By Maria Saporta
The Center for Civic Innovation connects problem solvers to community resources and invests in early stage civic ideas around topics such as food access, education, and recidivism. At its 3,000 square feet location in south downtown Atlanta, the Center hosts public workshops, trainings, advising/mentoring programs, and co-working space for problem solvers in the city.
The Center for Civic Innovation also advocates for increased civic participation in local decision making, from neighborhood elections to development projects like Underground Atlanta.
The Center’s main program, Civic Labs, invests in entrepreneurial solutions that save money or generate revenue for public institutions. The program also emphasizes authentic community engagement. Their pilot Civic Lab, in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Invest Atlanta, and Arby’s Foundation, will invest in up to 10 pilot programs focused on increasing food access in Atlanta.
The Civic Labs program offers a four to six month acceleration process for ventures, and in the end, the Center for Civic Innovation facilitates contracts between struggling public agencies and social entrepreneurs. Upcoming Civic Labs will focus on education and sustainability.
“I stand on the shoulders of giants in this city,” Malhotra said. “Atlanta’s deep-rooted history in community organizing and problem solving is being revived today through the city’s talented and hardworking teachers, farmers, doctors, and artists. These are our most powerful entrepreneurs, they just don’t call themselves that. Atlanta has its share of challenges, but it also has inspiring leaders that, together, will move mountains for our communities.”
Of 3,629 applicants, 52 – just over one percent – were selected to receive Fellowships. Through three Fellowship categories (Global, Climate and Black Male Achievement), Echoing Green has invested almost $40 million in seed-stage funding and strategic assistance to nearly 700 world-class leaders. Echoing Green also supports the Fellow community long after their initial funding period through ongoing programs and opportunities at critical points in their careers.
Malhotra will receive $80,000 in funding for two years, participate in leadership development events, receive mentoring from leading business professionals and, most importantly, become part of a global network of leaders.
“We’re proud to be investing in tomorrow’s leaders, helping them go further, faster, as they realize their vision of a world changed for the better,” said Echoing Green President Dr. Cheryl Dorsey. “Many of the Fellows chosen are leading projects in the earliest stages, when it is hardest to find the necessary resources to get off the ground.”
Echoing Green’s Fellowship program is made possible through private contributions and the generous support of funders, including the Walton Family Foundation, the U.S. Global Development Lab of USAID, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the ZOOM Foundation, and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, with support from the Open Society Foundations.