Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, GA

Although part of a metropolitan area of more than five million inhabitants, the city of Atlanta is much smaller, with a population of just over 430,000. While the overall region gained 80,000 people a year in the 1990s, the city of Atlanta added only 22,000 residents. However, the pace of growth within the city has since increased greatly. In part, this is simply a product of overall metropolitan growth, as the Atlanta area has been the nation's fastest growing region since 2000. But it may also be a sign that efforts to develop transit corridors and bring people into the city are bearing some fruit. Between 2000 and 2005, the Census Bureau estimates the city of Atlanta grew by an additional 54,000 people. Still, Atlanta remains a poor city: its poverty rate in 2009 was 27.7%. Roughly 54% of Atlanta residents are African American, while just over one-third are white. Of the remainder, Asian Americans 3.1%, and American Indian 0.2%. About 5% of the city's population identify as Hispanic or Latino. 

Community wealth building initiatives in Atlanta were limited during the 1970s and 1980s, but picked up momentum in the 1990s, spurred by development associated with the 1996 Olympics. These efforts have deepened since then. With the support of Living Cities and Enterprise, CDCs have developed 2,800 units of affordable housing in the past 15 years. Atlanta also has a number of anchor institutions, particularly universities, which promote community engagement. And the city also is home to the Southeast's largest food cooperative. Below are some leading examples of community wealth-building activities in Atlanta today.

An overview of community wealth building efforts follows:

Anchor Institutions

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Established in 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta focuses on improving quality of life in the 23-county Atlanta metro area.  It holds $900 million in assets and disburses about $100 million in grants annually.  As part of its Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, the foundation is supporting the creation of BetterLife Growers, an aeroponic operation that will sell fresh lettuce and herbs to area anchor institutions and other local establishments.  The enterprise is expected to create around 25 living-wage jobs in the Mechanicsville community.

Good Samaritan Health Center

Good Samaritan Health Center provides medical, dental, health education, mental health, and social services on a reduced sliding fee scale to low-income Atlanta residents.  In 2015, the Center had over 27,000 patient visits.  Recognizing the importance of accessible, healthy food for good health, the Center started an urban farm in the center of a food desert and created the FoodRX program, through which its doctors provide patients with “prescriptions” for weekly supplies of fresh produce.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Historic District Development Corporation

Founded in 1980, HDDC promotes the preservation and revitalization of the Auburn Avenue area (Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District) in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. Since its inception, the group has redeveloped and historically preserved over 110 single family homes, constructed nearly 500 units of multifamily housing, and added over 40,000 square feet of commercial space in the Old Fourth Ward.

Housing Resource Center

Founded in 1980, HDDC promotes the preservation and revitalization of the Auburn Avenue area (Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District) in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. Since its inception, the group has redeveloped and historically preserved over 110 single family homes, constructed nearly 500 units of multifamily housing, and added over 40,000 square feet of commercial space in the Old Fourth Ward.

Resources for Residents and Communities (formerly the Reynolds Revitalization Corporation)

Resources for Residents and Communities empowers people to build sustainable local communities through housing and economic development initiatives, homebuyer education, financial counseling, and community events.  Founded in 1989 as Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation, the nonprofit changed its name as its focus expanded from the Reynoldstown neighborhood to the broader metro Atlanta area.  One key initiative is its R’town Youth Work Team, which provides paid employment and job training to area youth, who maintain common areas, help with community events, and trim shrubs for elder residents.

Summech Community Development Corporation

Summech CDC focuses on redeveloping Atlanta’s Mechanicsville neighborhood into an attractive and viable community for residents and businesses. Since its establishment in 1989, the CDC has developed nearly 1,000 units of rental and infill housing. Summech also provides free homeownership and homebuyer services, including a range of classes and individual counseling.

