Profile Summary:

  • Entrepreneur Name(s): Steven & Hannah Simms
  • Venture Name: The Rural Urban Connection (TRUC)
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Local Food, Regenerative Agriculture, Rural Economic Development
  • Business Stage: Startup in July 2020
  • Business Type: For-Profit, Holistic Management
  • Headquarters: Dunwoody, Georgia

 

The Issue

Worldwide, soils have been degraded by poor farming practices causing heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides to prop up crop yields. A large amount of grain crops grown are used for feeding livestock. Most beef consumed is raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) with a host of negative animal welfare and environmental impacts. 100% grass-fed beef eliminates the need for CAFOs and grain-fed livestock. Using holistic management practices on our farms will eliminate the need for chemical supports while enabling the environment to create new topsoil and capture carbon in the soil. We are only able to do this with the support of our Atlanta neighbors who want to eat our healthy, local, 100% grass-fed beef.  

 

Your Journey

Steven grew up on one of the farms we lease and has discussed this idea off and on for some time. COVID’s impact on the economy and food supply chains inspired me to start testing and pursuing this idea seriously. We have been blessed with great advice from the UGA Small Business Development Center and Start It Up Georgia, as well as from family and friends.

In April 2021, 9 months after beginning planning and researching efforts, we had our first beef ready for sale. We leased two farms, secured USDA financing, and began selling online and at the Dunwoody and Sandy Springs Farmers Markets. We are currently working on getting the word out about our local, grass-fed beef, balancing supply and demand, and moving both farms to fully regenerative agricultural practices. Our steaks have been incredibly popular, and right now we are looking for consumers and a few select restaurant and food truck clients who want to use all the cuts from our beef.

As we mature and grow, we want to scale our business to be able to create more healthy soils, preserve farmland, and raise delicious grass-fed beef all while providing quality employment opportunities.

 

Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

The Social Impact Ecosystem is crucial for encouraging more social entrepreneurship in Georgia. Building connections between the Social Impact Ecosystem and the traditional startup ecosystem may be one of the most important elements in this journey. Many new entrepreneurs may not classify themselves as social enterprises but have the desire and intent to grow a company that focuses on more than the financial bottom line. All companies have a social impact and our goal as social impact community members should be to encourage all companies to ensure this impact is positive and build a better future.

 

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By: Franzene Minott

 

Home-delivered meal kit services are exploding, and it’s no wonder. The now $10 Billion global industry combines the advantages of “fast food” and “slow food” by delivering easy-to-make, healthy and delicious meals to customers’ doorsteps.

For low-income families short on time to prepare dinner and a long way from fresh, healthy ingredients, a meal kit service would be a godsend—if only it was made affordable. One Atlanta-area social venture is doing just that, by inviting customers to pay only what they can.

“We know food insecurity affects millions, especially those living in food deserts without access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” says co-founder Ali Yadollahi, “we wanted to create a system where all customers received the same high quality meal kits—regardless of income levels—by making them more affordable and accessible to those who need it.”

Plateful.ly’s mission quickly resonated with the hundreds of Atlantans they have served since launching earlier this year. With a mouth-watering selection of entrees from salmon and quinoa to sirloin steak fajitas to vegetarian options like penne primavera, the customer buzz has only amplified across Yelp! and other review sites.

The American Heart Association Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund has also taken notice of the innovative service and awarded Plateful.ly a generous grant. The Fund supports local entrepreneurs and organizations that are breaking down the social and economic barriers to health equity, and they saw Plateful.ly’s pay-what-you-can meal delivery model as a great way to reach underserved communities.

When asked about the new meal kit delivery service, Portfolio Manager of the Tyson Impact Fund Max Gritzuks stated, “Plateful.ly has taken a model that has traditionally been reserved for market-rate consumers and reinvented it in an inclusive and scalable manner that increases access to affordable, healthy food for all.”

 

“Pay-What-You-Can”: Reimagining the Food Service Industry

How is Plateful.ly innovating the food service industry and attracting such a diverse customer base? 

