DSQA Earns ISO 9001 Certification for Quality Management System By MARTA The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Department of Safety and Quality Assurance (DSQA) has achieved the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification of its Quality Management System (QMS). This most recent certification makes MARTA one of the only transit systems in the country to obtain QMS, Environmental Management System (EMS), and Asset Management System (AMS) certifications. MARTA’s DSQA provides three distinct services; quality assurance, operational and system safety, and configuration management, and earned the QMS certification after a rigorous five-phase process that included several rounds of internal and external audits and spanned almost two years. “There is no greater responsibility than ensuring our customers and employees are safe,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker. “We strive every day to fulfill our promise to provide a safe, quality transit system and DSQA makes sure all systems are managed and operated at the highest level. To receive this certification is a great accomplishment for DSQA and MARTA and a hallmark of excellence for continuous improvement.” QMS helps coordinate and direct an organization’s activities and meet customer and regulatory requirements and improve its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis. It integrates principles of customer focus into the services it provides, including leadership, the engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making, and relationship management. These standards also serve as the foundation of the Safety Management System (SMS), which will be implemented this year with the launch of the new MARTA Agency Safety Plan. “You cannot have an effective SMS without applying QMS principles,” said Gena Major, MARTA Assistant General Manager of DSQA. “We will use these principles as the basis of MARTA’s Agency Safety Plan that continues to focus on effectively and proactively managing safety risks in our system.” MARTA is among a small number of transit agencies in the U.S. to receive ISO certification of its Quality Management, Environmental Management, and Asset Management Systems, and the first to receive Multi-Site Certification in its bus, rail, and administrative facilities. In 2019, MARTA became the first transit organization in North and South America to receive the ISO 55001 certification for Asset Management.
Program Seeks to Help Address a Critical Need for Metro Atlanta Region By Metro Atlanta Chamber The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) kicked off a targeted initiative aimed at attracting new poll workers for the upcoming November general election. This program aims to drive metro Atlanta employees and residents to www.GaPollWorker.com where they can submit information to become a poll worker. While MAC is focused on Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb Counties, all residents who sign up to be poll workers will be connected with the board of elections in their county, which is a requirement of Georgia law. This initiative comes at a critical time after MAC spoke out in response to voters experiencing unprecedented wait times and difficulties during the Georgia primary election in June. Those interested in being poll workers must sign up by September 15 so that county election boards have enough time to train workers before early voting begins in October. “It’s no secret how important it is for all citizens in all communities to exercise their right to vote. We are each in a unique position to use our vote to shape our region’s future and affect positive change,” said Katie Kirkpatrick, Metro Atlanta Chamber, president and CEO. “The talent within our region’s major corporations, and our small and medium-sized businesses creates the perfect opportunity to mine for highly-qualified poll workers who can make a meaningful impact on election day.” While all eligible workers are welcome, this program seeks tech-savvy candidates, who can help operate Georgia’s new, state of the art, electronic voting machines during what is anticipated to be a record turnout election. Additionally, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, MAC’s program aims to attract younger people to fill a void left by older workers with underlying conditions who may not volunteer as poll workers this election season. The average age of Georgia poll workers is 72. This initiative is just one aspect of MAC’s larger focus public policy and driving civic engagement. With every major election, the Chamber updates www.votemetroATL.com to provide an objective overview of candidates and ballot issues. The organization is also a member of Committee for a Better Atlanta which provides voters with information to make informed decisions when electing the city’s mayor, city council members. “Knowing that election outcomes play a critical role in the social and economic prosperity of our region, we have a responsibility to empower our community to make educated decisions when it comes to voting,” said Dave Williams, senior vice President, government affairs, infrastructure and public policy at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. All poll workers will be compensated. For more information on MAC’s broader policy and advocacy efforts, visit www.metroatlantachamber.com/public-policy/elections and www.macpolicy.com. ### About the Metro Atlanta Chamber The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) serves as a catalyst for a more prosperous and vibrant region. To advance economic growth and improve metro Atlanta’s quality of place, MAC is focused on starting, growing and recruiting companies to the 29-county metro Atlanta region. The Chamber is also focused on expanding the region’s innovation economy by promoting and strengthening connections to drive Atlanta’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture. MAC is committed to being an active voice for the business community, serving as an advocate for a competitive business climate and promoting Atlanta’s story. For more information, visit www.MetroAtlantaChamber.com.
