The American South Real Estate Fund is a lead investor in renovating the 20-unit garden style apartments into 40 studio apartments with attainable rents at 60% AMI

ATLANTA (April 2021) – Tenth Street Ventures along with partners Miles Alexander III at Alexander Goshen and Richard Taylor with ARRC Capital Partners have purchased 1200 Mobile St., a 20-unit, garden-style apartment complex in the Hunter Hills neighborhood just West of downtown Atlanta. Atlanta Affordable Housing Fund (AAHF) provided the senior loan for the project, while The American South Real Estate Fund (ASREF) provided equity.

The team plans to convert the property into 40 studio apartments, which will be fully furnished, all of which will be offered for attainable rents at 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). The team closed on the project April 19, 2021, and are using no subsidies to create this attainable housing. 

“We will be making people proud of where they live, incorporating a substantial amount of art and design into the apartment homes,” said Brian McCarthy, a principal at TSV. “Drastically reducing the costs of moving in and moving out through fully furnishing the homes, which is one of the hardest and most costly parts of moving. We are working to make comfortable high-quality living more attainable for our future tenants with our Affordable Lifestyle Living or A.L.L. Where lifestyle living isn’t just for those that can afford luxury living.”

Miles Alexander III, principal at Alexander Goshen, added, “We want to bring a creative edge to affordable living in the city of Atlanta. Through the use of art and design, we’re creating a new standard of affordable living.” 

ASREF Managing Partner Deborah La Franchi underscored, “We’re incredibly excited about this new partnership with Tenth Street Ventures. We hope it’s the first of many future efforts together. As an impact fund, we seek transformative outcomes for communities and people at the lower end of the income scale. The 40, high-quality housing units being financed are a great, innovative new model for creating housing at a cost that is attainable. This vacant, underutilized real estate asset is transitioning into a community asset that will serve and benefit the neighborhood while at the same time helping tackle the shortage of lower-cost housing in Atlanta.”

ASREF, a joint venture between Strategic Development Solutions and Vintage Realty Company, is an impact fund that seeks to finance projects that positively impact low-income and moderate-income communities in need of economic and community development. ASREF is focused on 10 states across the Southern U.S. and provides equity, preferred equity and mezzanine debt for third-party real estate developers. 

Built in 1960, 1200 Mobile St. consists of two apartment buildings totaling 11,848 square feet in Hunter Hills, a neighborhood that came to life in the 1940s and 1950s as one of the few planned Black communities of its time, attracting both blue- and white-collar home owners to its traditional cottages and ranch style houses. 

Future residents of 1200 Mobile will live on the planned Westside expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine, and will be close to MARTA’s West Lake station, nearby interstates, the Quarry Yards development and several planned parks.

Patty Brubaker from Keller Williams’ The Property Guys of Atlanta team was the realtor and Yakhin Israel from Twin Pillar Capital arranged the financing. 

Ashani O’Mard, executive director of AAHF, also a social impact fund, said, “We’re excited about how this team is bringing innovative solutions to Atlanta’s housing crisis.” 

AAHF’s mission is to raise and deploy $25 million in low-cost capital while generating a modest return to its investors. The fund offers a mix of debt and preferred equity to qualified developers and sponsors who are creating or preserving affordable housing that might not otherwise be developed. The fund has raised $13.1 million from foundations, organizations and individuals to date, of which about $6.5 million has been committed to nonprofit and mission-driven developers.  

Added Richard Taylor, managing partner of ARRC Capital Partners: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project and to team with American South Real Estate Fund and Atlanta Affordable Housing Fund. Their values and dedication to building communities that are inclusive and affordable align completely with our own, and we look forward to the impact we can create on the Hunter Hills neighborhood.”

ARRC is a real estate investment firm focused on small- to mid-sized apartments in metro Atlanta, run by a native Atlantan uniquely positioned to understand and address the needs of burgeoning communities, employing a boots-on-the-ground approach to investing.

 

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About Tenth St. Ventures

Tenth Street Ventures (TSV) is a full-service real estate group specializing in acquiring and enhancing intown real estate assets in highly desirable locations. Each investment is tailored to capture the unique energy of the surrounding neighborhood. TSV employs a two-pronged approach: First, to capitalize on up-and-coming submarkets in the path of development, and second, to breathe new life into established neighborhoods with imaginative, ahead-of-the-curve projects. The TSV team is a curated partnership of professionals, spanning a variety of industries, who share a common vision. The team’s background includes accounting, financial structuring, asset and property management, acquisitions and dispositions, deal structuring, development planning, construction management, brokerage, investor relations, architecture, design and marketing. The combined expertise and the team’s past success is the foundation on which future, successful ventures are built. For more information, visit https://tenthsv.com/ 

Media Contact: Rachel Tobin, TobinInk., [email protected], (404) 276-5930

At the end of 2020, Crossing Capital Group, Inc. (CCG) established the The Oikos Institute for Social Impact (Oikos) to create mutually supportive ecosystems with seminaries and universities, foundations, government agencies and denominational judicatories for social impact. At their best, these ecosystems will be community-centered and will disrupt the cycle of exploitation of properties owned largely by  historically Black congregations. CCG will also coordinate opportunities for the local  deployment of impact capital, or investments made with the intent to yield a social or environmental return as well as a financial return. The two organizations share a mission to help faith communities harness the power of their assets in order to be a transformational force for community economic renewal and vitality.  

