Happy National Pride Month! The June celebration is used to recognize the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, which became a turning point in the fight for equality. If you’re looking to support your ...
The warm weather has officially arrived in Atlanta! If you’re searching for fun, COVID-safe ways to get outside, look no further. Residents looking to soak up some sunshine should consider visiting Oakland Cemetery for one ...
By Shirley Gouffon, Senior Vice President, Selig Enterprises and Midtown Development Review Committee Member Restaurants and retailers alike have been evolving over the last several years, but the pace of evolution has been decidedly robust since and during the recent COVID pandemic. There are some “silver linings” to be found within the pandemic, not the least of which is the transformation of the retail experience, particularly in Midtown, Atlanta. For the last decade or so, at the mere stroke of a key, the consumer has had many options available for both consumables and disposable products. Restaurants, particularly, pivoted during the pandemic and many of Midtown’s food and beverage establishments implemented take-out and delivery programs that were previously not widely employed, if at all. Delivery and curbside pick-up is here to stay, however, it should be noted that the desire for in-store retail experiences is on the rise with over 50% of Millennials claiming that much of their spending goes towards experiencing related products and services. Midtown Atlanta is a wonderful example of an urban environment which has been thoughtfully planned to attract “feet on the street” with its expansive sidewalks, lush landscaping and approachable storefronts. Moreover, experiential retail is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s consumer market. Creating a memorable shopping or dining experience through customer engagement is essential. Many brands with “flags” in Midtown, have very successfully transformed their businesses by offering “retailtainment” and immersive retail and dining experiences. Café Intermezzo, the European-inspired coffee house located in the heart of Midtown at Peachtree and 11th Streets, has long been considered an industry leader in creating authentic and memorable experiences for its patrons. Brian Olson, the CEO & Founder of Café Intermezzo, is considered an industry pioneer and was really on the cutting edge of experiential retail going back nearly 30 years. The Café Intermezzo experience transports the patron to a beautiful coffee house in Europe from the moment you enter. This experience has been thoughtfully executed through Brian’s discerning choice of décor, music, food presentation (a la “dessert tours”) and even foreign language instructional tape broadcasts. This proven formula has lured the patron back to Café Intermezzo for decades and is a shining example of the experiential retail phenomenon. Whether a resident, visitor or tourist, one has access to a host of memorable experiences unique to Midtown. An afternoon spent in Midtown today within a one-block radius may include: A leisurely walk down a beautiful tree lined street, lush with planters full of vibrant, cascading flowers, ripe with “Instagrammable” moments! Stopping in DryBar for a blow-out while sipping a chilled Rose’, followed by an indulgent and relaxing mani/pedi at Sugarcoat next door. A tour of the historic Margaret Mitchell House followed by a mid-afternoon stroll and people-watching from Café Intermezzo’s perch along Peachtree Street. Lastly, ending the day, as the sun is fading, atop Bulla Gastrobar’s scenic patio overlooking Midtown’s vibrant Crescent Avenue while feasting on a delicious array of tapas and enjoying a refreshing Sangria. We are all, at heart, social beings. And it is through Midtown’s commitment to promoting the pedestrian experience that the area will continue to thrive as Atlanta’s premier walkable experiential destination. This is sponsored content.
MARTA and the City of Brookhaven have approved the terms of an agreement for a new City Hall to be built on MARTA-owned property adjacent to Brookhaven rail station on the Gold Line in DeKalb County. “MARTA is excited to partner with Brookhaven to establish a transit-supportive City Hall, one of only a few in this country located at a rail station. This project will inspire future development around the station, increase ridership, and improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, and makes a powerful statement about the centrality of transit,” said MARTA Interim General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood. The 1.24-acre property on Peachtree Road is currently used for long term parking which will be relocated to the eastern side of the station, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible spots will be moved closer to the rail station entrance along Peachtree. The ground lease agreement states Brookhaven will lease the almost $3 million property for 50 years before purchasing. “This is the result of a collaboration with MARTA which has been ongoing for five years,” said Mayor John Ernst. “We were all seeking a transit-friendly live-work-play solution that meets the current and future lifestyle needs of residents and our greater regional community. I am looking forward to continuing the partnership with MARTA as we create a permanent City Hall.” Brookhaven will oversee planning, financing, and construction of the building. Prior to the start of construction, MARTA will continue to accommodate long term parking at its current location. A timeline for the work is still being established. This is sponsored content.