University Community Development Corporation

Established by Clark Atlanta University in 1988 and reorganized in 1999 to support the broader Atlanta University Center Consortium, the University Community Development Corporation (UCDC) aims to create safe, vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities in and around the Atlanta University Center (AUC) through economic and social development initiatives.  Its housing development projects are credited with investing over $6 million in the AUC area, resulting in 25 new and 26 rehabbed single-family homes.  In partnership with the city and community partners, UCDC is collaborating on a range of waste, energy, transportation, safety, and urban agriculture projects designed to demonstrate best practices in sustainability and result in more sustainable, resilient, and just neighborhoods.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

Founded in 1991 and certified as a CDFI in 1998, the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) works to promote, create, and preserve mixed-income communities and the equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region.  To do so, the nonprofit engages in direct development, lending, policy research, and advocacy—activities credited with supporting the creation of more than 8,000 housing units for low-to-moderate income people.  Through its loan fund, it has provided $36 million in financing to nonprofit and for-profit housing developers, supporting nearly $270 million in housing projects.

Citizens Trust Bank

Founded in 1921 by five black businessmen, today Citizens Trust Bank is a federally certified CDFI and one of the largest African American owned financial institutions in the nation with assets of more than $388 million.  Guided by its mission to financially empower customers and their families to succeed, the bank launched a free educational program in 2015 to educate young adults about budgeting, money management, and the tools needed to acquire, build, and sustain wealth.Founded in 1921 by five black businessmen, today Citizens Trust Bank is a federally certified CDFI and the third largest African American owned financial institution in the nation with assets of more than $350 million. In 2006, the Fannie Mae Foundation agreed to deposit $1.5 million in the bank to support expansion of the bank's minority community lending.

Georgia Cities Foundation

Based in Atlanta, Georgia Cities Foundation focuses on supporting the revitalization of underserved downtown areas.  Since its designation as a CDFI in 2010, the nonprofit has provided more than $21 million in loans to 123 projects credited with catalyzing 253 new businesses, creating 1,386 jobs, and leveraging an additional $101.2 million in private investments.

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative

The Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative (ALTC) incubates and supports the development and operation of permanently affordable housing initiatives by independent CLTs across Atlanta.  ALTC works to create a positive climate for CLT development through public policy work, community engagement, and fundraising, while taking on the stewardship function of a CLT in neighborhoods lacking the capacity to do so.  Its work is credited with developing 13 CLT units and generating more than $4 million in funding to support CLT development.  Through partnerships, it also helped acquire more than 30 properties for permanently affordable housing and developed a mortgage project to facilitate the CLT process.

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Delta Community Credit Union

Founded in 1940 to serve Delta Air Lines employees, Delta Community Credit Union is now Georgia's largest credit union with assets in excess of $5 billion and nearly 350,000 members. Through its Philanthropic Fund, the credit union has an annual grant program focused on supporting metro Atlanta nonprofits that help families manage their finances or improve youth wellbeing.  Delta Community also awards annual scholarships to members pursing their first undergraduate degree.

Sevananda Natural Foods Market

Since opening in 1974, Sevananda has provided natural foods to Atlanta residents. It converted from a non-profit corporation to a cooperative in the 1990s in order to raise equity from customers. Today, it is one of the larger community food co-ops in the southeastern United States with 3,400 members.  Committed to the community, the co-op prioritizes local sourcing and has run its “Be The Change” program, which encourages members to round-up their total and donates the proceeds to a range of local nonprofits, since 1997.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

North Highland Company

Founded in a small office on North Highland Avenue on Atlanta's east side in 1992, North Highland has since grown to more than 3,000 employees in over 60 offices across the globe. The consultant firm focuses on solving challenges related to customer experience, transformation, performance, and technology.  Since 2007, the employee-owned firm has been named a “Best Firm to Work For” every year by Consulting Magazine.

Wayfield Foods

Founded in 1982 by two Atlanta-area businessmen and converted to an ESOP in 1992, Wayfield now has 8 locations and over 500 employees. In 2016, the grocery won the Center for Civic Innovation’s Corporate Civic Impact award for its commitment to educating the community about healthy living.

