By Ted Terry, Mayor of Clarkston, Georgia and George Dusenbury, The Trust for Public Land’s Executive Director in Georgia Tucked between Stone Mountain and Decatur lies the tiny community of Clarkston. Thirteen thousand people from ...
As one of the largest and fastest growing metropolitan areas in the Southeast, Atlanta offers tremendous opportunities, attracting investors, corporations and young professionals looking for a place to relocate. While the historic Westside has become a prime location for real estate investment, the price of homes has soared in recent years, leaving many prospective homebuyers and long-term residents of modest economic means without options. Urban Oasis Development is an Atlanta-based, Black-owned and for-profit housing developer committed to creating inclusive and flourishing neighborhoods, without displacing existing residents. Recognizing the increasing need for affordable housing in Atlanta, Urban Oasis invests in neglected communities by creating affordable single family housing and mixed income neighborhoods. They’ve coined their approach as, “using real estate as a community development tool”. With Reinvestment Fund’s dual commitment to increasing affordable housing in the Southeast and supporting developers of color, investing in the vision and mission of Urban Oasis made sense. In 2019, Reinvestment Fund offered Urban Oasis a revolving line of credit for home ownership rehab. Through a unique loan package designed to offer flexibility and support for affordable housing projects, Reinvestment Fund provided Urban Oasis with its first moderate-interest construction loan as it expanded to offer mixed-income for-sale housing in the Westside of Atlanta. “Our development approach is community-centered and focuses on people over sticks and bricks,” said Joel Dixon, Principal at Urban Oasis. “In order to provide a mix of housing across a variety of affordable price points we have benefitted from the funding flexibility and innovative housing solution approach of CDFIs like Reinvestment Fund.” On the Westside, more than 95% of residents are Black and the median annual household income ($31,356) is less than half the median for the Atlanta region ($66,657). Urban Oasis planned to build five properties using the line of credit from Reinvestment Fund. Two of the five properties developed by Urban Oasis will be income restricted for buyers at or below 80% average median income (AMI), two will be restricted for buyers at or below 120% AMI, and one is unrestricted. The financial backing enabled Urban Oasis to renovate a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house and to construct a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house—both of which sold in 2021. “This project is good example of how Reinvestment Fund can commit to developers by being flexible and tailoring loans to fit their projects,” said Natasha Dowell, Reinvestment Fund Lending Associate, Southeast. “The Reinvestment Fund line of credit gives Urban Oasis access to capital that is flexible and helps them to control costs, knowing they have financing to keep things moving.” Affordable housing development firms led by people of color—both nonprofit and for-profit—are highly underrepresented in the housing industry. Many lack access to the capital and resources necessary to advance much-needed affordable housing projects to build-up their communities. Community development financial institutions like Reinvestment Fund play a critical role as reliable capital partners, particularly for smaller-scale developers who are most impacted when banks pull back on lending. In times of economic uncertainty, flexible capital can be difficult to access as conventional credit sources tighten their requirements. To confront the systemic barriers that have kept developers of color behind many of their white peers and limited the ability of communities of color to thrive, in June 2022 the Wells Fargo Foundation launched Growing Diverse Housing Developers (GDHD). GDHD is a $40 million four-year initiative led by four Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Capital Impact Partners, LIIF, Raza Development Fund and Reinvestment Fund, to expand the growth and success of 39 accomplished real estate developers of color nationwide. Working together, they are providing enterprise-level grants, which will be used to build and scale the businesses’ infrastructure, including hiring staff, upgrading technology, renting office space, and taking actions to increase access to industry connections and resources. As a part of the initiative, Capital Impact Partners joined forces with LIIF and Reinvestment Fund to create a national learning cohort of 27 housing developers based in metropolitan regions, including Urban Oasis. The developers will have access to capital and resources to advance their development pipelines and grow their business, including capacity-building grants funded by Wells Fargo, and more than $100 million in additional funding the CDFIs have committed toward innovative loan products. Ultimately, the initiative plans to create a more inclusive housing ecosystem where communities have access to more affordable options for renters and homeowners while supporting the sustained growth and financial success of experienced housing development firms led by people of color. Through the GDHD initiative, Reinvestment Fund hopes to amplify the impact underrepresented housing developers are already achieving in advancing affordable housing in communities facing displacement pressure. When CDFIs invest in developers of color, the impact often expands beyond the project and has a multiplying effect that can extend to hiring other people of color, resource sharing, and wealth-building within the community. Reinvestment Fund’s partnership with Urban Oasis Development is a testament to what BIPOC housing developers can achieve when CDFIs recognize both the systemic barriers in place and the overall community benefit of investing in innovative projects through flexible capital and capacity-building resources. You can read other examples of how Reinvestment Fund is forging partnerships to address affordable housing in the article, “Small But Mighty: How Small-Scale Developers Are Reimagining Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Playbook” featured in the Saporta Report. This is sponsored content.