“Too many churches do not realize the assets in their midst,” said CCG and Oikos founder Rev. Dr. Sidney Williams. Our “Fishing Differently” approach helps congregations recognize and utilize the resources within their church and community, creating more vibrant congregations and positive impact in the under-resourced communities they serve.” The Oikos Executive  Director is Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount, an AME pastor and an Associate Professor at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. “Learning communities are core to the process,” said Dr. Blount. “Together, participants discover and embrace their vocational identity and mission, and our partnerships provide the resources to help the congregations move their mission forward.”  

One such partner is Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), a 40-year old community development finance institution that promotes the success of nonprofits by providing capital and strategic consulting, as well as working to transform the funding and financing landscape. NFF shares CCG and Oikos’ goal of supporting the agency of Black communities, and recently committed  $5 million in investment capital and its consulting expertise to the initiative.  

“This work requires a thoughtful combination of community organizing and design thinking with  flexible impact investing,” said Antony Bugg-Levine, NFF CEO. “CCG and Oikos have pioneered a proven approach that guides faith communities through a process to reimagine what is possible, build a collective vision, harness financial knowledge, and access the financing they need to bring that vision into reality. The process honors the tradition and legacy embedded in these properties and enables the church communities to maintain agency in the use and development of their assets. NFF is excited to bring to this crucial work our ability to tailor investments to meet community need and to support community leaders to access the knowledge that can enable them to take control of their financial future.”  

The first supportive ecosystem will be launched in the first quarter of 2021 in partnership with The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia. This partnership, entitled  “Thriving Prophetic Congregations: A Learning Journey with Black Congregations in the  Southeastern United States,” has been funded by a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.  “ITC is excited to partner with Crossing Capital Group and the Oikos Institute to launch this impactful program,” said Matthew Wesley Williams, President of ITC. “The Thriving Prophetic Congregations initiative will help missional congregations reimagine their assets and ministries to facilitate flourishing in the communities they serve.”

Oikos is working to develop similar ecosystem initiatives across the country, with efforts under way in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Raleigh-Durham, NC. “We aim to help faith communities move from a place of survival and scarcity toward a spirit of imagination and abundance,” said  Oikos Institute Executive Director Dr. Blount. “By embracing their role as an anchor institution, and having access to the resources and capital to fully realize this role, churches can be a transformational force for economic renewal.” 

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About Crossing Capital Group  

Crossing Capital Group (CCG) helps faith communities reimagine and steward their assets for the well-being of their community. CCG provides advisory services to equip communities with the vision, tools and multiple sources of capital required to plan, launch, and scale socially beneficial businesses and real estate development projects. 

About the Oikos Institute for Social Impact 

The Oikos Institute for Social Impact helps congregations harness the power of their assets in order to be a catalyst for communal transformation and economic renewal. Through strategic partnerships with seminaries, universities, foundations, government agencies and denominational judicatories, the Oikos Institute creates mutually supportive ecosystems that strengthen the Faith,  Intellectual, Social and Human Capital of congregations actively engaged in social impact and transformational work in the under-resourced communities they serve. 

About Nonprofit Finance Fund 

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF®) works toward a more equitable, responsive, and valued social sector. NFF provides financing and consulting to help nonprofits and their funders better connect money to mission results. They are a community development financial institution (CDFI) applying 40 years of experience to today’s toughest social challenges, and they share what they learn to speed progress. NFF manages over $335 million. Since 1980, they have provided more than $954 million in financing and access to additional capital in support of over $3 billion in projects for thousands of organizations nationwide. 

By: Rob Joy

 

The Turner MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT) is a hands on experiential lab designed to give students real world experience in impact investing. This is Georgia Tech’s first year participating in the nationwide competition, sponsored by the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. 

My team, consisting of myself, Sarah Harris, Youngtak Lee, Maren Herby, and Steve Staebler, created our own investment thesis, sourced seed stage startups that fit our thesis, then presented our top choice to the MIINT Investment Committee for the chance of a $50K investment from MIINT as an add on to their current seed round. We won the Georgia Tech round and will be competing nationally against other top MBA programs in April! 

