Deborah Scott, Atlanta community advocate, honored by White House

By David Pendered

Deborah Scott, executive director of Georgia Stand Up, has been named a White House Champion of Change for her efforts to promote economic equity and environmental stewardship in Atlanta.

Scott’s citation on the White House page says she was named “for her innovative energy priorities and sustainable living practices making a greener community a possibility in any American city or town.”

Deborah Scott

Deborah Scott: White House Champion of Change

Most recently, Scott has been in the spotlight for her work in organizing a community development plan regarding Fort McPherson. The award-winning plan aims to ensure that the entire community surrounding the fort benefit from its conversion from military to civilian use.

“I am exceedingly humbled to receive the White House’s recognition but I cannot take all of the credit,” Scott said. “The honor truly goes to the dedication and hard work of hundreds of community conscious citizens, organizations, coalitions and public officials determined to move Atlanta forward into the 21st century.”

The mission statement of Georgia Stand Up says the group intends to “create healthy, livable neighborhoods while respecting the right of existing residents to benefit from the progress and developments taking place within their communities.”

The White House statement includes this characterization of Scott’s work:

“Ms. Scott has successfully built coalitions among neighborhood groups, labor, business and students, by framing issues around principles of social responsibility, economic equity, entrepreneurship and environmental stewardship. A tireless innovator and skilled manager, she has established regional tables on equity in transportation policy and economic opportunity using over 25 years experience as an organizer, trainer and expert implementer of complex, mission-driven initiatives.”

Click here to read the White House statement about Scott and to see other winners.

The Fort McPherson community action plan was the result of a 22-month effort that was partially funded by the Ford Foundation.

Georgia Tech students, working under the guidance of Michael Dobbins, a Tech professor of practice and former Atlanta planning commissioner, created a plan with concepts driven by comments, input and advice from area residents.

Here’s how Scott described the process when the plan was unveiled in March:

Deborah Scott (left), executive director of Georgia Stand-Up, debate redevelopment plans for Fort McPherson with Atlanta City Councilperson Joyce Sheperd at a community meeting in 2011.. Photo credit: Donita Newton

Deborah Scott (left), executive director of Georgia Stand Up, debates redevelopment plans for Fort McPherson with Atlanta City Councilperson Joyce Sheperd at a community meeting in 2011. Photo credit: Donita Newton

“The ‘Ah ha moment’ was that these were commuynity folks who came up with these solutions. The wonderful thing is that most of these folks are women. They are professionals or semi-professionals, may have husbands who are veterans, and they ever thought they would become community activists.

“Georgia Tech students were the midwives, and the community was the one who came up with the idea and give birth to it.”

Click here to read a previous story about the document in SaportaReport.com.

Click here to read the report.

Here is the full media advisory issued by STAND UP, which includes the White House statement:

The White House Honors STAND-UP’s Executive Director Deborah Scott

At Champions of Change for Greening Our Cities & Towns Ceremony

 ATLANTA — Deborah Scott, executive director of Atlanta based STAND-UP, today, received national recognition as a ‘Champion of Change’ for her leadership in Atlanta’s sustainability movement by the Office of Public Engagement and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The Champions of Change for Greening Our Cities and Towns ceremony is part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative.

Beyond her leadership at STAND-UP, a “Think and Act Tank for Working Communities,” Scott is founder of TRADE-UP, a model prep-apprenticeship and workforce development program; and a leading advocate for energy conservation, green development, and the creation of a 21st century American workforce. She is convener of Emerald Cities Atlanta and at the forefront of Atlanta’s Better Buildings Challenge, two national initiatives created to drive economic growth by retrofitting commercial buildings for energy efficiency.

Fort McPherson Community Action Plan

Fort McPherson Community Action Plan was coordinated by Georgia Stand Up.

Scott is renowned in Atlanta’s community development; delivering such results as “The Fort McPherson Community Action Plan,” recently cited by the American Planning Association as an exemplary model “that create communities of lasting value.” Her success is based on building coalitions among neighborhood groups, labor, business, and students; and framing issues around principles of social responsibility, economic equity, entrepreneurship, and environmental stewardship.

