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:

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers

The Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers (AHAND) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1988 as a network of inner city CDCs. Its 37 members and affiliates collectively have produced over 7,000 units of affordable housing and reinvested nearly $75 million in Atlanta's most distressed neighborhoods. Read more about Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers...

Historic District Development Corporation

Founded in 1980, HDDC promotes the preservation and revitalization of the Auburn Avenue area (MLK Historic District) in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. Since its inception, the group has overseen the development of over 70 new, single-family homes and the restoration of over 40 traditional, single-family homes. In addition, HDDC has rehabilitated Henderson Place Apartments, a 58-unit complex serving low- and moderate-income families and has developed a mixed-use rental development comprised of 112 residential lofts, 17 commercial units, and 24 retail or artist gallery spaces. Read more about Historic District Development Corporation...

Housing Resource Center

The Housing Resource Center, founded in 1994, has worked to address the need for affordable housing by bridging the information gap that often exists between community groups and the resources that are available to them. In particular, it aims to link professionals looking for opportunities for public interest work with groups needing their skills, as well as link university service learning programs to community-based organizations. Read more about Housing Resource Center...

Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation

Founded in 1991, Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation has developed well over 100 housing units, including one 94-unit apartment building complex. Peoplestown Revitalization has also facilitated several economic development projects including Inner-City Foods, a neighborhood garden to provide neighborhood youth with a source of income and business experience. Read more about Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation...

Reynolds Revitalization Corporation

Founded in 1989, Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation has to date rehabilitated 280 homes, and developed a Community Loan Fund to provide emergency assistance to residents in need of immediate home repairs. Through its participation in the Atlanta Micro Fund, RRC, as of January 2006, has funded more than 100 micro-business loans totaling almost $200,000, which have help create or retain 165 jobs. Sixty eight percent of these loans were to pre-startup businesses and 55% of the entrepreneurs were considered low income. Read more about Reynolds Revitalization Corporation...

Summech Community Development Corporation

Founded in 1989 and working in Atlanta's neighborhood, Summech CDC has to date developed 234 units of rental housing and 139 townhouse units, and 11 units of infill housing. Summech also provides homeownership financial education and hopes to ultimately develop 100 units of infill housing through its “fill in the gaps” initiative. Read more about Summech Community Development Corporation...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

ANDP was founded in 1991 to support community development corporations. In 1998, it established the Community Redevelopment Loan and Investment Fund, which has helped finance more than 8,000 affordable housing units to date. Read more about Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership...

Citizens Trust Bank

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. Read more about Citizens Trust Bank...

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Delta Community Credit Union

Founded in 1940 to serve the employees of Delta Air Lines, Delta Community Credit Union is Georgia's largest credit union with assets in excess of $4 billion and 250,000 members. In 2005, the credit union received second place in the Dora Maxwell competition, in recognition of outstanding achievement in a social responsibility program for 2005 of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, the trade association of Georgia credit unions. Read more about Delta Community Credit Union...

Sevananda Natural Foods Market

For thirty years, 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 the largest community food co-op in the southeastern United States with over 4,000 members and $7.2 million in annual sales. Read more about Sevananda Natural Foods Market...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Kellen Company

The Kellen Company is an employee-owned professional services company that has provided a full range of management, consulting and specialty services to associations and businesses since 1964. Kellen employs 195 worldwide, with offices in Atlanta, Brussels, New York, Tucson and Washington, D.C. Read more about Kellen Company...

North Highland Company

Founded in a small office on North Highland Avenue on Atlanta's east side in 1992 by David Peterson, who formerly worked as a consultant at a “Big Five” firm, employee-owned North Highland has since grown to have more than 250 consultants in 14 offices from Florida and New York to Colorado and Texas. North Highland's consulting service areas include supply chain management, strategic planning, process management, and IT management. Read more about North Highland Company...

Wayfield Foods

Founded in 1982 by two Atlanta-area businessmen, Wayfield has grown to have 12 locations, the majority of which serve inner city communities, and over 500 employees. Employees are part owners of the store through their participation in Wayfield's employee stock ownership plan. Read more about Wayfield Foods...

Individual Wealth Building

United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta

Atlanta's United Way runs three matched-savings IDA programs: one for home ownership, one for microenterprise development, and one for high-school age youth. Through its homeownership efforts, over 2,000 housing units with supportive services have been created for chronically homeless. The microenterprise program has helped more than 110 participants capitalize their businesses; 75 more are currently in the program. Through the youth program, 60 high-school seniors who graduated in June 2006 received more than $104,000 in matching funds. Read more about United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta...

