TransFormation Alliance picks Odetta MacLeish-White as its first executive

By Maria Saporta

The push for greater equity in Atlanta received a boost with the naming of Odetta MacLeish-White as the first managing director of the TransFormation Alliance.

The Alliance is a collaboration of metro Atlanta organizations aiming to develop thriving, mixed-income communities anchored by transit – and ensuring that those investments are available to all residents.

MacLeish-White, a veteran non-profit executive, comes to the TransFormation Alliance from Enterprise Community Partners, where she spent eight years, rising to senior program director.

“I can’t think of a more exciting opportunity than to lead the TransFormation Alliance in a new phase of growth and partnership,” MacLeish-White said in a release. “We now have the resources to catalyze our vision for community-led civic engagement processes to help metro Atlanta become a more equitable and prosperous city for everyone.”

Odetta MacLeish-White

As managing director of the Alliance, MacLeish-White will continue to work closely with Enterprise Community Partners, which was a founding member.

“Enterprise Community Partners was proud to help seed the formation of the TransFormation Alliance, and we are encouraged by its growth,” said Meaghan Vlkovic, Southeastern market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, and a member of the Alliance’s executive committee. “We are committed to providing continued leadership for the Alliance and its mission to coordinate equitable development around transit, given that this is so critical to addressing housing affordability. Odetta MacLeish-White will be a wonderful advocate and leader for the Alliance as it continues to grow.”

The TransFormation Alliance will be hosted at the Atlanta Regional Commission, which will provide strategic and operational support.

The Alliance is funded through a national grant from the Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC). SPARCC is providing $1 million in operating support over three years to the Alliance, along with access to $14 million in programmatic support and a pool of approximately $70 million in financing capital, which is available to all the cities in the program.

Atlanta is one of six SPARCC grant recipients; the others are Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis and the San Francisco Bay Area.

MacLeish-White will continue the Alliance’s fundraising efforts, strengthen its brand presence, expand its network of relationships, and outline a clear path for the implementation of its work and vision.

“Odetta has the experience and dedication needed to lead the TransFormation Alliance through this critical growth phase,” said Doug Hooker, ARC Executive Director. “ARC is proud to house the Alliance and provide the resources and guidance needed for the organization to succeed.”

Nathaniel Smith, chief equity officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity, and a TransFormation Alliance executive committee member, agreed.

“I am overjoyed about Odetta’s hire as the managing director of the TransFormation Alliance,” he said. “She has the skillset and, more importantly, the heart required to move the Alliance forward. The Partnership for Southern Equity will continue to be an active partner in ensuring the success of the Alliance.”

MacLeish-White also has worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served as director of Florida’s Affordable Housing Study Commission. She received her Bachelor’s in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University and her JD/LLM in International Law from Duke University School of Law.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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