LSG's 2014 Heroes: Erroll B. Davis, Jr.


Each year, Lutheran Services of Georgia honors community heroes at the annual Heroes of Hope, Healing, and Strength Gala! On Thursday, September 25, 2014, LSG will honor Lutheran leaders Rev. Darrel and Mary Peterson, community leader Erroll B. Davis, and business leader R.N.C. Industries. We’ll be sharing  information about our 2014 Heroes on our blog. For more information about the Gala, click here.

Erroll B. Davis, Jr. served as superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools (APS) from July 2011 until his retirement in June 2014.   Prior to joining APS, Erroll served as chancellor of the University System of Georgia, where he was responsible for the state’s 35 public colleges and universities, approximately 302,000 students, 40,200 faculty and staff, and an annual budget of approximately $6.3 billion.

Before leading the University System of Georgia, Erroll served as chair of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation – an energy holding company with $8.3 billion in total assets and annual operating revenues of $3 billion at that time – since 2000. Erroll joined Alliant in 1998 as president and chief executive officer. He retired from his dual roles as president and CEO in July 2005, and retained the chair’s post until his move to the University System in early 2006.

Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Erroll served as president and CEO of WPL Holdings from 1990 to 1998. From 1978 to 1990, he rose through the senior management ranks at Wisconsin Power and Light Company, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and president.

Erroll’s higher education experience includes serving as a member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994, and as a former chair and life member of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University. He also served as a member of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees.   A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Erroll earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965 and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago in 1967. He is a member of the board of directors of General Motors, Union Pacific Corp. and the Public Broadcasting System. He is on the advisory board of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences roundtable on community resilience. He is a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee board (2004–2008) and has served on the boards of numerous corporate and community-based organizations.

He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2014 100 Black Men of Atlanta Leadership Award and the 2014 Atlanta Partners for Education Partnership Champion of the Year Award given by the Metro Atlanta Chamber. He was also recognized by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) as one of the “100 Most Influential Directors in America” in 2013 and 2014. He was also recognized as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s “100 Most Influential Georgians” from 2007 through 2011; the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “100 Most Influential Atlantans” in 2006 and 2007; one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America” in 2005 by Black Enterprise magazine; one of the “Top 50 Blacks in Technology” at the Black Engineer of the Year 2005 Awards Conference; and the Carnegie-Mellon Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2004. Erroll also was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America” by Fortune magazine in 2002 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1993, the same year he received a Bronze Medal in Financial World’s “CEO of the Year” competition. In addition, Erroll was honored by the magazine U.S. Black Engineer as the “Black Engineer of the Year” in 1988.

Erroll and his wife, Elaine, established the Davis Family Foundation, which makes annual grants to numerous students in need.


ASAP Students Dress Up For Prom!


On March 22, 15 girls from LSG's Afterschool Academic/Arts Program (ASAP) at Clarkston High School found their dream prom dresses during Athena's Warehouse's Clarkston Dress Day! Athena's Warehouse partners with programs like ASAP to educate, inspire, and empower teen girls. In exchange for three hours of community service, Athena's Warehouse gives teenage girls the opportunity to choose a good-quality prom dress for free.

ASAP students served their communities through volunteering at the MLK Lutheran Day of Service, working with Indian Creek Elementary Students, assisting with LSG clerical work, and more. Four students from other Clarkston schools joined the 15 ASAP students for Dress Day. Together, the girls tried on dresses, modeled for each other, and made new friends. Thank you, Athena's Warehouse, for helping us give our girls a very special prom.

To learn more about Athena's Warehouse, click here. To see photos from Dress Day, visit our Facebook page.

Berguissa Prepares for Her Future with ASAP

At Clarkston High School, the final bell rings, but Berguissa Barry’s day at school isn’t over. Each afternoon, she joins other students for ASAP, Lutheran Services of Georgia’s After-School Academic/Arts Program. There, Berguissa prepares for her future: studying to improve her GPA, practicing for the SAT, and writing college scholarship and admissions essays. When she was only five years old, Berguissa fled her home country of Mauritania, West Africa, along with her mother and brother. On October 31, 2004, the family arrived in the U.S. as refugees, joining Berguissa’s father who had left Mauritania 19 years earlier. Berguissa and her family later moved to Clarkston so she could attend Clarkston High School. A talented and passionate student, Berguissa threw herself into her schoolwork and extracurricular activities. She played soccer, explored the culinary arts, volunteered for school fundraisers, and ran track. English is not her second language, but her third language; she also speaks French and Fula, a language native to West Africa.