We selected Healthy Hip Hop as our choice to present to the Investment Committee. Healthy Hip Hop aims to improve the learning environment for kids ages 4 to 12 by focusing on culturally relevant content that promotes physical health, classroom engagement, and educational achievement. With child-friendly lyrics, real hip hop beats, and the ability for kids to create their own content, Healthy Hip Hop is a mix between Spotify and TikTok for kids.

Working with founder Roy Scott has been great. His vision and passion for the company is amazing, and the business model is set up for both financial and impact success as Healthy Hip Hop grows. 

This was the first time I have done diligence on a startup. What was most challenging was quantifying the impact Healthy Hip Hop has on children, in addition to typical diligence on early stage startups for financial success. The MIINT gave me helpful tools such as Logic Models and the Impact Management Project (IMP) to help make impact assumptions. Healthy Hip Hop has also done a study with a healthcare company on the benefits of movement using the app and will be doing a pilot in the fall on Social Emotional Learning benefits. The most exciting thing I learned interviewing teachers is that the impact Healthy Hip Hop creates is truly the value proposition and key differentiator against competitive offerings. 

It is really cool to have an idea that improves people’s lives and only gets more impactful for all communities as the company scales. I really hope more companies and startups look for ways to make impact a core part of their business model. I look forward to Georgia Tech and the other great universities in Atlanta growing the social impact ecosystem by helping build the pipeline for future impact entrepreneurs and investors.

Last fall, Atlanta Tech Village launched Start It Up Georgia with the mission to provide free training, support, and guidance to all Georgians who wanted to become entrepreneurs.

 

Here are a few stats on the program:

  • 709 people were accepted into the 13 week program.
  • 56% were not in full-time work at the start of the program (either students, unemployed, retired, or part-time).
  • 90% came from Georgia, but they also had participants from California, Arizona, Florida, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Michigan, Washington, and more.
  • 12 teachers volunteered their time and expertise to teach 12 Lesson Labs.
  • 42 Mentors volunteered to meet with 350+ participants each week to support the founders as they built.
  • 139 new companies were launched!
  • 94% said the program was very helpful in launching their company.
  • 103 people applied for grant funding.
  • 7 startups were granted a cumulative $14,500.

 

“Start It Up Georgia (SIUG) provided us with the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs and business mentors in Georgia at a time when in-person networking was impossible due to COVID-19. Without SIUG we would have felt very isolated. Thanks to SIUG we were able to build a solid network, incorporate our business, and begin the customer discovery phase. Not only did SIUG provide information on the nuts and bolts on how to start a business, but also provided insights into the human side of running a company thanks to the weekly meetings with business mentors.” – Kevin DeMarco and Sergio Garcia, RIF Robotics Co-Founders

 

Learn more about RIF Robotics and the other grant funding winners below:

 

ANDREA BLAZIA

Blue Honey Homestead

Blue Honey Homestead crafts artisan products for the home – specializing in breads, soap and “garden-to-table” goods. We consider customers friends. We aim to enrich the lives of our friends, creating connections through baking, soap making and gardening. Get some of Andrea’s amazing bread today by visiting her website!

 

ALLAN MEADE

Concept Factory Atlanta 

Concept Factory Atlanta will be a smart collaborative hub and coworking space and will serve as a pipeline for visual storytellers to reach production studios and beyond while building community, relationships, and professional connections. Learn more about the great things to come from Concept Factory Atlanta today!

 

STEPHEN BUSSEY  & ANDY PEREZ

Clove

Clove’s Customer Hub: Clove gives your customers a central place to access everything post-sale. Increase adoption and renewals by connecting your product with your post-sale platforms. All in one place, beautifully packaged. Check out their website to learn more! 

 

ASHLEY TANKS

BLK JOY Coffee & Tea Counter

BLK JOY coffee & tea counter brings BLK coffee & BLK culture back together! They are a mobile counter serving specialty coffee sourced from Black & indigenous farmers steeped in the Black experience. Go see them in South Fulton for a delicious cup of BLK JOY & check out their Instagram today!

 

ELISSA RUSSEL

READI

READI re-skills low literate adults. READI assesses the team, creates and delivers workforce readiness trainings that address the workers literacy gaps and improves their employability. Elissa & READI are all about paying it forward and helping others. Learn more about the amazing work they are doing today by checking out their website! 

 

KEVIN DEMARCO

RIF Robotics Corp

RIF Robotics Corp is developing an autonomous mobile robot to help hospital managers reduce costs, errors, and infection rates with a robot that can assemble customized surgical case carts in a collaborative environment for robots and healthcare workers. Learn more about how they are serving the healthcare community here. 

 

STEVEN SIMMS

The Rural Urban Connection

The Rural Urban Connection is using eco-friendly (regenerative) agricultural practices to raise grass-fed beef in Georgia and deliver that beef to Metro-Atlanta consumers. You can find the Rural Urban Connection on Facebook!

