Atlanta philanthropist, Lynn Floum, made a
generous donation to Reach Out and Read Georgia in memory of her
dear mother who recently passed and in honor of her close friend
Amy Erickson, who serves as Executive Director. Lynn's mother
instilled in Lynn and her brother a love of reading and the value
of learning throughout life.
"Education and reading is so important for
children," Lynn said in a recent interview with ROR GA blogger
Amanda Berlin. "Books show children possibility. They show them
adventure and that you can overcome challenges."
Lynn also pointed out, "The mission is so
crucial. There is much more about the issues ROR GA confronts in
the public eye right now. And, reading can truly address so many of
them. It can end the cycle of multigenerational
Lynn and Amy Erickson have long had a
relationship built on service. They lived in the same neighborhood
when Amy stopped on the highway to help some homeless women -- both
pregnant -- and their children whose car had broken down on the
side of the road.
Lynn told us of how Amy marshalled the resources
of her neighborhood and mobilized her entire network and community
to help get these women the resources and access to services they
needed to resettle here in Atlanta.
"It was a moment in time for all involved that
was really special," Lynn told us. "She brought the entire
community together, helping these women, and brought a very special
experience to our children, being able to help in this
"Amy saw the need, knew the resources she had,
but knew she couldn't do it alone. She knew how to reach out. She
was the one who got it all started."
In addition to a dear friendship, Lynn and Amy
share a passion for philanthropy. As an inaugural founding Board
member of the National Charity League, Northeast Atlanta chapter
Amy encouraged Lynn to join her to help serve their community and
build leadership skills with their daughters. Lynn joined and two
years later was elected chapter President.
When Lynn's mother passed, she wanted to support
a cause that was close to her mother's heart and fill a need. She
knew Reach Out and Read Georgia was on a mission to help as many
low income children in Georgia as possible. What she didn't know is
that the organization had just set a goal of raising $25,000 with a
strategy to secure 25 $1,000 donors. It was serendipitous that
Lynn's donation was for $1,000 yet marking one more special moment
between these friends.
"My mother grew up in North Dakota where the
winters were very long. She and her siblings would read anything
they could get their hands on. She told us stories of how they
would read the Sears catalog and make up
stories based on the pictures they saw."
"Then, she was a nursery school teacher for 18
years. She always made it really clear to us how important reading
was. She was an avid reader and encouraged us to pick up a book
each summer. She bought me The Secret Garden
and I just got lost in the story."
"She even started a book club and initiated an
annual collection to support a charity of their choosing. She made
a big difference to a lot of people."
Clearly the apple didn't fall far from the tree.
We asked Lynn about some of her other charity work.
She's a newly certified Court Appointed Special
Advocate. These are individuals who meet with children who are
abused or neglected and advocate for their best interest within the
Mother Teresa said "it's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving." Lynn's passion for serving
and giving is infectious and she encourages everyone to give so
that they too can make a difference, directly, in a child's life.
"Even the smallest step you take can make a difference. It's just
very important to do something."