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AT&T to donate $500,000 for economic empowerment in Atlanta

A scene of the Village Market during pre-COVID days (Special: Village Market website)

By Maria Saporta

AT&T will invest $500,000 in four Atlanta nonprofits in an effort to empower the traditionally underserved and drive economic mobility in Atlanta.

Through its Believe AtlantaSM initiative, AT&T will fund workforce development initiatives with grants to the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), Per Scholas Atlanta, the Village Market and On the Rise Financial Center (OTRFC).

The grants will provide access to educational opportunities, resources for small businesses, career placement and financial literacy.

A scene of the Village Market during pre-COVID days (Special: Village Market website)

“AT&T’s continuing commitment to empower all Atlantans with tools to secure a better and more equitable future is another key effort that supports our administration’s vision of building One Atlanta,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in a statement. “Thank you to AT&T for helping to remove barriers to success, especially for voices that have often gone unheard in our communities.”

Katie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber praised the donation by saying it will help “traditionally underserved stay connected to life-changing resources and opportunities that will allow us to create a more equitable and inclusive future for all.”

Construction Education Foundation of Georgia

CEFGA’s Construction Ready is a 20-day program that includes hands-on skills building, the opportunity to earn eight industry certifications, safety training and soft skills development. Graduates of the program are placed in construction-related careers throughout metro Atlanta.

AT&T’s support of Construction Ready will assist with the organization’s transition to a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning amidst the global pandemic, as well as expand the program so more Atlantans are able to participate.

Per Scholas provides Information Technology, Software and Network education and training for Atlantans during a 15-week program. Upon program completion, Per Scholas assists graduates with job placement in STEM careers with Atlanta area employers. AT&T’s support of Per Scholas will help move the organization’s curriculum to a virtual environment, increase participant recruitment and expand program participation.

Per Scholas

AT&T is also working with its WarnerMedia colleagues to support the Village Market to empower black-owned businesses in Atlanta through instruction on entrepreneurship readiness, business plan development and retail education.

AT&T’s support will allow for the virtualization of the Village Market’s Small Business Resource Clinic, which prepares budding entrepreneurs for e-commerce and improves their digital presence with target audiences.

To maximize the opportunities for those served by those three nonprofits, AT&T is collaborating with On the Rise Financial Center to provide increased access to financial development. These development services will help traditionally underserved Atlantans build proficiencies in financial literacy, increase economic mobility opportunities and support the path to homeownership.

“Voices that traditionally go unheard are too often considered “at-risk.” At AT&T, we know everyone deserves an equal opportunity … regardless of zip code, age, gender, race or socioeconomic status,” said Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T Georgia, in a statement. “It’s simple. Our society doesn’t work if it doesn’t work equally for all.”

AT&T launched its Believe Atlanta initiative in January 2018 with a $250,000 grant to the Westside Future Fund. Since then, the Dallas-based company has contributed more than $3.5 million to key community organizations that are involved with economic mobility and social equity.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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