Children need heroes to emulate, in real-life and in the world of make-believe. As a kid, l always admired my heroically hard-working parents but I also desperately wanted to be like Superman, the superhero I ...
Project to Include Community Painting Event By MARTA MARTA’s public art program Artbound is calling for artists to design a mural that can be translated into stencils, so the community can assist with painting the design on concrete barriers at a new bus transit center in Clayton County. As part of phase one of transit improvements at the Clayton County Justice Center, MARTA will move bus stop operations from Post Way to within the center’s northwest parking lot. The concrete barriers will serve as a temporary wall between buses and bus shelters and waiting areas until the permanent structure can be built. The transit hub will serve four bus routes with 800 daily riders and this project aims to bring vibrancy and color to the site. You can view a similar project here: NY DOT Barrier Beautification Successful applicants will be muralists and painters who show artistic merit demonstrated in a strong portfolio of work, as well as a willing spirit to work with the community. Required Submittals: Ten digital images of relevant previous work, labeled with title, dimensions and completion date Statement of Purpose describing your general approach and themes you will incorporate into the design Resume with current contact information and to include any community-centered project history Two references Applicants must submit these materials in a single PDF document (not to exceed 10 MB) to [email protected] by May 29 at 5 p.m. The selected artist will be notified by June 5 and must submit a final design for approval before completing commission. Designs may not represent violence or be profane or graphic in nature and may not contain overt political or religious messaging. Artbound will pay an artist’s fee of $5,000 to cover design and creation of the stencils and will host the community painting day tentatively set for Saturday, June 27, with consideration given to current social distancing requirements. One percent of MARTA’s annual budget is allocated to enhance the ridership experience through visual and performance art.
By Metro Atlanta Chamber Last week, Fortune released its annual 2020 Fortune 500/1000 list of America’s largest companies based on revenues. Thirty companies headquartered in metro Atlanta are among the 2020 Fortune 1000, of which 16 companies ranked in the elite Fortune 500. In fiscal year 2019, these 30 companies generated aggregate revenues of $438 billion. The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) team aggregates information from the 2020 Fortune List on the MAC Research page. Find additional research on the region here. Fortune 500 Notes: New to metro Atlanta’s Fortune 500 list (one company): #316 Newell Brands – In 2019, Newell relocated its headquarters back to Atlanta from New Jersey. Newell’s headquarters is in Sandy Springs. No longer on metro Atlanta’s Fortune 500 list: SunTrust. In 2019, SunTrust merged with BB&T and became Truist Financial headquartered in Charlotte. Fortune 1000 Notes: New to metro Atlanta’s Fortune 1000 list (4 companies): #962 Gray Television – Gray currently owns and/or operates television stations and leading digital properties in 93 television markets. Gray Television’s headquarters is in Brookhaven (DeKalb County). #980 Primerica – Primerica is the largest independent financial services marketing organization in North America, serving middle-income households. Primerica’s headquarters is in Duluth (Gwinnett County). #983 Floor & Decor – Floor & Decor is a leading specialty retailer of hard surface flooring, offering the broadest in-stock selection of tile, wood, stone, related tools and flooring accessories. Floor & Decor’s headquarters is in Atlanta (Cumberland/Galleria area, Cobb County). #993 Rollins – Rollins provides essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects to more than two million customers. Rollins’ headquarters is in Atlanta (Lindbergh area, Fulton County). Metro Atlanta Fortune 500 Headquarters, 2020 (16 companies) Rank Company Revenues ($ millions) 26 The Home Depot $110,225 43 United Parcel Service (UPS) $74,094 68 Delta Air Lines, Inc. $47,007 88 The Coca-Cola Company $37,266 153 The Southern Company $21,419 171 Genuine Parts Company $19,392 177 WestRock $18,289 309 PulteGroup, Inc. $10,213 316 Newell Brands Inc. $10,083 350 AGCO $9,041 412 Veritiv $7,659 428 Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. $7,210 439 NCR Corporation $6,915 459 Intercontinental Exchange $6,547 477 Graphic Packaging Holding Company $6,160 478 HD Supply Holdings, Inc. $6,146 Note: -Norfolk Southern Corp., ranked #283 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list, is relocating its corporate headquarters from Norfolk, VA to Atlanta. The company broke ground on its new corporate headquarters in Midtown Atlanta on March 26, 2019. The new complex, expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021, will have two towers totaling 750,000 square feet. Norfolk Southern’s relocation will bring approximately 850 jobs to Atlanta. Metro Atlanta Fortune 1000 Headquarters, 2020 (14 companies) Rank Company Revenues ($ millions) 553 Global Payments Inc. $4,912 649 Aaron’s, Inc. $3,948 671 Acuity Brands, Inc. $3,673 689 Carter’s, Inc. $3,519 692 Equifax Inc. $3,508 758 GMS Inc. $3,116 849 FleetCor Technologies, Inc. $2,649 852 BlueLinx Holdings Inc. $2,637 904 SiteOne Landscape Supply $2,357 962 Gray Television Inc. $2,122 965 Beazer Homes USA, Inc. $2,088 980 Primerica, Inc. $2,052 983 Floor & Decor Holdings, Inc. $2,045 993 Rollins, Inc. $2,015 Source: The 2020 Fortune 500 List, Fortune, May 18, 2020 For more on the Metro Atlanta Chamber, visit https://www.metroatlantachamber.com/.
