Former Mayor Edna Jackson Named Woman of the Year

Staff Report

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

United Way of the Coastal Empire’s WOMEN UNITED announced former Mayor Edna Branch Jackson as the 2020 Woman of the Year. United Way President and CEO Brynn Grant will hold a Facebook live interview event on Thursday, July 30 at noon to honor Jackson and present an award.  

“As part of the Women Who Rule campaign, United Way WOMEN UNITED® honors an outstanding woman who has devoted exceptional time and effort for the benefit of our community,” said Grant. “We are thrilled to honor former Mayor Jackson for her remarkable achievements, indelible contributions, and leadership. She is the voice of fairness, positivity, and advancement. She has spent her entire life promoting civil rights and serving our community.” 

Jackson served as the first African-American female mayor of Savannah from 2012-2015. She was named three times to the Most Influential Georgians list by Georgia Trend magazine. Jackson got her start during the Civil Rights movement. A life-long NAACP member, she participated in sit-ins, wade-ins, and knee-ins in the cities of Savannah and Tybee Island. At the age of 18, she participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the March from Selma to Montgomery. 

“I am so humbled to have been chosen for this honor. Being named the Woman of the Year by WOMEN UNITED® fills me with pride. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Jackson said in a statement. “The journey continues through our young women leaders in Savannah, throughout this region and across the nation.” 

This week, United Way WOMEN UNITED® is hosting a week-long social media campaign, Women Who Rule, to raise awareness and money to provide women access to dependable transportation.  The campaign, presented by Vaden Automotive, features stories of women leaders and local change-makers from all walks of life.  Funds raised will be used to provide women in need with bus passes, gas cards, and minor car repairs. Having access to transportation will allow women to get and maintain a job, gain an education, and access medical care, food, other basic necessities. 

Since its inception in 2009, United Way WOMEN UNITED® has raised more than $300,000 for transportation assistance. Last year, the organization helped 1,977 women in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty County maintain independence for themselves and their families. 

United Way WOMEN UNITED® mobilizes women to become powerful philanthropists through leadership, fundraising, and advocacy.  By leveraging skills, relationships, and resources in support of United Way, they make a profound difference in the lives of women. Members of WOMEN UNITED® contribute to United Way at a leadership level of $1,200 or more annually.

To give to United Way WOMEN UNITED®, visit or text MOTIVATE to 41444.