In 2017, PadSplit launched as an innovative new model providing affordable housing for workers who have been unable to keep pace with the city’s rising rents, which according to RentCafe have increased by 65 percent in the last decade. In the three years of its existence, PadSplit has now housed more than 1,000 individuals, called “members,” throughout metro Atlanta. These members average $21,000 in annual income and typically work in hourly roles such as grocery store workers, security guards, restaurant employees, teachers and other posts that keep a community running.

Before PadSplit, these community workers had few, if any, reasonable housing options that were close to job centers. This lack of choices often led to individuals sleeping in airports or cars, being exploited in unsanitary extended stay motels or living far away and cobbling together 2-3 hour long commutes just to get to a job.

With years of experience in affordable housing, PadSplit’s founder Atticus LeBlanc realized there was a better model that could align incentives for workers, property owners and even cities. In launching PadSplit, LeBlanc showed other owners how taking existing, unused housing stock could create shared housing experiences that include private bedrooms, furnishings, utilities and healthcare access, alongside weekly, not monthly, rent payments. Having fixed costs made it far easier for individuals to budget and save, and all the while, property owners saw an increase in profitability and cities didn’t need to leverage tax subsidies for housing. The model did, in fact, align incentives and was working. PadSplit’s members report an average savings of $516 per month, as well as shorter commute times and improved credit ratings.

Fast forward to today and the Covid-19 crisis, where many of these same community service workers are now laid off, furloughed and unable to leave homes for public health and safety. Knowing that PadSplit’s member base would be severely impacted by the crisis, the organization quickly sprung to action to help its members ride out the crisis in the following ways:

  • Seeking grants: To date, PadSplit has raised more than $60K in funds that help members who cannot afford to pay their rent costs. 
  • Reducing fees: To cover all its bases, PadSplit reached out to all property owners and worked to negotiate lower rates to make it easier for members who could pay something, as well as allowing grant donations to last longer.
  • Providing emergency services: PadSplit is coordinating with other social impact organizations, nonprofits and companies to provide food, groceries and even toilet paper!
  • Offering healthcare: And, PadSplit is actively working to remind its members that they each receive 24/7 access to Teladoc services, in case anyone requires medical attention.

As the crisis continued, PadSplit didn’t just stop with the above plan. The organization layered in additional services for members to better position themselves when the economy re-opens. At the beginning of April, PadSplit began an employment assistance program that matches a member’s skills with available jobs, and they’re scraping job postings for any companies that are urgently hiring. 

All of this quick action has given PadSplit’s members peace of mind and allowed PadSplit to continue its own operations and prepare for growth in the coming recession. For more information about PadSplit, including how to rent out an available room in your home, visit Or, if you’d like to donate to keep hourly service workers housed, visit here.



PadSplit, Inc is Public Benefit Corporation based in Atlanta, GA


Our immediate reaction to the ongoing pandemic and recession was to develop a list of capital and technical resources for small businesses and nonprofits in Georgia. If you are looking for capital to sustain your operations, please visit our page on Small Business and Nonprofit Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis.

On this page, we’re looking to aggregate funding needs related to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts that either leverage external funding, have a rotational feature or blend financial tools. If you hear of any initiative not listed below, please email [email protected].

Community-based Funds

Each of these funds either started or accelerated efforts recently to support their networks of small business entrepreneurs bringing important goods and services to neighborhoods that historically have not benefited from mainstream financial systems and have been disproportionally impacted by recent events.

  • Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI): Begun as a collaborative effort of several leading community development and foundation professionals in Atlanta, AWBI has raised capital for a small business grant and loan fund, which is actively extending capital to entrepreneurs hit hard by the current pandemic.
  • Center for Civic Innovation (CCI): An incubator and accelerator for civic entrepreneurs, CCI is raising emergency relief capital for its entrepreneurs and organizations that were on the frontlines of gentrification and revitalization before the pandemic. Given their work in already underfunded and vulnerable communities, they need support now more than ever.
  • Georgia COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Farmers: A joint effort from Georgia Organics, the Food Well Alliance, Community Farmers Markets, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Global Growers and The Common Market Southeast, The Farmer Fund was created to support farmers in need. While originally created to address natural disasters, stakeholders have activated the Fund to support farmers affected by COVID-19.
  • Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund (MAMA Fund): Focused on our most marginalized, the MAMA Fund supports Black, Indigenous, and other peoples of color that have endured hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will fund personal and familial needs for those in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Henry, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties.
  • Start:ME: An initiative of Emory University’s Social Enterprise @ Goizueta Business School, Start:ME is a micro-business accelerator operating in Clarkston, East Lake and South Atlanta. To support the graduates of their program who have had to close or pivot, they are raising $20,000 to be re-granted in the form of emergency grants, business transition to online sales support, special learning and expert advisory sessions, and more.
  • Village Micro Fund: Part of AWBI’s community of practice, The Village is working with AWBI to provide grants and loans to small businesses in southwest Atlanta. They also operate a micro-business loan fund and provide technical assistance to micro-entrepreneurs

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Mission-driven financial institutions that lend in historically dis-invested neighborhoods, most CDFIs operate loan funds that have a focus on specific themes (e.g., small business, housing, food access, etc.). Like unregulated loan funds, credit unions and banks may also seek certification from the CDFI Fund, the agency within the U.S. Treasury in charge of certification. For an overview of CDFIs operating in Georgia, check out the guide to CDFIs that GSIC put together for a workshop we hosted in Q3 2019.

Loan Funds

  • Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE): The leading CDFI small business lender in Georgia, ACE operates a $30M loan fund with retail and restaurants representing roughly 50% of the fund. They are currently raising capital (grants and debt) to provide extremely concessionary, flexible capital (including PPP loans) to existing borrowers that are facing severe hardship.
  • Albany Community Together! (ACT!): Based in Albany, GA, where COVID-19 has hit hardest in the state, ACT! is a small business lender sure to be experiencing distress.
  • Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP): As a developer and lender of single- and multi-family housing, ANDP has called on funders to support the immediate relief efforts  and front-line workers in the community.
  • Community Housing Capital (CHC): CHC aggregates loan capital to finance the creation and preservation of affordable housing through its network of 245 affordable housing developers across the country. Both ANDP and NeighborWorks Columbus are in their network.
  • Community Housing Services Agency, Inc. (CHSA): Established through a partnership between the city of Savannah and local banks, CHSA had developed over 1,200 units of affordable housing since 1989.
  • Georgia Cities Foundation (GCF): A part of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), GCF works with development agencies throughout the state to support small business lending and other economic development initiatives.
  • LiftFund: A micro-business lender, LiftFund is approved as a PPP lender but has limited access to capital concessionary enough to makes the loans, which are limited to charging 1% interest.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC): A large CDFI that is newer to Atlanta, LISC is working with DeKalb County to offer concessionary lending and are looking for grants to increase their available capital. They are also working to increase funding available for micro-lending.
  • NeighborWorks Columbus: Promotes and provides access to fit and affordable housing and builds assets for financial independence for all citizens of low to moderate income.
  • Reinvestment Fund (RF): A lender of considerable capacity, RF has taken a leadership role in developing a liquidity vehicle for CDFIs that have substantive pipeline but an inability to continue lending operations due to limited cash on hand.
  • Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC): Savannah’s only CDFI loan fund, SBAC is no longer accepting applications for it’s recovery loan program.
  • Southwest Georgia United: Based in Cordele, Southwest Georgia United operates several community-based programs in addition to its CDFI-lending activities for small businesses and home repair. Their office has remained open but has requested clients communicate via email or phone during the pandemic.

Credit Unions:

Four of Georgia’s CDFI credit unions are members of Inclusiv (noted below with asterisk [*], a nation-wide organization of community development credit unions. The On the Rise Financial Center, based on the Westside of Atlanta, is Inclusiv’s only place-based initiative and seeks to provide financial education and access to banking. Supported by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Equifax and others, program participants graduate with a modestly-funded bank account. Credit unions, like banks, make loans based on capital available, so placing funds on deposit is the primary way to support their lending programs.

