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:



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!



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!




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! 



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!




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! 



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. 



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.



Interested in learning more, please visit:





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.


#  #  #


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, 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.




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.




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

By: Thelma Johnson, CEO of Albany Community Together! (ACT) & Christine Reeves Strigaro, Executive Director of The Sapelo Foundation 


Albany Community Together! (ACT!) is a Community Financial Development Institution (CDFI) that is based in Albany, Georgia. It provides capital, coaching, and connections to support small businesses in southwest Georgia. Its combination of loans and vital technical assistance help those small businesses survive and thrive, especially when earlier in 2020 Albany, Georgia had the fourth highest rate of COVID-19 cases globally. 

The Sapelo Foundation is a private, family foundation that is based in Savannah, Georgia and works statewide. It utilizes 100% of its capital – including grants, mission investments, convening space, thought leadership, and advocacy – to advance its mission: “We strive for a just Georgia, through partnerships and solutions that increase environmental protection, social prosperity, and civic power.” In 2020, The Sapelo Foundation recently launched its new strategic plan, new grantmaking process, new website, and new mission investing journey.


When you’re a hammer, you think everything is a nail. So, when a foundation identifies itself as only a grantmaking partner, it may try to solve problems and catalyze opportunities with only grants – an important, but single tool that has limitations. For instance, quantitatively, grants only comprise about 5% of all of a private foundation’s financial capital. So, when a foundation also identifies as a mission investing partner, suddenly it has many more tools available (such as PRIs), and it can unlock and leverage the remaining 95% of its assets to align with its mission. When 19 times more financial capital is available, more good work happens. Just as The Sapelo Foundation would not want a grantee partner to only use 5% of its capital towards its mission, The Sapelo Foundation does not want to only use 5% of its financial capital. 

Partnership History: In May 2018, The Sapelo Foundation awarded a collaborative grant to both ACT! and its sister CDFI, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE). Then, in October 2019, staff and trustees visited ACT! in Albany for an illuminating site visit. In September 2020, The Sapelo Foundation awarded ACT! with its first Program Related Investment (PRI), in the form of a loan for $100,000, at 0% interest, for a duration of three years. A PRI can sometimes be thought of as a recyclable grant, but it can come from the 95% (endowment), not only the 5% (grants). One goal of this first-ever PRI for The Sapelo Foundation was to support ACT! and its extraordinary work, vision, leadership, expertise, and partnership with entrepreneurs in greater Albany. Another goal was to complement its grantmaking work in Albany with a PRI. To learn more, please read this press release.


Q&A: The following is a Q&A with The Sapelo Foundation’s Executive Director, Christine Reeves Strigaro (a mission investing partner) and ACT!’s CEO, Thelma Johnson (a mission investee partner).


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): In less than three months, how did ACT! leverage the first $1 million from the PRI that you received in September 2020?

Thelma (ACT!): The PRI was the beginning of a very successful 2020 fund development plan. As we applied for grants, we had to identify existing foundation relationships and any pending applications. We found that one of the most attractive elements of our proposal, was our diverse funding. We had relationships with foundations, specifically The Sapelo Foundation’s PRI. The confidence that The Sapelo Foundation had in us directly attracted other funders to learn more about and invest in our work. With the success of the PRI, we no longer dreaded the other funders’ worksheets that were required with almost every proposal. Full speed ahead, we applied for the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund. We were able to leverage our PRI to attract additional funding in the amount of $1 million to assist 30 businesses with immediate recovery and provide credit enhancements to move towards recovery and relaunch.  


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): You have talked with The Sapelo Foundation about a “domino effect.” What do you mean by that? 

Thelma (ACT!): Since the Sapelo PRI, we have had the domino effect of attracting investments. We believe that the PRI showed a diverse balance sheet that has allowed us to leverage our existing relationships to grow our capital for loans and capacity support. We are very grateful and thankful for the risk Sapelo took to show that ACT! has a sound balance sheet that warrants supporting our mission.  

Specifically, since receiving the PRI from Sapelo and the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund, we have been approved by Opportunity Finance Network through its Grow with Google Initiative for a 10-year, $1 million loan and a $150,000 grant to support operations. ACT! has been able to attract over $2.1 million dollars this year and since June 2020. We were also invited to apply for another PRI from The Nathan Cummings Foundation for $250k; however, the board decided to hold off after the Wells Fargo announcement.  


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): Can you share more context about what happened before the PRI, and how you are thinking about 2020 and 2021?

Thelma (ACT!): As we look back over 2020, we are forever reminded of the tremendous losses. Despite the pain and agony 2020 has brought, ACT! is positioned to make meaningful impact in our market. As for 2021, we plan to implement our strategic plan goals of increasing our staff capacity and scaling our loan portfolio.  


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): Are there any closing thoughts that you would like to share?

Thelma (ACT!): Without strong and successful fund development, fundraising, and grant writing strategies, nonprofits face the difficult task of attracting investments to achieve true mission-driven work. We, in the nonprofit world, understand that there are no programs without people. If we are not able to cover operating expenses from program income, we must subsidize it with our fund development strategies. ACT! has been in that pivotal point of operating soundly, but never being successful in attracting significant investment to move the organization forward. ACT! has been successful in receiving government grants, and in developing partnerships with local governments, but the ever-elusive private foundations were not knocking at our door. 