Every year, the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) hosts the Delta Air Lines Insights on Leadership speaker series inviting Atlanta’s most impactful and key business leaders for prominent discussion. MAC President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick recently sat down with Deluxe President and CEO Barry McCarthy at Deluxe’s Fintech Innovation Center. McCarthy is an entrepreneur, internet, cloud and mobile payments pioneer, named to his position with Deluxe in November 2018. He is also the author of Small Business Revolution, How Owners and Entrepreneurs can Succeed and executive producer of Deluxe’s Emmy-nominated Small Business Revolution show on Hulu and Prime Video. During his time as president and CEO, McCarthy has led the transformation of Deluxe from a legacy check and business forms printer into a “Trusted Payments and Business Technology” company, processing nearly $3 trillion in annual payment volume, or roughly 15% of U.S. GDP. McCarthy highlighted that this is only the beginning, and the company will further strive to become a forward-thinking company with strategies and full departments committed to being digital-first. “Early next year our payments business will be the company’s largest [department] which is a pretty big milestone for a company that is 107 years old,” said McCarthy. “For the first time ever, we are going to have a business that is larger than our legacy business.” Deluxe has 4 million active small business customers and more than 4,000 clients from financial institutions. Their network also includes approximately 300 distributor franchises serving local businesses. “We’ve got a fantastic digital AP business, digital AR business and a HR Payroll business for small businesses that we support with 150,000 already accepting credit cards,” McCarthy said. The company was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1915 and in the years following transformed from a check printer into a payments and data company. Deluxe opened a new technology center in Sandy Springs joining the metro Atlanta region’s cluster of Fintech companies. “We knew we were going to become a payment data company which means we had to be at the payment’s capital of the world. [Atlanta] is truly the Fintech capital of the world,” McCarthy said. “At this very intersection [in metro Atlanta], about 80% of the world electronic payment transit companies are headquartered right here.” In addition to location, McCarthy and the Deluxe team enjoyed access to a supportive higher education ecosystem as well as local and state governments here in Atlanta. Many schools in the University System of Georgia offer degree programs for students in Fintech which opens doors for more jobs and expansion at Deluxe. “The University System of Georgia has gone so far to create a whole set of capabilities and degrees that support Fintech,” said McCarthy. “So, graduates are coming out of the entire system with capabilities ready for companies like ours.” When asked about the biggest risk he has taken in his career, McCarthy refers to becoming CEO and president of Deluxe. “I [was] at a pretty good spot, I wasn’t looking but [open] to opportunities,” said McCarthy. “It would’ve been a lot easier just to stay where I was, but I [wanted] the opportunity to do something and create lasting change.” McCarthy and the Deluxe team are looking forward to the future and seeing the exciting events ahead with partnerships, especially with Porsche. Deluxe will have their own company racecar in a global auto race coming soon to Atlanta. “We are the inaugural spot for Porsche Carrera Cup North America which is a global auto race series taking place this September here in Atlanta,” McCarthy said. For more information on the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Delta Air Lines Insights on Leadership, visit https://www.metroatlantachamber.com/events/featured/insights-on-leadership This is sponsored content.
By A.J. Robinson President, Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District Congressman John Lewis gave us reason to celebrate his life, but, frankly speaking, it is not enough to revere him. We must instead emulate his actions. We must use his memory to not only seek the moral clarity that resided deep within him, but as an opportunity to reflect on the many questions one of the world’s greatest troublemakers asked his entire life — If not us, then who? If not now, then when? What legacy do you want to leave behind? These are questions that must be internalized, personalized, and answered by each and every one of us, regardless of race, political party, religion, or zip code. At this moment in our nation and history, there are many exciting conversations about the life of John Lewis, all equally as important as the other. But after the dialogue lessens, the commemorative bells stop ringing, the celebrations stop, and in between the national and global crises we face daily, each of us — all of us, will still be faced with answering those same fervent questions. He left us with a modernized blueprint for kindness and a reminder that we have a responsibility to care for our common home and guidance on how to pass the torch and engage future generations. Thank you, Congressman for reminding us that the legacy belongs to all of us. Thank you for helping us reimagine the legacy. May you rest in power. REIMAGINING THE LEGACY My team at Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District has spent time reflecting on the organization’s relationship with the Congressman, whose district office was located in the heart of downtown Atlanta at 100 Peachtree Street, and who was a longtime friend and supporter of our work. We thus felt it fitting and proper that, as an organization known for creating opportunities to convene people in Downtown, honoring Congressman Lewis with a community-wide celebration was a perfect way to observe the one-year anniversary of his passing. Further, we sought to create an experience in which people could reflect on legacy, learning, and action in spaces directly impacted by his leadership and vision. And so, we hope you’ll make plans to attend “Reimagine the Legacy,” a celebration of the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis on Saturday, July 30, beginning at 10 a.m. Details can be found at: www.reimaginethelegacy.com. This is sponsored content.
