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Poverty & Equity Thought Leadership

Only in Atlanta

By: Jeff Hilimire, CEO, Dragon Army, Author, The Turnaround Leadership Series, Co-founder, 48in48 + Ripples of Hope + The A Pledge

We know that if children in a community are thriving, the family will thrive, and then ultimately the community can thrive.

But this concept can also work in the opposite direction. If a community is stronger and more resilient, it gives the family a better chance of thriving, which gives our children a chance to succeed.

Atlanta’s culture of innovation and corporate philanthropy is well renowned, but it’s the community of our city that has shown they can come together for the common good, time and again.

It is through this vision of bringing the community together that I started 48in48 in 2015. Atlanta has a vibrant marketing and advertising industry, full of great brands like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, and world-class marketing agencies. What I saw was an opportunity to bring together that community of creatives, engineers, and storytellers, to do as much good as possible in a 48-hour period. 

The idea: bring together hundreds of people to build 48 websites (for free) for Atlanta’s nonprofits. If there was ever a place to pull off such a miracle of giving, it was Atlanta.

That first event, held in October of 2015 at Ponce City Market, was a raving success. What struck me the most was the number of volunteers – exhausted from having worked almost 48 hours straight – that wanted to put their name on the list for next year’s event. An event that I hadn’t even considered creating!

It was that spirit of giving back to their community that led our team at 48in48 to dream bigger than we ever thought possible. Fast-forward to today, and we’ve had over 20 events around the globe, and built over 1,000 nonprofit websites with over 10,000 volunteers (equaling over $25,000,000 in donated services to the world’s nonprofits).

I believe Atlanta is the only place where an idea like this could have been conceived and executed upon. Our unique blend of a true giving spirit, entrepreneurial grit, technological innovation, and marketing prowess allowed for a dream like 48in48 to become a reality.

Our community came together and in the process was strengthened in ways none of could have imagined. Volunteers were inspired to do more good with the resources and skills they have (and many continue helping their nonprofits well after the event); nonprofits can now do more good to help our community; and families are strengthened due to the help they receive from local, revitalized charities as well as a newly inspired group of citizens.

Only in Atlanta.

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Jeff Hilimire is the best-selling author of the Turnaround Leadership Series and an
accomplished entrepreneur who has launched multiple organizations and successfully sold two
companies. His current business, Dragon Army, is one of the fastest-growing digital experience
agencies in the nation. Over the course of 20 years, Jeff has helped guide leaders from some of
the most well-known global brands to mobilize growth using a startup mentality.
He is the co-founder and active leader of three nonprofit organizations. 48in48 is a global
nonprofit that produces hackathon events, building 48 nonprofit websites in 48 hours. Ripples of
Hope advances the growth of organizations focused on business as a force for good in the
world. And The A Pledge creates a path for systemic opportunity in Atlanta by inspiring
marketing and advertising agencies to commit to matching the diversity of their team to that of
our city by 2030.
Jeff lives in Atlanta with his lovely wife, Emily, and their five children. You can follow Jeff’s

adventures on his personal blog, jeffhilimire.com.

 

Featured image: Carole Williams (L), former Executive Director, and Sima Parekh (R), current Executive Director.

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