About Us

Developing a skilled and educated workforce is a critical step in achieving upward mobility for our low-income community.

Promote policies and programs that help low-and moderate-income Savannah families become financially secure

Focuses on local, regional and state issues in these areas: workforce development/adult education; wealth building; and work supports. Issues adopted by the board must be directly linked to reducing poverty.

Step Up Savannah promotes economic opportunity and financial security in Chatham County, GA.  While more than a quarter of Savannah’s residents live in poverty, that percentage jumps to 50% and higher in some neighborhoods. Such high rates have persisted for more than 30 years.

Established in 2005 by a group of community leaders who recognized that the city’s pockets of concentrated poverty impair the economic development of the entire community, Step Up incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 2008 and now has a 39-member board of directors.

The organization acts as a convener, attracts outside resources, adapts and creates effective programs and products, trains neighborhood and nonprofit leaders, and advocates for policies that will improve the lives of low-income families. It works through a participative process relying upon its diverse board of directors and a network of partners, seeking out lasting solutions that enable low-income families to work toward economic self-sufficiency.

When we use the term “poverty” we mean the federal poverty threshold, measured by the individual and family income levels established for government programs. We recognize the limitation of the poverty threshold formula that was established in 1960; it is believed to overstate the proportion of a family budget required for food while understating current realities in the costs of housing, healthcare, and childcare. Therefore, we also use the “self-sufficiency” wage. That is the wage level at which an individual or family has enough income to purchase housing, food, transportation, childcare and healthcare, without subsidy.


Alicia M. Johnson

Executive Director

Jeanelle Brown

Office Administrator

Michelle Mobley

CAP Coordinator

Kimberly Paulk

Public Benefits Manager

Tanika Rivers

Chatham Apprentice Program Manager

Austin Rojas

Community Coordinator

Rachel Smith

Development & Communications Manager

Tonsha Walker

CAP Coordinator