By Laura Flusche, Ph.D., Executive Director, MODA At the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), we define design as a process that inspires change, transforms lives, and makes the world a better place. This idea guides everything we do — from exhibitions to programs to summer camps — because we believe that design is one of the most important tools we have for facing difficult 21st-century challenges like climate change, social justice, fair representation in voting, and food equity. In setting a course for the museum, the MODA Board of Directors and staff focus on big ideas that are encapsulated by a number of research questions, one of which is, “What if a museum looked forward instead of backward.” The work of most museums is to preserve the past and to show us who we once were and how we have crafted, shaped, and expressed human experience. But there’s nothing to say that a museum must look backwards, so at MODA, we have chosen to break with tradition. We are a museum that looks forward. Our future-facing orientation is informed by the designers whose work we exhibit and by the design processes we teach. Think of it this way: designers envision the future. Whether graphic designers, architects, urban designers, fashion designers, or designers of complex systems, the job of the designer is to see and make the future. At MODA, we also ask another question: “Can a design museum change the world?” Can a design museum provide experiences that cause us to think differently, to see differently, to approach problems differently, even to live differently? And, if so, can MODA can be a catalyst for designing a future in which we want to live? That’s why MODA’s exhibitions and programs discuss contemporary challenges and the work designers are doing to address those needs. In past years, we’ve shown how craftivists (crafters + activists) like Jayna Zweiman are designing ways to welcome immigrants and refugees to the United States, how graphic designers working with Amplifier.org are expanding the efforts of youth activists fighting for LGBTQIA+ and disability rights activists, and how Mass Design Group created a sacred space for truth telling and reflection about racial terror in their design for the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL. Before the COVID-19 health crisis, MODA committed to making 2020 the Year of Climate + Change, a year in which our exhibitions and programs would demonstrate the power of design to reverse climate change and address its already-present effects. Because of our prolonged closure, our efforts have been a bit delayed and will now stretch across several years. For now, we invite you to visit our virtual exhibition, Learning from Nature: The Future of Design, hosted on our website. It discusses ways that designers can learn from nature’s time-tested sustainability strategies. This fall, we’ll present a wide array of virtual programming about regenerative design and designers who are committed to the idea that the objects, buildings, and systems they create can make a positive impact in the world. Please join us in the conversation. MODA’s Year of Climate & Change is backed by forward-thinking community partners like The Kendeda Fund, Econyl by Aquafil, Sto Corp., Structor Group, The Jamestown Foundation, Ponce City Market, Portman Architects, Interface, Perkins & Will, the Fulton County Arts Council, the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, Hendrick, Creature Product Development, Marble Fairbanks, Serenbe, Switch Modern, 3D Printing Tech, and a wide range individual supporters.