The PRI from Sapelo has helped change that conversation.

Entrepreneur Name: Reginald Maisonneuve

Venture Name: Aegis LLC

Impact Focus Area(s): Financial & Economic Transformation for the consumer, enterprise & government.

Core areas include:

  • Financial Health
  • Affordable Housing
  • Access to Capital: Consumer & micro & SMB
  • Under/Un-banked
  • Employee Financial Wellness

Business Stage: Startup

Year Venture Established: 2018

Business Type: LLC, a GA Corp., Haitian-American & US Veteran-owned.

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.

Increasing economic inequality and distress make clear that people across the globe lack the basic means to understand and navigate effectively through their economic landscapes. Enterprise and government are challenged by a lack of robust, high quality data and tools to drive deeper insights, stronger outcomes and higher performance. 

Our platform, Stance, was conceived and designed from inception to address this problem through innovation in visualization, economic modeling, and technology to serve people across the socio-economic, educational & cultural spectrum and enable responsible enterprise and government to serve them better and strengthen their own organizations through new service and business intelligence capabilities. Civil & democratic societies depend on addressing this problem to thrive.  That has never been clearer.



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.

As a businessperson and entrepreneur, I remain an engineer at heart. I like solving complex problems, bringing structure to chaos, and working with diverse individuals and organizations to make a meaningful and lasting impact. It’s been a theme in my career to be brought in to solve complex problems – sometime in extreme situations (like a coup d’état).  I’ve shown success in doing so.

I believe that if you’re creative, pragmatic and engaging enough, complex problems and challenges can be overcome. Being from Haiti, living and working in developed and developing countries, I want to demonstrate that businesses that help individuals and communities thrive, can also thrive. Achieving this would be deeply rewarding. It is core to Aegis’ genesis.



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.

The challenge we have is in creating a new product category. Most products attack a symptom or one area impacting financial health, often times at the expense of another. We avoid this problem by clearly defining and quantifying the principal objective: advancing the financial health (i.e., the economic viability & strength of a consumer, household or community) and giving people and serving organizations the means to put it effectively to use. This approach allows us to tackle problems of increasing urgency in our society and of strategic importance to enterprise and government … using the same platform.

We have found that much of the ecosystem is focused on one element of the puzzle. Our platform, Stance, serves as an integrating fabric. Stance, coupled to our expertise in enterprise transformation, enables innovation in services, new levels of service and operating performance, while giving consumers new means to get and stay ahead. We are seeking and need partners and investors to fulfill our mission.


Interested in learning more, please visit:

October 26, 2020


By: Nathan Stuck, Ad Victoriam Solutions and B Local Georgia

As the B Corp movement continues to gain traction throughout the Southeast, it also continues to gain in popularity in Georgia. The city of Athens, known for REM, Widespread Panic, and Georgia Football, is hoping to turn the Classic City into the next hub of purpose-driven, sustainable B Corps. They recently hosted a virtual event organized by Envision Athens and B Local Georgia that was designed to raise awareness of this gold-standard CSR certification. 

The event was a celebration of both Athens and its sustainable business leaders. Envision Athens’ Erin Barger kicked it off before handing it over to Mayor Kelly Girtz and the VP of Culture and People at Creature Comforts, Fenwick Broyard. The three of them all spoke to Athens’ wonderful sense of community, innovative entrepreneurship scene, and the natural fit of combining purpose and profit. 

B Local Georgia Co-Founder & Chair Nathan Stuck, who also serves as Director of Corporate Culture at Atlanta-based B Corp Ad Victoriam Solutions, gave an informative B Corp 101 session, highlighting the history of the movement while making the business case for companies to certify as B Corps. Among the most important reasons mentioned were differentiating from your competition, attracting a talented and diverse workforce, and using the assessment and the existing community of B Corps to benchmark and improve your impact.  

Following the session, Stuck moderated an inspiring panel featuring Athens’ first B Corps. The panel included Luis Imery, president & CEO of Imery Group, Athens’ first B Corp;  Ally Hellenga, community manager for Creature Comforts, which will soon be Athens’ second B Corp; Peter Dale, co-owner of Condor Chocolates, Seabear, Maepole, & the National; and Lacy Green, director of people & operations for Hotel Indigo Athens, an aspiring B Corp. All four shared their experiences taking the certification assessment, what they learned, and why they felt this was the right move for their business, their employees, and the local community as a whole. 

Most common among the advice given was a partnership with the University of Georgia, who launched their B Collaborative in 2019. The program, run through the Full-Time MBA program in the Terry College of Business, brings together MBA candidates, undergraduate students pursuing their Sustainability certificates, and students from the university’s growing entrepreneurship program. These students spend a semester consulting local businesses to help them tackle the B Corp assessment, increase worker benefits, and improve their community & environmental impact. 

Interested in learning more about Georgia’s growing B Corp movement? Follow B Local Georgia  on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram and feel free to contact us with any questions.