By Floyd Hall, in partnership with Central Atlanta Progress It always feels like a unique birthright to be born in Atlanta. This energy in this city is different. We’ve done things differently for a long time and for most of my life, I don’t think I ever understood how Atlanta became so special. What makes Atlanta natives so proud to be from here? What makes so many people from other places want to come here? It wasn’t until I started to travel to other places that I realized the reason for Atlanta’s uniqueness: leadership. The courage and vision of leadership in Atlanta, politically and culturally, has created an atmosphere that pushes people here to do the unexpected. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, from being a transit hub to a Hip-Hop hub, Atlanta’s legacy of leaders has helped foster a one-of-a-kind history for the city on a national and international stage. But it wasn’t always that way. This place once known as Terminus didn’t become what it is by accident, and the path wasn’t always perfect or straight. The 1996 Gary M. Pomerantz book, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn: A Saga of Race and Family, provides one of the most fascinating snapshots of Atlanta history that I’ve ever encountered. I recently read this book for the first time, and I learned so much about my hometown that I never knew. In reading Pomerantz’ words the names on the streets and buildings around the city come alive and more importantly, I got a really amazing education on “how Atlanta became Atlanta” through the lives of Mayors Ivan Allen, Jr. and Maynard Jackson and their respective families. Thus, in consideration of that book, I’m excited to host and produce the Atlanta Legacy Makers podcast in conjunction with the Atlanta Legacy Makers initiative, a partnership between Central Atlanta Progress and the City of Atlanta. This podcast project will act as a companion to the recently launched city-wide reading of Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, with episodes that correspond to the seven major parts of the book and feature a range of Atlanta voices that add some current perspective to the text. I’m aware that a few of you might be already familiar with this story, thus one of my particular points of emphasis is to connect the legacy of these mayors to current voices who will be leading this city for years to come. My hope is that in sharing these conversations with you it will spark renewed interest in how Atlanta has evolved over time, and perhaps be a catalyst for someone to write the next great book about Atlanta that ushers us into the present day and the future ahead. Visit https://www.atllegacymakers.com/podcast to learn more about the podcast and to download/subscribe; it’s currently available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. Featured Image: Former mayor Ivan Allen Jr. (left) and mayor Maynard Jackson seen on September 25, 1974 in Atlanta. Photo by: Chuck Vollertsen, Atlanta Journal Constitution staff, via AP
We spoke with Atkinson about how a stint at a tech startup led her to starting Atlanta’s only female-led structural engineering firm, her love for all things ULI and how she serves her neighbors in unexpected ways. Malory Atkinson isn’t afraid to stand out in a crowd. Maybe it’s her penchant for vintage style. Or, maybe it’s her unique backgrounds in both construction and engineering operations. Either way, she has learned to embrace what makes her different — and how to leverage these to her advantage. As a co-founder and managing partner at Shear Structural, Atkinson blends her experience in technical, marketing, business development plus a stint at a tech startup to carve her own niche in Atlanta’s real estate industry. From even a quick glance at Shear Structural’s website, the first impression is clear: this isn’t your stereotypical engineering firm — and that is by design. There’s a well-populated Instagram page that illustrates the diverse employees and vibrant company culture. And the brightest beacon of change? The C-suite is all female. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS In fact, Shear is the only 100% women-owned and women-managed structural engineering firm in the state of Georgia. In 2017, Atkinson co-founded the company alongside fellow managing partners, Karen Jenkins and Holly Jeffreys. “We made a conscious effort to not have the name of the company be our last names,” Atkinson said. “We felt that was a little too traditional for us and could be something that makes employees not feel quite as much of a level of ownership with the firm. Shear isn’t just the three of us, it’s our whole team.” They also made the conscious effort to be as diverse as possible. “We have an opportunity to show that a structural engineering firm, from the leadership down, can look very different than people think — and prove we can be