By Sara Gottlieb, Director of Freshwater Science & Strategy, The Nature Conservancy Georgia is home to an incredibly diverse community of aquatic life – we have more species of fish, crayfish, mussels, and salamanders in our rivers than almost anywhere else on the North American continent. Georgia also has more barriers that prevent fish and other aquatic organisms from accessing critical habitat—such as thousands of obsolete dams—than any other state in the southeastern US. Dams serve a variety of important purposes such as waterway navigation, hydropower generation, flood control, irrigation and recreation. Obsolete dams are those that no longer serve their intended (or any) purpose. These barriers disrupt the natural life cycles of aquatic organisms, degrade water quality and pose a serious hazard to people. The Nature Conservancy and the Southeastern Aquatic Resources Partnership built a comprehensive database of previously undocumented dams in the southeast and prioritized them based on the benefit to aquatic biodiversity that could accrue from their removal. While many other US states have made enormous strides in removing high priority barriers, Georgia lags behind, but though the work of the Georgia Aquatic Connectivity Team (GA-ACT), we have built momentum and a community of practice for speeding the pace of dam removal in the state. One of the hurdles for anyone interested in removing an obsolete dam is a lack of basic information about the process and the GA-ACT decided we needed to compile that information in one place that is easily accessible to all. Over the past year, a team of contributors sponsored by the GA-ACT collaborated to write the Handbook for the Removal or Modification of Obsolete Dams in Georgia. Developing this handbook brought together experts from a variety of agencies, regulatory authorities, academic institutions, engineering firms and other conservation organizations toward a shared goal – this process helped built trust between entities with varied perspectives and missions. As co-lead of the Georgia Aquatic Connectivity Team, I am proud of this significant accomplishment, grateful to all of those who contributed, and hopeful that many people will use this resource to guide them through the process of freeing Georgia’s rivers and streams to benefit people and nature. Protecting Georgia’s Waterways The Nature Conservancy works with partners across Georgia to restore and protect the health of rivers, lakes and streams. Get an up-close look at our approaches freshwater conservation by viewing the recording of our recent webinar and at nature.org. Photo caption: TNC worked with Columbus State University to remove three dams on TNC-owned property near Fort Benning. Images: © Henry Jacobs This is sponsored content.
By Operation HOPE For many Americans, navigating the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming. We are proud to serve as a financial advocate and intermediary for these affected homeowners, renters, and small business owners in facilitating financial recovery. Since our HOPE Inside Disaster COVID-19 response began five weeks ago, we have provided over 14,500 virtual financial recovery services, including credit and money management coaching, small business counseling and loan application assistance, and mortgage and student loan deferment. Many thanks to our corporate and alliance partners for their ongoing support! Organizations that wish to provide financial or in-kind support to HOPE Inside Disaster may contact Mary Ehrsam, President of HOPE Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org Last week, our response efforts were featured by several mainstream news outlets. On Wednesday, Chairman John Hope Bryant joined host Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” to discuss the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on the financial health of minority communities. Click the video below to watch Chairman Bryant speak on the ongoing work of Operation HOPE and our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Find more resources at www.hopeinsidecovid19.org
Featured Image: A “Chakma” student holding a “Find the Missing Millions” board to support the initiative. The Chakma tribe is the largest indigenous tribe in Bangladesh. They live in Rangamati, Chittagong hills which is in the South-East Bangladesh. A “Find the Missing Millions” free hepatitis B and C screening and awareness program organized by the National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh among the people of the Chakma tribe at Rangamati. Courtesy of Zunaid Murshed Paiker, National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh By The Task Force for Global Health Tuesday, July 28, marks World Hepatitis Day as a call to action against a preventable and curable disease that kills more than 1.3 million people each year. We spoke with John Ward, MD, Director of The Task Force’s Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, about the disease, the role of the Coalition in hepatitis elimination, and what can be done for the more than 300 million people living with viral hepatitis and the millions of people at risk of new infections each year. Why is it important to have this global World Hepatitis Day? World Hepatitis Day is particularly important as the enormity of this global health threat is underappreciated due to the silent nature of the disease. People with hepatitis have few symptoms until they develop liver disease that can progress to severe scarring (cirrhosis) or liver cancer. While both hepatitis B and C infections can be prevented with safe healthcare