Georgia Impact

Sahm Awards benefit town-gown partnerships

Katy Smith, water resources specialist at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, presented a "Virtual Exploration of Georgia's Coastal Wetlands" with environmental science students at the Athens Community Career Academy last fall. Funding from the 2022 Sahm Award was used to purchase virtual reality headsets to support classroom learning in Athens, as well as education at Sandy Creek Nature Center. (Photo by Laurel Clark)

Five local collaborations between UGA and the Athens' community will receive $40,000

Five local projects were selected to receive a total of nearly $40,000 in awards from an endowment established by Athens native and UGA alumna Bobbi Meeler Sahm. The fund, held by the UGA Foundation, ultimately benefits Athens-Clarke County residents as well as university faculty and students who are focused on service and outreach into the community.

The fund was established in 2021 by Sahm, who made a significant contribution to UGA Public Service and Outreach, to provide financial support for collaborations between the university and the Athens-Clarke County community. Inspired by the gift and the impact it will have on the local community, UGA President, Jere W. Morehead directed a $100,000 contribution to this fund using discretionary funds provided to him by the UGA Athletic Association.

“Community service is at the core of our mission at the University of Georgia. Our service commitment to Athens-Clarke County will continue to grow stronger through the community partnerships we are building out of the generosity of Bobbi Sahm and support from President Morehead,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach.

The 2023 Bobbi Meeler Sahm Service and Outreach Award recipients include:

  • Athens Area Parkinson’s Support Group/UGA Mary Frances Early College of Education Speech and Hearing Clinic: To allow speech-language pathology faculty and students to provide education and free screenings for participants in the Athens Parkinson’s Disease Support Group. Educational programs will be recorded for future use.
  • Athens Area Habitat for Humanity Ramp Project/UGA Chapter of Habitat for Humanity: To help low-income residents with mobility issues stay in their residences by building access ramps.
  • Alps Road Elementary School/ UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel Summer Academy Community Camp: To expand the Summer Academy Program to reach underserved Athens-Clarke County youth by providing a camp for rising third- and fourth-graders to explore career pathways and build confidence in multiple academic areas.
  • Downtown Ministries/UGA Office of Service-Learning Campus Kitchen on Wheels: To expand and formalize a program providing hot meals and fresh vegetables to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity as well as underwrite a pilot program at ULEAD Athens.
  • Farm to Neighborhood/ UGA School of Social Work: To build sustainable healthy eating habits in elementary and middle school youth by providing nutrition education that teaches hands-on skills along with healthy meal planning and budgeting tips.

Award winners were selected by a committee of representatives from UGA and the Athens-Clarke community. Applications for the next round of funding will be accepted beginning fall of 2023.

To learn more about the award, go to