successful,” she said. “To some people, it’s just refreshing to be different and to look different.” They’re proud to hold a Minority/Female Business Enterprise (“M/FBE”) certification with Fulton County, a Female Business Enterprise (FBE) with the City of Atlanta, and a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification with the Small Business Administration. While they may be small, they are certainly mighty. The firm’s leaders have been around the block for years, focused solely on providing dedicated structural engineering services to architects, contractors, institutions, developers, and communities throughout the Southeast. Odds are you would recognize their past work for and at major Atlanta institutions including Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Westside Provisions District, Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market and 1375 Peachtree, among others. Since launching Shear fewer than three years ago, the firm has grown from three employees to 12 employees, is licensed in 11 states and engineered more than 22,000,000 square feet of buildings, including 12 award-winning projects. Atkinson is responsible for making all the operations run smoothly — from finance and accounting to HR and marketing and sales. Following its first full year, the company was added to PSMJ’s 2019 Circle of Excellence, representing the top 20% of Architecture and Engineering firms in the country in terms of profitability, overhead management, cash flow, productivity, business development, staff growth and turnover. “That was really exciting, right off the gate to be recognized as an extremely high-performing company,” she said. And the list of accolades goes on. Atkinson personally was named “Small Business Person of the Year” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2018, one of Georgia State University’s 40 under 40 in 2019 and one of “100 Influential Women in Engineering” by Engineering Georgia in February 2020. BUILT TO ADAPT Of course, starting a new business doesn’t come without its challenges — navigating through a global pandemic among them. But Atkinson approaches every obstacle with an open mind to find creative solutions. That sense of fluidity is reflected on her resume as well. When the Roswell native graduated from Georgia Tech in 2008 with a BS in Building Construction, she had been working for a small general contractor as a site superintendent and a project manager. “I enjoyed it and learned a lot, but didn’t love being out in the field,” she said. So, she looked for a job in pre-construction and found an opportunity with an engineering company that focused on marketing and development. “It was a whole new world that I hadn’t been exposed to, one that was more big picture and higher level,” she said. During this time, she also received her Master of Business Administration from Georgia State. Then in 2015, she decided to pivot again into a new field and accepted a role as Head of Sales and Marketing for 1Q, an Atlanta-based market research tech startup that created a customer engagement platform for big brands to interact directly with customers. “Typically, our industry has been behind the times and behind the trends, so I wanted to test my chops,” Atkinson said. “I knew I wanted to own a business in the future, so I’ve always taken positions to help me advance to the next level.” The startup presented the opportunity to build something new from scratch that nobody had ever heard of, and then bring it to market. They also offered her equity, and a chance to experience how her relationship with work and work habits might change if she had ownership in that company. “It was a good challenge for me to see how that worked, and it was an awesome experience. I got to fly around the country and work with the CMO at companies like Delta and Procter & Gamble,” she said. “The startup community is extremely high energy and very fast paced, with decisions made by the minute and things changing constantly. It was really cool to see.” Before long, Atkinson was figuring out how she could bring those skills back to the construction industry. She wondered: how could I set up a company in the real estate world to act with the benefits of a startup? “It’s all about being lean,” she said. “Culturally, …
Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia Georgia’s iconic forestlands are vital to the state’s economy and quality of life. These forests benefit us all by filtering air and water, harboring wildlife, and boosting local economies through the creation of jobs and domestically produced forest products. They also play a role in fighting climate change by storing carbon, the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. The business community is increasingly taking action to address its climate impact, with a clear eye on the potential long-term benefits to corporate reputations, financial bottom lines, and social responsibility. Corporate change is often driven by investors, employees, and customers advocating for corporations to reduce their carbon footprints. For example, Amazon’s $100 million commitment to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and grasslands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, is part of the company’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2040 —10 years ahead of the 2050 target outlined