Norfolk Southern surprises Atlanta Public Schools with $100,000 donation

Representatives from Norfolk Southern’s J. Whitaker Group (JWG) Employee Resource Group (ERG) surprised the principals of Dunbar and Humphries Elementary Schools each with $50,000 gifts during the Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) Second Annual VIP Breakfast this past weekend.

The VIP Breakfast, part of APS’ annual Back-to-School Bash, engages and recognizes businesses and organizations that have been instrumental in supporting APS’ efforts to educate and enrich the student experiences across Atlanta. 

Left-to-right: Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Lisa Herring; J Whitaker Group Black Philanthropy Month Chair, JQ Braswell; and Dunbar Elementary School Principal, Ernest Sessoms

JWG has an ongoing partnership with Dunbar and Humphries Elementary Schools. For nearly three years, JWG has empowered Norfolk Southern’s employees to volunteer with the schools by hosting educational programing, reading to students, supporting students with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects, and more. Beyond volunteerism, JWG has facilitated in-kind gift giving through school supply drives and monetary gifts coordinated through Norfolk Southern’s Corporate Giving and Good Government Fund matching programs.

This gift allows Norfolk Southern to formally “adopt” them as part of the APS “Adopt-a-School” program. The program works directly with schools to identify their most pressing needs and pairs them with corporate donors to assist in meeting those needs in the form of in-kind support and monetary donations.

Left-to-right: Humphries Elementary School Principal, Jaron Trimble; and JWG Black Philanthropy Month Co-chair, Alex White.

JWG's partnership with APS was facilitated through its #JWGive Campaign in honor of the upcoming Black Philanthropy Month, during which the ERG has decided to support local schools in predominantly black neighborhoods.

More about JWG:

JWG is one of Norfolk Southern’s seven ERGs, which are open to all employees who want to make a difference in the workplace and across the communities that Norfolk Southern serves. ERGs actively promote the benefits of diversity and inclusion while strengthening teamwork and connections across departments and locations.

JWG is named after John Whitaker, the first African American locomotive engineer for Norfolk Southern predecessor railroad Central of Georgia Rail. As a road foreman of engines on Southern Railway, he was also the railroad’s first African American transportation officer. He went on to serve as a road foreman instructor and was a trainmaster until his retirement in 1981.  On Oct. 30, 2001, NS named its new intermodal facility at Austell, GA., in Whitaker's honor.

JWG operates with the following three priorities:

  • Engage with the community: JWG helps to develop young leaders through volunteer work, professional development programs, and exposure to the arts.
  • Empower generations: JWG’s mentorship program focuses on goal setting, problem solving, and expanding professional networks.
  • Enrich our workforce: JWG honors and celebrates the contributions of black Americans to the railroad industry.