Families First partners with the 2023 HBCU All-Star Battle Of The Bands & College Fair scheduled Saturday 2/4/23. Join us as the Battle is Back! 6 HBCUs and 2 High school marching bands will leave it all on the field to a crowd of 50K+. For Battle Of The Bands sponsorship, contact Peyton Van Schalkwyk at firstname.lastname@example.org For Battle of the Bands group or individual tickets: https://allstarbattleofthebands.com/ or email@example.com For Free HBCU College Fair registration: https://allstarbattleofthebands.com/college-fair/ Donate to Families First mission/cause: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/families-first-inc-atlanta-ga/resilience-to-thrive-fund This is sponsored content.
Representatives from the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently joined Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology with a significant presence in the Atlanta area, to present three Atlanta-area small businesses with $10,000 grants in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. The business owners who received grants included: Joel Ferrer of Chef Joel Coco Cabana LLC, a restaurant delighting guests with unique cuisine, showcasing Chef Joel’s classically trained background and Cuban heritage. Vanessa Higgins of Clean Tu Casa, a cleaning, organizing and personal errand service company serving homes, small offices and short-term rentals in Metro Atlanta. Alejandra “Luz” Pelaez of UP Advertising, a multicultural advertising and digital marketing agency specializing in reaching the Hispanic market, ensuring companies communicate authentically. In interviews following the grant presentations, the recipients discussed the impact the grants will have on their businesses. Chef Ferrer highlighted plans to invest in upgraded technology, while Vanessa Higgins underscored that the grants will enable her to create jobs and Sebastian Uribe of UP Advertising noted an anticipated increase in sales. The grants were awarded as part of the Fiserv Back2Business program, a $50 million commitment to support minority-owned small businesses. In addition to grants, Back2Business connects diverse small businesses with critical resources, including complimentary small business coaching, leading technology solutions such as Clover and community partners. “We’re proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by supporting these inspiring businesses and all the small businesses that play a crucial role in Atlanta’s economy,” said Vivian Greentree, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Citizenship at Fiserv. “Providing funding and resources to help small, diverse businesses thrive is a key tenet of the Back2Business program and it’s wonderful to see the impact this program has made in cities all over the country, and especially here in our own backyard in Atlanta.” “It is an honor to partner with Fiserv and the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to celebrate and support entrepreneurs in the Hispanic community during Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Alex Gonzalez, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Through the Back2Business grants, Fiserv is providing access to capital and resources to help these three Hispanic-owned businesses grow and thrive.” In addition to facing difficult business conditions such as rising costs, supply chain challenges and labor shortages, Hispanic-owned small businesses have their own unique set of challenges. “Fiserv recognition and support of the Hispanic community, providing valuable grants and services at a critical time for small businesses through Back2Business, is key to assuring equitable opportunities for our community and to being seen as the vital force that we are for the economy and the great state of Georgia,” said Verónica Maldonado-Torres, President and CEO, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “When one group thrives, we all thrive as a society, and that is our goal at the GHCC – to match businesses with the resources, tools and opportunities to inspire them and help them reimagine the next for their company.” In addition to Atlanta, Fiserv has sponsored the Back2Business program in cities including New York, Milwaukee, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Tulsa, Oakland, Washington. D.C. and Omaha. To date, Fiserv has presented nearly 1,500 grants to small businesses through the program. This is sponsored content.
