2016 IN REVIEW
Two years ago when we opened our doors to the Center for Civic Innovation, we did so with one clear objective: to give people who love this city a place and a platform to engage with it. This includes celebrating when amazing things happen and the people who make them happen, but it also means calling out where our home city has opportunities to improve and grow.
In 2016, the Center for Civic Innovation has celebrated, cried, jumped for joy, and learned more than we ever thought we would.
The main areas of focus for the Center for Civic Innovation have been: connecting community members to policymakers, providing space for community to gather and have tough conversations, and giving folks a conduit to true community engagement.
Whether we’re talking about Equity, Affordability, and the Beltline or MARTA & T-SPLOST, informing the priorities of a newly appointed city official, or breaking down the details of ballot referenda during the 2016 election, we’re invested in giving people opportunities to help shape our city’s future. When the City of Atlanta waived public engagement requirements for abandoning streets, CCI quickly partnered with Creative Loafing to help the public understand What's Going Down at Underground Atlanta and have a voice in the process.
We’ve been honored to host some of our favorite civic leaders for one of our favorite events - Leadership Breakfasts. Folks like Tina Fernandez (Achieve Atlanta), Bassima Mroue (Sara Blakely Foundation), Alex Reeves (Clinton Global Initiative), and Atiba Mbiwan (Zeist Foundation) have shared their stories and insights with us in an intimate setting.
You can read about more of our programming here.
The Center for Civic Innovation hosted Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth and the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University for its Inclusive Growth and the Digital Economy event. The Atlanta stop on the multi-city listening tour focused on the creative economy, equity, and the digital divide.
In partnership with Conscious Company magazine, we hosted Sum + Substance, a national tour highlighting social entrepreneurs and people who are creating value and meaning in their jobs.
The Center for Civic Innovation partnered with A3C Music Festival & Conference for the second year to award more than $10,000 to organizations using hip hop and the arts to advance social justice and improve lives in their cities.
We hosted the local 1776 Challenge Cup, an international competition to identify promising, for profit startups. Three finalists from Atlanta advanced to Washington, D.C. to compete with people from all over the world.
The US Small Business Administration’s InnovateHER Challenge gave us an opportunity to work with the City of Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) to identify some incredible women-led businesses in Atlanta and recommend them for the next stage of the competition.
We served as a local partner for the 2016 Philanthropitch Atlanta Awards and pitch competition, where $61,500 was awarded to seven local nonprofits.
In 2016, we expanded our footprint in the historic M. Rich building in the heart of South Downtown. We gained 5,000 square feet and a full bank of offices which have been filled with an expressive roster of social entrepreneurs including STE(A)M Truck, Next Generation Men/Women, and our eight Civic Innovation Fellows. Our campus serves as a community center and resource hub, connecting social impact organizations, entrepreneurs, activists, and creatives.
Our fellowship program provides leadership and business development, technical assistance, one on one advisement, a cohort of peer support, and, in some cases, capital to local community leaders and social entrepreneurs who are creating impact in Atlanta communities. In 2016, the Center for Civic Innovation trained 26 fellows through the Westside Innovation Fellowship, the Civic Innovation Fellowship, and the Food Innovation Fellowship.
Richard Hinds created Good Kupa Koffie, the first coffee shop on the Westside. Keitra Bates, CEO of Marddy’s, was granted a loan from ACE (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs) to secure a space for a shared kitchen space in Ashview Heights. LaTeef Pyles of The University Barbershop, located in Vine City, helped five barbers receive Mental Health First Aid training to better serve the young people that come into the shop. Jeffrey Martin of honorCode went to the Forbes $1 Million Change the World Competition and honorCode WON the whole thing! The winner of A3C Action 2015 Malika Whitley of ChopArt and current Civic Innovation Fellow Marian Liou of We Love BuHi received the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s Neighborhood Grants. Numerous other fellows hosted fundraisers, won awards, and collaborated with one another on major projects.
Civic Innovation Fellowship supports social entrepreneurs from across industries and geographies in Atlanta, from an artist guild that using art as a way to spark community conversation to a creative arts program for teenage storytellers.
In partnership with MailChimp and the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta
Food Innovation Fellowship supports farmers, educators, and other leaders in the food movement to scale their work, from a grower that takes vacant lots and turns them into growing centers to a training and support system for farmers markets.
In partnership with Food Well Alliance
Westside Innovation Lab supports residents in westside neighborhoods with social impact ideas, from a barbershop providing mental health training to barbers to a coding and technology exposure program for young women in Atlanta’s Washington cluster.
In partnership with the Blank Foundation, Equifax, Chick-fil-A, and the United Way
Our Owning Your Story Workshops and our Social Enterprise Bootcamps have refined the business models and pitches of over 40 entrepreneurs in Atlanta and abroad. We’ve partnered with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to train and provide technical assistance to grantees and worked with the US Department of State and their Young Leaders of America Initiative to train Latin American entrepreneurs.