by SaportaReport Contributor Jamie Clements, a leader at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, recently shared his perspectives on the fascinating world of Broadway-bound productions and theatrical investing. Jamie, the Alliance’s director of development, brings both professional and personal passion and knowledge to theatre, and has watched numerous shows originally produced at the Alliance Theatre continue on to successful Broadway or off-Broadway runs. He generously fielded our questions to help others better understand this intriguing world. 1. Jamie, would you explain the Alliance’s history of sending productions to Broadway? a. Since its founding in 1968, the Alliance has premiered more than 100 original productions, launching important American musicals to Broadway, including the Tony Award winners The Color Purple; Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice; and Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Because Atlanta has helped us create such a remarkable venue, and helped support us attracting and hiring incredibly talented designers, costume artisans, set builders and theater run-crews (the people who actually make the shows work each night behind the scenes), the Alliance is in an elite group of less than a dozen theaters nation-wide who specialize in large-scale, pre-Broadway, world premiere partnerships. We have sent nine shows to Broadway and have quite a few in the line-up for future projects, including two hopefuls (Becoming Nancy and Maybe Happy Ending) in our current season. 2. How does the Alliance Theatre partner with investors and producers? a. It is not common knowledge that every show on Broadway is actually a for-profit company, and like most successful companies, the producers who originate these shows like to have a “beta test” or trial run to test their product before scaling it up to Broadway. Your favorites – Wicked, Hamilton, The Color Purple, The Lion King, etc. – all had one of these “out of town try-outs,” as they are called in the theater business, in big regional, non-profit theaters like the Alliance. During these trial runs, the shows change dramatically in rehearsals, and as the producers and directors hear and see the reactions from the audiences during what are called “preview performances.” A pre-Broadway show will often have 10-12 previews before Opening Night at the Alliance, with the show changing every single night until it “locks in” on Opening and remains the same for the remainder of the run. Because of this iterative process in previews, the producers are every bit as interested in our audiences as they are in our staff. The Alliance is a standout in the competitive world of pre-Broadway partnerships because of our diverse, engaged and invested patrons. 3. Does the Alliance Theatre profit when shows they produce go big? a. A wise Broadway investor once said “investing in a Broadway show is the most fun money you will ever lose!” When we enter into an agreement with Broadway-bound shows, the Alliance becomes an investor in that show, but we are most interested in sharing a great new story with Atlanta before the rest of the world sees it. Because we go to great expense to help build, costume and run a show, we do share in a small percentage of the profits after the show hopefully goes on to Broadway, national tours, and sometimes even when it is licensed to grace the stages of high schools, colleges, or community theaters around the country. Any money we receive in royalties is invested directly back into the work we do on our Atlanta stages and in hundreds of classrooms around the state of Georgia. We are always looking to be partners on high-potential shows, not only because they are great fun while they are in Atlanta, but also because we get to help export a great cultural product from Georgia that will then pay dividends we are able to reinvest in our city and community. 4. How have shows performed on Broadway? Any Tony Awards or other accolades? a. The Alliance has been incredibly fortunate with all of our Broadway-bound partnerships, but we are of course very proud of our three Tony Award winning shows (The Color Purple, Aida, and The Last Night of Ballyhoo). These shows were some of the reasons why The American Theatre Wing chose to award the Alliance Theatre itself with a Tony Award for artistic excellence in 2007. The Prom, which premiered at the Alliance in 2017, recently concluded 300+ performances on Broadway and received seven Tony nominations during this past awards season. In total, world premieres from the Alliance have garnered 30 Tony nominations and six Tony Awards. More than anything, the remarkable people attached to these shows – designers, actors, musicians, artists – all form incredible bonds with our patrons, staff and our city, so we see that as one of the best rewards each time we host a pre-Broadway partnership. 5. Have you seen any on Broadway? a. I was fortunate to see The Prom in the final week of previews on Broadway, just days before it had a fabulous Opening Night. It was the first show I’ve been able to see from “beta test” version here at the Alliance, all the way to scaled-up nationwide attention and fame. Selections from The Prom also kicked off 2018’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was a proud moment to watch. 6. What’s your favorite thing about Becoming Nancy? a. One reviewer noted that this is a “life-positive” show, and I couldn’t agree more. It is alive and energetic and exhilarating and funny and heartwarming. Exactly what I want from a great night at the theater. Becoming Nancy is currently running on the brand new Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre until Sunday, October 6. For more information, visit alliancetheatre.org. Featured photo: Jasmine Rogers, Nicole Medoro, Sally Ann Triplett, Zachary Sayle, Jessica Vosk, Lizzie Bea, and Matt Hetherington in the Alliance Theatre’s 2019/20 world premiere production BECOMING NANCY. Photo by Greg Mooney.