Social Enterprise

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 the disabled and obtains over half of its $3.5 million in revenue through business income. Business services provided include data entry, switchboard operation, janitorial services, and toner cartridge manufacturing. Read more about Bobby Dodd Institute...

FCS Urban Ministries—Community Economic Development

FCS Urban Ministries is a faith-based organization that uses social enterprises as part of its broader community development strategy. One of its businesses is its Family Store, which sells new and used clothing while creating employment opportunities for neighborhood residents. The group also runs a Home Resource and Furniture Store, which sells furniture, doors, paint, and other household items, while also providing community members with jobs and job training. Read more about FCS Urban Ministries—Community Economic Development...

Georgia Justice Project/New Horizons Landscaping

Founded by Atlanta lawyer John Pickens in 1986, the Georgia Justice Project is an unlikely mix of lawyers, social workers and a landscaping company. The group defends people accused of crimes and—win or lose—provides clients social services to rebuild their lives and break the cycle of crime and poverty. The group's landscaping company, New Horizons Landscaping, was subsidized at first, but is now financially self-sufficient. Read more about Georgia Justice Project/New Horizons Landscaping...

Good Measure Meals (Project Open Hand)

Founded as a private business in 2003, Good Measure Meals was purchased by the Atlanta non-profit Project Open Hand in 2005. All net proceeds generated by the business unit go to support the mission of Project Open Hand, which, since the nonprofit's founding in 1988, has provided over 10 million meals to people in Atlanta with AIDS or other chronic disease or disability. Read more about Good Measure Meals (Project Open Hand)...

Samaritan House of Atlanta-Café 458

Founded in 1986, the Samaritan House of Atlanta aims to help homeless men and women achieve self-sufficiency through personalized employment readiness and life stabilization programs. During the week, Café 458 provides nutritious meals to homeless men and women, served right in the restaurant. On the weekend, Café 458 Weekend serves the general public, offering comfort food fused with nouveau southern style cuisine, with all proceeds going toward the funding of the Samarian House's rehabilitation programs. Read more about Samaritan House of Atlanta-Café 458...

Tech Corps Georgia

Tech Corps Georgia mobilizes the resources of Georgia's business and technical community to help local area K-12 schools and school communities meet their technology needs and bridge the digital divide. Tech Corps computer recycling program has provided computers and training to hundreds of teachers in the Atlanta area. Fees for the recycled computers (which start at a low base rate of $100) help fund some of the group's work. The group also raises sponsorship and grant income to cover costs further for those who cannot afford to pay for its services. Read more about Tech Corps Georgia...

Transit-Oriented Development

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

Atlanta has long pursued transit-oriented development as part of its mass transit rail system development. In 2006, MARTA was one of two recipients nationally of the Clean Air Excellence Award in Community Development from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In 2005, MARTA earned $3.1 million in revenue from land it leases for transit-oriented development projects. Read more about Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority...

University & Community Partnerships

Emory, Office of University Community Partnerships

Emory's Office of University Community Partnerships aims to facilitate the connection of community groups, organizations and agencies to the university's faculty, staff, and students. Its efforts have included developing a database of community organizations and its flagship Kenneth Cole Fellowship in Community Building and Social Change program. To date, Emory fellows have completed 17 collaborative community-building projects in the Atlanta area. Their work has helped change policies to encourage affordable housing and mixed-use, mixed-income development. Read more about Emory, Office of University Community Partnerships...

Morehouse College, Bonner Office of Community Service

Morehouse College's Bonner Office of Community Service aims to support student community service work and support faculty members who incorporate service learning into their curriculum. The center provides a forum for faculty to present their service learning projects to the college community and also provides a forum for community groups working with to make presentations of their work to the Morehouse College community. Read more about Morehouse College, Bonner Office of Community Service...

Nonprofit Studies Program, Andrew Young School of Public Service, Georgia State University

The Nonprofit Studies Program at the Andrew Young School of Public Service, led by noted nonprofit sector leader and scholar Dennis Young, aims to educate new nonprofit leaders, foster research on the nonprofit sector, and bridge the gap between theory and practice in the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Read more about Nonprofit Studies Program, Andrew Young School of Public Service, Georgia State University...

Spelman College, Bonner Office of Community Service and Student Development

Spelman College's Bonner Office of Community Service runs a Civic Engagement Fellows Program supports the education of students who have an interest and commitment to engage in sustained social change efforts and runs a community service oriented “alternative spring break” program. Read more about Spelman College, Bonner Office of Community Service and Student Development...

