Nell Benn, LCSW
Nell Benn joined the Agape Youth & Family Center in January 2003. At that time, the after-school program operated in a 2,000-square foot space, one day per week, serving 25 children. Under Nell’s leadership, Agape has grown to an innovative in-school and after-school program serving almost 200 children five days per week during the academic year and operating multiple camps during the summer months. Additionally, Nell has implemented community initiatives such as the Great Backpack Giveaway, Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway, Extreme Bedroom Makeover and Holiday Gift Store – annually serving over 3,000 children and families in the broader Atlanta community.
Nell has led the programmatic and fiscal growth of Agape, increasing the annual budget from $200,000 to $2.5 million, launching the implementation of an innovative in-school program model and growing the staff from two to 30. Her most recent notable accomplishments include leading a team to achieve and exceed an $8.5 million capital campaign goal. The purpose of the capital campaign was to purchase and renovate a building, bringing all Agape programs to one central location. The campaign fundraising goal was achieved in half the time projected, two as opposed to four years. The annual operating goals were achieved during this time as well.
In January 2018, Nell and her staff moved into the new 35,000 square foot space, which is complete with a seniors’ room, state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, gymnasium, recreation room, computer lab, library, multi-purpose room and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) room and nine study rooms. The new space will allow Agape to increase capacity and create opportunities for cross-generational engagement via the pollination of the after-school and senior citizens programs. In addition, Agape will provide parenting classes, english as a second language classes, computer classes and so much more for youth, parents and seniors in the community.
Nell holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Georgia Southern University and a master’s degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University. Nell currently serves on the Board of Directors for Atlanta Berean Community Development Corporation, the Board of Directors for Julie’s Dream and is in the current 2020 class of Leadership Atlanta. In 2002, Nell was appointed by Governor Roy Barnes to the Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists, where she served for three years. Nell also previously served on the Advisory Council for Georgia State University’s School of Social Work and Inspire Atlanta through the Atlanta Women’s Foundation. Nell has a passion for education and a desire to ensure that every child is afforded the same opportunities to succeed no matter their socio-economic status. Nell’s positive spirit, energy and innovative thinking have led Agape to where it is today. Nell resides in the Atlanta area with her husband and two children.