 

Congrats to these founders and all the other graduates! And stay tuned for additional feature stories on SIUG winners over the coming weeks.

Founders: Majesty & Elize Gayle

Venture Name: Evo Haven

Impact Focus Area(s): Sustainable Housing; Opportunity Zone Fund

Business Stage: Startup

Year Venture Established: 2020

Business Type: LLC

 

Evo Group Holdings (EGH) aims to end the global housing crisis and increase the supply of entry-level homes by mass-producing environmentally friendly real estate. In their first year in operations, Majesty and Elize Gayle, EGH’s founders, have generated $1.5 million in revenue, helping them prove entrepreneurs can do well while working efficiently for the good of the community.

Evo Haven is one of their container home developments for working Americans, providing solutions to address housing insecurity. Evo Haven homes are made of shipping containers, recyclable materials and utilize renewable energy sources. There are a variety of floor plans, with a sleek design, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and are equipped with solar and geothermal energy sources. The green community reduces air pollution by reducing carbon emissions and is a solution for modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future.

Close to 8 million low-income renter households in the US suffer from the burdens of increasing housing costs. These households are spending more than half of their incomes on rent and utilities. While the US has a long history of redlining, segregation, and racist housing policies, this has resulted in Black Americans being more likely to be extremely low-income renters than White Americans.

As of 2020, housing affordability is primarily driven by the gap between household income and the rising home value. For every 100 severely low-income renter households, there are only 36 affordable homes that exist and are available immediately. An overview of real estate trends in Atlanta by property investment site Roofstock shows that the median monthly rent is $1,800, the median home price is $405,000, and the average income is $34,000 per year. The federal government defines housing as affordable when it costs no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. At the average salary of an Atlanta citizen, most can only afford roughly $850 max monthly rent.

Evo Haven’s container home solution provides an affordable, “tiny home” option for budding homeowners. These units are 320 square feet and can be financed for $800 per month. They are an economical pathway to land ownership by appealing to potential residents making as little as $15/hour. This product will be available nationwide as Evo Group Holdings works with local jurisdictions on zoning and land use.

The company also offers an immediate retail-level product that is the synthesis of style, efficiency, and social responsibility. The residential properties are 1,200+ square feet and some units offer features like LEED Certified appliances, large sliding doors, and rooftop patios encased in tempered glass railings. The first Evo Haven community will be developed in South Fulton, Georgia. The units will be available for pre-sale starting March 2021.

“The primary focus of our developments are in Opportunity Zones,” says Majesty. “The goal is to be profitable, energy-efficient, and solve a global crisis; we have a new and exciting way to advance the real estate industry like no other company.” EGH and its products are actively aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

With local support, the company will seek financial and social returns on an array of residential and multifamily developments that are built with exceptional speed, quality, and visual appeal not currently found in the marketplace.

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Interested in learning more, please visit:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Evo-Haven-116821340227275/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/majesty_elize/

Website: https://www.evogrouphld.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/in/majestygayle

Three activities result in $1 million deployed for COVID-19 recovery and more than $2 million raised for future deployment 

 

ATLANTA – The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s GoATL Fund provides flexible, cost-effective impact capital to support our region’s nonprofits and social enterprises. This month, it announces three positive moves forward for the community: two are investments that directly further metro Atlanta’s recovery from the pandemic, the third is a new $2 million capital commitment to GoATL from a local foundation to support future investments in the community.

“Having launched the GoATL Fund with $10 million in seed funding from the Community Foundation, our investments across the region are now showing returns through sustainable social impacts” said Mark Crosswell, managing director for social impact strategy, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “While we’re aggressively deploying funds, new commitments are rolling in from our investors as they seek new ways to make a difference in the community. Foundations and individual donors are thinking about how they use all capital, not just grantmaking, for social good.”

While 2020 presented new challenges across the region, the GoATL Fund moved to assist investment partners by providing select payment deferrals and shifting committed capital to COVID-19 relief; holding webinars to share learnings on relief efforts and recovery strategies for other foundations, investors and nonprofits; and deploying new capital to address existing gaps and exacerbated needs in the community.

To that end, the GoATL Fund recently closed a $250,000 investment in LiftFund, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), to enable it to provide 0% interest loans primarily to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)-owned micro-businesses throughout the Atlanta metro area. To mitigate risk and offset costs, grant capital from philanthropic partners will support LiftFund in making this innovative investment for Georgia’s underserved microbusinesses.

“Since 2016, LiftFund has invested over $2 million across Georgia, serving more than 100 businesses,” said Stephaney Bolden, senior business development officer at LiftFund. “While the pandemic is presenting unprecedented challenges for entrepreneurs, this new loan product will help them weather the storm and prepare for recovery.” 