By MARTA The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and the Simpson Organization have finalized an agreement to build a pedestrian bridge connecting the Medical Center rail station to Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion, which is being converted from a typical suburban office complex with acres of surface parking lots to a more dense mixed-use development. This will be MARTA’s second project working with a private developer in the Perimeter market to provide direct transit access to a building. In 2017, MARTA worked with State Farm to connect its 8,000-employee southeastern headquarters to the Dunwoody MARTA station. “MARTA is excited to work with the Simpson Organization as they redevelop this prime piece of real estate,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker. “This public-private partnership will benefit those who will ultimately live, work or use the services offered at Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion by providing convenient access to transit MARTA welcomes the opportunity to work with developers who understand the benefits that direct transit access brings to their projects.” In recent years, MARTA – in response to demand from property owners for better connectivity – has been advancing transit adjacent development (TAD) opportunities. TADs are development or redevelopment projects on land owned by others, but adjacent to an existing transit station or bus stop. Upon completion, the redeveloped Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion, now an existing office park situated on Peachtree Dunwoody Road in Atlanta, will be a 1.1 million square foot mixed use development consisting of office and residential space, a hotel and parking space – all conveniently connected to transit. A 2018 report from Cushman Wakefield, “The Growing MARTA Market,” reported that office rents at buildings within a half mile of a transit station were 24 percent higher than the overall Atlanta market. MARTA’s Office of Transit Oriented Development is leveraging private developers’ interest in development at and near MARTA facilities to increase ridership and contribute to the vibrancy of surrounding communities. A. Boyd Simpson, president and CEO of the Simpson Organization, said, “We have always found MARTA to be a professional and productive partner in the advancement of transportation solutions, and our agreement at PDP is yet another example of this success.” The redevelopment project began in early 2019. Construction on the pedestrian bridge will begin in June 2020, with completion anticipated in late September of 2020. MARTA patrons of the station will not be impacted during the construction period. (Photo: Medical Center Station)
By Busola Saka, communications director, CDC Foundation It has been five years since the West Africa Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone resulted in more than 28,000 cases and 11,300 deaths. Now, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is experiencing the world’s second-largest Ebola epidemic in history with nearly 2,200 lives lost since the outbreak was declared in August 2018. The risk of spread to neighboring countries remains high. While progress has been made, this outbreak will continue to burn and pose health, security and economic risks to the world. Now is the time to tip the scales of the outbreak and wipe out the last cases as well as strengthen public health systems for the future. To do so, it is critical that all sectors―the public, philanthropic and private―mobilize together to beat this crisis. DRC needs urgent support to beat back Ebola Since Ebola was discovered in 1976, there have been 28 outbreaks worldwide and 10 in DRC alone—more than any other country. In addition to the current outbreak continuing to play out, there will be lasting consequences to this epidemic once it ends. To aid the DRC response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has requested the CDC Foundation mobilize $15–$20 million to extend the agency’s response working with officials from DRC and other partners. “The Ebola outbreak in DRC is dynamic, and we cannot afford to let our guard down despite the reported decline in cases,” said Henry Walke, MD, MPH, CDC’s Ebola Response incident manager. “We are closely monitoring the situation and using all available resources―including support from the CDC Foundation and its partners―in the most efficient and effective way possible, to stop the outbreak and strengthen health systems in DRC.” Governments have unique capacities and limitations, and therefore are not able to address all the challenges and needs in tackling outbreaks. This is where the flexibility and speed of the philanthropic and private sectors can have greater impact. “I have worked in government, including at CDC, and I know that governments are essential in tackling a health threat like Ebola,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “But I also know that governments have challenges with how fast funding is available, whether enough funding will be available in the timeframe needed to meet emerging and urgent needs, and how that funding can be spent. That’s why flexible philanthropic and private sector support is imperative.” Today, there are many urgent needs that must be met to stem the crisis, such as hiring contractors and field staff to conduct critical interventions like contact tracing, Ebola vaccination and surveillance. Additional support is needed to conduct urgent operations research to inform current medical care and public health efforts for Ebola survivors. In addition, essential response items and services are needed, including communications technology, lab equipment and supplies, generators, motorcycles and travel support. Building on lessons from the West Africa Ebola response The CDC Foundation learned valuable lessons during the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, including the need for resource mobilization and the importance of collaboration among all sectors to stop an outbreak. The Foundation also learned how fragile gains will be if the systems in place aren’t sustained or improved. It is crucial to apply these lessons to contain the Ebola epidemic in DRC as well as turn back future outbreaks, so that the progress made isn’t in vain. During the 2014–2016 outbreak, the