Local governments and nonprofits struggle to find and test new solutions to local challenges. This happens for a variety of financial and personnel constraints, including lacking data infrastructure, and a fear of failure. This results in poor service delivery, stale solutions, and a mistrust and disengagement from the communities they aim to serve.
At the same time, Atlanta is an entrepreneurial city. In every neighborhood across the region, there are people working to make their communities better—running small businesses, starting nonprofits, and creating programs to help their neighbors. These are farmers growing top restaurant-quality food on small plots of land borrowed from churches, teachers paying out of pocket to bring new technologies into classrooms, and residents starting a gym to give those in their neighborhood a safe space to exercise.
Despite offering significant value to their communities, these entrepreneurs struggle to get the operational guidance, funding, and supportive environment they need to grow and become self-sustaining.
This is our opportunity.
The mission of the Center for Civic Innovation is to push Atlanta to be a smart, equitable, and engaged city by investing in community-driven ideas, supporting social enterprises, and engaging people in dialogue and action. We do this by supporting and investing in people and organizations who are already on the ground with products or services that make the public sector more effective, innovative, and participatory. We host programs for community based social entrepreneurs at all stages, but we focus our investments on early stage, untested projects.
Our Geographic Focus
We are based in Atlanta, Georgia, and our programs focus on tackling challenges faced by the metro region. Atlanta is a true tale of two cities—it is home to some of the most successful and recognizable companies in the world, yet it also is home to the highest income inequality in the country.
We are focused on Atlanta and believe that our model will be scalable to similar cities that face challenges of strapped local budgets and low upward mobility but are home to entrepreneurs working to make their city better. Given Atlanta’s history and where it is today, it is the perfect place to test and grow civic solutions.