To support affordable housing efforts, the GoATL Fund closed a $750,000 investment in the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) to finance its affordable single-family rental housing efforts in South DeKalb, an area hit hard by the last recession’s foreclosure crisis and now disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Since receiving our first GoATL investment in 2018, we’ve more than doubled our single-family production throughout the region,” said John O’Callaghan, president and CEO at ANDP. “GoATL’s investment helps us leverage more capital, achieving exponentially more impact along the way.” 

The first impact investment fund of its kind in the southeast, the GoATL Fund has committed more than $10 million to date to help finance 400 affordable housing units, small business growth that created over 120 jobs, and new slots at local schools that will serve 650 students at capacity. More recent investments support early childhood facilities, non-traditional transitions into the workforce, transit-friendly affordable housing and STEAM education, all of which are located in Atlanta’s low-income communities.

Unlike traditional philanthropy that gives grants to nonprofits, GoATL’s investments provide loans that are expected to be paid back over time, thus recycling capital for reinvestment in new projects. The loans also allow nonprofits and social-purpose for profits to leverage additional funding from the Community Foundation and other sources. On a global scale, impact investing of all types now represents nearly $17 trillion invested for social good.

To leverage the Community Foundation’s original $10 million investment in GoATL, donors of the Foundation have since committed nearly $4 million to grow the Fund by 40% since inception, including the recently received $2 million investment. “The GoATL fund offers us an accessible and streamlined way to make our first impact investments across a variety of areas within our mission, and will help us grow our own investment program by keeping us apprised of what is happening locally,” said Roswell Satterwhite at the William Josef Foundation, GoATL’s most recent investor. “Its investment structure makes it straightforward to achieve balance in both financial returns and socially meaningful outcomes.”

With a robust pipeline of opportunities valued between $6-8 million, the GoATL Fund is actively seeking even more capital in 2021 in order to continue investing in interventions to support greater racial equity, close Atlanta’s wealth gap and scale sustainable solutions in education, food access, healthcare and housing.

 

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About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been leading and inspiring philanthropy to increase the vitality of our region and the well-being of all residents. With 70 years serving the metropolitan Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation expands its philanthropic reach and impact by providing quality services to donors and bold, innovative community leadership. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation among 750 nationally, with approximately $1.2 billion in current assets, and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. 

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s GoATL Fund

Launched in 2018, the GoATL Fund provides innovative and flexible capital designed to scale and sustain social solutions of critical importance to our community. Started with an initial allocation of $10 million from the Community Foundation, the GoATL Fund is now open to receive new capital from the Community Foundation’s donor community. For more information, visit: GoATL Fund, cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Media Contact: Elyse Hammett, [email protected]

Nonpartisan effort to scale solutions by bringing Georgians together to crowdsolve for climate progress

 

The end of 2020 marked the launch of a long-term, multi-stakeholder climate initiative in Georgia – one designed to bring business and industry, municipal leadership, NGOs and others together to accelerate climate solutions in Georgia. Inspired by the global framework of Project Drawdown, the Drawdown Georgia team has identified 20 high impact solutions based on Georgia’s unique economic, natural and social resources that – when scaled – will put Georgia on an accelerated path to a low carbon future.

“If we get this right, we believe we can take carbon emissions in Georgia from about 125 megatons to 79 megatons by 2030 – a reduction by at least one-third in just ten years,” said John A. Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and a founder of Drawdown Georgia. “And importantly, Beyond Carbon, there are economic and social benefits as well as public health and environmental gains. We’ve done the work to visualize it all, and now we invite everyone working on climate solutions in Georgia to join us in bringing these climate solutions home.” A megaton of carbon is defined as 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

Drawdown Georgia’s 20-solution framework is focused on five sectors where the biggest impacts exist, and where the greatest potential to scale solutions is evident: TransportationElectricityFood & AgricultureBuildings & Materials, and Land SinksA full list of solutions is here.

The research was led by Nobel Laureate and energy/climate expert Marilyn Brown from Georgia Tech. “Our research effort has created a model that is available to all; by localizing it and applying it to other states and regions, partners across the country can collectively accelerate change in ways that are most impactful, beneficial and equitable.”

To accelerate solutions requires bringing everyone together, so Drawdown Georgia has created a crowdsolving community where people, projects and progress can come together to provide full visibility into solutions, and to provide a platform where people can connect to share ideas, challenges and progress towards drawdown.

 

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About Drawdown Georgia

Informed by Project Drawdown, the world’s leading resource for climate solutions, Drawdown Georgia is the first state-centered effort to crowdsolve for climate change. The goal is to catalyze and scale 20 high impact solutions so Georgia can do its part to advance Drawdown — that point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline.