in the Paris climate agreement. Many corporations are already relying on carbon credits— tradeable permits created by projects that store, capture or eliminate carbon emissions—to offset the carbon dioxide they create in the course of business and many more are looking to those credits to help them balance their carbon footprint. The forest industry’s economic impact on Georgia is significant. In 2018, it supported 148,414 jobs and contributed approximately $36.3 billion in economic impact, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission. With more than 22 million acres of privately-owned forestland across the state, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia plans to launch a Working Woodlands program to provide corporations based here the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets and support local forest economies at the same time. Begun several years ago as a pilot project in Pennsylvania, Working Woodlands offers participating landowners a number of benefits, including quantifying and increasing the carbon-capturing capacity of their trees. The goal is to help landowners generate sustainable income from their properties so the land can remain forested and continue to capture carbon into the future. Working with a global consulting firm and a steering committee of partners, including the Georgia Forestry Association and the Georgia Forestry Commission, the Conservancy set out to understand the forest landscape and the landowner perspective. Although Working Woodlands has been successful in other states, it is critically important to understand and work within Georgia’s unique ecological, culture and political conditions. The consulting firm also conducted detailed mapping analyses to identify potentially suitable properties. With support from key donors, the program will launch in 2020 on a limited scale with a couple of landowners while The Nature Conservancy continues to secure support to manage and grow the program. This process has shown us a way forward to use Georgia’s existing resources to help address climate change. The longstanding relationships and extensive infrastructure that already exist to connect, inform and support forest landowners will be instrumental in building and sustaining the Working Woodlands program. In the face of urgent climate conditions and a challenging economic environment, Working Woodlands has the potential to be a win-win for businesses, private landowners, and the people and wildlife of Georgia for generations to come.
By Operation HOPE For many Americans, navigating the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming. We are proud to serve as a financial advocate and intermediary for these affected homeowners, renters, and small business owners in facilitating financial recovery. Since our HOPE Inside Disaster COVID-19 response began five weeks ago, we have provided over 14,500 virtual financial recovery services, including credit and money management coaching, small business counseling and loan application assistance, and mortgage and student loan deferment. Many thanks to our corporate and alliance partners for their ongoing support! Organizations that wish to provide financial or in-kind support to HOPE Inside Disaster may contact Mary Ehrsam, President of HOPE Partnerships, at [email protected] Last week, our response efforts were featured by several mainstream news outlets. On Wednesday, Chairman John Hope Bryant joined host Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” to discuss the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on the financial health of minority communities. Click the video below to watch Chairman Bryant speak on the ongoing work of Operation HOPE and our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Find more resources at www.hopeinsidecovid19.org
By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President Admist the backdrop of a global pandemic like COVID-19, it is difficult to imagine that many other global health issues persist. Not only is this true, but there are still many people and organizations continuing to address these issues while the world wrestles with creating a new “normal” post COVID-19. The current pandemic has highlighted the critcal role that nurses play in attending to patients and administering critical care. It has also highlighted the need for adequate training to improve health outcomes. Days prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., MedShare partnered with Global Health & Education Initiative (GHEI) to send a team of three volunteers to Tanzania. While there, they provided a two-week training for 12 emergency medicine nurses and other qualified health practitioners, covering all aspects of emergency medicine and life saving techniques. GHEI is a New York-based NGO formed by professionals and volunteers running health care education projects worldwide. They aim to improve the quality of health care and education in underprivileged communities by supporting health care professionals and institutions as well as students pursuing their dream of education. Their journey began in Bagamoyo, Tanzania in 2008 where the first project of the foundation was implemented. A local school was the first to support disadvantaged children in the area. Years later, they continue to provide education and medical care for children in disadvantaged