ULI Atlanta recently graduated 10 Etkin Scholars from Atlanta’s first cohort. Last year, ULI Atlanta was one of five district councils selected to participate in the ULI Etkin Scholar Program. The program is designed to introduce college and university students with a real estate interest and degree focus to the resources available through ULI membership while integrating those students into the ULI path of learning. Students in the program were from Emory University, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State and Morehouse College. The Atlanta Scholars had the opportunity to tour projects, meet local leaders and learn about career options, industry trends and challenges. One of the scholars, Gabby Oliverio took full advantage of the programming ULI had to offer. In a three-part blog series, Gabby writes about her impressions on attending Atlanta’s biggest industry events, from the ARC’s State of the Region, ULI Atlanta’s Trends in Real Estate, and the inaugural Emory University Real Estate Conference. Special thank you to ULI members and program leaders, Amanda Rhein, Keith Mack and Quinn Green. Congratulations to the 2022 Etkin Scholar graduates! Click here to learn more about the ULI Etkin Scholars Program. This is sponsored content.
By Jared Teutsch, Executive Director Three billion birds … that is the number of birds that have been lost since 1970. A groundbreaking study published in the journal Science in 2019 revealed that more than one in four birds have disappeared from our landscape in the past 50 years, including common birds, like Barn Swallows and Wood Thrush; grassland birds, like Eastern Meadowlarks; and migratory birds, like Baltimore Orioles. These are birds that we see fewer of outside our homes, in parks, and in landscapes all across Georgia, and birds that no longer provide ecosystem services, like pest control, or bring joy to those who enjoy watching them. Birds are declining due to a myriad of threats ranging from reflective glass and predation by outdoor cats to habitat loss and rampant use of pesticides. Birds are indicator species, and this study should sound the alarm for all of us, as the disappearance of these birds indicates a general shift in our ecosystems’ ability to support basic birdlife. But there’s good news, too. For species that have received conservation funding and attention, like waterfowl, hawks, and eagles, numbers have increased dramatically. Birds are resilient, and they can rebound with our help. The study recommends seven simple actions that everyone can take to help #BringBirdsBack. Make windows safer, day and night. Up to one billion birds die each year in the U.S. and Canada after colliding with windows. During the day, birds do not see glass as a barrier and are often confused by reflections of trees and shrubs, causing them to fly into buildings. At night, brightly lit buildings further confuse birds, resulting in additional collisions. But you can help by treating problem windows to break up the reflection. Solutions exist for problem windows, and bird-safe glass is readily available for new construction. By simply turning out the lights between the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM during peak migration each fall and spring, you can give birds a better chance of completing their migratory journeys. Learn more about Georgia Audubon’s work to prevent collisions and our Lights Out Georgia effort at www.georgiaaudubon.org/lights-out-georgia. Keep cats indoors. It is estimated that cats kill as many as 2.6 billion birds annually. Cats are instinctive, non-native predators and will hunt and kill birds, even when they are well fed. Keeping your cats indoors is better for their overall health and makes our landscapes safer for birds. Reduce lawn, plant native plants. Traditional turf grass lawns are nutritional deserts for birds and other wildlife, and the chemical load required to maintain them is bad for the environment. Consider replacing at least a portion of your lawn with native plants that will add interest and beauty while also creating food and resting habitat for birds and other wildlife. For a list of resources, visit www.georgiaaudubon.org/sanctuary-resources. Avoid pesticides. More than one billion pounds of pesticides are applied in the United States each year, and the most widely used pesticides are neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” that are lethal to birds and to the insects that birds consume. Purchasing organic produce when possible and reducing the pesticide use in your home, garden, and landscape is good for you and for the