The Drawdown Georgia roadmap was vetted by an expert team of Georgia-based academics, climate scientists, and researchers led by Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with Emory University, Georgia State University and the University of Georgia. Drawdown Georgia estimates that the state’s current carbon footprint is 125 megatons, with the potential to cut Georgia’s carbon impact by about 35% in ten years, to 79 megatons.

The solutions are based on five focus areas with the best potential to create the most change in Georgia: Electricity, Transportation, Buildings & Materials, Food & Agriculture, and Land Sinks. Currently funded by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, Drawdown Georgia is bringing climate solutions home. Visit our home page.

By: Ed Thomas, Co-Founder and CEO of 412 Technology

 

In 2020 alone, it seemed like half of California was on fire, there have been so many hurricanes that we’ve run out of names, and the year is on pace to match 2016 as the hottest on record.

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to help fight climate change, where should you begin?

First, you can—and should—lobby all levels of our government for science-backed climate policy, and you should demand that the corporations you buy from become better stewards of our common resources.

But what should you do personally? Personal behavioral changes—such as biking more instead of driving, or eating less meat—can have a huge impact on climate change. But as anyone who’s tried dieting knows, behavioral changes are hard to do and harder to sustain.

Fortunately for us, there are at least three simple actions anyone can do to fight climate change:

 

Invest In an ESG Portfolio

If you have a stock portfolio, you should consider adding an ESG requirement. ESG (environmental, social & governance) investing, also known as ‘sustainable investing’, seeks to invest in companies that take the impact of their business into account in addition to the return they provide investors.

Getting started in ESG investing can be as simple as investing in ESG index funds instead of their non-ESG equivalents, opting for an ESG mix at with your existing roboadvisor, using an ESG-specific roboadvisor or picking a financial advisor who specializes in ESG investments. However you go about it, your investments will be increasing the value of companies that are socially responsible, enabling them to access capital more easily and expand their impact.

This in turn encourages more companies to become responsible, helping mobilize additional capital to fighting climate change. If you’re interested in investing directly into companies at the forefront of the climate fight, resources exist to identify them too.

 

Invest In Climate Change Projects

If you’re ready to take the next step and invest directly in climate-change related projects, consider investing in the green bond market.

Expected to balloon to over $500B in 2021, the green bond market is a catch-all phrase for any public debt that’s been issued to support environmentally sustainable projects. From solar plants in Europe to energy retrofits of corporate campuses to the electrification of city vehicle fleets, almost every form of climate change project a company or municipal government could take exists for you to invest in.

The easiest way to get started in this market is to invest in green bonds through exchange traded funds that track this sector. This gives you access to a portfolio of different projects and a management team that knows how to identify the best investments. If you’re interested in investing in bond issuances directly, a financial advisor is the best starting point.

 

Purchase Carbon Offsets

If you want the biggest climate impact for your dollar, however, there’s a third option available: Simply pay a project sponsor to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Known as carbon offsetting, the concept is very simple: Buyers pay a project sponsor to take an action that removes a verified amount of carbon from the atmosphere, thus directly fighting climate change. Whether your interest is in planting new forests, enabling sustainable farming, conserving critical rainforest or supporting technical solutions, there are a myriad of projects available that have a carbon impact that you can support. As a bonus, many are sponsored by non-profits.

Want to neutralize your impact on the climate? Purchase enough in reduction from the offset market to equal the amount of carbon you generate. Want to go one step further and be part of the solution? Purchase more in offsets than you personally generate in carbon emissions, and you’re actively helping reverse climate change!

Multiple new platforms and services exist—including Arbor, my company’s platform—to make the carbon offset market simpler and easier for everyday consumers to navigate and use. Dollar for dollar, it’s the simplest way to maximize your climate impact.

We’re at an inflection point in the fight against climate change, and our choices over the next few years are likely to determine whether or not we have a recognizable world in the coming decades. Make 2021 the year when you join the solution by taking a few simple steps to help reverse climate change.

 

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Ed Thomas is the co-founder and CEO of 412 Technology, a public benefits corporation focused on reversing climate change. Arbor, the company’s flagship product, enables users to fight climate change by eliminating the climate impact of specific actions through the carbon offset market. Learn more about Arbor and sign up for early access by visiting their website.

Profile Summary:

  • Entrepreneur Name: Jasmine Burton
  • Venture Name: Wish for WASH
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Global Health; Health Equity; Health Education
  • Business Stage (Ideation, Startup, Early, Later, Mature): Startup
  • Year Venture Established: 2014
  • Business Type: Our growing mission is to bring more diverse minds, talent, and innovation to the problems of global heath and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in our world through the lens of research, design and education because #everybodypoops
  • About: Wish for WASH Thinks, Inc is a USA-based, Georgia-filed and internationally-operating nonprofit organization with pending 501(3)c status. Its sister company Wish for WASH, LLC Holdings, houses the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related intellectual property and funding to carry out the work of Wish for WASH Thinks, Inc. Together, the two organizations are collectively referred to as the Wish for WASH Collective.
  • Model: We are increasing the pipeline of diverse representation in the WASH sector with a gender equity and meaningful youth engagement approach while also advocating, educating, and performing innovative WASH-related research in-line with design thinking.

