HOPE Atlanta Recognizes "Heroes for Hope" Honorees Shan Cooper & Atlanta Gas Light at Annual Fundraiser

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

HOPE Atlanta, a leading organization dedicated to combating homelessness and hunger in our communities, is proud to unveil the honorees for this year's "Heroes for Hope" awards ceremony. This year's honorees include Shan Cooper, Founder and CEO, Journey Forward Strategies, LLC as the Individual Hero for Hope Award and Atlanta Gas Light as the Corporate Hero for Hope Honoree. Pedro Cherry, President and CEO, Atlanta Gas Light and Chattanooga Gas will accept the Corporate Hero for Hope Award.

This year's event theme, "Visions of HOPE," not only celebrates the distinguished awardees but also spotlights the inspiring individuals and success stories within HOPE Atlanta's extensive network, including clients, staff, donors, and volunteers. These collective stories embody the spirit of hope and resilience within our community. During the event on Oct. 26, 2023, at the Foundry at Puritan Mill, HOPE Atlanta will also unveil its new strategic plan, signaling a bold new direction in its mission to make a lasting impact on its clients and the community.

"With innovation, compassion, and collaboration, we have the power to effect lasting change, permanently transforming lives and alleviating the burden of homelessness and housing insecurity in Atlanta communities. Leaders like Shan and Atlanta Gas Light exemplify the strength of collective effort in our mission to end homelessness," said Julio Carrillo, CEO of HOPE Atlanta. "At Heroes for Hope, we celebrate their unwavering dedication to this cause and express our heartfelt gratitude for their invaluable contributions. HOPE Atlanta not only envisions a brighter future but also has a concrete plan in place to make this vision a reality."

Shan Cooper will receive the award for her dedication and innovation in our community and her outstanding contributions to ending homelessness. Shan is the Founder and CEO of consulting firm Journey Forward Strategies, LLC, which works to drive business transformation across the pillars of people, process, technology, strategy, and organization structure with culture at the core. The local nonprofit community has benefited tremendously from Shan’s strategic guidance and steadfast commitment to helping others. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Grady Health System, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), Georgia Historical Society, and Georgia Music Accord, and is on Emory University’s Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and a Life Member of the Board of Councilors for The Carter Center.

“I am honored and grateful for this wonderful recognition, but having worked with the HOPE Atlanta team, I know that they are the real heroes.  Without hesitation, they are the ones who are physically out in our communities, meeting our neighbors at their point of need and providing hope and healing,” shared Shan.  “Atlanta would certainly be a different place without these amazing heroes. I’m just blessed to know them.”

Atlanta Gas Light will receive the Corporate Hero for Hope Award for their exemplary efforts in addressing homelessness and hunger. Along with the Georgia Public Service Commission, Atlanta Gas Light spearheaded the SEED (Sustainable Environmental or Economic Development) programdesigned to spur growth in Georgia by attracting and retaining new jobs, encouraging investment in Georgia and supporting projects that provide energy conservation and environmental benefits. With services and staff inextricably woven into the communities it serves, Atlanta Gas Light considers it a priority to give back to those communities. It isn’t uncommon to see Atlanta Gas Light representatives and employees at community and volunteer events, and the company has consistently given back to local causes related to energy conservation and assistance, education, environmental stewardship, and community enrichment.

“Our responsibility as a utility is to provide our customers with a basic necessity – the fuel they need to warm their homes, to dry their clothes, to cook their food – but our goal is to be a citizen wherever we serve,” said Pedro Cherry, President and CEO of Atlanta Gas Light. “When we see members of the communities where we live and work struggling to put food on the table or find the housing they need, it’s impossible to ignore. That’s why Atlanta Gas Light and the Atlanta Gas Light Foundation are committed to taking action to address hunger and homelessness in Georgia, and we are honored to be recognized by Hope Atlanta for our efforts.”

Kashi Sehgal Founder and CEO of Retaaza, and Chris Sizemore, CEO of Incisive are the co-chairs for the 2023 Heroes for Hope and their leadership and dedication have been instrumental in helping raise awareness for HOPE Atlanta.

“There is a significant opportunity to end homelessness in our beloved City and supporting HOPE Atlanta’s efforts is critical,” said Chris. “I am extremely honored to serve as co-chair for the Heroes HOPE Gala for the second year as we strive to reshape the lens of equity in the Metro Atlanta region.”


"I am honored to serve as co-chair for this year's Heroes for HOPE gala to spotlight the mission and incredible work of the HOPE Atlanta team. Their understanding that both homelessness and hunger are unacceptable yet intertwined is unique in our ecosystem and their framework for combating these issues is a crucial part of Atlanta's future success,” shared Kashi.

With over 123 years of dedicated service to Atlantans, HOPE Atlanta remains the first line of defense for those facing or at risk of homelessness. HOPE Atlanta is committed to enhancing its services, becoming a one-stop-shop and community convenor, and working one-on-one with clients to establish trust, secure housing, provide access to mental health care, and address other basic needs. The new strategic vision aims to eliminate the complexity in securing the economic and social resources necessary for its clients to thrive.

In its 10th year partnering with HOPE Atlanta, Northside Hospital will return as Title Sponsor. Other top event sponsors include CARROLL, Chick-fil-A, Atlanta Gas Light, Colonial Pipeline Company, Georgia Power, Carter-Haston, EY, Georgia Affordable Housing Coalition, J.P.  Morgan., LocumTenese.com, Perennial Properties, Rent.com and The Home Depot Foundation.

For more information about Heroes for Hope and HOPE Atlanta's mission, please visit Heroes For HOPE Gala 2023 - HOPE Atlanta.