Every year, industries approach Georgia lawmakers asking for new or renewed tax breaks, promising leaps in job growth, industry expansion, or some other worthwhile payoff. But the state is a laggard at checking back on ...
MARTA’s public art program Artbound, along with local arts collective NEXT Atlanta will launch the NEXT Movement, a multi-platform arts and social action campaign. A movement fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial reckoning spurred by the murder of George Floyd and others, the NEXT Movement brings together five of Atlanta’s most influential artists of color and local leading art activists to share their artistry and personal stories. The first season of the NEXT Movement features poet and author, Jon Goode, musician CC Sunchild, cellist Okorie ‘OkCello’ Johnson, poet and author Carlos Andres Gomez and visual artist Melissa A. Mitchell. Each artist has been commissioned to develop a piece of art or performance that gives voice to this current moment and explores the question of “Where do we go NEXT?” – as a city and as a community. Starting Sept. 19 and running through the end of the year, the artwork will be performed or exhibited in a range of spaces across the city and amplified by NEXT partners, including the Integral Group, the High Museum of Art and the National Black Arts (NBAF). The campaign will include: A photo exhibit and poster series featuring powerful portraits and messages from each artist culled from their commissioned work and exhibited throughout the MARTA system, across the city and on social media. (Photography by Steve West) A series of filmed performances, similar to National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk concerts, of each artist performing on a decommissioned MARTA train. (Production company partner Las Palmas Studios) And an interactive artist salon at the High Museum scheduled for November, where all five artists will come together for an evening of music, words, art and community dialogue. “MARTA is proud and excited to be part of such an incredible art driven movement,” said MARTA Art in Transit Director Katherine Dirga. “Through this partnership with NEXT, MARTA is able to amplify its role as a community connector and an arts leader, engaging Atlantans around the critical issues that affect us most.” “The great Nina Simone once said it is the duty of the artist to reflect the times we live in,” said NEXT Executive Director P. Faith Carmichael. “This campaign is a powerful opportunity to elevate the voices of our communities most aspiring artists, while channeling the power of their art to heal us, inspire us and move us forward.” In addition to the five featured artists, the NEXT Movement will feature leading Atlanta creatives, speaking to this moment and to the role of art as inspiration, including nationally-renowned visual artist Charly Palmer, rising star curator and visual artist Tracy Murrell, curator of African Art for the High Museum of Art Lauren Tate Baeza, CEO of The Integral Group and leading art patron Egbert Perry and National Black Arts Executive Director Stephanie Owens. To learn more visit www.next-atlanta.com or @MARTA_Artbound on Instagram. This is sponsored content.
Moody, who has served as Interim CEO since May 2022, to lead nonprofit building resilient families so children can thrive. Families First, Inc. today announced that Paula Moody, LCSW, MS, will lead the organization as Chief Executive Officer, effective Sept. 20, 2022. Moody has over 25 years of experience in non-profit program services and leadership. She has worked with Families First for nearly a decade, joining in 2013 as Director of Child and Youth Permanency. In 2017, she was promoted to Sr. Director of Programs; in 2020, she assumed the role of Chief Program Officer, where she oversaw all program operations at Families First. Most recently, she was appointed Interim CEO of the organization in May 2022. Prior to joining Families First, Moody served for eight years as Executive Director of a small non-profit agency serving children and families in New Haven, CT. Having devoted her career to non-profits serving children, youth and families, Moody’s expertise includes program areas such as child welfare, behavioral health as well as administrative areas including strategic planning, fiscal management, quality assurance, HR and fund development. Moody is a proud graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned a BA in Political Science. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, where she obtained a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Moody is a governing board member of Ethos Classical School and an advisory board member of Project Healthy Grandparents. “My vision for Families First is that we are always prepared to respond to everyone who seeks out our services,” says Moody. “By offering comprehensive, sustainable solutions for children and families, we will continue to improve child well-being, promote family self-sufficiency and strengthen resiliency.” Courtney Showell, Chair of the Board of Directors, noted, “Our board has full confidence in Paula’s ability to lead this organization. Her leadership, as well as the hard work of our talented and dedicated team members and partners, will ensure we continue to make progress toward our mission of building resilient families so all children can thrive.” Media Inquiries: Cindy Chapman, Director of Fund Development Families First 404.541.3080 | firstname.lastname@example.org About Families First: Families First was founded in 1890 as the Leonard Street Orphanage on what is today the Spellman College campus. For more than 130 years, Families First has been providing empowering solutions for Atlanta’s most vulnerable populations. With a mission to build resilient families so all children can thrive, Families First leads a portfolio of programs and services across three impact areas, Parenting & Permanency Services; Navigator Services; and Behavioral Health Services that help improve individual outcomes while strengthening and stabilizing families.