birds. Drink coffee that’s good for the birds. Your morning cup of coffee can help birds! Three quarters of the world’s coffee is grown on large, monoculture farms that destroy habitat in areas where many migratory Georgia birds spend their winter months. Shade-grown coffee is a delicious alternative that not only benefits the small coffee farmers who grow it, but these shaded farms also provide critical wintering habitat for more than 42 species of North American songbirds. Georgia Audubon partners with Café Campesino to offer a shade-grown organic coffee that is good for birds and people, too. Learn more at www.georgiaaudubon.org/coffee-and-chocolate. Protect our planet from plastic. Plastic is everywhere, in our homes, landfills, and, sadly, in our oceans and forests, too. Plastics take more than 400 years to degrade and 91 percent of plastic is not recycled, posing a threat to birds, marine mammals, and other wildlife that mistake it for food or become entangled in it. You can help by avoiding single use plastic whenever possible and choosing reusable items instead. Watch birds, and share what you see. Monitoring birds is critical to helping scientists determine what species of birds need help and how we can best support their populations. Gathering data on the world’s 10,000 bird species would not be possible without the help of community members who report what they’re seeing in the backyards, parks, and wild spaces. Through programs like eBird, Project FeederWatch, Christmas Birds Counts, and others, individuals can record what birds they are seeing and provide critical information for researchers studying bird populations. Learn more about how you can get involved at www.georgiaaudubon.org/community-science. If you’re interested in learning more about this groundbreaking study or implementing some changes to help birds, visit www.3billionbirds.org. You can also make a difference by becoming involved with Georgia Audubon … as a member, a donor, or a volunteer. Georgia Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. Whether you choose to drink shade-grown coffee, turn out the lights of birds, keep your cats indoors, or add a few native plants to your landscape, together we’re working to #BringBirdsBack. This is sponsored content.
Financial Literacy for All (FL4A) co-chairs, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Hope Bryant and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon co-wrote an op-ed piece for TIME entitled “Financial Literacy Education Could Help Millions of Americans”. The article lays out the case for a private sector push in creating a national framework for embedding financial literacy into the fabric of our society. Research shows that only about a third of Americans have a working understanding of interest rates, mortgage rates, and financial risk according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. And this measure of financial literacy has fallen 19 percent over the past decade. The American public is in need of a massive culture shift in regard to financial education and it’s going to take all of us to steer the ship and correct course. The need is so great that we cannot afford to leave it squarely in the hands of the government and public sector to provide a solution. The private sector must get involved and many of them have through the Financial Literacy for All (FL4A) movement. Financial Literacy for All is an inclusive, business-led movement aimed at helping more Americans reap the benefits that come from making more informed financial decisions. We have collectively made a 10-year commitment to reach millions of youth and working adults, providing them with the necessary tools and life experience to become more confident in making those critical economic choices. To date, FL4A has had 30 of some of the biggest names in business sign on the movement, signifying their affirmation and belief in our mission and their willingness to lend their talents and expertise in creatively reaching our lofty, yet obtainable goal. Some of these include the National Football League, The Walt Disney Company, Delta Air Lines, and several other leading financial institutions. Recently, FL4A announced investment services giant Edward Jones as the latest company to join the movement and we’re looking forward to many more commitments in the coming weeks and months. It’s time to make financial literacy a foundational stepping stone to achieving the American Dream, and we need everyone to be involved. To learn more about Financial Literacy for All or to join the movement, visit fl4a.org. This is sponsored content.