CDC Foundation—through financial support from philanthropic, private sector and individual partners—provided vital resources ranging from personal protective equipment to thermal scanning thermometers to health worker training to vehicles to emergency operations centers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to support CDC’s prevention, detection and containment efforts. Recovery efforts remain strong five years later, and these countries are now better prepared to fight future outbreaks. CDC and the CDC Foundation are looking for similar success in DRC to what was accomplished with partners on the ground in West Africa. “CDC has called on the CDC Foundation again to help mobilize support to tackle this outbreak and prepare DRC and surrounding countries for future outbreaks, which we know will occur if we don’t act now,” said Monroe. Learn more about the needs, response and how you can help. Featured Photo and Video courtesy of Gail McCabe, CDC and CDC Foundation. ###
Introduction by John Ahmann, President & CEO, Westside Future Fund Our guest columnist this week is Tracy Techau, Scout Executive/CEO of the Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. Last month, we were fortunate to host Tracy along with a panel of Scout leaders and community partners as the featured presenters for the September 6th Transform Westside Summit. In case you missed it, you can read a recap and catch a replay of the Boy Scouts’ presentation on our Facebook livestream I am grateful to Tracy because he leads by showing up! Although he has metro-wide responsibilities, Tracy and senior members of his team have been regular attendees of the Transform Westside Summit. Thanks to Tracy’s leadership, they have made special efforts to stand up Scout Troops on the Westside. Read more about it below. I am also appreciative of David Moody’s leadership, last year’s Council Board President. A graduate of Morehouse College, David is the founder/CEO of C.D. Moody Construction Company, Inc. David is also the author of “Fighting Through the Fear: My Journey of Healing Through Childhood Sex Abuse”, and through his powerful testimonial seeks to help other victims of childhood sexual abuse recover. Thank you Tracy and David for modeling the Scout Oath in word and deed! Be sure to register and join me at the next Transform Westside Summit on Friday, October 18. What do Hank Aaron, Ivan Allen and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., share with the Westside? Scouting. Contributed by Tracy Techau, Scout Executive/CEO, Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America “Outdoor leadership” is a phrase rarely used to describe Atlanta’s Westside. But the Boy Scouts of America, which started programs in Metro-Atlanta in 1916, is playing a pivotal role in Westside revitalization efforts, and in building leadership skills among Westside youth. Over 15 Scouting programs serve the Westside community. Through our Scoutreach initiative, staff members called Program Specialists serve as the leaders for some Packs and Troops implementing the weekly leadership program. Scouts are provided with handbooks, supplies, and funding for activities and camp, at no charge to the family. Scouting has touched the lives of many of our city’s great business and political leaders, civic activists, educators, and even Hall of Famers, and many of them have served Scouting. Ivan Allen, Sr. was a founding member. Ivan Allen, Jr. served as a Council President, as did Ivan Allen, III. Maynard Jackson grew up as a Scout at Friendship Baptist Church. Hank Aaron was a Scout in Mobile, Alabama and says Scouting taught him skills through the Scout Oath and Law. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Scout at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Boy Scouts of America will continue to thrive and provide character building and training to our children through Atlanta’s great leadership. Our mission is critical. Children today are faced with obstacles that were not a challenge before – they want and need loyalty, trust, and kindness in their lives. They need a village to teach them to always strive to do their best and to serve their community. They need access to learning outside of school – training that sparks interests in future careers. Scouting allows children to try different things in a safe and controlled environment, a place where they can fail and learn. Failure in Scouting may have consequences, they might be a little wet and cold on a campout, or be a little uncomfortable in a leadership role, but they learn how to overcome challenges and lead confidently. Our mission may be lofty, but with the help of volunteers and community partners, we create leaders out of young people – and I think we would all agree that we need more leaders in our world. Our goal is to give every child the opportunity to be a Scout, no matter their background. Mike Dubose, President of Thermo Fisher Scientific, and VP of Scoutreach on the Council’s Board of Directors, leads the Scoutreach team that works to remove barriers that might prevent a child from participating. “In some neighborhoods, it is tough to find volunteers, especially among families who are struggling to make ends meet,” says Eagle Scout Dubose. “All children should have access to Scouting, especially those who have challenges at home.” “Scoutreach support is available to any Scout in need, but we have found that if we can go deep into certain neighborhoods like South Cobb, Marietta City School District, and the Westside, then our resources go further, and our impact is greater,” Dubose says. Dave Moody, President and CEO of C.D. Moody Construction, and past Council Board President, helped to launch the Westside Scouting Expansion in 2017. “Scouting has been in the Westside for decades. Through the generosity of our donors and the vision of our Scoutreach leadership we now provide over 15 programs at many of the churches, at Bellwood Boys & Girls Club, City of Refuge, KIPP, Community Concerns, Ashview Heights, the At Promise Center, and M. Agnes Jones,” says Moody. “Scoutreach is impactful, but it is also more costly than the traditional volunteer led model. Our paid Program Specialists bring consistency and hope to these young people. They show them how to do their best, serve their community and be leaders. To me, that sounds like one of the best investments someone can make,” Moody states. The Scouting ideals are found in two precepts that every Scout recites and lives, the Scout Oath and Law. Individually, the words are simple, but collectively they become words to live by. These principles make Scouting more than what people do, but rather who they are—and what they will be. The Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America is grateful for the 9,200 volunteers that serve our 32,000 youth, and the many donors who invest in Scouting to help build our children into future leaders. For more information on the Westside Scouting Expansion, visit www.atlantabsa.org/westside or call 770-956-3178 for information on how to support a Scout in need.