For starters, they have no set menu prices, only a suggested price, which allows customers to pay what they can for service. This community-style service model means that paying for your meal helps pay for someone else’s. 

Their “pay-what-you-can” system provides the financial break many need to remain afloat on restricted budgets. For some, the added flexibility means paying only a few dollars—or even nothing at all—for meal kits. 

And the model has proven to be remarkably successful and self-sustaining. Despite early concerns that people may take advantage, the founders proudly share that the overwhelming majority of patrons use their services as intended without exploiting it.

“Pay-what-you-can is working and my faith in humanity, and in our Atlanta community, has been rewarded,” says co-founder Chef Hoss Yazdi. “We have been able to provide everyone who orders a wholesome, delicious meal that can usually be on the dinner table within ten minutes.”

The team believes their system works because of the value alignment between their mission and that of their customers. Their kitchens are a resource that enable people who care about helping others to make a difference. This commitment to a shared goal makes them sustainable.

 

 

Plans for Expansion

Plateful.ly is preparing to give even more Atlantans access to its kits by expanding from its Metro Atlanta service area. Since their model relies heavily on community support to be effective, they are actively sharing their mission with people, organizations, and businesses in target locations to help identify potential hot spots.

Thanks to the initial support, the social venture can continue to expand across Atlanta and serve as many communities as possible.

 

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Interested in learning more or supporting Plateful.ly expansion efforts, please visit:

Email: [email protected]

 

Healthcare Georgia Foundation is pleased to announce that Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE) has been awarded $250,000 in Strategic Health Impact Investment funding. The Foundation is thrilled to establish this partnership with ACE, and applauds their attitude of service for small businesses and their surrounding communities. 

Martina Edwards, ACE’s Chief of Strategic Partnerships notes that “because both wealth and income influence health, small business is a key element in the advancement of health equity. Communities with strong small business sectors often experience better economic outcomes because they are more economically and socially engaged with and invested in its well-being. ACE is excited to partner alongside the Healthcare Georgia Foundation to help fuel not only small businesses, but also community resiliency during this extended recovery period, particularly for women, people of color, and low-income persons.”

Dr. Gary Nelson, President of Healthcare Georgia Foundation, commented on ACE’s funding, “At Healthcare Georgia Foundation, we highly value and cherish the opportunity to partner with organizations such as ACE who are working so diligently to assist communities in a myriad of ways.” Nelson continued, “ACE has proven time and again that they are committed to service that is rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we are greatly looking forward to the incredible work they will do with this investment.”

Edwards acknowledged, “Like ACE, the Healthcare Georgia Foundation has been around for just over two decades supporting critical work in the state. Small business funding remains hard to obtain. This catalytic patient capital will allow us to meet underserved and diverse owned small businesses where they are, under the current conditions. Ultimately, it will aid our vision to create a ripple effect that not only has a positive impact on the individuals ACE serves directly, but also on their families, employees and communities through economic empowerment and equitable wealth creation.”

 

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About Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, charitable organization with a vision of health equity in Georgia where all people attain their fullest potential for health and well-being. Through strategic grantmaking, our mission is to enable, improve, and advance the health and well-being of all Georgians. For more information, visit healthcaregeorgia.org. 

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACE)

ACE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides loans and business consulting services to help borrowers throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia create and grow stable businesses that generate jobs. Since 2000, ACE has loaned more than $100 million to over 1,400 entrepreneurs, who have created or saved more than 12,000 jobs in Georgia. ACE’s hallmark service is its combination of capital, coaching and connections. ACE is supported by grants and other forms of funding from banks, foundations, government entities and corporations to assist in its mission to help underserved business owners. ACE has offices in Westside Atlanta, Dalton, Rome and Cleveland, Ga., and our ACE Women’s Business Centers in Norcross and Savannah, Ga. For more information, visit https://aceloans.org/.