By Judy Monroe, MD In today’s news cycle you see a multitude of health threats—COVID-19, cardiovascular disease, monkeypox, opioids and more. However, there is one health threat facing each of us: the impact to health from our changing climate. At last week’s Aspen Ideas: Health Festival, the CDC Foundation was pleased to sponsor an enlightening panel session exploring these challenges. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, led off the session stating “I think we need to acknowledge that climate and health is going to be one of the great challenges that we have to face in the 21st century. I don’t really believe that everybody recognizes this intersectionality so it’s important to have these conversations.” Walensky was joined in the panel moderated by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent, by Leah Thomas, author and founder of the Intersectional Environmentalist, and Marlene Wolfe, PhD, of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Climate-related health threats include extreme weather, worsening air quality, rising temperatures, changes in the spread of infectious diseases, threats to food and water quality and quantity, and effects on our mental health. Building on this theme, Walensky said, “There’s air pollution that will lead to cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease. There are issues like heat stroke, and that leads to 700 deaths a year and many hospitalizations.” But she noted other issues “related to drought, flood, fire, water borne outbreaks related to flooding, maybe flooding of wells. And tick-borne diseases—vector borne diseases have tripled in frequency and come earlier in seasons and broader across the United States.” Like so many health challenges, those communities most at risk to the health effects of a changing climate are those with the weakest infrastructures to prepare and respond to the threat. “It’s really important to consider who is being impacted the most by both climate injustice and health injustice and that intersection of environmental justice. Time and time again, it’s lower income and communities of color and also women,” said Thomas. “We can’t just say health and environmentalism are connected without acknowledging that Black, Indigenous, people of color, women and low-income populations bear the brunt of environmental injustice.” A popular narrative is that we have 50 or more years before we experience the most serious health impact from climate change, but Wolfe said this belief is not backed up by the science. “We’re here,” she said. “We have more and more outbreaks we are going to need to combat in the future and that we’re dealing with right now. For us to be able to come up with new, nimble, inclusive systems to track disease outbreaks, understand how infectious disease is impacting people around the world and how it does so inequitably, is extremely important.” To this point, Wolfe described forward-thinking work she is undertaking: “One of the things that we’ve done in my group over the past couple of years is focus on using wastewater to track infectious diseases so we can take less than a gram of solids from wastewater… and we can tell what is the burden of disease in a community,” Wolfe said. “That started with COVID because of the demand from the pandemic but now we’re expanding that into these threats that are coming.” In a development following the Aspen session, Wolfe’s team announced last week the detection of monkeypox for the first time in a wastewater sample in San Francisco. Importantly, Walenksy noted that there’s much we can do to confront the climate and health challenge by preparing communities. She highlighted CDC’s work in this regard. “We put together the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects, or BRACE framework,” she indicated. “BRACE is a five-point framework, and we deliver it to communities to say where are you in this framework about your vulnerabilities to climate effects and where do you need to bolster along this framework so we can be better prepared for a climate challenge that is headed in your direction.” Like so much in public health, CDC does not have the funding and resources to take BRACE to all communities. So, to help bolster CDC’s response, the CDC Foundation is advancing work to bring together partners to build capacity for communities, develop a national climate health workforce, build climate change leadership in public health, communicate the health impacts of a changing climate and transform the healthcare system for climate health. While the challenges are daunting, all of the panelists saw reasons to be hopeful, including the energy that youth bring to the climate challenge. I’m also encouraged and agree that youth will play a critical role in helping drive change and making progress. I’ll have more share on the role of youth in the coming months. I encourage you to take a moment to learn more about the CDC Foundation’s focus on climate and health and see a full recording from the panel session at the Aspen Ideas: Health Festival. The most recent episode of our podcast, Contagious Conversations, also introduces even more fascinating conversations we had with public health leaders—including CDC’s Dr. Patrick Breysse, Emory University’s Dr. Marlene Wolfe and Google’s Dr. Karen DeSalvo—on topics ranging from climate change to wastewater surveillance to restoring trust in public health. You can listen now on our website or wherever you get your podcasts, or visit YouTube to watch video from our interview with Dr. Breysse. Judy Monroe, MD, is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. This is sponsored content.