By Madgie Robinson With the world’s busiest airport in our backyard coupled with our diversity of talent, higher education institutions and quality of life, Atlanta has become a top contender for foreign-owned enterprises or FOEs to expand and target new opportunities in diverse global markets. However, it wasn’t until the 1996 Summer Olympics when the world noticed how much the region had to offer which created pathways for international trade and economic development that transformed the region into what it is today. As a result, business growth throughout the state of Georgia and city of Atlanta has welcomed thousands of companies such as Porsche AG, Adidas, Hyundai Motor Group and more. Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Vice President of Global Commerce John Woodward described the critical role global commerce has played in growing the economic, cultural and political spheres in the metro Atlanta region. Woodward, a 25-year economic development professional, has assisted hundreds of international and domestic enterprises exploring expansion across borders. His role at the Metro Atlanta Chamber involves consulting with foreign-owned enterprises considering U.S. market entry or expansion, and connecting them with relevant corporate, government and academic parties. The global commerce team is one of three elements of the economic development division at Metro Atlanta Chamber involved with all business activity that is cross-border. “With a global perspective, we make the business case for Metro Atlanta to foreign-owned enterprises,” said Woodward. The team also assists a range of locally based companies considering expanding their businesses internationally, principally via export growth. “The objective, in this case, is to help our local companies grow their operations in the metro area by broadening their business for a new global market.” said Woodward. “The Rolodex of the global commerce team is one of our most valuable assets. The capacity to make relevant connections is paramount. This applies to both FOEs entering the market, and to local companies exploring overseas.” When doing business with foreign countries, the global commerce team has expertise on what geographical areas and companies to focus on and what would be mutually beneficial for both parties. They also focus on countries whose businesses traditionally perform well when coming to Atlanta, predicting how each company would thrive in the market. “And to continue with this archaic analogy, the most well-worn cards in our Rolodex are those of our partners – other economic development organizations, governments, academics, professional service providers, binational chambers, trade offices and consulates – because they are integral to our collective success in growing international trade and investment in this region,” according to Woodward. “This collaboration across all groups is what sets metro Atlanta apart from other regions in the U.S.” Countries that have traditionally invested often in metro Atlanta include the U.K., Germany, Japan, France, South Korea, and Canada. “We strategically focus on geographic areas that are strong investors and whose ecosystem strengths generally match ours,” stated Woodward. “For example, Fintech is strong in London and Amsterdam; technical manufacturing is strong in Japan and South Korea.” Belgium is also one of the largest trading partners with Georgia, investing in the region since 1834. Ties between the two continue to develop, with 54 Belgium companies present in the state of Georgia. In June, metro Atlanta hosted the Belgian Economic Mission to the U.S., the largest international business delegation to visit Atlanta since the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. The delegation included more than 250 companies and 400 representatives led by Her Royal Highness, Princess Astrid of Belgium. When asked about the Belgian mission, “[it] was a huge success as Belgian companies and officials were given a topflight introduction to the region,” said Woodward. Beyond the access to the world from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, headquartered in Atlanta are 15 fortune 500 companies and 11 fortune 1000 companies with top businesses such as Chick-Fil-a, Home Depot and Coca-Cola originating from the metro area. “Atlanta is a major U.S. metropolitan area with all the assets one expects to find in a major metropolitan area, – deep corporate bench strength, culture and culinary prowess, multifaceted diversity, professional sports – [yet] a cost of living and business that is more like a secondary or tertiary market,” Woodward described. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport – the busiest airport in the world, brings international people from all over the world to Atlanta. In Atlanta, passengers are able to connect to the rest of the U.S. being one of the first stops for those traveling from overseas. “A key driver of Atlanta is the international and domestic connectivity of the Hartsfield Jackson airport with nonstop flights to many of our target markets,” highlighted Woodward. The business culture and community within metro Atlanta make up a talented workforce of 2.9 million as of June 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The educated and talented workforce in Metro Atlanta is a core element of any economic development plan project,” said Woodward. Adding to the business culture, the overall diversity of Atlanta attracts foreign businesses to the region, making it easier to adapt and build connections. “It’s just like the strong international community within metro Atlanta where travelers can come and fit in with our systems, connect with others and immediately grow in this market,” said Woodward. For more information on Metro Atlanta Chamber events and announcements, visit: https://www.metroatlantachamber.com/ This is sponsored content.