Individual Wealth Building

Center for Civic Innovation

Aiming to push Atlanta to be a smart, equitable, and engaged city, the Center for Civic Innovation supports and invests in people and organizations working to make Atlanta’s public sector more effective, innovative, and participatory.  Through its Civic Innovation Fellowship, the Center provides Atlanta social entrepreneurs with business and leadership development programs, free workspace, and mentorship.  In partnership with the Food Well Alliance, the Center also has a Food Innovation Fellows program to support entrepreneurs, educators, and community organizers working to build healthier communities by connecting food growers to consumers.  Most recently, the nonprofit launched its Westside Innovation Lab in 2016 to identify and support community-driven and community-built ideas and interventions within Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods.

United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta

The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta’s Microenterprise Individual Development Account (IDA) program aims to help people start or grow a business.  In addition to matched savings, program participants receive technical assistance, financial education, and coaching.  In Fiscal Year 2014/15, the program supported over 50 small businesses, creating nearly 65 new jobs.

Local Food Systems

Food Well Alliance

The Food Well Alliance works to grow a resilient, local food movement in Metro Atlanta by connecting individuals and organizations and promoting collective action to build healthier communities.  Through its Local Food Grant program, Food Well Alliance has provided $600,000 in support of enterprises that are using local food as a transformational tool to build healthier communities.  The nonprofit also provides micro-grants to community gardens and funds local organizations that run capacity-building programs for local food enterprises.

Social Enterprise

Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency-Café 458

The Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency aims to empower homeless individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency.  Since its establishment in 2010, it has helped connect 1,300 homeless people to full-time employment. A core part of its program is Café 458, which provides nutritious meals during the week to homeless men and women.  On Sundays, Café 458 serves brunch to the general public, which provides revenues to the nonprofit and training opportunities for its clients.

Bobby Dodd Institute

Spun off as an independent nonprofit from the Atlanta Alliance for Development Disabilities in 1989, Bobby Dodd aims to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities and obtains over 80 percent of its $15 million in revenue through business income.  In 2015, the social enterprise employed 211 people with disabilities, and connected 246 people to other job opportunities.  Its social enterprises provide call center and switchboard operations, facilities management, mailroom management, packing and fulfillment services, warehousing services, and toner cartridges.

First Step Staffing

Aiming to help ensure people struggling to break out of poverty have a permanent, reliable path towards success, First Step Staffing focuses on helping military veterans and those transitioning from homelessness and/or incarceration to secure steady, sustainable income.  To do so, the nonprofit staffing agency places its clients in a range of semi-skilled and entry-level position, and uses 100 percent of its revenues to provide clients with wrap-around services, including job and life coaching, transportation, and housing assistance.  Since its establishment in 2007, the nonprofit has supported more than 7,500 people.

Focused Community Strategies (FCS)

Founded in 1978, Focused Community Strategies (FCS) works in underserved Atlanta neighborhoods to nurture positive, sustainable change that builds from neighborhood assets, supports local leaders, and fosters social and spiritual vitality.  Since focusing its programs on Historic South Atlanta in 2001, FCS has restored over 140 homes in the area and has catalyzed several social enterprises, creating local jobs and new community safe spaces.  Most recently, in 2015, FCS established the Carver Neighborhood Market, creating 12 jobs and bringing fresh food and nutrition education to an area previously considered a food desert.

Good Measure Meals (Project Open Hand)

Founded as a private business in 2003, Good Measure Meals became a social enterprise of Project Open Hand in 2005.  The enterprise provides gourmet calorie- and portion-controlled meals to paying Atlanta clients, and funnels 100 percent of its revenues back to the nonprofit, which, in turn, provides home-delivered meals and nutrition education to seniors and those living with chronic disease.  In 2014, Good Measure Meals generated over $2.7 million, 28 percent of Project Open Hand’s annual budget.

Help Us Grow (HUG)

Launched by Covenant House Georgia to provide training and job opportunities to the homeless and trafficked youth it serves while generating revenues for its programs and strengthening Atlanta’s local food system, Help Us Grow (HUG) sells starter plants to community gardens and gardeners across Atlanta. The nonprofit’s garden site, which includes native woodland, tranquility gardens and recreational areas, also aims to provide a safe, secure place for the youth it serves.  HUG expects to sell thousands of organic, non-GMO vegetable seedlings to fire station gardens, community gardens, and local residents.