By Sharon A. Gay, Office Managing Partner, Dentons This fall I want to highlight something outside the usual legal realm: How the NFL—and the Pittsburgh Steelers no less—have played a key role in making Dentons a nationally recognized leader in diversity. You may have heard of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which was created by the late Dan Rooney and is now supported by his son, Art Rooney II, president of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rooney Rule requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach vacancies. In the years following its implementation, the number of minorities hired to fill head-coach roles doubled. The Rooney Rule inspired Diversity Lab, an incubator for innovative ways to boost diversity and inclusion in law, to adopt a similar Mansfield Rule for the legal field, named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the US. Dentons piloted the inaugural version of the Mansfield Rule in the summer of 2017. This fall, we achieved Mansfield Certified Plus status for 2019 after completing the Mansfield Rule 2.0 12-month certification program. The new certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color and LGBTQ+ lawyers for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral positions. The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to increase the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these opportunities. The “plus” part of the certification indicates that, beyond meeting or exceeding the pipeline consideration requirements for certification, Dentons successfully reached at least 30 percent diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of its current leadership roles and committees. Ensuring that lawyers from under-represented groups have opportunities for career growth and advancement—and the support to seize those opportunities—is a priority for me personally. This latest certification is another sign of the value we, as a firm, put on creating and sustaining a rich and vibrant workplace that reflects our clients and communities.
By Metro Atlanta Chamber Metro Atlanta is a global region, home to some of the most well-known international brands and game-changing innovators. The Atlanta Metro Export Challenge (MEC), powered by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, boosts this reputation by providing financial support and mentorship to companies looking to grow their global presence. This month, the MEC named Compass Technology Group, Vital 4 and Skillshot Media as the top three grant recipients. Throughout 2019, companies from around metro Atlanta participated in the MEC to receive grant support to expand their international operations. The program targets small- and mid-sized companies from all industry sectors, whether they sell a physical product, a technology or a service. Over the last three years, 96 companies have received over half a million dollars in grant funding, thanks to the support of program partners including JPMorgan Chase, UPS, Partnership Gwinnett, Johnson Controls and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. In a Pitch Day competition hosted at former MEC grant recipient Trick 3D, five companies presented in front of a panel of judges: Compass Technology Group, Delta Sigma Company, LivFul, Skillshot Media and Vital 4. Three companies emerged as the recipients of further grant funds: Compass Technology Group, receiving $20,000; Vital 4, receiving $10,000; and Skillshot Media, receiving $5,000. This year’s companies represented a wide range of industries, including esports and gaming, bioscience and health IT, cloud software developers and much more. Compass Technology Group, taking home the top prize, is a woman-owned startup specializing in engineering digital signal and sensor technologies. LivFul are the creators of innovative bug repellents, and Skillshot Media is an esports production house. All of these companies will be using their funds to export their products and services at a global scale. The nearly 100 participating companies to-date in the MEC program represent approximately 2,300 employees based in 12 metro Atlanta counties. Additionally, 30% of the participating companies are minority-owned, woman-owned or veteran-owned businesses. Global commerce represents a large portion of the economy in metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. The MEC program allows companies to expand into new markets through exposure to resources and assistance. “[For us] there was a hesitation in reaching out and growing internationally. The Metro Atlanta Chamber made the world a lot smaller. There are things we can do, and there are things we [the business community] can do together,” said Trick 3D’s Chad Eikhoff. “The Chamber is pulling the threads of gaming, film, commerce and all of the little things that make up our economy.” The 2019 Pitch Day event also served as the official kickoff to the 2020 Metro Export Challenge. Companies can apply to the program and learn more here. Additionally, the MEC will be supported by new regional partners in 2020, including the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Decide DeKalb, The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Partnership Gwinnett and Forward Forsyth. “None of this would be possible without our partners. Thank you to Trick 3D for hosting us. And the 2020 Metro Export Challenge is now officially open,” said MAC Senior Director of Global Commerce John Woodward. Reach out to Michael Theisen-Jones for additional inquiries on the Atlanta Metro Export Challenge.