By Christi Nakajima, Program Manager for Midtown Transportation, Midtown Alliance There’s no doubt that driving alone impacts the world around us. From air pollution and carbon emissions to expensive wear on infrastructure and potentially life threatening collisions, driving is a problematic way to get around. When many of the 100,000 people living in, working in, and visiting Midtown choose to drive alone, the problems compound. Despite a sizable number of employees now working hybrid schedules, transportation is still the largest source of Georgia’s carbon emissions, the primary driver of the climate crisis. Fortunately, many Midtown workers are beginning to return to transit as they return to the office, based on data collected from MARTA and Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority. Others are choosing to call Midtown home so they can walk or bike to most places. Those who prioritize cleaner travel options can often speak to the advantages. Taking the train means having a reliable trip time and not having to pay for parking. Taking the bus allows you to relax, text your friends, or read a book on your way to Midtown. Choosing to carpool or vanpool can save on gas and give you access to HOV lanes, while biking and walking in Midtown offer stress-relieving exercise. For those discouraged by hills or looking to travel faster, e-bikes and e-scooters provide a little extra kick. It’s not just workers and residents. Midtown employers also understand the importance of offering robust commuter benefits for staff returning to the office. These benefits often include discounted or subsidized transit passes, as well as allowing staff to purchase parking on a day-by-day basis, lending flexibility between working from home and commuting by other modes depending on the day. Some employers provide information and resources on different commute options, while others connect staff with carpool matching services. Given the rise in remote and hybrid work schedules, you might expect transportation emissions to now be significantly lower compared to pre-pandemic. While these emissions did drop slightly in 2020, in 2021 they returned to and actually surpassed 2019 levels. In other words, it’s important to think about alternatives to driving alone not only for work, but for social, recreational, shopping, and other trips as well. Midtown Transportation, a program of Midtown Alliance that has existed for two decades and is staffed by full-time employees, helps people make the switch from driving alone through various programs and services. For commuters and residents, we create free personalized bike and transit route plans and promote financial incentives offered by Georgia Commute Options. We also host special events like Try Transit, where participants who normally don’t take transit can get a free 10-trip transit pass. To support employers, we form partnerships to understand a workforce’s commuting needs and develop tailored solutions using our knowledge and expertise about Midtown’s and the region’s transportation network. We also partner with residential properties to offer resources to residents, and work with developers to ensure that new buildings can accommodate bikes, carpool parking, and other modes besides just driving alone. These strategies are collectively referred to as transportation demand management (TDM) strategies. The times have evolved, but their purpose is largely the same as when TDM as a practice rose to prominence in the 1970s: to create efficiencies and improve quality of life by shifting demand from drive alone trips to other alternatives. This week, September 19th through the 23rd, is TDM Week. We’re celebrating the shift to cleaner modes of travel by inviting you to get involved with Midtown Transportation, whether you’re a resident, commuter, employer, developer, property manager or visitor. This is sponsored content.