communities, and MedShare is proud to partner with them in their efforts to elevate patient care. Nurses are the largest group of health care workers in Africa. By adequately equipping nurses to identify, intervene and provide care in emergency situations, emergency health care systems can be strengthened. MedShare was able to equip the team with all of the necessary tools for the emergency medicine training, including: Ambu bags for adults, pediatric and neonates Laryngeal Mask Airways (LMAs): different sizes for intubation training Cervical collars for stabilizing trauma patients Adult and pediatric masks for nebulization The training will equip the nurses to handle many of the critical cases seen throughout the country which include malaria, the leading cause of death in people over five in Tanzania, comprising 22% of all deaths, HIV/AIDS (17% of deaths), cardiovascular disease (11% of deaths), tuberculosis (5% of deaths), respiratory disease (4% of deaths), cancer (3% of deaths), and diabetes (2% of deaths). Additionally, late Cesarean sections are a significant cause of maternal mortality. The training provided by GHEI demonstrates that investing in the improvement of emergency nursing skills can have high impact results with low cost, and it will improve emergency care in Tanzania over the long term. P.S. All three volunteers returned safely to the U.S. and completed the required quarantine period at home.
By Kate Sweeney During the COVID-19 pandemic, many once-mundane tasks — like dropping by the grocery store or pharmacy — represent a newfound degree of difficulty, and even risk. This is especially true for folks 65 and up, who are more endangered than others by the highly contagious coronavirus. In these times, many service agencies have stepped up or completely transformed the way they do their work. Read on.
Faris Albakheet, left, of Busboys and Poets, and Robert Laster of Saval Foodservice, distribute free food to restaurant industry workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic at Fourteenth and V Streets Northwest in Washington, D.C., on April 17. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo) By AnnMaura Connolly and Eric Tanenblatt, Dentons Ed. note: This article was originally published in Roll Call on May 6, 2020. We can’t spend our way out of our problems, but we can serve our way out of them together. The crises the United States knows best — fires and floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, school shootings and mass violence — have all been proximate to individual communities or states. Government and civil society are prepared for this backyard disaster paradigm because we’ve been called to respond to so many before. But the coronavirus pandemic is a uniquely national crisis affecting every nook and cranny of the country, and policymakers have struggled to develop a “whole of America” response. Predictably, the gut reaction in Washington has been to spend money — lots. But even as Congress writes trillion-dollar checks to stabilize the economy, the unprecedented strain on our health systems, schools and essential public services is so acute that stimulus alone won’t be enough. America will need to tap a well far deeper than its treasury if it’s going to pull itself out of this hole. We’re not going to spend our way out of these problems, but we can serve our way out of them together. Even in isolation, Americans are united and hungry to serve and help their communities recover, but few know how. New legislation introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers would connect this profound desire to serve with concrete opportunities to get the country back to normal by increasing our investment in civilian national service. National service programs, which augment the enormous contributions of community and faith-based nonprofits by mobilizing Americans in sustained service, are among the least funded in the constellation of federal agencies even though they generate some of the highest returns on investment for government and society. AmeriCorps is already on the ground working in hard-hit communities, just as it’s done in every local natural disaster for the last 25 years. All across the country, AmeriCorps members are supporting testing and contact tracing efforts at the direction of governors; assisting with intake at drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers to support the CDC; organizing blood drives; setting up temporary isolation sites; delivering emergency food and supplies to vulnerable populations; making support calls to elderly and medically fragile community members; and supporting students to mitigate the tremendous learning loss resulting from school closures. In schools, where students and teachers are making the bumpy transition to distance learning, AmeriCorps members’ work will be felt for a generation as they address the twin challenges of prolonged classroom absences and historic state and local revenue shortfalls. The longer students are out of conventional classroom settings, the more likely they are to slip through the cracks as already stressed parents step into the void as unprepared educators. As if the distance learning paradigm wasn’t challenging enough, research from the last recession showed that forced cuts in education spending tracked with poorer student performance and