 

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

Over two billion people in the world today lack access to improved sanitation and over four billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation. People often resort to using unimproved pit latrines or holes in the ground that they share with their neighboring community members that are often overflowing, poorly maintained and or far from home. These unimproved pits are also susceptible to collapsing during inclement weather and can result in spreading the fecal waste into both the ground and surface water sources. Often times, people that live in densely populated communities without sanitation facilities resort to open defecation, which leads to a host of both mental and physical health problems. The lack of toilets in schools makes it incredibly challenging for young, pubescent girls to safely manage their menstruation; this frequently results in girls missing school during their period every month, which often time leads to them dropping out of school completely. Beyond toilets alone, work in the Sanitation Economy and in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector includes preventative global health work that is particularly important during this COVID-19 era.  The societal inequities such as access to clean water, hand-washing facilities and soap, and menstrual health products (evidenced by the Periods Don’t Stop for Pandemic movement) and public toilets has been highlighted as a result of the pandemic which further underscores the urgency for innovative and inclusive progress in the global WASH sector.

 

Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

I am a design thinking, global health consulting, impact accelerating, and social enterprise founding hybrid-professional hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. I graduated with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology’s (GT) School of Design with a BSc in Product Design. Prior to graduation, I founded Wish for WASH, a social impact collective intended to bring innovation to sanitation after my senior design team was the first all-female team to win the GT InVenture Prize Competition for our invention of the SafiChoo toilet. I have since led Wish for WASH in conducting iterative toilet innovation pilots and research in Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia and in the USA (Atlanta) all with a human-centered design and social inclusion lens. I continued to pursue my passion for equitable and sustainable sanitation as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar (sponsored by the Dunwoody, Georgia Club) and MSc in Public Health graduate student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Wish for WASH has demonstrated our commitment to our mission by creating a multiplier effect whereby we recruit, equip, train, empower and meaningfully engage 100+ people under the age of 30 (who are mostly undergraduate, graduate and alumni from Atlanta-based universities) to lead and empower other youth work in reaching ~170+ people directly with innovative sanitation pilots globally. We have reached 25,000+ people by participating in 110+ events and talks, producing 13 learning reports, facilitating 10+ workshops and being featured in 50+ press/media features over the past 6 years. According to an Impact Analysis conducted by a One Young World Consultant, Wish for WASH has a 1:3 Social Return on Investment ratio.

In 2019, I founded of the Hybrid Hype, a certified woman-owned global consulting firm, following a decade of conducting diverse independent consulting work with various impact organizations with scopes that span the United Nations’ 3rd, 5th and 6th Sustainable Development Goal targets. Some of examples of my work as the Founder and Principal of the Hybrid Hype include: supporting strategic health communications and data visualization projects at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) based in Atlanta; founding the world’s first Women in the Sanitation Economy accelerator program at the Toilet Board Coalition; and supporting the product and marketing strategy  for the disruptive gender equality startup Equilo.

Additionally, as of May 2020, I am the cofounder of Period Futures – an early-stage venture focused on sparking curiosity, conversation and commitment to designing positive period futures, and have been serving as the Equity and Inclusion Lead for the Atlanta Global Shapers Hub.

With 7+ years of various water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), global health, and social inclusion experiences across 10 countries in research, communications, and management roles within the public, private, and social enterprise sectors, I identify as a social impact designer and storyteller who seeks to couple design thinking and business acumen with evidence-based science to accelerate access to universal health and sanitation for all because #everybodypoops. As a native Atlantan, my serial social entrepreneur and hybrid-professional journey has been deeply rooted in my Georgia-based communities of support who continue to support, enable, challenge and inspire me for both my local and global endeavors.

 

Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups.

Working in a sector where the supply chains, business models, sustainable funding and markets are nascent or developing is definitely challenging. However, in order to effectively, sustainably and holistically create a world that mitigates or even eliminates some of the global grand challenges of today, we need makers. We need creators, and people with vision who are resilient in the rollercoaster ride that is the Impact Economy. With degrees in Design and Public Health, I am acutely aware of the diverse lived and learnt talent that this city and state boasts. Beyond the booming Atlanta tech scene, the social impact ecosystem of Atlanta is rooted in institutions and movements that have had global influence. The multi-sectoral and innovative work that is happening in this state not only drives the economic development of Georgia, but it also catalyzes global movements and markets. While many people may doubt the prowess of south, we not only have something to say but we really know what it means to effectively operate at the intersection of money and meaning.