Currently a high school senior, Berguissa dreams of attending Oglethorpe University, Georgia State University, or Spelman College to study medicine or engineering. Her experience with ASAP has been overwhelmingly positive. She told LSG, “Since I started this program, I gained a lot of experience, learned a lot about my colleges, and they have been helping me with everything that I need. I definitely encourage that they keep this program going because it would help a lot of students and we actually have fun here doing different activities that interest students in an educational way.” Berguissa is grateful to all her teachers and only wishes the program had started earlier. She plans to continue attending ASAP until the end of her time at Clarkston High School. With dedication, persistence, and help from ASAP, Berguissa is working hard to achieve her dreams.

Now in its third year, ASAP is held at three locations throughout Clarkston—Clarkston High School, Indian Creek Elementary School, and the Tobie Grant Manor. At ASAP, professional teachers and volunteers tutor refugee and at-risk students of all ages. The program also provides opportunities for students to participate in artistic activities, such as writing in journals, discussing literature together, and taking music and arts classes. Teachers, parents, and students have all expressed delight at the program’s success in encouraging creativity, creating a safe space during afterschool hours, and helping students perform better in the classroom.

If you’d like to support students like Berguissa, consider purchasing and donating an item from ASAP’s Amazon wishlist. The wishlist includes school supplies, materials for arts and crafts, curriculum resources, snacks, and more. Click here to start bringing restored hope, transformed lives, and healthy tomorrows to refugee and at-risk children in Clarkston!

Back to School in Savannah!

September is here, and the late summer air is filled with laughter, pattering feet, ringing bells, and the honks of morning traffic—the sounds of children going back to school. Over the summer, Lutheran Services of Georgia welcomed nine refugee children and teens from Iraq and Burma to their new homes in Savannah. With school just around the corner, LSG staff and volunteers scurried to help parents find school supplies and uniforms so their children could start the year in style!

The new school year holds challenges for every child—meeting teachers, tackling new subjects, keeping up with homework, and making friends. Yet many refugee children face additional challenges. To succeed in their new schools, they must learn English, adjust to a new culture, and navigate an educational system that may be very different from what they experienced in their home countries. Without help from a supportive community, refugee children can feel lonely, anxious, and overwhelmed.

Luckily, these nine children have support from their teachers, counselors, and LSG staff and volunteers. At May Howard Elementary school, teachers excitedly welcomed their new students and even helped the younger kids learn how to ride the school bus! Teachers and counselors at Groves High School showed the three high school students around the school’s large campus and are working diligently to help them learn English and state-tested curriculum. LSG thanks all who have reached out to and supported these children as they go back to school!

Backpack in the Park!

Sunday, July 28, 2013 4:00-7:00 p.m. Cator Woolford Gardens 1815 Ponce de Leon Ave.

Come join LSG and For the Kid in All of Us for an afternoon of food, entertainment, and a silent auction while benefiting children in LSG's After-School Academic/Arts Program (ASAP). With the money raised from the event, For the Kid in All of Us will donate backpacks stuffed with school supplies to the refugee and at-risk children whom we serve in ASAP.

Backpack in the Park will be slightly different this year. Instead of bringing a backpack to the event, you just need to make a "virtual" backpack donation by purchasing a ticket for $35 online or $45 at the door. To buy your ticket online, please click here. We'll see you there!

For more information, please visit

Summer Reading

Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, the books of Dr. Seuss: these stories have animated the childhoods of kids across America for many years. On Wednesday, May 22, 50 elementary school students at Indian Creek Elementary School in Clarkston, Georgia became the newest readers of these classic tales—and they were ecstatic about it.

Thanks to a gift from the West Metro Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and several Lutheran churches—Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Hiram, Grace Lutheran Church in Carrollton, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Douglasville, and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Douglasville—each student in LSG’s After School Academic/Arts Program (ASAP) received a book to read this summer. During ASAP, children from refugee families and at-risk youth stay at school in the afternoon to complete their homework, go on field trips, and participate in other fun activities, including book clubs. Having practiced reading books in English throughout the year, they will be more than ready to embark on their summer reading adventure, whether it be There’s A Wocket in my Pocket! or any of the other children’s stories they received on Wednesday!

When LSG staff members arrived in the Media Center of Indian Creek Elementary School pulling a cart with boxes of books on it, a hush fell over the students seated at the tables. That silence was soon broken. Once the children received their books, they began flipping through the pages, chattering with their neighbors. Clutching a book to her chest, one girl declared that she was never going to let it go. Another boy stood up and, with the ingenuousness of a six-year-old, told the LSG staff members, “Thank you for bringing something to us. We love you.”

The real thanks goes to the West Metro Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the Lutheran churches that provided the books. Thank you for giving these children something to read this summer and for filling them with such excitement and joy. We appreciate your contributions!