Westside Future Fund (WFF) is excited to be supporting thought leadership in the SaportaReport on Atlanta’s Historic Westside. At the October 15 Transform Westside Summit we announced the Westside Future Fund (WFF) PRI Program! A program-related investment (PRI) is low-cost capital that not-for-profit organizations can use to spur community development. Thanks to charitable support from Truist and PNC banks, WFF will provide low-cost loans to small, minority-owned businesses based in or serving the Historic Westside. This program builds on a pilot initially funded by AT&T and the Beloved Benefit. Our goal is to mobilize people with current, historical, or aspirational ties to the community to organically support the Westside’s economic development. The October 15 Transform Westside Summit highlighted the importance of economic empowerment of African American entrepreneurs with three special guest panelists – Courtney Smith from PNC Bank, Paul Wilson, Jr. from the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), and Keitra Bates of Marddy’s Shared Kitchen and Marketplace. A common theme from the panelists was the need for equity in access to capital for Black business owners. Keitra Bates noted that white startups have access to $100,000 from family, on average, while for black startups, it’s only $11,000. In June 2020, PNC Bank announced its bold $1 billion commitment to playing a role in combatting racism and discrimination. During the Summit, Courtney elaborated on PNC’s commitment to the Westside by helping end systemic racism by donating to WFF for program-related investments. Keitra Bates is a recipient of a WFF PRI that she used to renovate and expand her shared kitchen. Marddy’s focus is on economic inclusion, business development, and growth opportunities for local food entrepreneurs with their primary service groups of people of color, women, and other marginalized populations. With the help of RICE, the PRI recipients will have access to resources to innovate, grow, create jobs, and build wealth. Part business generator, innovation lab, and museum, RICE invests in African American entrepreneurs, strengthens businesses, and creates community. We have many miles to eliminate the wealth gap between white and black startups. Thanks to our panelists and the organization they represent, we are making progress and hopefully serving as models for others! Check out our newsletter to learn more about the October 15 Summit. This is sponsored content.
By Mike Rouse, community outreach ambassador and Will Sellers, executive director, Wholesome Wave Georgia Wholesome Wave Georgia increases access to fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables for food and nutrition insecure families – who we refer to as our neighbors – across metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia through our community partnerships with 78 participating farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets and brick-and-mortar stores. Wholesome Wave Georgia works behind the scenes to help our neighbors purchase more fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), formerly known as food stamps, by matching SNAP spending on local produce. That means $5 worth of SNAP benefits turns into $10 worth of fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. With the help of the American Heart Association, we moved from a behind-the-scenes nonprofit to an on-the-ground nonprofit because more than one in four City of Atlanta residents rely on the SNAP program to purchase food. To ensure that our nonprofit met the needs of our Neighbors, Wholesome Wave Georgia had to engage differently. Local people doing local work In partnership with the American Heart Association, we developed the Community Food Ambassador role to engage neighbors using the SNAP program. We learned that flyers and yard signs were not enough to bring neighbors into our network. We recognized that we needed a leader who lives in and understands the community we seek to serve. By working with talented local community leaders, like Mike Rouse, we increased our impact by learning from the community’s lived experience to increase farmers market engagement and expand civic involvement. Since we launched the Community Food Ambassador role in 2021, Wholesome Wave Georgia witnessed a 24% increase in SNAP shoppers at farmers markets, farm stands, MARTA markets and at our brick-and-mortar partner within the City of Atlanta. Bread crumbs of engagement A key innovation resulting from our transformation was the Heart Healthy Porch Chat: a one-on-one conversation, in-person or virtual, designed to build relationships with community members for authentic conversations on SNAP access, utilization and enrollment to move families from food insecurity to food and nutrition security. The Heart Healthy Porch Chat builds a relationship with neighbors to allow for deep, rich storytelling on the resilience of our neighbors using the SNAP program. To combat the stigma associated with SNAP use, we worked with an artist to create editorial illustrations based on a neighbor’s story. The neighbor’s name is not used to protect their privacy and to treat them with dignity and respect. The example below illustrates how we share our neighbor’s stories to inspire. Wholesome Wave Georgia remains rooted in increasing access to fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables in concert with our community partners. We know that as Georgians experience inflation at a four-decade high, the need for food is great and growing. Wholesome Wave Georgia is evolving into a nonprofit that works with community leaders to engage our neighbors to expand SNAP access, utilization and enrollment by using a patient, engaged approach to advance food and nutrition security. About Wholesome Wave Georgia Wholesome Wave Georgia believes that all Georgians should have access to fresh, healthy, locally grown food choices. Founded in 2009, Wholesome Wave Georgia strives to strengthen local food communities by empowering networks of farmers to facilitate access to and awareness of healthy food choices. By increasing the affordability of healthy, locally grown foods, Wholesome Wave Georgia makes healthy, nourishing choices accessible for Georgia’s food-insecure population. Learn more about our work at wholesomewavegeorgia.org, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This is sponsored content.