State & Local Investments

Invest Atlanta

As the City’s official economic development authority, Invest Atlanta works to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness to create increased opportunity and prosperity for city residents.  It administers a range of loan programs to support small business.  For instance, its Opportunity Loan Program provides gap financing to Atlanta small and medium-sized businesses that create at least five new jobs.  Established to catalyze job creation, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization in underserved areas of Atlanta, its New Markets Catalyst Fund is a revolving loan program that provides loans to businesses in designated low-income census tracks.  In 2015, Invest Atlanta made loans to 21 small businesses, investments credited with leveraging $2.5 million in development activity.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI)

Launched in 2016, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) focuses on helping Atlanta women business owners succeed.  To do so, it provides free incubator space to grow their businesses and workshops and mentorship to emerging and future women entrepreneurs.  Its incubator program currently includes 15 women, all of whom have been operating small Atlanta businesses for at least 2 years.

Transit-Oriented Development

Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine aims to create a 22-mile modern streetcar, multi-use trail, and park loop based on railroad corridors that formerly encircled Atlanta to connect 45 city neighborhoods.  As of the end 2015, the Atlanta Beltline was credited with creating more than 6,000 permanent jobs, nearly 23,000 constructions jobs, 15,400 new housing units, and 200 acres of new park space.   To ensure affordable housing, the project includes an Affordable Housing Trust Fund and has partnered with The Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative (ALTC), which is focused on developing permanently affordable CLT units within Beltline neighborhoods.  Slated for completion in 2030, the project is expected to generate $10 billion in private investments in the area.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

Atlanta has long pursued transit-oriented development (TOD) as part of its mass transit rail system development. One of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) four current TOD projects is the Edgewood/Candler Park Station TOD, which is transforming a 6.4 acre underutilized surface parking lot into a mixed-use development that includes 224 apartments (20 percent of which will be affordable), cultural space, street-level commercial units, and a small park.  The first phase of the project, the apartment complex, should be complete in early 2018. To support small, minority and women-owned companies, MARTA has a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, which aims to award at least 30 percent of its contracts to DBE firms.

University & Community Partnerships

Atlanta University Center Consortium

Established in 1929, the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) is the largest consortia of African American private institutions of higher education.  Current members include Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College.  Through its CommUniversity, AUCC provides classes and resources to the community focused on financial education, leadership, small business development, and homebuyer education—programs credited with providing technical assistance to 7 small businesses and down payment assistance to 74 residents in fiscal year 2015-16.  It also runs a Community Leadership Development Program to help prepare area residents for leadership roles within their communities.

Transit-Oriented Development

Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine aims to create a 22-mile modern streetcar, multi-use trail, and park loop based on railroad corridors that formerly encircled Atlanta to connect 45 city neighborhoods.  As of the end 2015, the Atlanta Beltline was credited with creating more than 6,000 permanent jobs, nearly 23,000 constructions jobs, 15,400 new housing units, and 200 acres of new park space.   To ensure affordable housing, the project includes an Affordable Housing Trust Fund and has partnered with The Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative (ALTC), which is focused on developing permanently affordable CLT units within Beltline neighborhoods.  Slated for completion in 2030, the project is expected to generate $10 billion in private investments in the area.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

Atlanta has long pursued transit-oriented development (TOD) as part of its mass transit rail system development. One of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) four current TOD projects is the Edgewood/Candler Park Station TOD, which is transforming a 6.4 acre underutilized surface parking lot into a mixed-use development that includes 224 apartments (20 percent of which will be affordable), cultural space, street-level commercial units, and a small park.  The first phase of the project, the apartment complex, should be complete in early 2018. To support small, minority and women-owned companies, MARTA has a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, which aims to award at least 30 percent of its contracts to DBE firms.