that downturns in families’ personal economies negatively affected students. AmeriCorps members are addressing those challenges in real time by providing meaningful virtual and academic support as students navigate this “new normal.” The limited funding currently available has allowed AmeriCorps to deploy 75,000 national service members to help address core weaknesses in education, the economy and public health exposed by this pandemic. But by leaning into the robust national service infrastructure that supports AmeriCorps, as Sen. Chris Coons and other House and Senate lawmakers have proposed, the country could deploy around a quarter of a million civilian national service members annually to help us respond to and recover from this pandemic. That’s a quarter of a million service members helping to teach and tutor America’s students, testing and treating our work force, and doing the hard work of pulling us out of this. The road to normal is a long and uncertain one, but one thing is clear: National service is delivering meaningful results in communities across the country, and Congress needs to support its vital response and recovery work. AnnMaura Connolly is the president of Voices for National Service and the chief strategy officer of City Year Inc., an education nonprofit funded partly by AmeriCorps and dedicated to helping public schools. Eric Tanenblatt is a former Republican board member of the Corporation for National & Community Service, the independent federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. He serves as the global public policy chair of the international law firm Dentons.
By Alicia Philipp, president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta Edgar Degas said “art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” As I read through the list of grants announced last week from our Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, we are at war with a virus we cannot see. While many nonprofits are struggling, the arts sector faces a particularly brutal crisis with performances canceled, exhibits shuttered and event educational offerings eliminated. It’s a sector that takes its lifeblood from the gathering of people, so even as businesses are starting to reopen, arts organizations are facing months with no earned revenue and an uncertain future. And yet – Atlanta’s arts sector is innovating to not only survive, but to remind us of humanity’s breathtaking beauty. The sheer creative ingenuity of these amazing artists – and all of the staff, board members and volunteers that are the sector’s oxygen – to ramp up and rally to keep creating in the COVID-19 age is astounding. Many of them have even banded together to create ArtBeatsATL.com, a free online platform for arts programming for those sheltering at home. A survey of 55 Atlanta arts organizations conducted by Dad’s Garage — about a third of the region’s organizations — showed a loss thus far of more than $10 million in income because of canceled performances. You can read more information about that survey and the impact of COVID-19 on our region’s arts organizations in this article in Arts ATL. Last week, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta announced $580,000 in grants for arts organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis through our Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund. Since its genesis in 1993 the Arts Fund has focused on small to midsize arts organizations with annual operating budgets under $2 million. The twelve organizations listed below were selected for grants during an open application and rolling award process. Future grants will be awarded every two weeks as response to the COVID-19 crisis continues. You can read the full press release here. We’ve also pivoted our A Place to Perform program to provide COVID-19 support, and grants are forthcoming. These grant applications were reviewed by Community Foundation staff who looked at how organizations have adapted in the current environment and their plans for the remainder of the year in an uncertain environment. Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund grants were then decided with the counsel of a panel of arts industry veterans. After the panel’s review of the applications, I thought donor Virginia Hepner said it best, “With these grants we’re investing in leadership from both organization staff and their boards of directors, recognizing that strong vision, leadership and innovation are essential to keeping our arts sector exhibiting and performing in new ways through this crisis.” While those grants and the ones that our organization will make in the coming weeks will help, Atlanta’s arts organizations are still suffering. They need your help, my help, help from all of us now, more than ever. It’s a crucial time that will dictate the survival of these organizations that are an economic driver in Atlanta and an essential component of our collective regional character and spirit. So, I urge you to give. You can reach out to the Community Foundation to learn more about giving a gift to our Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund. You might also consider a gift to your favorite arts organization in recognition of the joy they have brought to you through shared experiences. If you purchased tickets to an exhibit or performance that was canceled, consider the cost a contribution to the organization in lieu of a refund. Or, buy a membership or subscription to use later. Now is the time to support Atlanta’s arts sector. The show must go on – so let’s applaud through taking an action today, and together. Feature photo courtesy of Moving in the Spirit Photography: JD Scott Dancer: Briana Heath
