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Philanthropy Thought Leader Uncategorized

Taking Care of Atlanta’s Historic Westside

One of the things I love about Atlanta is that we are a city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique history, character and charm.

The neighborhoods nestled on the Westside of Atlanta—English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center—hold special historical significance for our city. These neighborhoods served as the incubator for the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached on these streets, and some of the nation’s most prestigious black colleges and universities are located here today.

This culturally rich part of our city has fallen on hard times in more recent years, and many families are living below the federal poverty line. With the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Westside path of the Atlanta Beltline, there’s a spotlight shining once again on these historic neighborhoods—and an opportunity for renewal and revitalization.

But, in the wake of this new wave of growth, we need to make sure the families who call these neighborhoods home don’t get left behind. We need to make sure they can be a part of—not a by-product of—the Atlanta Westside success story.

That starts with creating the right conditions for progress. The Westside Future Fund is a not-for-profit organization of Atlanta community leaders who believe in the future of the historic Westside and are committed to elevating the quality of life for the residents who call it home. One of the ways we do that is by connecting Atlantans with opportunities to give back.

On Saturday, we will host a “Day of Service” to officially launch the new Westside Volunteer Corps, a year-round program designed to attract and mobilize volunteers—residents and non-residents, individuals and corporate groups—who are inspired to be part of the Westside’s revitalization. To date, more than 60 Westside non-profit agencies ranging in size and focus area have joined the Corps, which will recruit, train, match and deploy volunteers based on their individual skill sets, interests and availability.

We believe that bringing about lasting change requires a true community effort. We are fortunate to have a partner in United Way of Greater Atlanta, offering its expertise in developing and implementing successful volunteer programs. They also share our unwavering commitment to seeing the historic Westside community thrive.

While the Westside Volunteer Corps Day of Service this Saturday, August 26, has reached capacity with more than 480 volunteers, you still have the opportunity to dedicate your time to show children and families who call the Westside home that they aren’t alone. Join the Westside Volunteer Corps for year-round volunteer opportunities to unite the Atlanta community and serve side-by-side with our Westside neighbors. Let’s show them that Atlanta cares.

Rodney Bullard is the Vice President of Community Affairs for Chick-fil-A, Inc., Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, and a Board Member of Westside Future Fund


  1. Delores Mckenzie August 24, 2017 9:32 am

    how do you volunteer for westsideReport

  2. Michelle Findlay August 25, 2017 9:31 am

    This is an exciting initiative! I am a graduate student at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business and am on the board of our Net Impact Club, which is co-organizing a Scheller Day of Service with Scheller’s Philanthropy Club. Is there a volunteer coordinator with whom I could speak about our Net Impact and Philanthropy clubs coming to help?Report

  3. Chandler Parker September 1, 2017 8:35 am

    Hi Michelle! Sorry for the late response. The event was at capacity on Aug. 25, but there are still plenty of other volunteer opportunities available. You can sign up for updates and opportunities for WVC here: http://my.unitedwayatl.org/register/westsidevolunteercorps.htmlReport


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