“I am exceedingly humbled to receive the White House’s recognition but I cannot take all of the credit,” Scott said. “The honor truly goes to the dedication and hard work of hundreds of community conscious citizens, organizations, coalitions and public officials determined to move Atlanta forward into the 21st century.”

Scott, a Boston native, attended high school in Oberlin, Ohio and is a 1993 graduate of Clark Atlanta University. Her path-breaking that is unmatched in scope.  As convener of the Atlanta’s Emerald Cities Collaborative she lobbied for strong community benefits and project labor provisions as requirements for the City of Atlanta’s green contracting and program subsidies. These efforts resulted in Mayor Kasim Reed signing a letter of intent with Emerald Cities Atlanta to incorporate these elements into City of Atlanta contract compliance standards.

The White House recognizes various groups of Americans, nominated through a public process, who embody the President’s goal of building an America that will win the future. These groups range from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists.  The Champions of Change for Greening Our Cities and Towns award ceremony is available on the White House You Tube Channel.

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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of Communications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 24, 2012

White House Highlights Deborah Scott as a Leader in Greening our Cities and Towns and as a “Champion of Change”

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, April 25th, the White House will highlight Deborah Scott as one of nine individuals who are Champions of Change for greening our cities and towns.  The event will honor leaders who are using innovative approaches to promote energy efficiency, revitalize outdoor spaces, encourage transportation options, and improve quality of life in our cities and towns.

“Healthy, sustainable communities support a strong economy and better quality of life for Americans,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The leaders we’ve selected as Champions of Change are finding creative ways to make their communities healthier places to live, work and play, and demonstrating how a healthy environment and strong economy go hand in hand.”

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

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Leadership In Atlanta’s Drive Toward Sustainability

Stand-UP • Trade-UP • Emerald Cities Atlanta

 Stand-UP, A Think and Act Tank for Working Communities,” has for the past 7 years, been one of the most effective research and advocacy organizations in the Atlanta region. Founded by Atlanta area labor organizations and led by White House Champion of Change designee Deborah Scott, its programs focus on community engagement, transit justice, economic inclusion, and community planning and development.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Highly effective community engagement, advocacy and outreach programs including monthly “Alliance” forums, a Policy Institute for leadership training, “STAND-UP & Vote!” education initiatives, and “STAND-UP for Transit” an initiative to achieve equity for low-wealth residents in transit-oriented development.
  • Effective advocate for Community Benefits and progressive workforce policies, winning precedent setting agreement with the Atlanta BeltLine light rail project supporting local hiring and training programs.
  • Produced the “Fort McPherson Community Action Plan,” a comprehensive community-driven plan for theredevelopment of a 488 acre decommissioned military base as a transit-oriented, mixed-use, development featuring community benefits and local accountability. Cited for excellence statewide by the Georgia Planning Association and nationally by the American Planning Association.
  • Innovator of “Green Zones” an Atlanta focused development concept that integrates transit, energy efficient housing, brown field remediation, waste reduction, local food production, and environmental preservation into a comprehensive strategy for sustainably transforming disinvested urban neighborhoods.
  • Affiliate of Trade-UP, a model workforce development agency offering prep-apprenticeship training through AFL-CIO Multi-craft instruction and hands-on application of 21 trade skills for underserved populations including long term unemployed, youth, women, and “second chance” job seekers.
  • Lead workforce development agency for Emerald Cities Atlanta’s model workforce pipeline.

Trade-UP is the workforce development affiliate of Stand-UP. Founded by Deborah Scott in partnership with the Atlanta/North Georgia Building Trades Council to provide prep-apprenticeship training to residents of low-wealth, historically disinvested Atlanta communities, Trade-UP has become one of the most visible and effective workforce agencies in the Atlanta region.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Strong partnership with Atlanta/North Georgia Building Trades Council for union-supported skills instruction and hands-on application of craft techniques.
  • Completed five training cycles and graduated 104 participants.

About David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with nearly 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.
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