rejoin their communities.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

Allowing parents to decide where their children attend school is one of the most effective ways to ensure children receive a quality education. GCO has been involved in the school choice movement for more than a decade.

Every child is different – which is why families should have a variety of options when deciding how to educate their children. The goal of school choice is to ensure families have quality educational options – including traditional public school, public charter school, private school (including tax credit and special needs scholarship participants), online education, homeschool, and hybrid school – that will help their children learn and grow.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of Hiring Well, Doing Good initiatives.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Unemployed people, Economically disadvantaged people, Ex-offenders

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The primary pathways to opportunity – strong families, safe communities, quality schools, and stable employment– which historically gave children a chance to succeed, regardless of social and economic background, have experienced a rapid decline in recent years. These are not just public policy talking points – these breakdowns represent a tragic and self-perpetuating loss of human potential. They represent shattered dreams and broken families, and initiate cycles of generational poverty and lost opportunity.

Following what is often referred to as the Success Sequence greatly increases the odds of an individual achieving their potential, virtually guaranteeing their access to the middle class. The result of an academic study, of all American adults studied who got these three things right — finish high school, get a job, and get married before having children— only around two percent lived in poverty. In stark contrast, among those who got all three parts of the sequence wrong, 75 percent lived in poverty, and they were more likely to trigger a poverty cycle that was generational in scope.

To that end, we focus our work at the Georgia Center for Opportunity on ensuring that more individuals are able to access the “success sequence.” Our work is about human potential, flourishing families, and strong communities. Our vision is for Georgia’s communities to be the most vibrant in the country.

Georgia Center for Opportunity is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to increasing opportunity and improving the quality of life for all Georgians. We research solutions to society's most pressing challenges, promote those solutions to policymakers and the public, and help innovative social enterprises deliver results on the ground.

Our research teams identify who in Georgia is falling behind at each stage­—and why—and develops the best policy and community-based solutions for overcoming the failures at each stage. We then advocate policies that enable greater mobility and opportunity, and we invest in leading non-profits and community organizations to deliver measurable change on the ground.

We believe GCO's integrated approach — combining research, advocacy and grassroots delivery — is crucial to
bringing about the change we need, and we've seen it work.

This past year, GCO saw the successful implementation of its recommendations on prisoner reentry reforms. Through a December 2013 report on Increasing Employment Opportunities for Ex-Offenders and a Prisoner Reentry Working Group, GCO promoted common sense proposals for ways the state could remove barriers to ex-offenders securing and maintaining a job. These included such things as lifting driver's license suspensions for ex-offenders convicted of non-driving related offenses, providing offenders with all proper identification needed for employment well in advance of being released from prison, and updating the state's occupational licensing rules and procedures so that ex-offenders have better access to trade licenses and steady employment. After GCO presented its findings to the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform, nearly all of the recommendations were incorporated into the Council's final report to the Governor, and following the 2014 session, several of the recommendations became law when the Governor signed Senate Bill 365.

This is the kind of success we expect to see more of in the coming months. Georgia Center for Opportunity is poised for very strong growth in the near-term.

GCO has worked in many areas of public policy in Georgia, building effective and diverse coalitions
around multiple issues, such as school choice and prisoner reentry:
- In 2007 and 2008, GCO was instrumental in passing the Special Needs Scholarship and the Tuition Tax
Credit Scholarship, programs that are now providing school choice to nearly 18,000 children across
- In 2012, GCO helped lead a coalition of groups that successfully passed the state's Charter Schools Commission constitutional amendment, providing a state-level agency to approve new charter schools.
- In 2013 and 2014, GCO led research and advocacy efforts around prisoner reentry reforms to give ex-offenders
greater access to employment opportunities; many of GCO's recommendations became law in 2014.
- In 2014, GCO released research on ways that charity healthcare clinics in the state could provide
healthcare for uninsured, individual adults in poverty without the need for federal funding.
- During 2013 and 2014, GCO helped a number of direct service nonprofits improve their operations and become self-sustaining, including the Gifted Education Foundation, Every Woman Works, Arete Scholars, and Out of Darkness.

Also, at the request of local community leaders in the Norcross-Peachtree Corners area, for the past two years
GCO has led a coalition of more than 70 nonprofits, schools, and businesses in a collective impact project called
Breakthrough Norcross. The project aims to quantifiably increase specific educational achievements among the
12,000 students served by the Norcross cluster of schools using agreed-upon outcomes, clear metrics, shared
data, and high accountability.


The Georgia Center for Opportunity

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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The Georgia Center for Opportunity

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Gerald Thames

Thames Family Foundation

Term: 2018 - 2021

Keith Schneider


Randy Hicks

Georgia Center for Opportunity

Karin Douglas

Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential

Shaunti Feldhahn

Author, Speaker

Tony Kitchens

Reintegration Services Professional

Tim Bentsen

Executive in Residence, University of Georgia

Christina Williams

Trustee, Adolph Coors Foundation

Cayanna Good

Assistant Commissioner of Adult Education at Technical College System of Georgia

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/26/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/26/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.