2023 – 2027 Plan Update

This Chapter Development Plan is a five-year plan to develop and expand the efforts of the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association (GPA). GPA is a 1,000-plus member organization of professional planners and planning officials who serve Georgia’s communities, at all levels of government, the private sector and not-for-profit organizations.

GPA is registered with the Georgia Secretary of State as a Domestic Non-Profit organization, 501(c)3.  GPA has been a registered non-profit since October 11, 1968. In 1982, the original GPA merged with the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association into a stronger, functional entity, the current GPA.

This plan focuses on the delivery of member services, professional/educational programs, advocacy, awards, communication, and more. An important part of this Development Plan is an Annual Work Program that helps the Chapter identify right-sized tasks that can be accomplished by Chapter leadership, staff, and volunteers on an annual basis. The Annual Work program also identifies a “champion” for each task who will lead the GPA Board, Committees, and members in that area.

Mission of the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association (GPA)

The primary purpose of this Plan is to support the chapter’s mission.  In keeping with the motto of the American Planning Association, “Creating Great Communities for All,” GPA’s mission is to provide leadership to plan and build vibrant communities throughout Georgia; advocate support for sound planning; and provide its members with tools, services, and support that advance the art and science of planning.


This Chapter Development Plan was prepared by the President and other members of the Executive Committee and vetted and approved by GPA Board of Directors.  It is modeled after the 2015-2035 American Planning Association Development Plan. This plan is intended to be a living document and be regularly updated to reflect changing conditions, as well as the evolving goals and vision of the chapter’s leadership.

This latest version of the Chapter Development Plan is the result the input and feedback of the Board of Directors. 

Chapter Development Plan Strategies

1. The GPA Executive Committee will SERVE IT’S MEMBERS by reducing its heavy reliance on volunteers.

The GPA Executive Committee will efficiently utilize the chapter’s financial resources to expand the services to its membership through the employment of qualified vendors to assist in the day-to-day operation of the Chapter. Thanks to our strong financial position, the chapter now finds itself in a good position to seek out additional help.  The Board is reluctant to hire an Executive Director due to past history with such a position, but is supportive of hiring additional vendors such as those already utilized to assist with programs, web support and accounting.  Overall, GPA will ensure the services we offer are of value to our members in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  In doing this, GPA leadership will ensure the long-term financial health of the Chapter through close adherence to its financial policies.

2. GPA will LEAD the planning movement in Georgia

GPA will be relevant, nimble, and at the forefront of issues and trends facing planning in Georgia. GPA will work to advance sustainable planning and other best practices. GPA will build capacity of practicing planners and nurture innovation and creativity in the profession. GPA will invest in the future of the planning profession through mentoring young/emerging planners and students.

3. GPA will COMMUNICATE AND ENGAGE to foster quality leadership and participation in the Chapter and planning in Georgia.

GPA will promote planning successes and best practices through awards and media communication. GPA will encourage members to volunteer to promote the profession through involvement in GPA and/or local community planning activities. GPA will build champions for planning through volunteerism and recognizing elected and appointed officials.

4. GPA will ADVOCATE for planning, planning leaders, and good government in Georgia.

GPA will communicate the value and role of planning in building Georgia communities. GPA will strengthen our policy and advocacy program at the state and local level to promote awareness of planning issues to members and elected officials. GPA will support and promote policies and practices that reinforce the value and role of planning. GPA will promote the value of our professional credentials, particularly the AICP credential.

5. GPA will INSPIRE building great communities in Georgia.

GPA will inspire planners to be creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative in developing and promoting best practices for planning in Georgia. GPA will collaborate with academic institutions in the state to shape the future of the planning profession and its professionals. GPA will instill in its members and citizen planners throughout the state the highest ethical standards with a fundamental focus on the public interest. GPA will advocate for diversity (demographic) in the planning profession reflective of the communities we serve, among members and elected and appointed officials.

6. GPA will SUPPORT planning professionals through all stages of their careers.

GPA will provide career path support for all members (academic, career development, retirement) through engaging programs and services. GPA will provide high-quality education programs that protect and enhance the value of the AICP and FAICP credentials. GPA will provide leadership development and succession planning opportunities for emerging and mid-career professionals. GPA will work to grow and diversify (demographic) its membership of professional, academic, and citizen planners.

7. GPA will PARTNER to leverage resources and build coalitions in Georgia.

GPA will enhance the depth and breadth of our partnerships with allied organizations and professions throughout the state. GPA will work to foster interdisciplinary approaches to address planning and related issues.

Roles and Responsibilities of GPA Officers/Board Members/Committee Members

The Chapter leadership includes several positions in its by-laws that are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the chapter. Included here are the roles and responsibilities of each position as it relates to the Chapter Development Plan.