Social Enterprise

Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency-Café 458

The Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency aims to empower homeless individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency.  Since its establishment in 2010, it has helped connect 1,300 homeless people to full-time employment. A core part of its program is Café 458, which provides nutritious meals during the week to homeless men and women.  On Sundays, Café 458 serves brunch to the general public, which provides revenues to the nonprofit and training opportunities for its clients.

Bobby Dodd Institute

Spun off as an independent nonprofit from the Atlanta Alliance for Development Disabilities in 1989, Bobby Dodd aims to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities and obtains over 80 percent of its $15 million in revenue through business income.  In 2015, the social enterprise employed 211 people with disabilities, and connected 246 people to other job opportunities.  Its social enterprises provide call center and switchboard operations, facilities management, mailroom management, packing and fulfillment services, warehousing services, and toner cartridges.

First Step Staffing

Aiming to help ensure people struggling to break out of poverty have a permanent, reliable path towards success, First Step Staffing focuses on helping military veterans and those transitioning from homelessness and/or incarceration to secure steady, sustainable income.  To do so, the nonprofit staffing agency places its clients in a range of semi-skilled and entry-level position, and uses 100 percent of its revenues to provide clients with wrap-around services, including job and life coaching, transportation, and housing assistance.  Since its establishment in 2007, the nonprofit has supported more than 7,500 people.

Focused Community Strategies (FCS)

Founded in 1978, Focused Community Strategies (FCS) works in underserved Atlanta neighborhoods to nurture positive, sustainable change that builds from neighborhood assets, supports local leaders, and fosters social and spiritual vitality.  Since focusing its programs on Historic South Atlanta in 2001, FCS has restored over 140 homes in the area and has catalyzed several social enterprises, creating local jobs and new community safe spaces.  Most recently, in 2015, FCS established the Carver Neighborhood Market, creating 12 jobs and bringing fresh food and nutrition education to an area previously considered a food desert.

Good Measure Meals (Project Open Hand)

Founded as a private business in 2003, Good Measure Meals became a social enterprise of Project Open Hand in 2005.  The enterprise provides gourmet calorie- and portion-controlled meals to paying Atlanta clients, and funnels 100 percent of its revenues back to the nonprofit, which, in turn, provides home-delivered meals and nutrition education to seniors and those living with chronic disease.  In 2014, Good Measure Meals generated over $2.7 million, 28 percent of Project Open Hand’s annual budget.

Help Us Grow (HUG)

Launched by Covenant House Georgia to provide training and job opportunities to the homeless and trafficked youth it serves while generating revenues for its programs and strengthening Atlanta’s local food system, Help Us Grow (HUG) sells starter plants to community gardens and gardeners across Atlanta. The nonprofit’s garden site, which includes native woodland, tranquility gardens and recreational areas, also aims to provide a safe, secure place for the youth it serves.  HUG expects to sell thousands of organic, non-GMO vegetable seedlings to fire station gardens, community gardens, and local residents.

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative

The Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative (ALTC) incubates and supports the development and operation of permanently affordable housing initiatives by independent CLTs across Atlanta.  ALTC works to create a positive climate for CLT development through public policy work, community engagement, and fundraising, while taking on the stewardship function of a CLT in neighborhoods lacking the capacity to do so.  Its work is credited with developing 13 CLT units and generating more than $4 million in funding to support CLT development.  Through partnerships, it also helped acquire more than 30 properties for permanently affordable housing and developed a mortgage project to facilitate the CLT process.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

Founded in 1991 and certified as a CDFI in 1998, the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) works to promote, create, and preserve mixed-income communities and the equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region.  To do so, the nonprofit engages in direct development, lending, policy research, and advocacy—activities credited with supporting the creation of more than 8,000 housing units for low-to-moderate income people.  Through its loan fund, it has provided $36 million in financing to nonprofit and for-profit housing developers, supporting nearly $270 million in housing projects.