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers

The Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers (AHAND) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1988 as a network of inner city CDCs. Its 37 members and affiliates collectively have produced over 7,000 units of affordable housing and reinvested nearly $75 million in Atlanta's most distressed neighborhoods. Read more about Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers...

Historic District Development Corporation

Founded in 1980, HDDC promotes the preservation and revitalization of the Auburn Avenue area (MLK Historic District) in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. Since its inception, the group has overseen the development of over 70 new, single-family homes and the restoration of over 40 traditional, single-family homes. In addition, HDDC has rehabilitated Henderson Place Apartments, a 58-unit complex serving low- and moderate-income families and has developed a mixed-use rental development comprised of 112 residential lofts, 17 commercial units, and 24 retail or artist gallery spaces. Read more about Historic District Development Corporation...

Housing Resource Center

The Housing Resource Center, founded in 1994, has worked to address the need for affordable housing by bridging the information gap that often exists between community groups and the resources that are available to them. In particular, it aims to link professionals looking for opportunities for public interest work with groups needing their skills, as well as link university service learning programs to community-based organizations. Read more about Housing Resource Center...

Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation

Founded in 1991, Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation has developed well over 100 housing units, including one 94-unit apartment building complex. Peoplestown Revitalization has also facilitated several economic development projects including Inner-City Foods, a neighborhood garden to provide neighborhood youth with a source of income and business experience. Read more about Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation...

Reynolds Revitalization Corporation

Founded in 1989, Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation has to date rehabilitated 280 homes, and developed a Community Loan Fund to provide emergency assistance to residents in need of immediate home repairs. Through its participation in the Atlanta Micro Fund, RRC, as of January 2006, has funded more than 100 micro-business loans totaling almost $200,000, which have help create or retain 165 jobs. Sixty eight percent of these loans were to pre-startup businesses and 55% of the entrepreneurs were considered low income. Read more about Reynolds Revitalization Corporation...

Summech Community Development Corporation

Founded in 1989 and working in Atlanta's neighborhood, Summech CDC has to date developed 234 units of rental housing and 139 townhouse units, and 11 units of infill housing. Summech also provides homeownership financial education and hopes to ultimately develop 100 units of infill housing through its “fill in the gaps” initiative. Read more about Summech Community Development Corporation...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

ANDP was founded in 1991 to support community development corporations. In 1998, it established the Community Redevelopment Loan and Investment Fund, which has helped finance more than 8,000 affordable housing units to date. Read more about Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership...

Citizens Trust Bank

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. Read more about Citizens Trust Bank...

Social Enterprise

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 the disabled and obtains over half of its $3.5 million in revenue through business income. Business services provided include data entry, switchboard operation, janitorial services, and toner cartridge manufacturing. Read more about Bobby Dodd Institute...

FCS Urban Ministries—Community Economic Development

FCS Urban Ministries is a faith-based organization that uses social enterprises as part of its broader community development strategy. One of its businesses is its Family Store, which sells new and used clothing while creating employment opportunities for neighborhood residents. The group also runs a Home Resource and Furniture Store, which sells furniture, doors, paint, and other household items, while also providing community members with jobs and job training. Read more about FCS Urban Ministries—Community Economic Development...

Georgia Justice Project/New Horizons Landscaping

Founded by Atlanta lawyer John Pickens in 1986, the Georgia Justice Project is an unlikely mix of lawyers, social workers and a landscaping company. The group defends people accused of crimes and—win or lose—provides clients social services to rebuild their lives and break the cycle of crime and poverty. The group's landscaping company, New Horizons Landscaping, was subsidized at first, but is now financially self-sufficient. Read more about Georgia Justice Project/New Horizons Landscaping...

Good Measure Meals (Project Open Hand)

Founded as a private business in 2003, Good Measure Meals was purchased by the Atlanta non-profit Project Open Hand in 2005. All net proceeds generated by the business unit go to support the mission of Project Open Hand, which, since the nonprofit's founding in 1988, has provided over 10 million meals to people in Atlanta with AIDS or other chronic disease or disability. Read more about Good Measure Meals (Project Open Hand)...

Samaritan House of Atlanta-Café 458

Founded in 1986, the Samaritan House of Atlanta aims to help homeless men and women achieve self-sufficiency through personalized employment readiness and life stabilization programs. During the week, Café 458 provides nutritious meals to homeless men and women, served right in the restaurant. On the weekend, Café 458 Weekend serves the general public, offering comfort food fused with nouveau southern style cuisine, with all proceeds going toward the funding of the Samarian House's rehabilitation programs. Read more about Samaritan House of Atlanta-Café 458...