 

For Healthcare Georgia Foundation

CONTACT: Rachael Dempsey

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 404.653.0990

 

For Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACE)

CONTACT: Martina Edwards

Email[email protected]

Phone: 470.615.1279

Healthcare Georgia Foundation is pleased to announce Carver State Bank as a recipient of the Foundation’s recent Strategic Health Impact Investment funding in the amount of $100,000. Since 2019, the Foundation has worked to identify organizations that are addressing the social determinants of health in a wide variety of ways, and has actively pursued Program Related Investments (PRIs) targeted towards the “causes of the causes” with very encouraging results. With a strong commitment towards diversity, equity, and inclusion, Carver State Bank is an ideal partner for Healthcare Georgia Foundation’s Strategic Health Impact Investment efforts.

Founded in 1927 in Savannah, Georgia, Carver State Bank is one of only 18 Black-owned banks in the United States. As a Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Carver’s mission to provide underserved communities with the building blocks to financial freedom is directly related to Healthcare Georgia’s goal of addressing the social determinants of health disparities. Carver will use the funding provided by Healthcare Georgia’s investment to make new loans for small businesses and affordable housing in our community.

President of Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Dr. Gary Nelson, commented on Carver State Bank’s award, “The Foundation is thrilled for this partnership opportunity with Carver State Bank, and we have been greatly impressed over the years as we’ve observed their tireless efforts toward enriching the greater Savannah-Chatham community.” Dr. Nelson continued, “We are looking forward to the fruits of this effort joined with Carver State Bank, and we are excited to see the impact that will be created.”

“As a mission-driven financial institution, Carver is proud to work with Healthcare Georgia Foundation in their continued and innovative efforts to address inequalities in health outcomes.” said Robert James, President of Carver State Bank. “Their investments have a tangible impact on small business and job growth in our community, and we look forward to this continued partnership.”

With this recent award to Carver State Bank, Healthcare Georgia Foundation will exceed $1.1 million in Strategic Health Impact Investments geared towards addressing the Social Determinants of Health.

 

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About Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, charitable organization with a vision of health equity in Georgia where all people attain their fullest potential for health and well-being. Through strategic grantmaking, our mission is to enable, improve, and advance the health and well-being of all Georgians. For more information, visit healthcaregeorgia.org. 

About Carver State Bank

Carver State Bank is a member of the National Bankers Association and Georgia Bankers Association. Carver is the only bank headquartered in Savannah that is certified by the United States Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and is currently one of only 18 African- American-owned commercial banks in the United States. Carver’s mission is to provide our community with the building blocks to financial freedom. As the only bank in Savannah headquartered in one of the area’s five low-income census tracts, the bank highlights the need to improve the lives of low-income individuals and residents of distressed communities.

 

For Healthcare Georgia Foundation

CONTACT: Rachael Dempsey

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 404.653.0990

 

For Carver State Bank

CONTACT: Rachelle Gregory

Email[email protected]

Phone: 310.621.5349

The Foundation is working with the ANDP Loan Fund to address health and housing disparities across Georgia 


Healthcare Georgia Foundation has made a $250,000 program-related investment in the ANDP Loan Fund to expand access to quality, healthy affordable housing — benefiting persons of color, low-income households, seniors, and other vulnerable groups across metropolitan Atlanta and Georgia. ANDP develops, finances and advocates for affordable housing at scale that promotes racial equity and healthy communities where families thrive.

“Healthcare Georgia Foundation is pleased to partner with ANDP in this investment that will address one of the key social determinants of health (housing) in such a strategic and impactful way,” said Foundation President, Dr. Gary Nelson. He continued, “ANDP has proven time and again their commitment towards equitably advancing metro Atlanta’s affordable housing options, and their unwavering desire to improve the lives of Georgia’s residents.”

The Foundation’s vision is “health equity across Georgia”, where all people attain their fullest potential for health and well-being. Healthcare Georgia Foundation looks to address health disparities, expand access to affordable, high-quality, and integrated services, promote health and prevent disease, and strengthen health nonprofit organizations, programs, and workforces. 

Investments like the funding for ANDP are made to financial intermediaries serving communities across Georgia that are certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and as such, have a primary mission of providing financial products and services to low-wealth communities.

Healthcare Georgia Foundation’s low cost capital funding will be leveraged by ANDP to help finance over 1,500 units of affordable housing, and provide more than 500 future homebuyers with down payment assistance (DPA) loans over the next five years. The majority of ANDP’s lending will benefit minority households and households earning 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) or less. ANDP’s efforts will play a critical role in addressing systemic housing disparities that compound health inequities among communities of color and low-income populations. 

“Safe, affordable housing is a paramount social determinant of health. We seek to address health inequities by financing quality, affordable housing that provides a platform of stability for people to thrive,” says ANDP President & CEO, John O’Callaghan. “Funds and capital provided by community health leaders like the Healthcare Georgia Foundation empower us to provide safer, healthier affordable housing options for our communities.” 

The ANDP Loan Fund is U.S. Treasury certified and provides much needed capital to metro Atlanta’s nonprofit and for-profit developers of affordable housing and other facilities. ALF’s financing has resulted in the renovation of over 750 formerly vacant homes since 2008, financing 6,107 housing units since inception, lending $51.3 million to projects valued at $510 million, and serving 90% of families at 80% AMI or less.  In the past three years, ANDP has more than doubled its Loan Fund’s portfolio, grown its total assets by 36% (now $10.2 million), and deployed over $10 million to multi-family, single-family, and community facilities developers in metro Atlanta.

Since 2019, Healthcare Georgia Foundation’s Strategic Health Impact Investment funding efforts have sought to identify and create partnerships with Community Development Financial Institutions who are working to address the social determinants of health. The Foundation looks forward to achieving impactful outcomes of this partnership with ANDP, an applauds their proven track record towards addressing disparities in housing.

 

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ABOUT HEALTHCARE GEORGIA FOUNDATION: Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, charitable organization with a vision of health equity in Georgia where all people attain their fullest potential for health and well-being. Through strategic grantmaking, our mission is to enable, improve, and advance the health and well-being of all Georgians. For more information, visit healthcaregeorgia.org.

ABOUT ANDP: A chartered member of NeighborWorks, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership is a nonprofit organization that develops, finances and advocates for affordable housing at a scale that promotes racial equity and healthy communities where families thrive. Now in its 30th year, the organization aims to further reduce the Black homeownership gap and increase access to affordable rentals with its “Closing the Gap: 2,000 units by 2025” campaign. Connect at www.andpi.org.

 

For ANDP

Contact: George Burgan
678-358-4427, [email protected]

For Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Contact: Rachael Dempsey
Phone: 404.653.0990, [email protected]

Announcing the Community Guarantee Pool, powered by the GoATL Fund

 

ATLANTA – June 8, 2021 – At a time of heightened need across the region, the GoATL Fund (GoATL), an initiative of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, has launched an innovative program for nonprofits to accelerate access to federal stimulus and other public contract funding. In collaboration with local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and private and family foundations, the Community Guarantee Pool (CGP) provides credit enhancements that free up capital for nonprofits, thus infusing dollars for critical services including rapid rehousing, rental assistance and mental health counseling. 

GoATL’s CGP is a pooled fund used to support multiple guarantees that allow nonprofits to more rapidly receive federal funding, which dramatically improves their ability to provide critical community services. “The CGP is the first of its kind in our region, and as it takes hold it has the potential to unlock up to $20 million in public subsidies that would otherwise go unused,” said Mark Crosswell, managing director of social impact strategies at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “Providing this service to our nonprofits across the region helps fulfill our commitment to advance racial equity while driving systems change at the local level.” 

CGP has launched with an initial $1 million in capital that will be used to issue guarantees to CDFIs in order for them to free up loan capital for nonprofits in metro Atlanta. The GoATL Fund will work closely with nonprofits and CDFIs to identify opportunities to improve the flow of federal funding to communities in need. For example, Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI), a nonprofit that implements solutions to permanently rehouse people experiencing homelessness into appropriate, affordable homes as efficiently as possible – often within 30 days – has recently taken on a $7.7 million government contract to support the transition of 450 families out of homelessness. In partnership with Reinvestment Fund and GoATL, the CGP will improve PCCI’s ability to perform on this contract. 