Citizens Trust Bank

Founded in 1921 by five black businessmen, today Citizens Trust Bank is a federally certified CDFI and one of the largest African American owned financial institutions in the nation with assets of more than $388 million.  Guided by its mission to financially empower customers and their families to succeed, the bank launched a free educational program in 2015 to educate young adults about budgeting, money management, and the tools needed to acquire, build, and sustain wealth.Founded in 1921 by five black businessmen, today Citizens Trust Bank is a federally certified CDFI and the third largest African American owned financial institution in the nation with assets of more than $350 million. In 2006, the Fannie Mae Foundation agreed to deposit $1.5 million in the bank to support expansion of the bank's minority community lending.

Georgia Cities Foundation

Based in Atlanta, Georgia Cities Foundation focuses on supporting the revitalization of underserved downtown areas.  Since its designation as a CDFI in 2010, the nonprofit has provided more than $21 million in loans to 123 projects credited with catalyzing 253 new businesses, creating 1,386 jobs, and leveraging an additional $101.2 million in private investments.

University & Community Partnerships

Atlanta University Center Consortium

Established in 1929, the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) is the largest consortia of African American private institutions of higher education.  Current members include Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College.  Through its CommUniversity, AUCC provides classes and resources to the community focused on financial education, leadership, small business development, and homebuyer education—programs credited with providing technical assistance to 7 small businesses and down payment assistance to 74 residents in fiscal year 2015-16.  It also runs a Community Leadership Development Program to help prepare area residents for leadership roles within their communities.

Individual Wealth Building

Center for Civic Innovation

Aiming to push Atlanta to be a smart, equitable, and engaged city, the Center for Civic Innovation supports and invests in people and organizations working to make Atlanta’s public sector more effective, innovative, and participatory.  Through its Civic Innovation Fellowship, the Center provides Atlanta social entrepreneurs with business and leadership development programs, free workspace, and mentorship.  In partnership with the Food Well Alliance, the Center also has a Food Innovation Fellows program to support entrepreneurs, educators, and community organizers working to build healthier communities by connecting food growers to consumers.  Most recently, the nonprofit launched its Westside Innovation Lab in 2016 to identify and support community-driven and community-built ideas and interventions within Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods.

United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta

The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta’s Microenterprise Individual Development Account (IDA) program aims to help people start or grow a business.  In addition to matched savings, program participants receive technical assistance, financial education, and coaching.  In Fiscal Year 2014/15, the program supported over 50 small businesses, creating nearly 65 new jobs.

Anchor Institutions

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Established in 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta focuses on improving quality of life in the 23-county Atlanta metro area.  It holds $900 million in assets and disburses about $100 million in grants annually.  As part of its Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, the foundation is supporting the creation of BetterLife Growers, an aeroponic operation that will sell fresh lettuce and herbs to area anchor institutions and other local establishments.  The enterprise is expected to create around 25 living-wage jobs in the Mechanicsville community.

Good Samaritan Health Center

Good Samaritan Health Center provides medical, dental, health education, mental health, and social services on a reduced sliding fee scale to low-income Atlanta residents.  In 2015, the Center had over 27,000 patient visits.  Recognizing the importance of accessible, healthy food for good health, the Center started an urban farm in the center of a food desert and created the FoodRX program, through which its doctors provide patients with “prescriptions” for weekly supplies of fresh produce.

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Delta Community Credit Union

Founded in 1940 to serve Delta Air Lines employees, Delta Community Credit Union is now Georgia's largest credit union with assets in excess of $5 billion and nearly 350,000 members. Through its Philanthropic Fund, the credit union has an annual grant program focused on supporting metro Atlanta nonprofits that help families manage their finances or improve youth wellbeing.  Delta Community also awards annual scholarships to members pursing their first undergraduate degree.

Sevananda Natural Foods Market

Since opening in 1974, Sevananda has provided natural foods to Atlanta residents. It converted from a non-profit corporation to a cooperative in the 1990s in order to raise equity from customers. Today, it is one of the larger community food co-ops in the southeastern United States with 3,400 members.  Committed to the community, the co-op prioritizes local sourcing and has run its “Be The Change” program, which encourages members to round-up their total and donates the proceeds to a range of local nonprofits, since 1997.