By Michelle Hiskey After a semester of research and analysis, the 24 students in Goizueta Business School’s Venture Capital and Minority Entrepreneurship class announced the first three investments for the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund (PMVF). This student-run venture fund is the first of its kind to make equity investments for U.S.-based and underrepresented Black, Latinx and An integral part of The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the $1 million fund recently announced its first round of capital opportunities. Funding unique ventures An award of $25,000 was granted to CommunityX, a mobile-first social app that unites like-minded change-makers around shared causes. The app leverages traditional social media algorithmic thinking to be able to connect people and calls to action, such as petitions, events, donations and more. CommunityX also has received funding from TechStars “When our team found out that we were going to be a part of the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund portfolio, we were very excited for all the obvious reasons,” says founder and CEO Chloë Cheyenne, who describes herself as a multiracial young woman with Chicago, Illinois, roots. “Hearing firsthand from all of the Goizueta staff, students and founders about how much thought and intention went into building this fund, we are totally humbled to be a part of this community.” Ecotone Renewables of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earned a $15,000 award and is the maker of Soil Sauce, a liquid plant fertilizer organically produced from food waste. By making sustainable food and agriculture systems more accessible and prevalent outside the industrial scale, Ecotone is dedicated to building the tools necessary to empower communities to redevelop and grow through sustainable food practices. “We produce renewable energy through the extraction of biomass, as well as an organic, sustainable fertilizer,” said Ecotone Renewables CFO Elliott Bennett. “That fertilizer is our main focus as we look to empower communities. This is part of a sustainable form of agriculture because it allows new plants to grow. And really, it gives people the ability to be sustainable in the way that they plant, whether it’s on a farm or the garden.” An award of $15,000 also went to Atlanta-based FundStory, which helps finance teams access and manage nondilutive capital. This type of capital does not require a business owner to give up equity or ownership and is often essential to launching a startup. FundStory offers all-in-one workflow management software to help finance teams evaluate risk, automate funding options and manage financing into maturity. “I’m really appreciative for the opportunity and the commitment, and we’re excited,” FundStory CEO and co-founder Bobby Gilbert says. “We like to think of it as the operating system for not a lot of capital. Entrepreneurs don’t wake up and decide they’re going to go into debt. Prior to funding through us, they have to map out a plan, choose the right partner and manage financing into maturity. We set out to build a FundStory with a thesis of helping founders for each stage of their journey.” Reflecting on key takeaways The three entrepreneurs spoke at a reception for Goizueta Business School alumni, faculty, administration, staff and the students who operated the fund as managing partners and associates. The reception was hosted by the five managing partners who operate the fund alongside teams of senior associates and analysts. “We went through a lot of debate, and at the end of the day we made the most informed decisions we could,” says Humza Mirza, an MBA graduate and the fund’s managing partner for marketing and recruiting. “Did we get the right answer? Only time will tell. We are all taking a lot of learnings from getting the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund started.” The class is part of a new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) concentration for full-time MBA students, focusing on understanding factors that contribute to the gap in venture capital funding to underrepresented minority entrepreneurs and how this challenge might best be addressed. Students split into six teams, each assigned to find minority-owned startups in one sector: consumer products and goods, energy, fintech, health care technology, information technology and manufacturing. “Each of our teams worked tirelessly to make sure we have a strong pipeline going forward,” says Jack Semrau, an Evening MBA student and the fund’s managing partner for deal sourcing and portfolio management. “We worked through a very traditional process of what you see in other VC firms, to make sure that we find exceptional founders who showcased their know-how and their specific industry and product so that we could proceed to actually make an investment,” Semrau continues. “We couldn’t be happier to make the first round of investments that are part of the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund.” The fund grew from the work of Goizueta alumni who learned from local underrepresented entrepreneurs that access to capital was a major pain point and wanted to do something about it. But “As students, you can only do so much; you have to have a faculty or staff member that really believes in the idea,” says Goizueta alumnus Willie Sullivan. He joined the current MBA students in thanking supporters “who really believed in this and believed in our ability to make this happen.” One of those supporters is Robert Kazanjian, academic director of The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “We are really good at finding interesting ways to take what might be a straight theoretical issue in the classroom and then having students experience it in a real setting,” Kazanjian says. “This is a big challenge for professional schools, how to manage that tension between theory and practice. I see this venture fund as absolutely working and think this is a great example of what Goizueta does well.” This is sponsored content.