The CGP targets nonprofits that rely on substantial federal subsidies, including the funding made available through the American Recovery Plan. These federal funding subsidies are typically administered by local municipalities, which routinely experience administrative delays in making payments to nonprofits, causing severe cash flow shortages and hindering nonprofits’ administration of vital services. Also, for many government programs, the nonprofit must provide services (fronting all costs), then submit for funding reimbursement. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues due to an incredible surge in demand for nonprofit support. 

“The pandemic has caused thousands of metro area families to face homelessness or the threat of eviction, with thousands more experiencing unemployment. Demand for mental health services, quality food and rental assistance has outstripped supply. Our local nonprofits are ready to serve these families, but when the public subsidies are unduly delayed, they can’t fulfill their contracts to meet community needs. The Community Guarantee Pool was created to streamline the process, helping our nonprofits deliver while providing time for the government to provide the funding,” said Crosswell. “Alongside five CDFIs and several local foundations, we have structured this unique pilot to solve the problem through bridge funding. Along with hopes that our public partners respond by improving their processes to ensure that funding is flowing to where it’s most needed, we expect to see more sustainable funding soon.” 

Since 2018, the GoATL Fund has invested $12.25 million in local initiatives that seek to generate measurable social outcomes along with financial returns. GoATL’s investments are structured as flexible, cost-effective debt that provide impact investors a modest return while achieving social outcomes in affordable housing, job creation, education and well-being. 

The GoATL Fund invests in initiatives that address racial inequities including access to healthcare, affordable housing, economic inclusion and education. To create efficiencies and leverage even more capital, GoATL often collaborates with intermediaries like CDFIs that have the knowledge and expertise to structure larger investments to support solutions addressing critical needs across our region. 

“Many of the organizations providing services such as emergency shelter and mental health counseling are facing operating challenges during the pandemic, with increased costs and decreased revenues,” said Christina Szczepanski, managing director, southeast for Reinvestment Fund, a CDFI that brings financial and analytical solutions to community challenges. “Having the Community Guarantee Pool provide credit enhancements helps moderate risk as we make working capital loans to nonprofits providing these essential services.”

“When awarded 70% of the City of Atlanta’s CARES COVID-19 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding in November 2020, PCCI did not have the cash on hand to execute the contract,” said Margaret Schuelke, co-CEO for PCCI. “PCCI is glad to be the first nonprofit benefiting from the Community Guarantee Pool. We hope other nonprofits are able to take advantage of the program and alleviate their financial concerns.” 

Participating CDFIs include Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), Enterprise Community Partners, LISC Atlanta and Reinvestment Fund. Alongside the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation and The J.B. Fuqua Foundation have made commitments to the CGP. If any other foundations are interested in supporting this effort, please contact Mark Crosswell.

 

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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 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 committed to racial equity. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation among 800 nationally, with approximately $1.2 billion in current assets, and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. 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.

About Project Community Connections, Inc.

PCCI is dedicated to permanently rehousing individuals and families experience homelessness to a decent, affordable place to live. They operate as a team of interdependent professionals dedicated to ending homelessness in the community. PCCI provides services that promote personal and economic self-sufficiency to assist their clients to become self-sufficient so they can remain stably housed and thrive in all aspects of their lives. To promote self-sufficiency, PCCI offers workforce development classes with the goal for their clients to secure full-time or part-time employment. PCCI’s reputation for delivering quality rapid rehousing services is earned through hard work, consistency and program performance. The quality, innovation and efficiency of their work has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally.

About Reinvestment Fund

Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that everyone has access to essential opportunities: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets, communities, and impediments to opportunity—and how investment and policy decisions can have the most powerful impact. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.4 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Learn more at reinvestment.com.

