Community-Based Organizations Make A Difference Where it Matters Most

Community is the bedrock of any city, and for many, local community-based organizations (CBOs) are the connection they need to vital services. In Atlanta, GA, Ser Familia is one such CBO, providing vital support to the city’s Hispanic population.

Working through five offices in Atlanta, Ser Familia provides a wide range of family services, including parenting classes, couples and youth programs and domestic violence services. As the city’s Hispanic population continues to grow, Ser Familia also provides rental, food and financial assistance to struggling families, as well as mental health counseling through each of their offices. In total, Ser Familia serves about 6,000 clients each year.

“Our Latinos and our Hispanic community have a lot of challenges,” said Belisa Urbina, CEO of Ser Familia. “There are very few services, and sometimes these are very difficult to get, in particular if that family is undocumented or is a family with mixed status.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US in 2020, these challenges were made worse. To help Ser Familia extend their reach, the CDC Foundation provided a grant the CBO used to educate communities about the risks and create COVID-19 and flu vaccination opportunities–a vital service for Atlanta’s Hispanic community. To ensure their message reached those most in need, Ser Familia worked with local community leaders in churches, trailer parks and other focal points so those leaders, once educated on the risks of COVID-19 and flu, could amplify those messages.

CBOs like Ser Familia have been the backbone of CDC Foundation's efforts to reach deep into local communities with vital public health messages and services. To date, the CDC Foundation has directly supported more than 300 such CBOs. As many in underserved communities face challenges with housing, finances, nutrition, access to healthcare and a host of other needs, the work of organizations like Ser Familia remains vital.

To learn more about the work of Ser Familia, watch this interview with Belisa Urbina.

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $22,724,994 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.

David Snyder
David Snyder is the content director for the CDC Foundation.