  • 1st Choice Credit Union (Atlanta) *
  • B.O.N.D. Credit Union (Atlanta) *
  • Core Credit Union (Statesboro)
  • Credit Union of Atlanta (Atlanta) *
  • Interstate Federal Credit Union (Jessup)
  • Peach State Federal Credit Union (Lawrenceville) *


Both Carver State Bank and Citizens Trust Bank are among the oldest Black-owned banks in the United States, as they were both founded before the Great Depression. Today, they are among Georgia’s most important mission-driven lenders.

  • Carver State Bank (Savannah)
  • Citizens Trust Bank (Atlanta)
  • South Georgia Banking Company (Tifton)

Community Foundations

Check out this map to see which counties each community foundation covers.

Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs)

Providers of healthcare services in low-wealth communities, FQHCs are seeing reduced revenues as a result of the pandemic. While the CARES Act provided funding for FQHCs for expenses related to the coronavirus public health emergency, there are additional funding needs — especially in south Georgia. A Boston-based CDFI, Capital Fund, surveyed all the regional FQHCs earlier this year. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, here are the service areas of Georgia’s FQHCs.

Along with FQHCs, School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and Charitable Clinics, together, provide medical care to approximately 885,000 of Georgia’s uninsured, low-income and medically vulnerable residents. Immediate funding needs for these critical players in Georgia’s community based health safety net include dollars for operating support and practice adaptation. Follow the links for comprehensive listings of both SBHCs (here) and Charitable Clinics (here).

  • Entrepreneur Name: Mario Cambardella
  • Venture Name: ServeScape
  • Impact Focus Area(s):  Landscape and Environment
  • Business Stage:  Startup
  • Year Venture Established: 2020
  • Business Type: Private – Landscape Consulting 

There is a disconnect between people and the natural environment. We get in our cars, park in our garages, work in our offices, and repeat. Yet even in our status-quo, there is a longing for connection. This is especially true as we struggle with the disruption to our social fabric caused by COVID-19. In a time where disconnect from people makes us feel isolated, we are searching for a tangible anchor; something that grounds us to our sense of place, gives us hope, and spreads joy.  

For me, this occurs when I am connected to the natural world.  For example, when I see the seed that I planted is sprouting, or the tree that I planted is blooming. Instantly, in the midst of instability, I feel rooted as I realize that the choice I made to care for a plant will serve the entire landscape with beauty and resiliency. In other words, my action directly contributes to the environment that I want to create.            

This is the foundational idea behind ServeScape. ServeScape seeks to bridge the disconnect between humans and nature by making it easier for people to create their own beautiful and resilient landscapes. This is done through leveraging technology to perform plant curation; a novel concept in the relatively antiquated landscape industry.  

Previously, plant suppliers and landscape professionals were stuck using old technology to account for inventory, make sales, and find the best plant. This was a slow process where plant inventory sat in the nursery for months, sometimes years, before being moved. Using our online marketplace, individuals and landscape professionals can shop real-time plant pricing and inventory.

In addition, ServeScape’s extensive plant attribute index allows for customers to design a multi-functional landscape by choosing a plant with an array of desired characteristics. These tools provide a systematic approach to meeting the needs of suppliers, landscapers, and individuals all on one website. Once the order is submitted, ServeScape uses our network of Georgia-grown plants and suppliers to deliver the plants right to your door. This system allows for you (the customer) to have full control over the environment you want to create for yourself, or your client, and ensures you are receiving the best plant at the best price.    

At ServeScape, we recognize that a healthy ecosystem is dependent upon the connectedness of each individual part that makes up the whole. While our mission is to connect people with place through plants, we believe that large-scale social impact is dependent on multiple missions sharing the same vision for a more sustainable, socially just, and resilient future. We are excited to be a part of the GSIC conversation and look forward to serving your scape!