Media Contact:

Elyse Hammett, 404.376.5563

[email protected]

By: Josh Young, Chief of Staff

 

We are not what people expect. Since our founding, we have operated a different type of nonprofit. Homelessness continues to increase around the world, which must stop. Making lasting progress requires fresh, creative solutions. The status quo is not enough.

At each step, we continue learning from the best minds throughout the business world. Y-Combinator, the most successful startup accelerator, chose us for their program. Their mindset, experience, and excellence remain ingrained in our company’s DNA. From our operations to financial investments, we align around a single focus: make a positive impact on the world’s most vulnerable. Everyone deserves a safe home.

 

Philanthropy

There’s a lot of distrust in the nonprofit world because of the way some have misused funds. So, we did something different to rebuild that trust with donors. Today, donors want to know exactly where their money is going, so that’s exactly what we deliver.

We provide 100% transparency to everyone who donates and ensure that ALL donations to homebuilding go directly to providing a home for a family in need of shelter.

Our 100% guarantee is made possible by a private group of generous, visionary donors who completely cover our operating expenses. We call this group The Builders. This model enables us to take calculated risks on innovative projects without sacrificing our ability to provide homes for families living in survival mode. 

We have funded 26 communities with philanthropy, impacting over 2,200 families with homes in Haiti, El Salvador, Mexico, and the US. To reach exponentially more people, we have decided to take on flexible debt in the form of Impact Notes.

 

Impact Notes

Even though the families we serve live in extreme poverty, we’ve learned that a model where families pay an affordable price to own their home works best. That’s why we’ve developed a strategy to provide low-interest loans to families who need them. 

Families have the means to pay back a loan; there is a combination of reasons they can’t obtain one from banks in places like Mexico. 

  • Predatory lenders in the market of Mexico target & exploit families. 
  • Decades of being taken advantage of caused a general distrust of financial institutions, so families refuse to use traditional financial institutions. 
  • Families rely on informal/cash-based income causing banks to deny loans altogether or charge unaffordable interest rates.

The Impact Notes are an innovative, flexible debt instrument for investors who want to maximize impact and preserve capital. Using it as a tool, we can offer a lower interest rate to families at a longer-term length, allowing low-income families to afford housing.

Currently, we build homes for less than $10k each. We will provide 50% as a micro-loan to be paid back, 40% comes from New Story philanthropy, and the family who will live in the home puts 10% as a down payment. This structure allows us to secure housing for more families who need it.

 

Investing in Research & Development

Global construction is one of the world’s largest markets, yet it’s one of the least digitized sectors, second only to farming. We realized that our mission would require us to attract top talent, invest in innovative technology, and raise additional capital for the affordable housing space.

A natural progression of our R&D program, we started Hometeam Ventures. Hometeam invests in early-stage founders who are creating breakthrough technology for the construction and housing space with the hope that these startups will help us create more safe housing globally.

Hometeam’s investments focus on double-bottom line startups that: 

  • Reduce the cost of housing.
  • Increase the speed of construction.
  • Improve the quality across the construction value chain. 

A non-profit built the world’s first 3D-printed community (you can watch a documentary on this on Apple TV+) because of our investment in ICON—a construction technology company. By being an investor, we are able to bring better quality technology, creativity, and innovation to those who need it most. 

Our team at New Story is thrilled to see what the future will bring as we work to steward capital well. By offering complete transparency to our donors, growing access to micro-loans, and putting a big emphasis on research and development, we hope that we will be able to house 1M people before 2030. Will you join us?

By: Brent Hobson, Project Manager at Cherry Street Energy

 

Where do you see yourself in 14 years? How about 29? Weird timelines, I know, but I ask because 2035 and 2050 are fairly significant dates. Organizations across the globe are making commitments to transition to a brighter energy future that is more sustainable, resilient, and economical using these timelines.

The City of Atlanta committed to the bold vision of 100% renewable energy by 2035 and the state has proposed a goal of doing the same by 2050. Many of Georgia’s largest businesses and universities have announced similar commitments and timelines. 