 

Interested in learning more, please visit:

By: Ben Haynes, Daymaker Giving

 

“Food education should be a cornerstone of every child’s education.”
– Erin Croom, founder of Small Bites Adventure Club in Atlanta, Georgia

Daymaker believes that everyone should have access to healthy, wholesome meals, and that humans are happier when they have a connection to their food and its source. It’s also important to acknowledge that there are systems in place that prevent marginalized communities from having access and developing connections to nutritious food.

The Daymaker model is centered around the Receiver’s Journey; a three-year commitment they’ve made to serve their nonprofit partners and the kids in their programming. During the outset of the pandemic, Daymaker asked nonprofits how they could be most helpful, and co-created the ‘Daymaker Discovery Bundle’ – a monthly curiosity box with a theme, physical items like puzzles or board games associated with that theme, and a celebration of diverse heroes in a related field.

Supporting kids monthly in-between back-to-school and Holiday giving campaigns has become a staple of how they hope to serve. As a natural next step in this process (pun intended!), Daymaker is partnering with Small Bites Adventure Club to offer Farm-to-Home Explorer Kits!

 

Farm-to-Home overview

Small Bites Adventure Club’s Story

Small Bites was founded in 2018 by a group of women seeking to bring more fruits & vegetables to kids. During the early days, founder Erin Croom was packing “Taste Test Boxes” on her dining room table to create a prototype. The first boxes contained ingredients, a recipe, and a paired activity. Erin remembers being uncertain and having questions: ‘Would teachers find it intuitive to teach the lesson? Would kids be able to make this recipe? Are kids even going to eat the recipe?’

She brought the boxes to a local preschool in Atlanta, and after that day she knew that Small Bites was onto something. The teachers were able to lead the lesson with very little instruction from her, the four-year-olds were able to make kale pesto, and the kids ate it and loved it! That night, the preschool teacher received emails and calls from parents saying “What’s this about my kid eating Kale?! How did you get them to do that?!”

 

The Real Farm to home Kits!

About the Daymaker Farm-to-Home Explorer Kits

Small Bites’ new Farm-to-Home kits will “help kids follow this magical journey from seed to plate,” Erin said. For the first six months of 2021, the kids will receive a monthly kit with a theme that contains: a recipe, an activity booklet, a ‘Meet the Farmer and Veggie/Fruit Card,’ and extras like family conversation cards, a snack bar, stickers, magnets, and videos. The activities within these kits focus on issues at the root of food: community, diversity, health & nature.

Shake It Up Screenshot

One component of these kits is a Meet The Farmer card (see below). This card tells the story of a farmer, where they are and what their life is like. “Most kids we talk to think food comes from the grocery store or Mom’s car,” said Erin. “We feel that it’s a very important part of a child’s education that food comes from farmers, and farms and the soil.”

Importantly, Small Bites recognizes the structural problems of a lack of representation in the farming community and in agricultural careers: they feature farmers of color on many of the Meet Your Farmer cards, and they purchase over 50% of the food in the kits from farmers of color. “I love the way that Small Bites elevates the voices of brown farmers, black farmers and women farmers,” said Wande Okunoren-Meadows from The Hand, Heart & Soul Project, a Daymaker nonprofit that also works with Small Bites in Atlanta.

 

Meet the Farmer

Small Bites has been sending kids from The Hand, Heart & Soul Project their Taste Test Boxes for classrooms during the pandemic. “Small Bites helps kids appreciate where their food comes from. So often kids grow up to only have appreciation for their Nike shoes, but these kits help kids have appreciation for the soil and where their food comes from. It really engages families and kids on a different level.”

The US food system marginalizes and negatively impacts those growing up in poverty. “People eat what they have access to” as Laura Phillips, from I Grow Chicago, a Daymaker nonprofit partner said. More than 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than one mile from a supermarket with fresh produce. And the pandemic has shown the ways higher rates of infection from COVID-19 within black and brown communities in the United States stems from structural inequality within our neighborhoods and our food system.

Laura believes that these Farm-to-Home kits will be powerful for the kids that she works with everyday: “Kids want to play a part in the creation process. Having these kits will give kids agency in the creation process of the food that they are making. That will change a lot.”

Looking ahead

Just as Small Bites is fostering deeper relationships between kids, seeds, farmers and the earth, Daymaker hopes to foster connections between those giving and those receiving. If you donate a Farm-to-Home kit to a special kid on Daymaker this holiday season, you’ll get an update on how the Spring is going for that child during 2021, and you’ll have an opportunity to help the same child again during their back-to-school campaign. Daymaker is so excited to launch these kits as a way to help generate compassionate connections — connections between you, the children you’re supporting, and the seeds of life that can help lead to a healthy and flourishing future.

“You can’t educate to the head unless the body, the soul & the stomach are also taken care of”
Wande Okunoren-Meadows, Hand, Heart and Soul Project