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 Anna Muessig, Director at Gehl For the past decade, I’ve worked closely with over a dozen cities to support thriving public life and quality public space as a driver of community transformation. Midtown Atlanta has what many other districts work decades to achieve: A tree-lined, walkable street grid with a growing, mixed community of residents, visitors, and office workers, a historic Olmsted-designed park just beyond, and dozens of anchor institutions, flagship businesses, and government institutions to bolster a robust economic outlook. During the pandemic, Midtown indeed weathered the storm. Over seven thousand workers will be showing up to new jobs based in Midtown in the near future. Over six thousand new residents will be calling Midtown home. That’s a tremendous accomplishment in a time when many business districts have emptied out, and are making hard choices and big pivots. But, beneath these banner numbers, what does Midtown feel like on the street? And what can the district do to solidify its strong growth trajectory into the future? At Gehl, we have learned over decades of analysis that public life is both a driver of belonging and value creation, and a barometer of a good city. Public life is the experience we create together in public space, when we leave our car, our office, and our home. Public life is walking your dog, walking from the train, a chat about the weather with a familiar stranger, or just people watching: being alone, together. Without it, cities feel boring, empty, even scary. A place to be avoided or rushed through. With it, cities are destinations, creators of life-long memories and traditions, and places we come back to again and again. A city with great public life is a place where you might even choose to go on vacation. With this in mind, Midtown Alliance asked Gehl to perform an analysis to see how a focus on public life could guide the district’s next chapter. What we found was interesting: incredible growth in the buildings, but not much on the street. In fact, compared to other districts of its size, Midtown Atlanta was lacking in public life activity in some of its core public spaces by a factor of three. Why is that? One of the things we often look at is the relationship between how the public space experience at eye level invites or disinvites public life. Walking along stretches of Midtown the answer becomes clear: all the vibrancy that we see on paper isn’t manifesting on the street, it’s in the corporate cafeterias, lovely balconies, and upper amenity decks. Some of these buildings may be growing and bustling up above, but that vibrancy is nowhere to be found on the street. Brand new buildings have a shiny, even repellant, veneer on the street. And many of them are vacant! Not very friendly or inviting. Of all the building façades that we walked along in the district (and we walked every single block) only 5% of facades situated on key corridors had a high-quality rating. And 19% of all retail facades are vacant. Why? Midtown has the people, the land use, and the fundamental infrastructure. But it’s missing a strategy to invite public life at eye level. Why do we think this strategy might work in Midtown? Because it’s working already: when public life is invited in Midtown, people flock to it. The new dog park at 10th and Peachtree Streets is packed. When Midtown Alliance has brought programming and events to the Commercial Row Commons space and Arts District Plaza, the crowds have showed up for a good time. The same is true at North American Properties’ Colony Square. Among commercial developers, NAP has led the way, putting their resources into events and activities of all kinds on the ground floor that draw people in. But Midtown needs many more of these invitations. Where do we go from here? Our team has put together an action plan to make public life a driving narrative for Midtown’s next chapter. What does it mean to have a quality building facade that invites public life? Why does Midtown have so many vacancies, and what’s a realistic strategy for activating them? How might an artist, a resident, and a private property owner contribute to bringing these spaces to life? Join me on Wednesday, February 8 at the 2023 Midtown Alliance’s Annual Meeting to learn how simple strategies that can take place over the short, medium and long term can continue to propel this incredible district into an inviting, active, and prosperous future. Anna Muessig brings expertise in creative engagement and evidence-based storytelling to influence the built environment, putting people at the center of decisions that shape public life in our cities. Her team at Gehl has worked for the past six months with Midtown Alliance and partners to develop an action plan that will create more street-level energy in the district, aligning the interests of property owners with urban design, economic development and transportation strategies. Connect with Anna here. This is sponsored content.