and injection practices, and can be detected and treated with reliable tests and medications, hepatitis C prevention has yet to benefit from an effective vaccine like hepatitis B. So World Hepatitis Day calls for action to seize these opportunities to protect people from infection and to test and treat to prevent premature mortality so we can eliminate hepatitis in the near future. Looking back on the first year of the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, what have been some of the main highlights? The Coalition fills a key role in the global effort to eliminate hepatitis, which all countries committed to in 2015, by bringing partners together to share information and challenges and to leverage those partnerships to develop solutions and resources. For example, access to credible data sources to inform program and policy development has long been a challenge in the hepatitis community. Now for the first time, we have what I like to call the “Wikipedia for Hepatitis Elimination.” We bring together data for over 190 countries regarding their burden of disease, the status of hepatitis policy and program development, and the status of implementing key interventions that make elimination possible. Bringing this data together has helped everyone monitor progress toward elimination and identify gaps, and also motivates countries to develop and implement their own programs by observing the success of others. We have also overseen two systematic reviews to bring together evidence to guide timely hepatitis B immunization of newborns to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus and to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of hepatitis action plans, which are often the main strategy documents guiding program implementation. Other highlights include launching an operational research study with partners across four countries and a technical assistance project to support country planning for hepatitis testing scale-up. How successful do you think the Coalition has been in bringing together the hepatitis community? We have a unique vantage point by being part of The Task Force. The Task Force has a long legacy of supporting disease elimination around the world. Because of our access to global partners and our expertise of management in disease elimination, we’ve built relationships and worked with various programs, ministries of health and others on the national and global levels. A lot of the work on our website reflects these collaborations; we have over 100 partners globally that have signed on to be part of the Coalition, and we are seeking to build a community of practice for hepatitis elimination. Each of these partners has a program profile listing their goals and activities, which brings visibility to the work in their respective countries. We want to continue engaging stakeholders, industry partners, technical assistance providers and civil societies to reach our global elimination goals. COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind and it has affected efforts to fight other diseases like hepatitis. Tell us about some of the hepatitis-related challenges and lessons learned during this pandemic and how the Coalition is addressing them. The pandemic has sent a shockwave around the world that has impacted many facets of society. Hepatitis elimination is no exception. Our first concern was that people with chronic liver disease had more severe outcomes from coronavirus infections than others. So, in the first few months of the pandemic, we compiled all the evidence from previous coronavirus epidemics [like SARS and MERS] and observations from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, mapping the clinical progression of people with chronic liver disease to share with our partners and others working on hepatitis. The shift in medical care priorities toward COVID-19 has implications for the management of patients with hepatitis. We compiled and shared recommendations both on particular COVID-19 response strategies and to identify areas that may need more research. Lastly, current global efforts to increase diagnostic capacity to test and care for people with COVID-19 can eventually be shifted toward testing for hepatitis and other diseases, which have historically suffered from limited resources. Leveraging expanded national testing capacity would greatly increase our reach to care for people with liver disease. We look forward to working with our partners to realize these opportunities. The Coalition recently honored some “hepatitis elimination champions.” Why is it important to highlight key people in the hepatitis community? When we launched the Coalition last year, we recognized the many individuals that have made remarkable contributions to improving hepatitis political commitment, policies, and programs and who are helping to make global hepatitis elimination possible. This year we selected six people who through their passion and ingenuity have greatly advanced progress toward hepatitis elimination. These remarkable individuals …
By Kate Sweeney We’ve heard a lot about teleworking lately: how COVID-19 has revved up the pace on adaptations for working at home, about the equity divide between those who can work online and those who can’t, and, of course, all those tutorials about how to look TV-newscaster-perfect during your weekly team Zoom call. One big upshot? It may be that teleworking is the only part of the pandemic that many of us actually like — a conclusion backed up recently by a poll from Georgia Commute Options (GCO). Read on for more. This is sponsored content.