Meeting these goals will be difficult, complex and expensive. That’s why I work with the brightest people who are hellbent on solving these impossible challenges. We designed Cherry Street Energy to overcome the key barriers for cities, businesses and institutions to make the transition to renewable energy. We make it simple, affordable, and scalable. 

So, what does Georgia’s transition to renewable energy look like? We believe that catalytic leaders will inspire others to take action. We work with institutional, business and community leaders to help them envision their energy futures and design the path to get there. We focus on powering Georgia’s largest energy users.

We designed an easy-to-adopt enterprise scale platform that removes the financial and operational barriers to future-ready energy systems. We take on the expenses and complexities while our customers pay only for the energy that is produced. We’re working to help guide our state’s transition toward reliable, renewable energy.

The City of Atlanta and Fulton County have been incredible partners and so far, we’ve powered recreation centers, fire stations and libraries all over the city. 

At Emory University, we’re building massive solar parking canopies and are planning for installations at their Midtown hospital facilities. 

Molson Coors featured Athens’ Terrapin Brewery in their annual sustainability report as a leader among their breweries, highlighting our 2019 solar installation at their facility.

But it’s more than solar. We’re working hand-in-hand with all of our partners to put their goals into action. The road to a brighter future is being paved in Georgia and the process is replicable. As more leaders begin this inevitable shift, it becomes easier to visualize that future. 

So, Georgia, where do we see ourselves in 14 to 29 years? Because I see us holding up our end of the bargain. I see us as leaders. I see us working together to create a future that the next generation deserves. I see us shining bright enough to power a whole state. 

Our transition to renewable energy requires the bright thinker in each of us.

ATLANTA – May 24, 2021 – Illuminarium Experiences, a new breakthrough global experiential entertainment company, announced today that tickets for its first Illuminarium in Atlanta, opening July 1, 2021, are now on sale at Illuminarium.com. Tickets for WILD: A Safari Experience, a first-of-its-kind entertainment experience showcasing the beauty and splendor of Africa’s most exotic animals in their natural habitats, start at $30 for kids and $35 for adults, with premium packages available.

WILD will transport visitors to Africa through cinematic content shot by Radical Media, using custom camera arrays that provide a 240-degree native field of view (versus the average 210-degree human field of view), on location to showcase majestic animals in their native habitats across South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania. Complementing the exotic sights of a safari, visitors will also be immersed in its authentic sounds and scents, all without leaving Atlanta’s BeltLine.

Illuminarium’s immersive venues will transport millions of visitors to places they only dream of experiencing by placing them “inside” the narrative with techniques used in traditional motion picture production and virtual reality that facilitate the experience of real world, filmed content (like a safari) and authentic, re-created worlds in an immersive environment, all without wearable hardware. 

During the evening, Thursday-Saturday, Illuminarium will transform into a dynamic bar that features an immersive generative environment, allowing guests to have cocktails and curated eats surrounded by an ever-changing lush and stunning atmosphere. Through state-of-the-art projection and audio systems, guests will be invited to gather in a different far-flung and fantastic setting.

Visitors can also experience The Illuminarium Café, offering both indoor seating and an outdoor patio facing the BeltLine. The café will be an extension of the immersive experience content, serving authentic dishes, beer, and wine from the African continent, along with local southern favorites. The Illuminarium Shop will retail a wide variety of gifts inspired by the safari experience. Along with souvenirs like eco-friendly plush toys and items with a specific conservation give-back, the shop will carry unique items such as woven baskets, beaded jewelry, and hand-carved wooden decor sourced from artisan networks in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. Both the café and shop are open to the public and do not require paid admission to the attraction.

Following Atlanta, Illuminarium will open in Las Vegas at AREA 15 in January 2022 and in Miami, at Mana in the Wynwood Arts District, in fall 2022. Other North American locations under consideration are New York City, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles and Austin.  