Reinvestment Fund has commissioned Brookings Metro to write a report entitled A Call To Action for HBCU Investment. Authors Dr. Andre Perry and Anthony Barr write, “In response to 2020’s racial awakenings, philanthropic organizations and wealthy donors collectively pledged billions in donations to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). While such philanthropy is welcome, it is not sufficient to fix the systemic issues HBCUs wrestle with, which derive from a lack of access to capital markets. HBCUs need routine access to investment capital from a range of sources, including traditional banks, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), philanthropy, and other trusted, mission-driven partners that will enable long-term planning for institutional development and expansion.” Founded in response to America’s extreme segregationist education practices, HBCUs have always been beacons of the arts, politics, innovation and civic engagement for Black communities. Today, just over 100 HBCUs remain in operation, and Georgia is home to 10 of these institutions, with 6 of them located right here in Atlanta. These institutions are incredibly diverse in a number of ways, including scale, academic strengths and leadership styles. What is true about all of them is their value to the Black students and communities they serve, and it’s time for financial institutions to rethink their historical and present-day impact. Unfortunately, HBCUs are often misunderstood as offering inadequate academic training. The truth is: HBCUs absolutely punch above their weight when it comes to academic, professional and economic outcomes for students. For example, while only 3% of all higher educational institutions are HBCUs, their graduates represent 80% of Black judges, 50% of Black lawyers, 50% of Black doctors, 40% of Black engineers, 40% of Black members of congress and 13% of Black CEOs. HBCUs deserve their just due. They are more than enough. Reinvestment Fund is a national, nonprofit financial institution with a mission to build equitable communities for everyone, and we are committed to learning more about how we can help amplify the impact of these anchor institutions. In 2016, I was Reinvestment Fund’s first Atlanta-based employee and since 2018, Reinvestment Fund has loaned nearly $33 million to HBCUs to support the financial health of these institutions and to fund capital projects. Our very first transaction was to Talladega College in Alabama. Since then, we have provided capital to Fisk University in Tennessee, Allen University in South Carolina and Edward Waters University in Florida. Real estate assets and campus grounds are critical foundations to any higher education institution’s business model. If they aren’t cared for then it can spell trouble for the overall health of the institution by crippling its ability to operate, attract or maintain students and faculty. One of our HBCU borrowers recently shared that “Reinvestment Fund’s ability to underwrite credit with a different lens made a difference because, frankly, many of our institutions would not qualify for financing under the traditional lens that commercial banks look through.” We take tremendous pride in the partnerships we are building with HBCUs. We have since developed a broader strategy around this work and are energized by the opportunities in this sector and seek to help HBCUs get the resources they need and deserve to thrive. Our goal is to model business practices and develop a community of practice to help HBCUs address what UNCF’s president Dr. Michael Lomax refers to as “The HBCU Paradox,” or the phenomenon of schools being underserved and discounted by philanthropy, government and other stakeholders including government funders and private lenders. Our investment goes beyond just deploying debt. We’ve just launched a $25M HBCU Brilliance Fund to allow us to incubate new ideas and support the schools through the following: Cross-sector convenings of industry experts and stakeholders, including HBCU presidents, national financial institutions (including CDFIs), researchers, and other key thought leaders, to identify best practices that increase HBCU access to capital markets Affordable, flexible, mission-driven debt capital, designed to meet the schools’ real estate development needs. Capacity-Building resources on financing and capital improvements for school leaders looking to transform their campuses and communities. A research and public policy framework to advocate for equitable access to capital for HBCUs. A Call To Action for HBCU Investment is a culmination of a series of cross-sector convenings held by Reinvestment Fund in February 2022. The first-of-its-kind convenings brought together a multidisciplinary gathering of attendees representing 17 different organizations including banks, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), foundations, researchers, and HBCU leaders for a series of conversations on the ways systemic racism has stifled HBCU growth and how the financial and philanthropic sectors can support these learning institutions. Facilitated by Dr. Andre Perry, these convenings were organized in response to the three major categories of challenges and opportunities for HBCUs: access to capital, telling the true HBCU story and HBCU capacity building. An attendee of the convening shared that “There’s a real opportunity to have large institutions challenge systemic racism through challenging the constructs of how we finance HBCUs”. These convenings produced the following call to action, developed to increase HBCUs’ community development capacity: Build trust and familiarity between CDFIs and HBCUs. Devise a strong, HBCU-backed theory of change and power. Translate social and knowledge capital into