By S. Kelley Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Action Ministries According to recent headlines from popular business sites, the United States is currently experiencing the longest period of economic growth in history at over 122 months. The last stretch of similar proportion was from March 1991 – Mar 2001 (CNBC). This expansion has created wealth, jobs, and massive GDP growth over the past decade. This is clearly a feat unmatched in our country, and one that assumes everyone has benefited. Unfortunately, a higher tide is not raising all boats in our harbor of prosperity. This week we will look beyond the numbers to see who might be left behind and explore opportunities to remedy the imbalance. In May of this year the non-partisan Brookings Institute reviewed the economic expansion in depth, across the globe with some interesting findings. Overall income equality has improved since 2000, with significant upward mobility being recognized by the 50 poorest countries. The opposite was true in 34 of the most advanced economies, United States included, where income inequality worsened (Brookings, Is inequality really on the rise?, May 2019). Income inequality is measured by something called the Gini Coefficient or Gini Index, where 0 is perfect equality and 1 is perfect inequality. According to the Census Bureau, who has been tracking the index since 1912, we are at 0.4845 as a country…Georgia is 0.4822, and Atlanta at an alarming 0.5728 as a comparison. Over the same 10 year period of economic growth, this index actually worsened by 3% in Georgia (US Census Bureau, Data Table B19083). It can be tempting to conclude that the economic expansion only benefited the top earners, and perhaps some exploration into a disproportionate benefit is needed. Income concentration is only one factor, although it does make for a good headline. One culprit that often gets away without penalty is our “point of view.” We live in a world of instant data, instant decisions, and unfortunately an insatiable demand for instant solutions. The reality is that income inequality is not a new phenomenon and it continues to worsen due to an infatuation with policy solutions that are are more concerned with a big splash during the next election cycle, without consideration of the investment needed to sustain upside for the next generation. Rhetoric that offers “free _____ for _____”, or “universal ______” (fill in the blanks) does little to address the systemic challenges facing families living in poverty. At that same time, cuts to social safety net programs for the sake of saving a few bucks in taxes are equally misguided. Some how we must find a way to meet immediate needs as a first step, without ignoring the structural reforms that empower opportunity at a longer trajectory point. Poverty and income inequality are related, and we can say that income inequality is a factor in poverty. Balancing the proverbial ledger may not be the lasting solution we need to address all of the long-term struggles though. Shifting our “point of view” to look beyond the numbers may reveal some real, albeit not headline worthy, solutions that begin to address the inequalities naturally developing in our community. Perhaps it is time we find a measure that helps define success with “human development” in addition to economic development. The United Way of Greater Atlanta is attempting to tackle this for our region with its Child Well Being Index, using data to determine where we should focus our efforts. This has been a valuable tool for my organization, as we work smarter to address the inequalities and systemic challenges facing our community. At Action Ministries, we try to work to address both immediate and long-term needs, with a focus on engaging families for the future. Where we provide food resources to communities, trust is established, leading to financial literacy programs involving the entire family. Rental assistance may offer a budget reboot for a family, but community is built through workshops that introduce families to each other and repair the social safety nets lost during displacement. None of this work is flashy, or will break in the evening news, but it is worthy. Taking the long view means that we may not witness the real impact of the work on the next generation, but we just might change the trajectory of a family’s future for the good. To learn how you can help, go to https://actionministries.net/ehp/