Board of Directors/Executive Committee

  • See Article VI, Section 3 of Bylaws
    • Develop Chapter Policies
    • Approve Annual Budget
    • Approve Chapter Development Plan and Annual Work Program
    • Appoint Audit Committee
    • See Article IX, Section 1 of Bylaws (Executive Committee)


  • See Article VII, Section 3 (a) of Bylaws, among others
    • Call and Preside at Meetings
    • Develop Policies in Coordination with Board
    • Prepare an Annual Budget with Treasurer
    • Coordinate Review and Update of Chapter Development Plan and Annual Work Program
    • Prepare and annual report and submit to APA
    • Represent GPA at APA Chapter Presidents Council
    • Sign all contracts and other formal instruments
    • Appoint the Elections/Nominations Committee

Vice President of Programs

  • See Article VII, Section 3 (d) of Bylaws
    • Prepare/coordinate annual conference and other conferences/events of the Chapter
    • Chair the Programs Committee (See Article IX, Section 5 of Bylaws)
    • Engage Event Sponsors
    • Advertise the Events
    • Obtain CM Credits for AICP
    • Coordinate with GPA Events Planner
    • Delegate other duties as needed to committee members to ensure successful events

Vice President of Chapter Services

  • See Article VII, Section 3 (e) of Bylaws; Article IX, Section 6
    • Chair the Chapter Services Committee (see Article IX, Section 6 of Bylaws)
    • Prepare timely newsletters to inform and educate membership
    • Maintain Chapter website and social media accounts
    • Provide Membership Services
    • Coordinate with the Chair of the Diversity Task Force
    • Engage and seek out Annual Sponsors
    • Delegate other duties as needed to committee members to ensure member satisfaction


  • See Article V, Section 6; Article VII, Section 3 (f) of Bylaws
    • Maintain membership records in accordance with APA and Chapter guidelines
    • Maintain meeting records in accordance with Chapter requirements in a transparent manner
    • Oversee the awarding of GPA Service Awards


  • See Article VII, Section 3 (g) of Bylaws
    • Maintain financial records of the Chapter in accordance with Bylaws and common accounting procedures in a transparent manner
    • Follow and maintain the Financial policies of the chapter
    • Prepare the annual budget in conjunction with the President
    • Oversee the preparation of the annual tax returns

Professional Development Officer (PDO)

  • See Article VII, Section 3 (h) of Bylaws
    • Chair the Professional Development Committee (See Article IX, Section 3 of Bylaws)
    • Promote and ensure access and training for the AICP credential
    • Promote the GPA CM Partnership Program

Planning Officials Development Officer (PODO)

  • See Article VII, Section (j) of Bylaws
    • Advise Board and serve as a liaison to local planning commissions throughout the State
    • Coordinate with professional planners, GA Dept. of Community Affairs, and others to promote continuing education of planning commissioners.

Student Representatives

As appointed by each school’s Student Planning Organization, be a liaison to GPA in matters relating to planning education, events, attendance/volunteering, and conferences

  • See Article VII, Section 3 (i) of Bylaws
    • Serve as a liaison to the Board and all students in the Chapter

Higher Education Board Representative

  • See Article VII, Section 3 (h) of Bylaws
    • Advise the Board and PDO of the evolving character of planning education, trends, etc.
    • Help to build stronger relationships between GPA and state planning programs at Georgia Tech, UGA and Savannah State

District Directors

  • See Article VI, Section 10 (b) of Bylaws
    • Provide at least one annual gathering of Chapter members within the sub-state district represented by such Director. The form of such annual gathering shall be at the discretion of the Director, but may consist of a luncheon meeting, social event, or professional development or training opportunity, among other things.
    • Encourage members and communities to apply for Chapter and National Awards and Programs (ex: Great Places in America)
    • Communicate on a consistent basis with members in their district

AICP and Non-AICP Directors and other Board Members

  • Build Partnerships with Allied Organizations and Agencies
  • Actively participate as a member of at least one of the committees (Programs, Awards, Chapter Services, etc.) of the Chapter
  • Encourage members and communities to apply for Chapter and National Awards and Programs (ex: Great Places in America)

Policy and Advocacy Committee Chair

  • Provide ongoing information and educational resources to members of legislative activities in Georgia
  • Prepare position and briefing statements on various legislative topics affecting planning
  • Testify and speak on behalf of GPA before legislative committees and other bodies
  • Coordinate Chapter Representatives of the Planners Advocacy Network

Awards Chair

  • Maintain an awards program that recognizes good examples of effective planning in the state and local elected and appointed officials who have had a positive impact on the planning profession

Mentor Program Chair

  • Implement the Mentor Program successfully.

Emerging Planners of Georgia (EPG) Representative

  • Host various events (educational and social) to promote career development and networking for all members
  • Actively reach out to planning programs at universities to advertise EPG events and recruit new members

Download PDF of Georgia Chapter Development Plan for 2023-2027