collateral for capital markets. Collaborate across sectors in response to the challenges and opportunities for HBCUs. Develop revenue support for students from external projects and development. Combine balance sheets to lend to a pool of HBCUs versus individual HBCUs. Another attendee of our cross-sector convening noted, “When you invest in HBCUs, you’re investing in the future of the community and creating economic commerce- it’s a circular and compounding impact”. Reinvestment Fund certainly agrees and hopes that A Call To Action for HBCU Investment will encourage financial institutions and others to join us to support HBCUs. To learn more about Reinvestment Fund’s work in this space, please visit our HBCU web page or feel free to contact me via email at Yonina.Gray@Reinvestment.com. Yonina Gray, based in Atlanta, is the National Director of External Relations for Reinvestment Fund and is leading their HBCU …
By Debbie Fiddyment Among Latest Top-Tier Organizations to Join the Financial Literacy for All (FL4A) Movement.. Iconic companies commit to join 10-year initiative seeking to engage American families where they live, work and learn. Financial Literacy for All, a national initiative to support embedding financial literacy into American culture, today announced the next wave of prominent private sector companies who are committing their organizations to the movement. General Motors (NYSE: GM), The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) and Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) join other top-tier organizations including founding members Walmart, Disney, NFL, NBA, Delta Air Lines, Walgreens, Bank of America, Khan Academy, PayPal and Ares Management, and key members BlackRock, Edward Jones, FICO, First Horizon Bank, iHeart Media, Mastercard, NASCAR, Nasdaq, Nextdoor, NIKE, Santander, Shopify, TIME for Kids, Truist, Uber, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo as part of this first-of-its-kind coalition. “We are honored to have these iconic companies, who represent the best of American ingenuity, lend their influential voice to this movement,” said John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE. “We look forward to collaborating with the innovative leadership at General Motors, The Hershey Company and Tyson Foods to grow our impact as we work to help everyone build a better future.” Launched May 20, 2021, this 10-year commitment Co-Chaired by Walmart CEO Doug McMillion and Bryant, will reach millions of youth and working adults enabling them to achieve greater financial success for themselves and their families. Underscoring the need for financial capability, the National Financial Educators Council estimates that financial illiteracy costs American families an estimated $352 billion in 2021. To follow the progress of Financial Literacy for All, please visit FL4A.org. General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at https://www.gm.com. About The Hershey Company: The Hershey Company is headquartered in Hershey, Pa., and is an industry-leading snacks company known for bringing goodness to the world through its iconic brands, remarkable people and enduring commitment to help children succeed. Hershey has approximately 19,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 100 brand names in approximately 80 countries around the world that drive more than $8.9 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat®, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers, and fast-growing salty snacks including SkinnyPop, Pirate’s Booty and Dot’s Pretzels. For more than 125 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on helping children succeed. About Tyson Foods: Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under four generations of family leadership, the Company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the Company had approximately 137,000 team members on October 2, 2021. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit www.tysonfoods.com. This is sponsored content.
By Charles Redding, CEO & President In 2021, the Emergency Event Database (EM-DAT) recorded 432 disastrous events related to natural hazards worldwide. Overall, these accounted for 10,492 deaths, affected 101.8 million people, and caused approximately $252.1 billion in economic losses. Asia was the most severely impacted continent, suffering 40% of all disaster events and accounting for 49% of the total number of deaths and 66% of the total number of people affected. During this time, as COVID surged once again in India and Nepal, MedShare supplied critical respiratory equipment, thousands of pieces of PPE and other essential hospital supplies and equipment. When natural or man-made disasters strike vulnerable areas around the world, MedShare stands prepared to respond quickly and effectively. We are in a unique position to equip first responders in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and partner with local institutions and government agencies to rebuild capacity and support long-term recovery. As we continue to strengthen our preparedness through key partnership agreements with the Global Crisis Coordination Center, Henry Schein, and Amazon, we work collaboratively to preposition medical supplies for rapid response. Of course, many areas affected by natural disasters already have extreme difficulty reaching populations in rural locations. Typically, the limited infrastructure that was once in place no longer functions properly and creates bottlenecks for humanitarian aid delivery. MedShare is adept at overcoming those obstacles. The Opportunity: In the moments following a disaster, food, shelter, medical care and clothing are all high on the list of priorities. MedShare’s Disaster Relief Program focuses on: Communicating