By Nikonie Brown, marketing administrative assistant, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta recently completed its annual General Operating Support grant cycle, awarding more than $1.9 million to 21 nonprofit organizations through a competitive analysis and review process. Here we highlight one of the organizations that received a grant. Partners Advancing Student Success, Inc. (PASS) focuses on improving student success by providing support and services to students in collaboration with their schools and families. PASS targets students’ academic and nonacademic barriers to learning by providing them with mentors, tutors and social services. In its short history, this program model has proven successful as demonstrated by the fact that 100 percent of its case-managed students graduated last year. PASS’ staff, called advocates, have flexibility that school counselors do not have. For example, while school counselors are not allowed to visit students at their homes, PASS advocates can, allowing them to interact with parents more personally to discuss challenges. PASS serves all six high schools and three middle schools in the Carroll County and Carrollton City School Systems. At each of the schools, PASS operates a supply closet that contains snacks, sanitary supplies, school supplies, extra t-shirts and other materials. By meeting basic needs through the supply closet, students have fewer distractions from schoolwork and schools report that the supply closets have contributed to fewer missed days of school. PASS has a steady flow of supplies to these closets thanks to the in-kind donations of local supporters. “Meeting the basic needs of students is the first step in ensuring they are prepared for their academic challenges in life. If a student is hungry, has poor hygiene, poor clothing or poor health, then they are not prepared to learn. We want them to feel safe and supported at school so the extra benefits we can provide to them will help them become productive students. Our role in the schools is to remove those barriers preventing them from succeeding,” said Cynthia Langley, executive director. The work of PASS and its local supporters shows the importance of thriving communities. This collaborative work keeps students happy, supported, and most importantly, in school. For more information on PASS and its work, click here.
By ANDP We all know the trend lines: Housing costs are rising much faster than wages, housing supply isn’t keeping up with population growth, and the number of affordable housing units is shrinking at an alarming rate. Local communities across the region are in differing stages of dealing with their housing challenges, but it’s clearly an issue that has risen in importance among elected officials, residents, and the private sector. In response, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) partnered with other state, regional and local partners to develop the Metro Atlanta Housing Strategy, which is designed as a guide to help local governments and communities better understand and address their housing challenges. At the December 12 meeting of the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, ARC will unveil a new regional housing strategy that focuses on six overarching strategies to: · Increase housing supply · Preserve the supply of affordable housing units · Reduce housing and transportation costs · Expand capital resources · Promote housing stability · Develop leadership and collaboration ARC Executive Director Doug Hooker will provide remarks on the importance of regional planning and coordination around housing in metro Atlanta. He will be joined by David Stockert, retired CEO of Post Properties, to discuss private sector roles in addressing housing issues. The conversation then turns to the specifics of the new housing strategy as ARC Senior Planner Marisa Ghani will discuss the tools available for practitioners and jurisdictions. Rounding out the conversation will be Dr. Tiffany Manuel, President and CEO of TheCaseMade, who works to strengthen the capacity of our nation’s leaders to make the case for building stronger, inclusive communities. Dr. Manuel will share tools and messaging ideas that every housing stakeholder and citizen can use to amplify voices and create the civic and political will needed for change to housing policy. Guiding us through the entire conversation will be our Forum founder and moderator, Bill Bolling. Join us as we continue to search for solutions to our housing questions, and hear from some of the Atlanta region’s most respected voices when it comes to housing, development, and collaboration. We’ll see you Thursday, December 12, at the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 435 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308. The Atlanta Regional Housing Forum is free to attend, but pre-registration is requested. Please register at www.AtlantaRegionalHousingForum.org
By Kate Sweeney Whether you call it new urbanism, live-work-play or something else, a certain type of development is sweeping the country right now — and making a big splash right here in the ATL. And despite the fact that this phenom’ is often called “urbanism,” many suburban metro ATL communities are leading the way in the movement toward pedestrian-friendly communities with a distinct sense of place. To understand more about why this is happening and what it might mean for our future as a region, ARC’s What’s Next ATL podcast host Kate Sweeney talked with Ellen Dunham-Jones, director of the Master of Science in Urban Design program at Georgia Tech. Learn more and take a listen.