Local Food Systems

Food Well Alliance

The Food Well Alliance works to grow a resilient, local food movement in Metro Atlanta by connecting individuals and organizations and promoting collective action to build healthier communities.  Through its Local Food Grant program, Food Well Alliance has provided $600,000 in support of enterprises that are using local food as a transformational tool to build healthier communities.  The nonprofit also provides micro-grants to community gardens and funds local organizations that run capacity-building programs for local food enterprises.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Historic District Development Corporation

Founded in 1980, HDDC promotes the preservation and revitalization of the Auburn Avenue area (Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District) in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. Since its inception, the group has redeveloped and historically preserved over 110 single family homes, constructed nearly 500 units of multifamily housing, and added over 40,000 square feet of commercial space in the Old Fourth Ward.

Housing Resource Center

Founded in 1980, HDDC promotes the preservation and revitalization of the Auburn Avenue area (Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District) in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. Since its inception, the group has redeveloped and historically preserved over 110 single family homes, constructed nearly 500 units of multifamily housing, and added over 40,000 square feet of commercial space in the Old Fourth Ward.

Resources for Residents and Communities (formerly the Reynolds Revitalization Corporation)

Resources for Residents and Communities empowers people to build sustainable local communities through housing and economic development initiatives, homebuyer education, financial counseling, and community events.  Founded in 1989 as Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation, the nonprofit changed its name as its focus expanded from the Reynoldstown neighborhood to the broader metro Atlanta area.  One key initiative is its R’town Youth Work Team, which provides paid employment and job training to area youth, who maintain common areas, help with community events, and trim shrubs for elder residents.

Summech Community Development Corporation

Summech CDC focuses on redeveloping Atlanta’s Mechanicsville neighborhood into an attractive and viable community for residents and businesses. Since its establishment in 1989, the CDC has developed nearly 1,000 units of rental and infill housing. Summech also provides free homeownership and homebuyer services, including a range of classes and individual counseling.

University Community Development Corporation

Established by Clark Atlanta University in 1988 and reorganized in 1999 to support the broader Atlanta University Center Consortium, the University Community Development Corporation (UCDC) aims to create safe, vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities in and around the Atlanta University Center (AUC) through economic and social development initiatives.  Its housing development projects are credited with investing over $6 million in the AUC area, resulting in 25 new and 26 rehabbed single-family homes.  In partnership with the city and community partners, UCDC is collaborating on a range of waste, energy, transportation, safety, and urban agriculture projects designed to demonstrate best practices in sustainability and result in more sustainable, resilient, and just neighborhoods.

State & Local Investments

Invest Atlanta

As the City’s official economic development authority, Invest Atlanta works to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness to create increased opportunity and prosperity for city residents.  It administers a range of loan programs to support small business.  For instance, its Opportunity Loan Program provides gap financing to Atlanta small and medium-sized businesses that create at least five new jobs.  Established to catalyze job creation, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization in underserved areas of Atlanta, its New Markets Catalyst Fund is a revolving loan program that provides loans to businesses in designated low-income census tracks.  In 2015, Invest Atlanta made loans to 21 small businesses, investments credited with leveraging $2.5 million in development activity.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI)

Launched in 2016, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) focuses on helping Atlanta women business owners succeed.  To do so, it provides free incubator space to grow their businesses and workshops and mentorship to emerging and future women entrepreneurs.  Its incubator program currently includes 15 women, all of whom have been operating small Atlanta businesses for at least 2 years.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

North Highland Company

Founded in a small office on North Highland Avenue on Atlanta's east side in 1992, North Highland has since grown to more than 3,000 employees in over 60 offices across the globe. The consultant firm focuses on solving challenges related to customer experience, transformation, performance, and technology.  Since 2007, the employee-owned firm has been named a “Best Firm to Work For” every year by Consulting Magazine.

Wayfield Foods

Founded in 1982 by two Atlanta-area businessmen and converted to an ESOP in 1992, Wayfield now has 8 locations and over 500 employees. In 2016, the grocery won the Center for Civic Innovation’s Corporate Civic Impact award for its commitment to educating the community about healthy living.