Tech Corps Georgia

Tech Corps Georgia mobilizes the resources of Georgia's business and technical community to help local area K-12 schools and school communities meet their technology needs and bridge the digital divide. Tech Corps computer recycling program has provided computers and training to hundreds of teachers in the Atlanta area. Fees for the recycled computers (which start at a low base rate of $100) help fund some of the group's work. The group also raises sponsorship and grant income to cover costs further for those who cannot afford to pay for its services. Read more about Tech Corps Georgia...

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Delta Community Credit Union

Founded in 1940 to serve the employees of Delta Air Lines, Delta Community Credit Union is Georgia's largest credit union with assets in excess of $4 billion and 250,000 members. In 2005, the credit union received second place in the Dora Maxwell competition, in recognition of outstanding achievement in a social responsibility program for 2005 of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, the trade association of Georgia credit unions. Read more about Delta Community Credit Union...

Sevananda Natural Foods Market

For thirty years, 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 the largest community food co-op in the southeastern United States with over 4,000 members and $7.2 million in annual sales. Read more about Sevananda Natural Foods Market...

University & Community Partnerships

Emory, Office of University Community Partnerships

Emory's Office of University Community Partnerships aims to facilitate the connection of community groups, organizations and agencies to the university's faculty, staff, and students. Its efforts have included developing a database of community organizations and its flagship Kenneth Cole Fellowship in Community Building and Social Change program. To date, Emory fellows have completed 17 collaborative community-building projects in the Atlanta area. Their work has helped change policies to encourage affordable housing and mixed-use, mixed-income development. Read more about Emory, Office of University Community Partnerships...

Morehouse College, Bonner Office of Community Service

Morehouse College's Bonner Office of Community Service aims to support student community service work and support faculty members who incorporate service learning into their curriculum. The center provides a forum for faculty to present their service learning projects to the college community and also provides a forum for community groups working with to make presentations of their work to the Morehouse College community. Read more about Morehouse College, Bonner Office of Community Service...

Nonprofit Studies Program, Andrew Young School of Public Service, Georgia State University

The Nonprofit Studies Program at the Andrew Young School of Public Service, led by noted nonprofit sector leader and scholar Dennis Young, aims to educate new nonprofit leaders, foster research on the nonprofit sector, and bridge the gap between theory and practice in the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Read more about Nonprofit Studies Program, Andrew Young School of Public Service, Georgia State University...

Spelman College, Bonner Office of Community Service and Student Development

Spelman College's Bonner Office of Community Service runs a Civic Engagement Fellows Program supports the education of students who have an interest and commitment to engage in sustained social change efforts and runs a community service oriented “alternative spring break” program. Read more about Spelman College, Bonner Office of Community Service and Student Development...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Kellen Company

The Kellen Company is an employee-owned professional services company that has provided a full range of management, consulting and specialty services to associations and businesses since 1964. Kellen employs 195 worldwide, with offices in Atlanta, Brussels, New York, Tucson and Washington, D.C. Read more about Kellen Company...

North Highland Company

Founded in a small office on North Highland Avenue on Atlanta's east side in 1992 by David Peterson, who formerly worked as a consultant at a “Big Five” firm, employee-owned North Highland has since grown to have more than 250 consultants in 14 offices from Florida and New York to Colorado and Texas. North Highland's consulting service areas include supply chain management, strategic planning, process management, and IT management. Read more about North Highland Company...

Wayfield Foods

Founded in 1982 by two Atlanta-area businessmen, Wayfield has grown to have 12 locations, the majority of which serve inner city communities, and over 500 employees. Employees are part owners of the store through their participation in Wayfield's employee stock ownership plan. Read more about Wayfield Foods...

Transit-Oriented Development

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

Atlanta has long pursued transit-oriented development as part of its mass transit rail system development. In 2006, MARTA was one of two recipients nationally of the Clean Air Excellence Award in Community Development from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In 2005, MARTA earned $3.1 million in revenue from land it leases for transit-oriented development projects. Read more about Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority...

Individual Wealth Building

United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta

Atlanta's United Way runs three matched-savings IDA programs: one for home ownership, one for microenterprise development, and one for high-school age youth. Through its homeownership efforts, over 2,000 housing units with supportive services have been created for chronically homeless. The microenterprise program has helped more than 110 participants capitalize their businesses; 75 more are currently in the program. Through the youth program, 60 high-school seniors who graduated in June 2006 received more than $104,000 in matching funds. Read more about United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta...