As the COVID-19 pandemic left people jobless, government agencies rolled out financial support and other assistance to those in need.
Sugar Hill Mayor Pro Tem Taylor Anderson is reaching into his own pocket, donating his 2021 council salary to charities in northern Gwinnett County. For his part-time work with the city, he brings home about $4,500 per year, giving him $375 to give away to a new group each month.
“It’s incredible how hard these folks and nonprofits are working and the resourcefulness that they’ve had through the last year in particular,” said Anderson, who took office in 2018. “It’s a heartwarming experience to hear from them, because it’s impressive what these folks are doing on a shoestring budget.”
The pandemic “put a magnifying glass” on the level of need experienced by residents in Sugar Hill and other cities, Anderson said. By donating his salary, Anderson said it will hopefully give the organizations in his backyard some exposure, inspiring others to donate and get involved.
“It’s not a tremendous amount of money, but it is a good way to amplify what these nonprofits are doing,” Anderson said.
The first donation in January went to Sugar Hill’s Gas Department to help residents keep their homes warm. He has since donated to the Kiwanis Club of North Gwinnett, Northeast Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Rest Assured and The Path Project.
The Sugar Hill location of The Path Project, a nonprofit that helps youth in mobile homes to reach milestones like graduating high school and getting into college, received a check from Anderson this month.
“It’s inspiring for me, as a leader of a nonprofit, to see a city official use their platform for the sake of their neighbors,” said Jim Hollandsworth, executive director and co-founder of the nonprofit. “If everyone in every city around metro Atlanta did the same type of thing, we would see great impact, especially in communities where the need is the greatest.”
An April donation from Anderson to Rest Assured, a small Sugar Hill-based nonprofit, will go toward beds that cofounders Ryan and Varessa Butts construct and deliver to people without one. The donation has helped the nonprofit gain more traction on social media, Ryan Butts said.
Outside of his Council position, Anderson owns Blue Landworks, a local civil engineering and land surveying company. He moved to Sugar Hill about 17 years ago, living with his wife, Liz, and their 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.
“(Sugar Hill residents) are always looking for ways to give back and find ways to help people,” Anderson said. “This led us to do what we’re doing this year in giving that salary back, to perpetuate that giving and community spirit that’s really strong within the Sugar Hill community.”
Well-known politicians in the national and state arenas have also donated their salaries in the past, including former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and former President Donald Trump. Like Anderson, both still earned a living from other sources of income.
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