directly with our in-country partner hospitals and clinics to determine their needs Sourcing immediate needs from our product donor partners per established agreements Coordinating and expediting shipments of critical supplies with our logistics partners Provisioning medical mission team volunteers as they travel to the region to provide aid Continuing support after the initial response to aid in rebuilding health systems in areas devastated by disaster Although most of our disaster response efforts since 2020 has been focused on COVID-19, where we have delivered 72 million pieces of PPE globally to date to 103 partner organizations in 29 countries, MedShare’s most active response was in 2017, when we experienced some of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. Hurricane Maria was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in over a decade, leaving thousands dead and millions without clean water and power for months. Hurricane Harvey is tied with Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, having displaced 30,000 people across Texas, Louisiana, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma caused unprecedented damage to Caribbean islands and many are stealing dealing with the afthermath of these storms today. On August 14, 2021, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck western Haiti causing over 1400 casualties, 6900 injuries and widespread damage. MedShare, along with other humanitarian aid organizations, responded to this disaster to once again provide critical medical aid to victims and health workers. Unfortunately, it is not a question of if, but when the next disaster will strike. Currently, we are actively responding to the crisis in Ukraine, where over 4 million people have fled the country in the fastest and largest displacement crisis this century. Millions are still in danger and in urgent need of aid as attacks on Ukrainian cities continue. It has been over 6 months now since MedShare initiated our disaster relief response to provide critical, life-saving medical supplies and equipment to those impacted by this crisis, and to date we have provided over $2 million in humanitarian aid to countless individuals and communities in need of quality medical care, with plans to do more with your support. In the past 12 years alone, MedShare has responded to over 27 disasters across 37 countries, serving over 8 million people with over $50 million dollars in aid, thanks to the generous support of our partners and donors. Please visit www.medshare.org for more information on our disaster relief and other programs to supply humanitarian aid to resource challenged areas in the U.S. and abroad. 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 Jennifer Henn, executive director; Jennifer Bartl, LMFT, CEO; and Jennifer Greenlee, LCSW, chief program officer, COR COR — not an acronym but a way of life. The root word of courage is cor, the Latin word for heart. And our work is guided by our courageous hearts. COR was started in 2019 by three like-minded friends – Jennifer Bartl, Jennifer Greenlee and Jennifer Henn. Yep, you read that right—three Jennifers. We’ve earned the nickname Jennerators because we make big things happen. In three short years, we created a community of support for students and families at Carver STEAM High School in Atlanta. We started by asking ourselves one question: “What if all students had access to everything they needed to be successful at school?” With over 30 years in the human services field between us, we knew that in order to answer that question, we needed to address the history of race- and poverty-based inequities in education. And to make a difference in the lives of historically under-resourced youth, we should be serving students where they spend the bulk of their days—at school. COR provides support to ensure that nonacademic barriers don’t get in the way of student success. First, we housed a grocery store inside the school, stocked with fresh foods from Second Helpings Atlanta, clothes, household items and all the hygiene necessities. We know that when basic needs are met, students can focus on learning. Next, we worked with our initial cohort of students to build The HUB, a student drop-in center. They come for snacks, help with homework, to play PS4 and to chill with their friends. But they get much more than that. They receive emotional support and a relationship with a trusted adult. It’s grown over the years into a lunchtime, afterschool and even summertime destination for many! Third and maybe most important, COR equips students with life skills, including social, emotional health, conflict resolution and resiliency. Some may call these ‘soft skills’ but we know that in the current climate of divisiveness, ‘hard skills’ are necessary to move tough conversations forward. COR asks, “What’s your COR?” Once youth know what’s important to them and what they value or stand for, they are taught how best to speak up for change, how to show up for themselves and their peers, and how to be an advocate in all spaces they enter. COR’s school-based behavioral health and wraparound services are provided in partnership with Purpose Built Schools Atlanta, where students are given opportunities to thrive. Most recently, we received funding to provide vital supportive services to assist families during the relocation from the Forest Cove apartment complex in southeast Atlanta. Carver STEAM families who reside in the condemned property are receiving two years of intense wraparound care support as they transition to their new homes. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Click here to see how we made thousands of pounds of fresh food available for an entire community during the pandemic. This is sponsored content.