Featured Image: Emory student Alexandra Tuttle (left) and her sister McKenzie, a student at Georgia Tech, were part of one winning team in the virtual hackathon tackling problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event included 105 teams of Emory and Georgia Tech students. By Emory University From apps that help businesses operate under COVID-19 to those that help family members and caregivers better connect with elderly residents in long-term care facilities, teams of Emory and Georgia Tech students joined forces to propose solutions to pandemic problems. On Saturday, May 16, nine teams comprised of Emory and Georgia Tech students pitched solutions to COVID-19 issues in the final round of the EGHI/GT HACK COVID-19 virtual hackathon. Teams presented innovative product ideas to a group of judges from the technology, business and health care fields. The hackathon was a partnership between the Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI), the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory and Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X program. The Emory University School of Medicine funded the hackathon through its Imagine, Innovate and Impact (I3) Award program. The event began May 8 when 508 students comprising 105 teams began working on solutions to COVID-19 problems divided into eight different tracks: transmission/PPE, social distancing, workplace impact, supply chain, health care delivery, testing and contact tracing and open category. “This hackathon was able to provide an outlet for students looking for ways to help control the pandemic,” says Keriann Roy, EGHI operations and evaluation manager, who organized the hackathon. “Together, these teams had to determine how to communicate, plan and execute their projects from separate homes. Their work is incredibly impressive given that it was completed during this time of social distancing.” The top three teams, all of which included Georgia Tech and Emory students, each won a $10,000 cash prize and enrollment in the summer 2020 CREATE-X Startup Launch. Winning ideas One winning team pitched an app called CAPACIT, which helps businesses manage new regulations required to open and operate under COVID-19 and helps consumers practice social distancing by alerting them to a store’s customer traffic in real time. Emory student Alexandra Tuttle, who just finished her first year at the Rollins School of Public Health, made the hackathon a family affair by participating on the same team with her sister McKenzie Tuttle, who just completed her sophomore year at Georgia Tech in biomedical engineering. “As a public health student, I’d been searching for ways to help the community in the midst of the pandemic, and this hackathon seemed like an incredible way to make a tangible difference. I mentioned it in passing to my sister McKenzie. She later reached out saying she had a group from Georgia Tech and asked if I was still interested,” says Alexandra Tuttle. The sisters and their teammates plan to dedicate a portion of their prize money toward developing CAPACIT into a commercially viable product that could help hundreds of communities in their social distancing efforts. Another winning team created an app called CareRing that helps family members and caregivers better communicate with and monitor the physical and mental health of elderly residents living in long-term care facilities. “For our team, we definitely want to focus on customer discovery. We want to make sure that our app will actually benefit our target audience and can make a difference,” says Katherine Choi, a Georgia Tech College of Computing student who worked on the team that developed the app. To assist providers caring for patients in hospitals, a third winning team developed an app called CovidHub, which integrates COVID-19 rapid testing results collected in facilities outside of hospitals with hospital emergency medical records (EMRs). “I am working with a startup that offers COVID-19 antibody testing, so my mind was already focused on all the issues I was seeing around testing,” says Shirley Gao, a CovidHub team member who completed her dual MPH/MBA degree at Emory earlier this month. “Throughout the hackathon, we spoke with doctors who validated a true need for CovidHub, which was our solution to integrate results from pop-up testing sites into legacy EMRs at hospitals.” A fourth team comprised of Georgia Tech students won a $5,000 honorable mention award and enrollment into the CREATE-X program for its COVID Cleaner tool, which uses computer vision algorithms to help businesses keep their facilities properly sanitized. Michael Krause, a Georgia Tech aerospace engineering student who worked on the COVID Cleaner idea, looks forward to bringing his and his teammate’s product to market. “One thing I’m especially proud of is the significant progress we made toward creating a viable product during the hackathon period itself. We’re pretty close to being able to roll out a live demo to stores, so we look forward to the