Illuminarium will design and operate each spectacle in an environmentally conscious manner that acknowledges its social impact. For WILD, Illuminarium partnered with global conservation organization, WildArk, to work collaboratively with local partners and communities to protect prioritized wildlife, biodiversity and ecosystems around the world. Illuminarium will donate a portion of all ticket and merchandising revenue annually to WildArk. Through this strategic partnership, WildArk targets this funding, as well as additional donations made at Illuminarium, to aligned conservation partners working to protect prioritized wildlife and their habitats across Africa. Illuminarium will also provide opportunities for customers to become personally engaged with WildArk and other mission-based partners they bring to the experience.

 

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About Illuminarium Experiences

Illuminarium Experiences is a breakthrough, global experiential entertainment company created by worldwide leaders in cinematic and interactive content, architectural and theatrical design and venue operations. Illuminarium Experiences are immersive entertainment spectacles presented in custom-designed venues called “Illuminariums.” What museums are to art, cinemas to movies and concert halls to music, Illuminariums are to experiential entertainment. Illuminariums are reprogrammable immersive theaters that surround visitors in a sensory space of sight, sound and scale unlike any other, providing access to the most amazing, but typically out-of-reach, places, people and experiences to make our planet a more inspired, more empathetic and more connected place. Created by Alan Greenberg, Radical Media and Rockwell Group, and operated by Legends, Illuminarium Experiences brings together best-in-class partners in content creation, theatrical design, interactive technologies and venue operations. Learn more at Illuminarium.com.

 

Media Contact:

Julie Horn, DKC for Illuminarium

[email protected]

917-701-7136

 

  • Entrepreneur Name: Kevin Mobolade 
  • Venture Name: Swipe Credit 
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Financial Inclusion 
  • Business Stage (Ideation, Startup, Early, Later, Mature): Early 
  • Year Venture Established: 2021 
  • Business Type: Enterprise Software as a Service 

 

Swipe Credit is a financial technology company that provides credit to more than 11 million underserved people in the US. We have made it easier to access financial services by using alternative data to increase access to credit for consumers and small businesses. Our innovative technology provides lenders with information based on actual consumer behavior. We identify customers who want lower payments and fees than existing services offer, then match them to the ideal financial product that matches their needs. 

According to Citigroup, closing the racial wealth wage gap 20 years ago might have provided an additional $2.7 trillion in income available for consumption and investment. Improving access to housing credit might have added an additional 770,000 homeowners over the last 20 years, with combined sales and expenditures adding another $218 billion to GDP over that time. 

Facilitating increased access to higher education (college, graduate, and vocational schools) for students might have bolstered lifetime incomes by $90 to $113 billion dollars.

Providing fair and equitable lending to entrepreneurs might have resulted in the creation of an additional $13 trillion in business revenue over the last 20 years. This could have been used for investments in labor, technology, capital equipment, and structures and 6.1 million jobs might have been created per year. 

At Swipe Credit, we’ve put together a team of engineers from Georgia Tech led by our CTO, who has a Ph.D. in computer engineering. We have developed an algorithmic mechanism and high-quality user onboarding and interfaces to combat this problem and unlock tens of billions of enterprise value in the process. 

As a first-generation American, my family and I personally have experienced the hardships involved in navigating the financial system and the pain that this brings in one’s day-to-day life. The American dream for most is to have a home, a car, and a job. In reality, most families struggle to achieve just those three things. Millions of people in our country don’t have access to credit. 

Swipe Credit’s mission is to support financially underserved individuals and families by providing them with access to financial resources. We do this by providing credit monitoring services, educational resources, and innovative products and services that help consumers achieve financial freedom without the added stress of credit scores. 

I leave with you with this quote from American radio speaker and author Earl Nightingale: ” We are at our very best, and we are happiest when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.” As a country, as a people, it is time that we provide the least of us with the tools needed to help them do the work they enjoy and build the future they envision. We are made stronger, more secure, and happier as a community. It is time we make that dream a reality. 

 

Interested in learning more, please visit: 

  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/CreditSwipe  
  • Website: https://www.exploreswipe.com/  
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/swipe-credit