By Denise Starling, Executive Director, Livable Buckhead Every two years Livable Buckhead surveys the people who live in, work in and visit Buckhead. We ask them to share their perceptions of the community – where they think Buckhead shines and where they think there is room for improvement. It’s important for us to ask these questions, even if we don’t like all the answers. The responses guide Livable Buckhead and others that are addressing our community’s challenges and building on its strengths. So what did we learn from the 2022 State of Buckhead survey? As we saw in 2020, the majority of respondents have positive perceptions of Buckhead’s shopping and dining, and they love to live here because we have good schools and good jobs, as well as easy access to many areas of the city. Specifically: The most widely agreed upon beliefs about Buckhead are that it has the best shopping in Atlanta (68% agree), offers the best schools and education in Atlanta (60% agree), is the most attractive place to live in Atlanta (59%), is a great place to raise a family (58% agree) and has the best restaurants in Atlanta (55% agree). The most common top-of-mind associations for Buckhead are crime and safety concerns (11%), beauty and trees (10%) and wealth/affluence (10%). Associations with crime declined from 2020 levels, while associations with beauty and affluence increased. There were some notable shifts in perceptions of crime and public safety in Buckhead since 2020: The percentage of people who named crime as the most important issue facing Buckhead declined from 66% in 2020 to 50% in 2022. Two years ago, 32% of respondents agreed that Buckhead is a safe place to live. That figure increased to 41% in 2022. Perceptions of personal safety in Buckhead remain in an undesirable range but have improved. In 2020, 28% of people reported feeling safe in Buckhead. That figure increased to 41% in 2022. What specifically do people in Buckhead want done in their community? Crime prevention measures (77%) topped the list of most important improvements followed closely by road maintenance (73%) and pedestrian safety (69%). Newcomer issues trash/recycling pickup (57%), stormwater infrastructure improvements (54%) and tree protection (52%) showed up strong, while affordable housing was relatively weak at 33%. The importance of improvements to transit, bicycling infrastructure, events and public art also increased. Respondents’ top three suggestions for decreasing crime in Buckhead were unchanged from 2020: increasing police presence (62%), imposing harsher penalties on those committing crime (29%) and better enforcement of laws (25%). The survey also collected important information about Buckhead’s commute habits, opinions about potential affordable housing solutions, awareness of local greenspace projects and participation in sustainable practices: People are working from home more frequently than they expected to be after the pandemic. In 2020, two out of five survey respondents anticipated working from home at least three days a week. The 2022 survey shows that more than half of respondents work from home at least three days a week, including 30% who work from home every day. Nearly half (47%) of respondents support the inclusion of accessory dwelling units in Buckhead’s single-family neighborhoods while 40% support increasing housing density within half a mile of MARTA transit stations. The overwhelming majority (83%) of respondents are aware of PATH400 and two of three are likely to use it. Three of five respondents said they are likely to use HUB404, the proposed nine-acre park capping GA 400. Involvement in sustainability-related practices declined in 2022, while interest remained similar to levels seen in 2020. Curbside recycling through city services saw the largest decline in participation, from 71% in 2020 to 57% in 2022. The most popular sustainability-related activities are using energy efficient appliances or light bulbs (68%), curbside recycling (57%) and purchasing eco-friendly products (52%). Overall, we’re encouraged to see many signs of improvement since 2020, particularly when it comes to perceptions of safety. But it is also clear that there is still a lot of work to be done, and we are looking forward to collaborating with city and community leaders to ensure that the next State of Buckhead survey shows even more progress. The State of Buckhead online survey was fielded from Sept. 7 through Sept. 28. The survey yielded 2,847 completed questionnaires, which provides an average margin of error of ± 1.8%. A report of key topline findings is available on Livable Buckhead’s website. This is sponsored content.
Adetayo Sanusi assumes the role from Sharon Gay Urban Land Institute (ULI)’s Atlanta District Council is pleased to announce Adetayo (Ade) Sanusi has been selected as the 2023 Chair for the Livable Communities Council (LCC). Sanusi assumes the role from Sharon Gay, who served as the 2020-2022 Chair. In his new role, Sanusi will lead a committee of 50 executives to advance regional conversations around ULI’s global mission, with the goal of building inclusive and healthy cities and communities. “Ade has been a long-time active member and supporter of ULI, so it was a no-brainer for him to take this key leadership role within our organization,” said Daphne Bond-Godfrey, Executive Director for ULI Atlanta. “His passion for development shines through his professional work and volunteerism with both ULI and organizations like Truly Living Well. We’re excited to see where he takes this council as we work together to shape the future of Atlanta’s built environment and advance important regional issues.” Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the LCC as we know it today was formed in July 2013 after the Livable Communities Coalition merged with ULI Atlanta. The LCC’s purpose is two-fold, to 1) Be an educational and exchange forum on relevant real estate development and land use issues; and 2) Be a thought leader and convener. The impact-oriented council focuses on the critical role housing affordability plays in the Atlanta region; infrastructure investment and implementation; ESG and what role the real estate sector plays in the decarbonization of the built environment, and DEI in real estate development. These core issues underpin ULI Atlanta’s broader strategic goals for 2023 and beyond. “I’ve long admired ULI’s mission, and it’s an honor to have been offered this platform,” said Sanusi. “As Chair, my strategic priorities for 2023 – 2024 will be focused on three key areas in pursuit of LCC’s purpose – 1) Address the housing affordability crisis in Atlanta to foster resilient, inclusive and thriving communities; 2) work closely with thought and practice leaders in both the private and public sectors for infrastructure investment and implementation to increase the stock of affordable housing units amongst other needs and 3) further the ULI diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to provide access and mentorship to minority students and young professionals. Sharon has left big shoes to fill, but I’m energized by the opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals on the important issues affecting our city.” In addition to his involvement with ULI Atlanta, Sanusi serves as Vice President of Asset and Investment Management for Integral and as a member of the Executive Committee and Investment Committee. He is responsible for the asset and investment management activities for the development and operating assets in the company’s real estate portfolio. He joined ULI Atlanta in 2016 and is an alumnus of the ULI Atlanta Center for Leadership. Sanusi also sits on the board of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, an organization that focuses on urban agriculture as a place-based strategy to address food injustice in underserved and BIPOC neighborhoods within the city of Atlanta. Originating from Nigeria, Sanusi now resides in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. His eldest son, Ade Sanusi Jr., was recently selected as an ULI Etkin Scholar, a scholarship program that introduces college and university students to the resources available through ULI membership and seeks to integrate those students into the ULI path of learning. Sanusi holds an MBA degree in Finance and Real Estate from Cleveland State University in Ohio and a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate & Business Management from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. About ULI Atlanta: ULI Atlanta is a District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI). As the preeminent, multidisciplinary real estate forum, ULI is a nonprofit education and research group supported by its diverse, expert membership base. Our mission is to “Shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.” ULI Atlanta has over 1,400 members throughout the Atlanta region and our broader geography which includes the entire state of Georgia and eastern Tennessee. ULI Atlanta is one of the largest and most active District Councils in the United States. This is sponsored content.
By Jared Teutsch, Executive Director 2023 is shaping up to be a great year for Georgia’s birds. At Georgia Audubon, birds are a catalyst for conservation—easy to see and hear wherever you are—and they provide an entry point into appreciating nature and understanding the challenges we all face to protect our parks and greenspaces, in Atlanta and across the state. Georgia Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. Building off of our three pillars of Conservation, Education, and Community Engagement, we use science-based, bird-focused programs to build a conservation ethic in individuals, landowners, businesses, partner organizations, policy makers, and communities throughout the state. Here are some of our focus areas for 2023: Habitat Restoration: Over the past seven years, Georgia Audubon has worked across metro Atlanta to create a model of bird-friendly habitat restoration at urban greenspaces, such as Deepdene Park, Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, Island Ford Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, and on state-managed lands, including Panola Mountain State Park and Jekyll Island. In 2023 we are excited to expand our habitat work to the Chattahoochee RiverLands, an initiative to reunite the Chattahoochee River with the metro Atlanta region, and link suburban, urban, and rural communities into a 100-mile public realm. This year Georgia Audubon will kick off a two-year project at five Chattahoochee RiverLands sites, beginning at the new Trust for Public Land Camp + Paddle Site, to remove non-native, invasive plant species, like privet and English ivy, and replace them with native plant species and to educate the public about the important connection between native plants, birds, and other pollinators. Migration Forecasting: Through a generous grant from the Disney Conservation Fund and a robust partnership with Dr. Kyle Horton at the Aero-Eco lab at Colorado State University, Georgia Audubon in 2021 launched a conservation tool to predict nightly migration of birds over the state, allowing us to send alerts across the state for nights of high migration intensity in order to provide safer passage for our migrating birds. In addition to our ongoing bird collision monitoring and light reduction efforts in the metro area, in 2023 Georgia Audubon will expand these programs along Georgia’s 100-mile coastline. Continuing improvements to migration forecasting software and alert systems will enable Georgia Audubon to issue targeted Lights Out Alerts on nights of peak migration to encourage people to reduce or eliminate outdoor lighting to allow safe passage for migrating birds. Birds for All: In addition to offering more than 125 free bird walks across the metro area each year, including a new series of walks specifically for teen birders and a series of adaptive field trips for people who experience mobility challenges in the outdoors, Georgia Audubon is introducing birds and birding to diverse communities. Using our own Bird Beyond tool, Georgia Audubon is identifying and engaging with under-birded, underserved communities in metro Atlanta to build a ladder of engagement, including bird walks and workforce development. Through a partnership with DeKalb County, Georgia Audubon is collaborating on a series of projects at the new E.M.B.A.R.C Park in the South River watershed, including providing educational opportunities for youth and adults and installing a native plant garden that can be used to educate visitors about the important connections between birds and native plants. Educating the Next Generation: Georgia Audubon is continuing its successful Connecting Students with STEM through Birds program, adding four additional Title I Public Schools to the program, including Miller Grove High School in DeKalb County. To date, Georgia Audubon has worked with 12 metro area schools to provide—at no cost to each partner school—a bird-friendly STEM garden on campus, installed with the help of students and teachers. At each school, students and teachers participate in the installation of a bird-friendly native plant garden on the school campus, transforming areas of dirt and turf grass into wildlife habitat. In addition, each school receives training for teachers to provide lesson ideas and curriculum resources to enhance their use of the new outdoor classroom, and this spring, as the gardens are beginning to bloom, we will return to deliver a class set of binoculars for the school and provide another hands-on day of learning for students. In metro Atlanta and across the state, Georgia Audubon is working to create healthy spaces for birds and people, too. Healthy habitats, including parks and greenspaces, that support birds and other wildlife create healthy communities that we all can not only enjoy, but that we need for our own survival. This is sponsored content.
This week we honor the legacy of a great man whose mission was larger than his life and whose work endures even today. We laud Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolent activism and promote his ideals of equality and love; however, his methods garnered the dislike and ire of many. According to the last Gallup poll conducted prior to his death, 63% of Americans had an unfavorable view of the Atlanta-born civil rights champion and hero. More than anything, this fact demonstrates that sometimes standing on the side of right can look and feel like being wrong if we are guided by the wrong measure of importance. Undoubtedly, Dr. King would have preferred the unwavering praise and admiration of his colleagues, peers, and the nation that he sacrificed his life for. However, he ascribed to a higher calling and greater way of living than the world around him and he disregarded the opinions of others. He was pure in his intentions and relentless in his pursuit. Dr. King was by no means a perfect man, but he was certainly regal in his approach toward his work and in his responsibility as a leader. This majestic lens of leadership was not inspired by the many great leaders he studied in the hallowed halls of his alma mater, Morehouse College, nor did it come from the many potentates and world leaders he encountered in his lifetime. He took a page out of the book he lived by and preached and followed the example of Christ. As a Christian, Dr. King led with his faith and was guided by moral principles which positively affect us all, regardless of our religious affiliation or doctrinal creed. He did not rule as a tyrant, nor did he command like a dictator. Rather, he invited everyone to the table to discuss, strategize, plan, and review. This type of leadership inspires change and causes us to ask “How can I be better today than I was yesterday? How does the work that I pursue today make a difference in the world tomorrow?” In honor of one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, challenge yourself to examine the foundation and source of your leadership approach and how you measure success. Regardless of the praise you receive and the criticisms you may draw, have you committed yourself to the work of being a moral leader? Are your markers of success in line with that of a King who seeks to benefit the masses over the few, or that of a tyrant who is only concerned with their personal gain? The answer lies in the choices you make and the culture you create at home, at work, and at school. Choose to lead with strong moral leadership and a success model that is not dependent on how exclusive you can be. Rather, seek to bring as many people to the table as possible, help others create extra chairs, and let us eat the table of brotherhood and sisterhood, as we all seek to discover the King in us all. This is sponsored content.
By Judy Monroe On a recent trip through LaGuardia Airport as I made my way into the terminal and through security, I was amazed at the airport’s transformation. What was once one of the nation’s least-favorite airports has now been transformed into one of the best. I had to pause to consider how its transformation can serve as a vision for the future of our nation’s public health system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, much has been written about the need to revamp and modernize our public health system. However, public health is not as well understood as the basic function of an airport, which is meant to efficiently get passengers from point A to point B. Travelers understand the displeasure of crowded and noisy airports, taking laptops out of bags to go through security and trying to get the timing right for pushing your bin onto the conveyor belt. While we understand flights may be delayed or canceled due to safety concerns, most folks would rather be inconvenienced than take undue risk. As a society, we place a high value on prevention when it comes to aviation. Unfortunately, many people don’t have that same perspective when it comes to public health, even as 300–400 people continue to die from COVID-19 daily. That’s the equivalent of a large jumbo jet daily crashing without survivors. And that doesn’t consider the millions more who die or become ill each year from other public health threats, like tobacco-related afflictions, cardiovascular disease, violence or so many other preventable illnesses. It’s inherently more difficult to understand the state-of-the-art technology needed in public health laboratories and data systems. Few grasp the expertise required for tracking diseases to keep everyone safe from health threats—ranging from infectious and chronic diseases to injury and violence prevention to environmental contaminants and acts of terrorism. To keep us from harm’s way and detect emerging diseases, our public health agencies need to be reinforced so they can be transformed. That transformation will take commitment, financing, and a comprehensive plan. During urgent public health emergencies, action is needed fast. In medicine, the “Golden Hour” is a term used for stroke and cardiac management that can make the difference in life and death or long-term morbidity. We keep missing the Golden Hour in public health emergencies due to slow and complicated financing and a chronically under-resourced public health system. Congress and state legislatures will continue to look back on public health decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic that could have improved outcomes, which is appropriate. As they do so, I hope they also focus on the important role they play in providing the dependable and sustainable funding necessary to establish a strong base from which our nation can transform our public health system. Doing so will provide critically-needed support to bring in the skilled workforce required to tackle today’s complex health challenges, as well as the robust and connected data systems needed to provide up-to-the minute tracking of outbreaks and other threats. I also call for Congress to provide the public health system with the authorities they need to do their job—breaking down the silos between jurisdictions that inhibit sharing of information and resources. Transformation is needed in our public health system, and I believe LaGuardia Airport gives us a visible example of what transformation looks like. Perhaps a new rally call for public health should be “LaGuardia!” OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST I would also like to share with you two stories about public health that are taking place right here in Atlanta: Community is the bedrock of any city. Local community-based organization Ser Familia is proving that every day, by providing vital support and connection to Atlanta’s Hispanic population—from parenting classes, to couples and youth programs and domestic violence service. “Our Latinos and our Hispanic community have a lot of challenges,” says Belisa Urbina, Ser Familia’s CEO. “There are very few services, and sometimes these are very difficult to get, in particular if that family is undocumented or is a family with mixed status.” You can read more about this amazing organization and watch an interview with Urbina here. And in another example of the unique ways local organizations can support public health, a special art exhibition is taking place at the David J. Sencer CDC museum through March 2023. Titled Trusted Messengers: Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines Through Art, the exhibition showcases original art from six organizations working to increase vaccine acceptance in their communities. Works from professional artists and high school students alike are currently on display, as well as videos and documentation of additional arts projects across the U.S. Learn about a few of the featured pieces and get more information here. 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.
Since inception, Atlanta CareerRise has invested more than $13M in workforce development By John Helton, CEO and President of CareerRise On January 1, 2023, CareerRise, a leader in workforce development, transitioned to an independent 501(c)3 separate from United Way of Greater Atlanta. Since 2011, CareerRise has invested more than $13M in workforce development programs supporting economic mobility and racial equity to improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities across Greater Atlanta. “CareerRise’s focus on strengthening the region’s workforce development system to help create equitable access to opportunity positions us as a long-term, strategic partner in supporting the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s mission of improving child well-being,” explained John Helton, CEO and President of CareerRise. CareerRise is a workforce intermediary that strategically connects the dots between employers, training providers, support services, job seekers and workforce funders to build partnerships and implement equitable workforce strategies in metro Atlanta. Similar to other entities that were incubated with United Way of Greater Atlanta, CareerRise will continue to receive funding for efforts that align with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well Being Investment Priorities. For years, United Way of Greater has incubated important initiatives like CareerRise that have benefited the Greater Atlanta community. These initiatives have emerged because of the expertise of staff and volunteers who identified a gap in the community. United Way of Greater Atlanta has led these efforts, provided funding to launch these efforts, staff leadership on the strategic direction and often fiscally sponsored these efforts. Such efforts include GEEARS, which was established in 2010 to help business, civic and government leaders maximize the economic return on the state’s investments in early care and learning. “Like GEEARS, CareerRise has benefited from incredible staff and volunteers managed by United Way of Greater Atlanta,” says Milton J. Little, Jr., CEO and President of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “And like GEEARS, it’s time for CareerRise to grow and expand beyond our organization. I’m excited to continue to partner in the next chapter of CareerRise as we jointly work to improve the lives of children, families and communities across Greater Atlanta.” Little will serve as board chair of CareerRise during its inaugural year. Transitioning CareerRise to a stand-alone nonprofit entity has been part of its leadership’s overall strategy for the organization’s long-term development. The independent status will allow CareerRise to hone and streamline its focus in serving its unique role as the preeminent workforce development intermediary for the region. “Skilled labor shortages are prevalent across most Georgia industries, but especially construction. The CareerRise network takes a unified approach connecting passionate workforce stakeholders. We connect real people to training and wage-growth employment opportunities,” says Beth Lowry, President of Holder Construction and vice-chair/chair-elect of CareerRise. “CareerRise is good for business and our community.” For more information on CareerRise, including new contact information, click here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is sponsored content.
Summary: Through archival research in the Rose Library and other Atlanta repositories, architectural historian Christina Crawford and her students have lifted up Atlanta’s role in the nation’s first two federally funded housing projects — work that culminated in Georgia Historical Society markers. It was hard work, made more challenging by pandemic restrictions. But when establishing two Georgia Historical Society (GHS) markers crystallizes in a shout-out from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and his promise to do more to house Atlantans, it is all worthwhile. Christina E. Crawford, associate professor of modern and contemporary architecture in Emory College of Arts and Sciences and Masse-Martin NEH Professor of Art History, will remember Oct. 11, 2022 as the culmination of more than five years’ work with her students, university colleagues and community partners to bring overdue recognition to the first federally funded public housing in the nation: Techwood Homes (for white families) and University Homes (for Black families) — projects that were completed in Atlanta in 1936 and 1937, respectively. Techwood Homes and University Homes, composed of low-slung brick apartment buildings set in shared green spaces, became models for New Deal housing projects following enactment of the National Housing Acts in the 1930s. Overshadowed by later projects in New York and Chicago, Atlanta’s University Homes and Techwood Homes nonetheless set the aesthetic language and planning logic for American public housing of the mid-20th century. Generations of families lived at both sites for more than 50 years. Oct. 11 saw two historical markers unveiled — one for each of the two sites, with Mayor Dickens joining the celebration for University Homes. As he stood in front of Roosevelt Hall, which is all that remains from University Homes, the mayor noted: “We started this. The city of Atlanta began what is known as public housing. Soon a reimagined Roosevelt Hall space will be here. Our history does not have to be our destiny; sometimes it might set a path to change our destiny for the better.” Joining him were Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman 95C and other city leaders, officials from the Atlanta Housing Authority and GHS, and members of Emory Libraries and the Michael C. Carlos Museum. It was a satisfying conclusion to what began as a pivot project to adjust to research limitations posed by the pandemic. Wanting to shine the spotlight on Atlanta for its part in public housing history, Crawford was one of 10 recipients of Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art for 2020-21, chosen for work on the project “Atlanta Housing Interplay: Expanding the Interwar Housing Map.” She also received a research and development grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts and ongoing support from the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS). Courtney Chartier, then-head of research services in the Stuart A. Rose. Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, had suggested before the pandemic that the two housing sites would be well suited to Georgia Historical Society markers. “Though I was intrigued, the process seemed a bit onerous,” says Crawford, “so I set that idea aside.” When research at the scale she hoped to undertake was short-circuited by shuttered archives and travel restrictions, Crawford began to think about the endeavor more seriously as a public history project. The project’s origin story Crawford wrote her dissertation on early Soviet architecture and planning, specifically worker housing, and published that research this year in the book “Spatial Revolution: Architecture and Planning in the Early Soviet Union.” When she came to Emory to give her job talk in 2016, she confesses to an awkward moment. As Crawford presented a map she had created with important public housing projects worldwide from the 1920s and 1930s, a future Emory colleague asked, “Can you plot Atlanta on that map?” “I was totally flatfooted,” says Crawford. “I am well educated in 20th-century housing, and I just had no idea that the first two federally funded housing projects were here. And, when I came to the city, it became clear to me that Atlanta does not get the respect it is due from an architectural history standpoint.” Resolving to correct the record, Crawford began investigating the Charles Forrest Palmer papers at the Rose Library, gifted to the university in 1969. Influential in shaping Atlanta public housing and then spring-boarding to shape housing policy nationally, Palmer garnered federal funding in 1933 for both “slum clearance” of the Techwood Flats neighborhood and to construct Techwood Homes, one of the first two projects in the U.S. built under the Public Works Administration (PWA). John Hope, president of the Atlanta University Center, simultaneously secured funding from the PWA for the development of University Homes, the other “first.” As design for those sites began, Palmer traveled to Europe in 1934 and 1936 to investigate already completed public housing projects in Italy, Germany, Austria and even the Soviet Union. Palmer went on to become the first chair of the Atlanta Housing Authority, which he organized, and was also chosen by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to serve as defense housing coordinator for the National Defense Office for Emergency Management during World War II. Original maps, plans, booklets, photographs and films of European housing sites: all of it was at Crawford’s fingertips through the Palmer papers. “His papers are an absolute goldmine. First of all, he kept everything,” she says. And from her earliest days immersed in the Palmer papers, Crawford had the full support of Emory Libraries to take this further, to illuminate these chapters of city history. Indeed, Rose Library curators Randy Gue, Clint Fluker and the late Pellom McDaniels III mentored graduate students through research in the papers for a “Housing Atlanta” exhibition as part of the Public Humanities Graduate Seminar, taught in 2020 and 2022 by Emory College professors Benjamin Reiss (English), Tom Rogers (history) and Karen Stolley (Hispanic studies) as part of the Mellon-funded Public Humanities Seminar. For Jennifer Gunter King, director of the Rose Library, “Dr. Crawford and her students’ engagement with the Rose …
By Rebecca Parshall, PhD Learn4Life (L4L) recently released the 6th annual State of Education in Metro Atlanta. The report highlights three focus areas: our region’s educational data, how to use data as a flashlight, and some of the strategies that are improving outcomes for traditionally underserved students. The data can help all stakeholders play a role in improving education in the region. 1. Business Leaders and Policymakers: Business leaders and policymakers play an important role in supporting public education. By looking at regional data along key indicators, these leaders can identify opportunities for investment and partnership. L4L measures progress in the five core counties along the cradle to career continuum. In the years leading up to the pandemic, most outcomes had been increasing by several points, but pandemic disruptions essentially reversed those gains. Additionally, learning loss over the past several years was not distributed evenly; Black, Latino, and low-income students experienced steeper declines than their white and higher-income peers. 2. Educators and Parents: Curious to learn about peer schools that are achieving uncommon success? Bright Spot identification can help ensure that Bright Spots are replicated in every corner of metro Atlanta. Despite the inequities and challenges in the above data, there are many schools in metro Atlanta proving it is possible for all students to reach their highest potential. L4L’s data dashboard allows you to find schools that perform above expectations based on the student populations they serve. Explore the tool here. Each school has two dots based on the subgroup you select to learn about – either socioeconomic status, race, gender, or English proficiency. L4L’s networks use this tool to learn about the strategies our region’s best schools implement. L4L’s networks study our region’s data to identify strategies that are working to improve outcomes for kids. In early literacy, we see the importance of adults understanding how to teach reading, and of fostering joyful, engaging learning experiences. We know that 8th graders who have access to STEM-integrated learning have higher math proficiency. And we’ve studied the value of college access partners in supporting first-generation students transition into college. As metro Atlanta rebuilds from the pandemic, we hope to reimagine educational outcomes that cannot be predicted by race and class and instead shape a region where every child has access to these Bright Spots. If you’re a parent, or from a school, nonprofit, community organization, or business, and you’d like to support Learn4Life’s cradle to career approach, you can join our early literacy, math, and postsecondary success networks here. All are welcome, and we’d love to have your voice at the table. This is sponsored content.