By Dentons Date and time: Start: August 12, 2020, 11:00 AM EST End: August 12, 2020, 12:00 PM EST Via webinar Dentons’ Public Policy team is pleased to invite you and your colleagues to join our “Road to November: Politics in America” webinar series. Throughout the webinar series our experienced bipartisan political leaders will share their insights on national politics given current events as we approach the 2020 elections as well as national political topics ranging from the Presidential race and the competitive US Senate races to the impact on voting and state and local elections. This discussion will provide a summary of both what you need to know now, and what you can expect in the future. Stay up-to-date with all insights and guidance from our Public Policy team by visiting our Soapbox blog here and signing up for future alerts here. Speakers Howard Dean: Former DNC Chairman and Vermont Governor Ron Kaufman: Treasurer of the Republican National Committee and 2020 RNC National Convention, former White House Political Director Polly Lawrence: Former Colorado State Representative Michael Nutter: Former Mayor of Philadelphia Moderator Eric J. Tanenblatt: Global Chair, Public Policy and Regulation Questions Please contact Nikole Kolen at email@example.com. Register Now
More than $18.425 million distributed to date; next round of applications opening September 1 By United Way of Greater Atlanta The Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, a joint effort from Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta, today announces the Fund’s seventh round of grants targeted to emergency financial assistance for housing-related costs. To date, the Fund has raised more than $25 million through collective resources. Since the Fund was announced in March, the two organizations have together identified the areas of greatest need and the most vulnerable populations to determine where to deliver funds. This seventh round of grants total $1.125 million and will be distributed to 10 organizations in response to the region’s needs as a result of COVID-19. A grand total of more than $18.425 million from the Fund has been mobilized to benefit 321 nonprofits thus far. A full listing of today’s grants is detailed below. These, as well as those made in the earlier rounds, are listed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website. Individuals who wish to contribute to supporting our region’s nonprofits can donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund here. Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis. The seventh round of grants will allow the grantee organizations to provide funding for emergency financial (rent and utilities) assistance in response to the COVID-19 crisis for a period of up to 4.5 months. Research indicated that each of the organizations has the ability to meet high demand for emergency financial assistance and strong track record of effectively serving the most vulnerable people in our region across a wide geographic scope. Nine of the grants will provide emergency financial assistance and legal support to combat evictions for some of our most vulnerable, low-income populations. These populations include undocumented and immigrant families with children, families who face threats from domestic violence, families who live in extended stay motels and families without formal leases. The 10th grant will expand COVID-19 testing in low-income and high-risk communities. According to the Aspen Institute, multiple studies have quantified the effect of COVID-19-related job loss and economic hardship on renters’ ability to pay rent during the pandemic. While methodologies differ, these analyses converge on a dire prediction: If conditions do not change, 29-45% of renter households in Georgia could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year.1 Steps for applying for the next round of grants will be released on September 1. In order to respond to the quickly shifting needs of our community, the Fund is committed to funding emergent needs through additional rounds of funding as well. Details will be posted here. Today’s grant recipients and grant amounts are: Georgia ACT (Advancing Communities Together) – $75,000 to provide emergency financial assistance and eviction relief in its multi-county service area. Georgia Legal Services Program – $100,000 to support and meet the increased demand for emergency financial assistance, eviction filings and legal representation in the region. Inspiritus (formerly Lutheran Services of Georgia) – $100,000 to meet the increased demand for emergency financial assistance in its multi-county service area. Latin American Association – $150,000 to meet the increased demand for emergency financial assistance in its service area. Latino Community Fund – $200,000 to provide emergency financial assistance for Latinx communities throughout Greater Atlanta in partnership with grassroots Latinx organizations. St. Vincent DePaul Georgia – $100,000 to meet the increased demand for emergency financial assistance in the region. Ser Familia – $150,000 to meet the increased demand for emergency financial assistance. Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center (SPARC) – $100,000 to meet the increased demand for emergency financial assistance and rehousing services. Star C – $100,000 to support emergency financial assistance, housing and eviction relief. United 2 Live – $50,000 to provide increased testing and testing support services to meet the needs of hard to reach populations in low-income communities. The Fund was announced March 17 with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta committing $1 million and United Way of Greater Atlanta contributing $500,000 to seed the Fund. Significant contributions to the fund have come from organizations including the Coca-Cola Company, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, each donating $5 million to the Fund in support. Other current funders include the City of Atlanta, The Goizueta Foundation, The Klump Family Foundation and Truist Foundation, contributing $1 million each. A complete list of corporate, foundation and individual donors that gave $25,000 or more to the Fund can be found here. Individuals and families impacted and in need of support can contact United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2-1-1 Contact Center. Due to high call volumes, texting is the quickest way to get in touch with United Way 2-1-1. Text “211od” to 898-211 to get a list of resources by zip code. The 2-1-1 database is another quick way to find resources during this time of increased call volume. 2-1-1 is a valuable resource that is available 24-hours and 7 days-a-week. To view updates from United Way of Greater Atlanta, click here or follow on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. 1https://www.aspeninstitute.org/blog-posts/the-covid-19-eviction-crisis-an-estimated-30-40-million-people-in-america-are-at-risk/
By Blythe Keeler Robinson, President and CEO, Sheltering Arms “Education either functions as an instrument, which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” -Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed I can’t believe it is already August, but actually, this has been the longest year ever. I think March alone had 76 days. By most accounts, 2020 has been a less than ideal year with one tragedy after another. The world was struck with a pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on all of humanity and its institutions. In addition to the loss of courageous civil rights leaders like Rev. C.T. Vivian and Rep. John Lewis, we all watched in horror as a police officer murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. By no means was George Floyd’s murder the only atrocity committed against Black people this year. In fact, within a two-month time period, there were a number of brutal attacks on Black men and women that moved the vast majority of decent Americans to protest against institutional racism in America. It is against this backdrop that we find ourselves in a new school year having to maintain health and sanity. Although 2020 seems like some sort of punishment, I’m adopting the viewpoint that 2020 was really the universe’s way of pushing the reset button. I shared the quote from “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” because it perfectly frames the opportunity in front of us. Educators and families have the opportunity to redesign and rethink education. The quote can serve as a guiding principle that grounds our collective work in reimagining education and interrogating our educational systems through an equity lens and more importantly, an anti-racist lens. If we succeed, we have an opportunity to realize education as a practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world, and if 2020 proves nothing else, we desperately need to transform our world.
By Wendy Stewart, Bank of America Atlanta Market President “Community” is a word that tends to get a bit overused. Communities transcend a geographic location or coordinates on a map; they are united by proximity and bound together by what they share. And I believe every Atlantan⎯whether native or transplant⎯can agree that the pursuit of a diverse and inclusive culture is at the heart of everything we do. In Atlanta’s case, there is no better way to describe Bank of America’s relationship with the people who live in and around this great city than the word “community.” Since 1919, when Mills B. Lane brought the company to the corner of Marietta and Broad Streets, Bank of America (formerly C&S) has served Atlanta’s needs in business, banking and beyond. Our longstanding history in the city, including the boundless opportunities we’ve had to support the growth and wellness of customers and fellow citizens over the past 100 years, is a privilege we hold with the highest regard. At Bank of America, we have long recognized that a diverse and inclusive culture is essential to achieving our mission. This need has become even more urgent amid the current health crisis, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Underlying economic and social disparities that have existed for centuries are evident during the global pandemic, and recent racial injustices have highlighted an unprecedented need to do more, and do better, in our communities. We have been and are continuing to address systemic issues of race and place in Atlanta by investing in basic needs, community development, workforce development, and education. So far in 2020, we have deployed nearly $1.6 million to 28 Atlanta-area organizations that faced unparalleled challenges from the coronavirus, including Atlanta Community Food Bank, Grady Health System, Grove Park Foundation, and Latin American Association. Additionally Bank of America is reinforcing its commitment to create opportunity for people and communities of color in the areas of health, job training, support to small businesses, and housing, all through a lens of racial equity with a recently announced $1 billion, four-year commitment of additional support across the country. Why? Because we are committed to Atlanta and are hopeful that, together, the next 100 years will be better and even more prosperous for all of us. This is sponsored content.