Type to search

Historic Westside http://leadership.saportareport.com/historic-westside/ Thought Leader Thought Leadership Uncategorized

Breaking Cyclical Poverty and Lifting Up the Westside Together

Intro by John Ahmann, President & CEO, Westside Future Fund

Thanks to Stan Little, president of the SunTrust Foundation for this week’s column. I am grateful to Stan’s leadership and to the SunTrust Foundation’s deep commitment to supporting the long-term revitalization of the Historic Westside. Demonstrating the “Power of We”, the Foundation is providing critical support to Westside Future Fund’s mixed-income housing focus area, and to a broad range of Westside nonprofit partners who are working to break the cycle of poverty for residents.

Breaking Cyclical Poverty and Lifting Up the Westside Together

Stan Little

By Stan Little, president of the SunTrust Foundation

Atlanta’s Westside community is deeply significant in the history of the city, inspiring everything from the civil rights movement to the rise of hip hop. The neighborhoods of the Westside are in the heart of Atlanta’s rich cultural heritage.

The SunTrust Foundation wants to be an integral part of the groundswell of community support and development in the Westside. The broad revitalization efforts call on a diverse collaboration of people, corporations, nonprofits and government to work in concert, and I’ve been inspired to see so many answer that call.

This collaboration of many partners and nonprofits is crucial.

That’s one of the reasons why we recently presented grants totaling $250,000 to 10 Westside nonprofit organizations: The Atlanta Music Project, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Good Samaritan Health Center, Quest Community Housing, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Antioch Urban Ministries Incorporated, Veterans Empowerment Organization, L.E.A.D., Raising Expectations and BeLoved Atlanta.

These grants will support a broad range of initiatives to strengthen and grow facets of the Westside community spanning culture, environmentalism, health, housing, social services, veterans, youth and fighting human trafficking.

These outstanding organizations work tirelessly to serve the Westside community. Together, they represent the holistic approach to community stewardship that drives sustainable financial well-being.

This holistic view is the cornerstone of community development.

Long-Term Community Development

Affordable housing is critical. However, affordable housing alone doesn’t address the long-term essentials that make a community strong, resilient and more economically viable. That means equipping the community with a self-sustaining economic engine. Community businesses and entrepreneurship are the catalyst for this transformation.

Communities begin to thrive financially when the dollars circulate in that community a few times before leaving. In other words, residents must be able to spend their money within their home community.

The work being done in the Westside is a long play, and we are focused on funding long-term solutions.

Beyond just leveling the playing field, you have to ensure access to the field, break down the fences and barriers and provide fair opportunity and resources for people to better their circumstances.

As the SunTrust Foundation works toward Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being, we tackle cyclical, systemic issues like that lead to income and wealth challenges. We work to help communities fulfill their potential and empower the individuals in them to live a life well spent.

Fundamentally, with unfettered access to better education, families have affordable housing and workforce training, and small businesses can grow and make job opportunities available – that’s how we ensure a community and its residents are on the road to financial confidence. 

We like the collective progress realized so far, but there is more to do.

Combining the power of civic leaders, business, nonprofits, legacy residents and passionate people across the city, we can accomplish so much together in support of the city we all love.

Atlanta should be proud of the Westside, and we’re honored to play a part alongside so many other inspiring individuals and organizations that are empowering and sustaining this historic community now and for many years to come.   

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.