By GEEARS Last week, parents and caregivers celebrated as the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for children under age five. This was a huge and happy step for millions of families. It’s been a long, long wait for vaccine access for Georgia’s youngest children, during which working caregivers had to continue contending with child care disruptions, employment uncertainty, and other stressors that accompany COVID vulnerability. At GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, we’ve been studying these phenomena, particularly their impact on working parents’ child care experiences. Last month, we released the report, “It Kind of Broke All of Us.” Navigating Child Care and Employment in the Era of COVID-19: Parents and Caregivers Tell their Stories. The report is the result of a series of focus groups GEEARS commissioned in the fall of 2021, a follow-up to a statewide parent survey we conducted the previous summer. In one of the survey’s most significant findings, one in three caregivers (34%) said they or someone in their family had to quit a job, not take a job, or greatly change a job in the previous 12 months because of problems with child care, up from one in four (26%) in 2018. In addition, more caregivers reported opting for some type of home-based child care than they had before the pandemic started. The focus group participants shared the stories behind these statistics, and many others. Here are some takeaways… Many of the focus group respondents felt weary and demoralized, expressing ongoing concern about their children’s safety in child care situations. “Kids are not going to wash their hands. Kids are not going to wear masks. Kids are going to lick stuff and eat things and they’re going to share germs. I think it would be more convenient to keep him home and not have to deal with the inconsistencies. But that’s not necessarily what’s best for him, nor is that what he wants…it’s definitely a complicated decision to make as a parent.” —A mother from Columbia County COVID’s disruption and constantly changing landscape hampered parents’ ability to plan and work. Beyond worrying about COVID infections, caregivers also had to worry about more lasting disruptions like the closure of a child care center or resignation of a caretaker. “At first, they closed it, then they open it back up. But when a child gets sick, they’ll close it again. So, I might have to stay at the house and then I might not have to stay at the house. Just depends on the daycare.” —A mother from DeKalb County “The employer wasn’t understanding whatsoever. They said, ‘Well, you said you had an area without distraction.’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, because I thought I had a sitter. She canceled. She bailed on me.’ And the employer wasn’t forgiving at all. They just said, ‘Oh, well, you lost the job.’” —A mother from Hall County Sometimes, parents changed their child care choices, not because they wanted to, but because the pandemic interfered. “I have other friends that sent their kids to daycare just because they had to, because of their job. It was just impossible to work from home with [their children] home, and they had to work. They had no choice.” —A mother from DeKalb County Parents found themselves turning to their children’s grandparents or other relatives, both as a source for child care and as a factor informing their child care decisions. “That’s been the biggest change—just having a friend leave Atlanta to go where they grew up because they need that right now. And they feel more comfortable having their mom or dad or family member help out, instead of staying in Atlanta, where it’s just them, and having a sitter, or nanny or whatever.” —A mother from Fulton County This report provides a meaningful accounting of the pandemic’s unique effect on working caregivers with children under five. But it also illuminates a theme: Last month in the Saporta Report, we discussed the historic infant formula shortage. This month, we’re talking about the child care difficulties that have accompanied the pandemic. We can’t help but wonder—what crisis will families with young children face next month or next year? This shouldn’t be such a perennial question. The most rapid period of brain development occurs before age five. During the baby and toddler years, every experience can reverberate through a child’s future. Building a strong foundation from the start is the key to lifelong health and success. This is why GEEARS focuses like a laser on Georgia’s youngest children and their families. We know they deserve less crisis-hopping and more acknowledgement and inclusion when it comes to policy decisions, educational structures, and societal values. The good news is, anyone can help us advocate for these kids and their families (because they do matter to all of us, whether or not you have young children in your family). To learn more about GEEARS’ many approaches to making Georgia the best place to raise a child, visit our website. This is sponsored content.