support of CREATE-X as we endeavor to do that through building technical and business relationships with stores,” he says. The power of partnership The Emory and Georgia Tech partners for this hackathon are pleased that they brought so many students together to work on products that could make a positive difference in controlling the pandemic. “Partnering with Georgia Tech on this hackathon was a great experience for the Emory Global Health Institute and for all of the Emory students who participated. We were thrilled that so many students from both universities participated and impressed with the high-quality work they produced. While this was our first hackathon partnership with Georgia Tech, I hope it won’t be our last,” says Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for global health at Emory. “We are so proud of all of the students who were able to participate in the virtual hackathon, developing ideas that could potentially make a real difference during this unprecedented pandemic,” says Raghupathy “Siva” Sivakumar, director and co-founder of CREATE-X and Wayne J. Holman Chair in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. “Partnering with Emory gave us an added edge to bring more students together and tackle the tough issues facing us today. We hope that CREATE-X will help these winning teams bring their products to market, creating viable solutions to …
By Frank Brown, Esq It’s no secret the past couple of months have been challenging for students, parents, and educators. Even so, at CIS of Atlanta, there are stories of hope amidst the chaos. Our site coordinators have been diligent in ensuring children have access to online learning tools and other resources to finish the year strong. From delivering fresh groceries to bridging the gap for rent payments, the CIS of Atlanta team continues to go the distance to provide for the basic needs of the students we serve. We recognize graduating from high school as low-income minority students with diplomas will not be enough to ensure they are full participants in the American dream like you and I. Therefore, the standard for CIS of Atlanta’s real impact has changed at this time in our almost 50-year history. It’s imperative that our students graduate from high school with a clear plan for the future. College, a technical or vocational school, the military, or entrepreneurship are the paths we help them choose. What makes our approach unique is we provide 360-degree student support. Adrianna, a student in Clayton County Public Schools, was referred to us last year. A young mother, she struggled to balance between work and completing her high school diploma. Oftentimes, putting food on the table left little time for studying. CIS of Atlanta Site Coordinator Renika Robinson connected Adrianna to financial resources for daycare assistance. No longer having to choose between the needs of today and the desire for a better tomorrow, Adrianna just earned her high school diploma. We are proud to announce she will attend Georgia State University this fall. Our dropout prevention program in Clayton County schools made the difference for Adrianna. This is how we break the cycle of poverty and address metro Atlanta’s crippling income inequality. I’ve written before of the impact guardians had throughout my educational journey, including undergraduate and in law school. Their support and guidance undoubtedly made the difference in my higher education success and in helping me identify a career path. That’s why our CIS of Atlanta students know that our doors don’t close once they receive a college acceptance letter. Student-athlete Christian is a proud member of the University of Missouri’s class of 2020. A first-generation college student, Christian received financial and emotional support from the CIS of Atlanta family throughout his four-year degree. It gets even better. Christian has been accepted into graduate school at Oklahoma State University where he will pursue a Master’s of Business Administration while completing his final season of eligibility in football. Again, we are witnessing generational transformation take place in front of our eyes. Adrianna and Christian have a community of support that calls them to be the difference for those of shared backgrounds and experiences. So many have supported CIS of Atlanta’s mission as we work tirelessly to provide education and wraparound services for our students and their families, particularly in light of a global pandemic and unprecedented unemployment filings. Last month, Black Entertainment Television, the NAACP, and the United Way hosted a benefit concert to raise funds for nonprofit organizations – including CIS of Atlanta – serving minority communities. Mercedes-Benz USA provided us three Sprinter vans so we could more smoothly deliver clothes, groceries, and other essentials to students and families. CIS of Atlanta is dedicated to surrounding children with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Our student support services will continue through the summer, especially as we help boost morale for those who were anticipating internships, early admission into universities, and much-needed summer jobs. If you are a metro Atlanta business in need of young talent this summer, or if you have another way you’d like to help our mission, I urge you to contact us at [email protected]