Emory University’s 2021 Woodruff Health Sciences Center Community Benefits Report is out, and both its numbers and narrative tell a story of deep engagement and care for the community. The total value to the community provided by the Woodruff Health Sciences Center is $688 million. And with COVID-19 still at the doorstep, Emory clinicians helped 93% of patients with the virus return home — among the highest percentages anywhere. As Jonathan S. Lewin — executive vice president for health affairs, executive director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and CEO and chair of the Emory Healthcare Board — reflects in the report, titled “Courage to Care”: The “interaction of these two groups — people facing their darkest hours and the professionals who are so committed to helping them — leads to the inspirational accounts of hope and progress in this report. The stories, which represent just a few examples among thousands each year, are about people facing hardship with extraordinary courage and the people who provide them extraordinary care.” Emory Healthcare provided a total of $124.6 million in charity care in FY2020–2021. The report also details the charity care provided at individual Emory Healthcare facilities. The term “charity care” includes two categories: (1) indigent care for patients with no health insurance, not even Medicaid or Medicare, and no resources of their own and (2) catastrophic care for patients who may have some coverage but for whom health care bills are so large that paying them would be permanently life-shattering. Beyond charity care, Emory Healthcare provides many other services to help improve access to care, advance medical knowledge, and relieve or reduce dependence on taxpayer-funded community efforts. This total for Emory Healthcare was an additional $214 million in FY2020–2021. The report summarizes the multiple fronts on which Emory has done battle against COVID-19, including the discovery of molnupiravir, one of the world’s first authorized oral medications for the virus; the work of the Hope Clinic in investigating second-generation COVID-19 vaccines; and clinics for long-COVID sufferers. Other stories examine diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the schools of nursing, medicine and public health designed to benefit both patients and health care staff; ways that Emory bolsters the health care workforce, making it stronger in quality and quantity; examples of how $847 million in grants last year made it possible for Emory to improve human health through discovery and innovation; and Emory’s vision for educating tomorrow’s leaders. Vikas Sukhatme, dean of the Emory University School of Medicine, describes the educational mission this way: “Our graduates will continue to be excellent clinicians and scientists, but in today’s environment they must also be able to lead change across health systems and communities.” Read the full report. This is sponsored content.
We came, we read, and we gave away a lot of books at a lot of enriching programs. The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club’s tenth season ended last month. Let us count the ways the bookish summer thrilled us: We returned to many in-person events after two virtual summers. And we returned in force, with more than 200 events produced by 83 partners, gifting Atlanta kids with 14,158 books. (The Alliance Theatre will distribute 3,000 books over the next year, as well.) The first of these events was a joyful launch in the newly renovated Fulton County Central Library. Mayor Andre Dickens read, to a kid-packed audience, both of this summer’s MSRC books. The first was Atlanta, My Home, written for children ages three to five by Breanna J. McDaniel and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. It was produced by the Alliance Theatre and funded by PNC. And for babies zero to two, Mayor Dickens read I’ll Build You a Bookcase, by Jean Ciborowski Fahey and Simone Shin. Other stars shared stories as well. In June, quarterback Matt Ryan read Atlanta, My Home to a group of knee-high fans in Falcons jerseys at the opening of the Simpson Street Learning Space. CBS46 Chief Meteorologist Jennifer Valdez, along with Mayor Dickens and other local luminaries, participated in a celebration of reading at The Mall, West End. Volunteers with the Atlanta Rotary Club fanned out to child care centers around the city to read MSRC books to toddlers as part of their day of service on June 6th. On July 29th, our volunteers were proud to partner with Lift Up Atlanta to host a Free Laundry and Literacy Day at five metro Atlanta laundromats. We were able to share books with the hundreds of children who attended with their families. All 33 branches of the Fulton County Library System staged MSRC events. All summer long, we could tell that MSRC books were about more than helping young children fight the summer slide. They also bonded us as a community. “I think the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club ties the city together, much like our One Book, One Read program,” says MSRC partner Marcia Divack, branch group administrator and youth services coordinator at the Fulton County Library System. “It creates a sense of community and belonging when everybody’s reading the same titles in June and July.” Another community builder is, of course, the City of Atlanta and Mayor Dickens, who showed their commitment to the MSRC throughout the summer. As Fefe Handy, Founder and Executive Director of Page Turners Make Great Learners, put it, “I think this program is successful because it’s the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club. It compels the community to be involved and it compels our corporate community partners and civic leaders to be involved in this mission of really building a city that reads.” Plans are already coming together for next summer’s MSRC commission from the Alliance Theatre. Partner, Quanda Smith, says this is one of the things she finds meaningful about the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club. Atlantans can depend upon new books and new programs year after year. “Society has taught us how much changes, but people pay attention to consistency,” notes Smith, who is volunteer coordinator for the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance’s environmental stewardship department. This past summer, she designed an entire roster of MSRC-themed programming for the children who attended WAWA’s summer camp. “The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club is consistent with building literacy and connecting through these books. And all the mayors have participated! That’s a touch point for the community.” The GEEARS team is excited to continue the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club for years to come. Learn more by visiting www.mayorsreadingclub.org. This is sponsored content.