By Mary Beth Jordan As the year draws to a close, it’s customary to reflect on the year’s milestones, successes and challenges while setting goals for the coming new year. As the Chair of the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia, I am particularly grateful to support work that preserves and protects lands and waters that are economically and culturally significant in addition to being treasure by residents and visitors alike. There is a lot to celebrate about conservation in Georgia this year, from the availability of the first round of preservation grants through the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program to realizing decades-long plans to protect freshwater habitat at Raccoon Creek in north Georgia to implementing nature-based solutions to climate change along the coast. Innovative partnerships, dedicated institutional funders and Georgia’s strong community of conservation nonprofits contribute to these successes. Coalitions like the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative, which is dedicated to preventing Georgia’s iconic state reptile from joining the endangered species list by restoring the longleaf pine forests they need to survive, and the Atlanta Canopy Alliance strengthen the reach of important conservation messages and provide pathways for individual Georgians to get involved. The need to achieve large-scale results at a fast pace is urgent given the huge challenges facing Georgia and the planet—climate change, drought, wildfires and more. We can’t rest on our laurels. On behalf of The Nature Conservancy, I respectfully invite all Georgians to take action in 2020 to protect the environment and to tackle climate change. Whether you advocate, amplify other voices or donate, it’s the little things that ultimately create big impact. # Mary Beth Jordan is an independent consultant providing sustainability strategy, management and communicationsconsulting to corporate and non-profit clients. Prior to launching her consultancy, she held a senior management position at Homrich Partners where she assessed sustainability risks and opportunities for clients in the apparel, automotive and communications sectors. She also worked in the energy sector managing annual sustainability reporting and partnerships. A resident of Decatur, Mary Beth serves as Chair of the Nature Conservancy in Georgia’s Board of Trustees.
By A.J. Robinson, President, Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District Amidst bustling office towers, hotels, and retail establishments, public parks and greenspaces along Peachtree Street offer welcomed opportunities for respite and recreation. In Downtown, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) has focused on enhancing Woodruff Park, located at the intersection of Peachtree and Auburn Avenue. Through a 2008 Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Atlanta, ADID maintains stewardship of Woodruff Park and is responsible for the park’s daily upkeep and programming, as well as securing and implementing funding for future development. ADID is particularly proud of the revitalization the park has experienced in the past three years, thanks to two Heart of the Community grants and technical guidance from Project for Public Spaces. With the initial grant awarded in 2016, ADID was able to hire a new Woodruff Park Project Manager, reconvene the park’s Advisory Committee, update the park’s visual identity and furniture, breathe new life into the programming calendar, and install a mobile activity kiosk called the Game Cart. An additional grant from in 2018 allowed ADID to focus more intently on social inclusion objectives. Partnering with HOPE Atlanta, a Downtown social service agency, a dedicated social worker has focused outreach efforts to those in need within the park’s six acres, with great success—including placing over 100 park users into permanent housing since September 2018. Many ideas conceived in community engagement or internal brainstorming sessions have bloomed into realities for the park, especially the free programs offered to the community. Weekly yoga classes have grown from a handful of pioneers to upwards of 50 participants each Saturday, and beloved events like Doggy Con are quickly becoming annual traditions. While the park is typically less active during the winter months, ADID is excited to offer a new, creative take on its winter lighting activation. Curated by Dashboard and with the support of Delta Air Lines and NCR Corporation, Woodruff Park will debut PRISM: Winter Lights at an opening celebration on Saturday, December 7. Expect to see imaginative, light-based installations created by artists from around the country placed throughout the park’s footprint, plus complementary artwork on the Arts & Entertainment Atlanta digital sign at 235 Peachtree Street. PRISM will remain free and open to the public through February 2020. The community is invited back on Monday, December 9 for the annual Caroling in the Park event, where the Georgia State University Choral Union and the Atlanta Homeward Choir will sing carols. Georgia’s Own Credit Union will recognize Woodruff Park case worker Janika Robinson and her clients who have been permanently housed, and they will receive holiday gifts as part of its “85 Acts of Kindness” initiative. There will also be free mugs given to the first 150 guests, plus a hot chocolate bar and pictures with Santa for all to enjoy. With a new year on the horizon, stay engaged with the park by following @woodruffpark on social media and by visiting www.woodruffpark.com. We are a vital, vibrant part of Atlanta’s Peachtree Street experience. Featured image from Woodruff Park’s 2019 Doggy Con event