The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta today launched TogetherATL, a five-year strategic plan that prioritizes equity and shared prosperity.
“We are a region of contrasts,” Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the Foundation, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “A region that has a lot of great opportunity. But also, a region where that is just not equally distributed.”
In fact, it’s been widely reported that Atlanta has one of the worst rates of economic mobility in the U.S.
“So at a high level, we are focusing on helping ensure that every resident in the Atlanta metro region has a fair shot at a decent life,” Fernandez said.
TogetherATL represents a shift for the 71-year-old Foundation, which provides roughly $140 million in grants to more than 400 nonprofits a year.
“We are bringing a stronger point of view,” Fernandez said. “We’re trying to help address the opportunity gaps, the inequities that so many people in our community experience … We’re using every tool in our toolbox in terms of the influence we have, our ability to bring folks together, the information and expertise we have, to really be able to have impact.”
TogetherATL will focus on two categories: what the Foundation calls “placed-based” and “systems change” work.
The place-based efforts will directly impact local communities and their residents. An example is the Foundation’s work in the Southeast Atlanta neighborhood of Thomasville, where the organization is working with the city of Atlanta to relocate Forest Cove residents.
Along with Thomasville, the Foundation has also selected South Cobb and South Fulton as initial communities to focus on. Fernandez said they picked the three areas out of 166 neighborhoods.
The systems change work will tackle broader, regional issues including affordable housing, voting rights and equity in the arts.
The Foundation’s grant application process opened June 1. Nonprofits can apply here. Individuals who want to contribute can donate here.
Fernandez said the Foundation spent about a year developing TogetherATL during the organization’s 70th anniversary. It came about in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd.
“During the early days of COVID-19, we were faced with dual pandemics — that of the virus and of racial and social justice,” Fernandez said in an announcement. “Atlanta and the world were forced to reckon with inequities in healthcare, education, technology and economics. It became apparent that those of us who were able to weather those pandemics did so because we benefited from participating in the system. Not everyone has that same opportunity. We have to change that.”