Given the sound economic conditions of the state economy in FY 2022, fiscal revenue surpluses exceed expectations and foreseeable economic development. During the 2023 legislative session, Governor Brian Kemp recommended reallocating $35.7 million to OneGeorgia to establish the Rural Workforce Housing Fund. This fund will allow local development and housing authorities to prepare land for housing developments to support upcoming economic development projects and ensure the state has access to quality workforce housing. In FY 2022, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced a record number of economic development projects for the state. In order to support the development of the projects and continue to attract the same economic investment, the Governor Kemp proposes to spend $35.7 million to develop housing for workers near large industries located in rural areas, saying a lack of housing is now “the biggest challenge” to business growth. At the same time, the governor emphasized that “this will allow us to partner directly with local governments in developing sites across the state to address workforce housing needs that come with these major economic developments announcements.” The $35.7 million resulted from Georgia’s share of the settlement with tobacco companies over health costs of smoking-related illnesses. These funds were redistributed to OneGeorgia for housing initiatives. OneGeorgia is housed with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). DCA has relationships with local governments and entities to pass through federal and state dollars to finance community and economic development projects and housing. Chaired by Governor Kemp, the OneGeorgia Authority will oversee the allocation of workforce housing funds. Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. will host its 2023 Annual Housing Day at the Capitol on February 22, 2023 at Atlanta City Hall (Old Council Chambers), 68 Mitchell Street, SW, Atlanta, 30303. There is still time to register, and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, please visit https://georgiaact.org/housing-day-at-the-capitol-2023/ Sources: https://opb.georgia.gov/document/governors-budget-reports/afy-2023-and-fy-2024-governors-budget-report/download https://commonfutureatl.com/details-kemps-35-7-million-plan-for-affordable-housing/ https://www.cbsnews.com/atlanta/news/gov-kemp-georgia-budget-spending-meant-to-keep-economy-growing/ 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.
By Alexandra Holien, interim CEO Ada Developers Academy is out to change the face of tech. The tech industry is the wealth engine of our time, but that wealth is not spread evenly. Women, especially Black and brown women, are severely underrepresented in tech jobs and leadership. As tech continues to grow in places like Atlanta, we have an opportunity to shift who holds wealth and power in this country. Ada’s one-year, tuition-free coding training program fast-tracks women and gender-expansive* folks into secure, high-earning careers in tech. Through six months in the classroom and six months in an industry internship, Ada students build the skills, experience and community support they need to become professional software developers. Our students are 72% people of color, 40% racial minorities underrepresented in tech (Black, Latine, Indigenous, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander), and 34% LGBTQIA+. The majority (85%) are low-income when they enter the program. For many students, tuition-free is not enough. To make sure students can persist through Ada’s intensive program, we offer financial assistance and childcare subsidies during the instruction period, laptops and access to free therapy for a year. Furthermore, Ada works to transform the culture of the tech industry from within. We train every company partner hosting an Ada intern on equity, inclusion, and fostering healthy work environments. We know our model works – we typically see 98% of students successfully complete the program, and 94% are hired into full-time software developer jobs within six months of graduation. On average, students come to Ada from jobs earning under $40,000 per year, and end up tripling their salary in their first full-time software developer role. After nearly 10 years of success in Seattle, Ada began expanding operations nationally, starting with Atlanta in 2021. Atlanta has one of the highest tech growth rates in the US – software developer jobs are projected to grow 26% over the next decade. “Our aim in expanding to diverse cities that are beginning to experience tech industry growth is to ensure that the wealth generated by the industry benefits the whole community and not just a select few,” says Ada CEO Lauren Sato. “Coming from Seattle, we have seen how booming tech can push communities out of their city, and we hope to see Atlanta become the first market to grow tech from within.” We were honored to receive funding from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta as part of their work to reduce racial income and wealth gaps through career and workforce development, and increase opportunities for economic mobility, especially among Asian, Black, and Latine communities. Since our founding in 2013, Ada has served over 1,000 participants and generated $50M in new salaries for women and gender-expansive folks in the tech economy, narrowing gender and racial equity gaps in one of our most economically prosperous and influential sectors. Learn more at www.adadevelopersacademy.org. Follow Ada on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Facebook. *Ada uses a national reference for the term “gender-expansive” (also sometimes called non-binary, non-conforming or genderqueer) and Transgender provided by GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender This is sponsored content.
The Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory University (IPRCE), Grady Health System and collaborators at the University of Michigan have been awarded a five-year, $4.4 million project to continue studying motor vehicle crashes in metro Atlanta that result in injuries treated at Grady. This project, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is the next phase of research on motor-vehicle crashes and will expand the team’s focus to include pedestrian crashes. The team’s previous car crash research began in 2017 and focused on injuries to vehicle occupants and how to improve driver and passenger safety. The latest award supports Emory and Grady’s continued role as a Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) Center, and will also study crashes where vehicles strike pedestrians. “By using data from CIREN centers, NHTSA can identify ways to make vehicles safer for both occupants and pedestrians,” says Jonathan Rupp, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory and principal investigator of the Emory and Grady CIREN Center. “CIREN centers collect highly detailed data on the performance of vehicles and the injuries to the case occupant or pedestrian in crashes.” CIREN centers are one of NHTSA’s major data collection systems examining motor vehicle crashes. There are six other CIREN Centers in the United States, with a goal of improving vehicle safety and supporting injury prevention. When a car crash occurs, seriously injured pedestrians or vehicle occupants who are treated at Grady will be invited to participate in the study. Emory and Grady’s CIREN Center will then send expert crash investigators into the field to measure the damage to the interior and exterior of the vehicle, download the event data recorder and document the scene of the crash. In parallel, the team will record detailed injury information that will eventually be matched to specific vehicle damage. The data will be reviewed with other CIREN centers and NHTSA to help inform future research and testing aimed at improving safety and reducing serious injury in crashes. “CIREN data also play a key role in understanding why crashes occur. This helps us to help prevent future crashes,” says Rupp. “Our team works to understand the role of driver and pedestrian behavior in causing a crash. With this information, we can identify roadway and vehicle safety improvements that could have prevented the crash.” “CIREN relies on high-volume trauma centers like Grady’s Marcus Trauma Center to conduct research on injuries following car crashes,” says Elizabeth Benjamin, MD, PhD, a professor of surgery at Emory and trauma medical director at Grady Health System. “Participants will be enrolled in the study after arriving at Grady’s Marcus Trauma Center, which is the only Level I trauma center in Atlanta and one of the busiest in the United States. This CIREN award would not have been possible without the strong, collaborative relationship between Emory and Grady.” “This award reflects the national prominence of Grady’s Marcus Trauma Center and the expertise of the team working on this project,” says David Wright, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the CIREN award. “A multi-disciplinary team of collaborators in emergency medicine, trauma surgery, radiology and other areas will spend the next five years collecting and analyzing data to better understand the mechanisms of injuries from automobiles to both occupants and pedestrians,” Wright explains. University of Michigan sub-contractors will assist with data analysis, while also using computational human body models to reconstruct crashes to better understand how serious injuries occur. This is sponsored content.
By Sondra Mims, retired Chief Academic Officer, after 36 years at the Atlanta Speech School Research is clear that our brains activate in concert with the experiences and characters we come to know through books. Whether it is through storybooks or great literature, our brains “feel” what the characters feel and become solution oriented when a character needs our help to survive or succeed. Books give us a protected rehearsal for life. We become attached to the people we read about, we care about them… sometimes deeply…and we mourn their loss when our book is finished. The books we read as young students provide a laboratory for our own character development. The characters in our readings are our role models, allowing us to think more deeply about their actions and reactions. We are taught through the stories and our discussions to consider whether their decisions were wise, kind, or helpful…or not, without having to experience the consequences of those decisions in our lives. Learning to read isn’t just about exploring new places and learning about different things, it is about BECOMING. Dr. Maryanne Wolf’s research directs us to construct a child’s Deep Reading Brain. A brain that reads deeply has options for how to think about one’s self and who we want to be, about the plight of others and how we might help, despite our own circumstances. In this way, we learn to empathize with Brian Robeson in Hatchet and our hearts break as we read Anne Frank’s diary. We ask ourselves, what could have been done and then what would we have done. We find out who we are in those moments and our brain changes with every thought. We BECOME through a process of thought, rather than through experience alone. If children don’t learn to decode and comprehend well in the early years, they may never be the reader they could have been and their BECOMING will be dependent on those around them. They must then experience the consequences of their own decisions, without being able to predict the outcomes in advance. We have to act… so that all of our children can BECOME who they are meant to be. We have already waited too long. This has to stop NOW before we fail another generation of children. The Atlanta Speech School’s purpose, for each child and every child, is the construction of their Deep Reading Brain. This is sponsored content.