The Cobb Community Collaborative, formed in 1997 and tracing its roots back to the 1970s, is a membership of nonprofits, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, professional organizations, local government, businesses, associations and citizens who share ideas, expertise and resources to meet the needs of Cobb County.
Bill died suddenly on April 17 at his home in Dahlonega at age 66.
A native of Maryland, he interned at NASA after graduation from the University of Maryland with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
He found his true calling after enrolling as a VISTA Volunteer in 1969 and coming to Georgia as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. Bill went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration and Finance.
Bill volunteered with many service organizations to address homelessness, poverty, and unsafe housing. He demonstrated his commitment for safe, affordable housing as a grant proposal writer, project manager, and program developer in Marietta with a focus on multi-faceted collaborative efforts with private, local, state and federal entities to upgrade shelters, run-down apartment complexes and private homes.
Bill was an advisory board member of the Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness. He founded Help in Housing in Lumpkin County to build houses that were affordable for low-income families. In accordance with his life’s work, the family asked that donations be made in Bill’s memory to the Lumpkin County Habitat for Humanity.
Bill Hanson was a behind-the-scenes guy who was very influential in bringing new resources to the community. He was an extremely special person. While he operated quietly and without fanfare, he did tremendous community based work. He was able to rally volunteers and social services agencies together around resource sharing and collaboration for a common purpose, to help those in need.
Bill helped create an esprit de corps and an environment of cooperation among the human service organizations in Cobb County that you don’t often see in many other counties.
Where there was a need for help, an idea of how to assist, or a group organizing to fill a need, Bill was very likely involved with how it all got pulled together.
The Cobb Community Collaborative’ s Policy Council on Homelessness honored his service by creating the William E. (Bill) Hanson Collaboration Award, and I am forever honored to have been chosen as the 2010 recipient.
The State of Georgia and the Cobb County human services community will be eternally grateful for the work of Bill Hanson over his decades of dedicated and tireless service.
Tod Citron is executive director of the Cobb and Douglas Community Service boards.