How can we redesign communities for transit (recap)?

On April 24th Center for Civic Innovation hosted the first (of many) 2017 Our Future Atlanta panels about the issues that matter most in the upcoming city-wide elections. Up first? Transportation access and the possibilities of equitable transpiration oriented development. After the recent traffic woes (I-85 collapse, I-20 road buckle, some foam tomahawks spilling onto I-75 and more) transit is on everyones mind, but just laying new rail lines isn't a solution that works for all communities. 



Alex Trachtenberg, Southface

Brian Gist, Southern Environmental Law Center

Deborah Scott, Georgia Stand Up

Debbie Frank, MARTA 

Moderator: Odetta MacLeish-White, Enterprise Community Partners


Some of the biggest themes of the night included: 

  • The call for a Living Transit Fund - a portion of the newly authorize transportation tax that would be used to create TOD stuff like affordable housing near transit stations. This is a great way to increase MARTA ridership while also providing much needed affordable housing! 
  • MARTA has a policy of at least 20% affordable units at all of their new TOD developments - that is 20% of all the units at all those parking lots being converted to condos and apartments
  • Transformation Alliance has a new scorecard to help people evaluate how equitable a development is. It is still in development but you can find it here and here
  • We need to envision a "spectrum of transit" that meets multiple needs. Rail is only a good investment in areas that want to be really dense and not all communities want that. Communities should think about who they are and what they want - density and tall buildings vs single family and more tree coverage - and line up transit options that help meet their vision. 

You can get the entire presentation here

CCI Attends: Environmental Justice & Equity Mayoral Town Hall

On April 22, 2017 - Earth Day - Partnership for Southern Equity, Our Future Atlanta, and the People's Agenda hosted a forum with candidates for Mayor of Atlanta at the King Center. The event covered candidates ideas around key issues affecting the lives of Atlantans including equitable transportation, affordable housing, and renewable energy. Only two major candidates, Mary Norwood & Michael Sterling, were unable to attend.  News crews were on site and you can see a full recording of the event below!

Social Studies Recap: Undocumented under a Trump administration

Along with our partners at Creative Loafing, the Center for Civic Innovation held this year’s first Social Studies discussion this past Wednesday. The topic was undocumented immigration, featured in Creative Loafing’s recent cover story “In the Shadows” about metro Atlanta “Dreamers.”

Being an undocumented immigrant in the US has taken on new meaning as federal policies and national attitudes change. Cities, counties, and states have become caught up in the debate about how to both remain welcoming communities and deal with stricter immigration enforcement as immigration policy dominates the news. There is a lot on the line for our undocumented neighbors and for top decision-makers in local institutions, especially while the federal government moves to tie local compliance with immigration law to federal funding.


Melonie Tharpe, CCI’s Programs & Advocacy Director, introduced the topic and each of the panelists.


The first panel consisted of “Dreamers,” the children of undocumented immigrants who qualified for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Dreamers give their personal stories about how they came to live in the US and share misconceptions that others have about undocumented immigrants and the challenges that DACA recipients still face.

Dreamers give their personal stories about how they came to live in the US and share misconceptions that others have about undocumented immigrants and the challenges that DACA recipients still face.

It’s important to recognize the humanity that everyone has.
— Raymond Partolan


The second panel consisted of professionals that work and volunteer as advocates for immigrants.

Panelists speak about the current legal challenges that undocumented immigrants are facing with changes in federal policy and enforcement.

Panelists speak about the current legal challenges that undocumented immigrants are facing with changes in federal policy and enforcement.


Our Final 5: Ideas Challenge 2017


Wednesday, March 1 turned out to be a stormy night in Atlanta, but ATLiens turned out en masse to the first night of the inaugural Atlanta Civic Summit. The Ideas Challenge Top Ten kicked off the Summit with ten incredible presentations to the full audience and five judges.

After considerable deliberation, the judges have decided who will go on to the next round! The Top Five all receive $500 from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, workspace and technical assistance with the Center for Civic Innovation, and the opportunity to apply for grants ranging from $1500 to $10,000. We’re so proud to announce these top five!


Monica Campana, Signs of Solidarity ATL - Voter Edition: This public art project will feature banners created by local artists with messages of voter empowerment.

Jean Graham, Voter Education Texts: This project will update voters via text with real time information about their polling place, candidates, and issues affecting their communities.

Phi Nguyen+Kavi Vu Young, Voter Videos: This web-based video series will educate voters (specifically those in underrepresented communities) about the issues that affect them and the importance of civic engagement.

Rhonda Patrick, Get Out the Vote Truck: This mobile (think “food truck”) education vehicle will travel to popular festivals in the Atlanta area, sharing the story of candidates, activating voters, and educating the public on Atlanta’s civic history.

Use Ufot, Civics Bootcamp: This bootcamp demystifies the political process for and educates participants on best practices and actions they can take to improve their communities.


Thank you again to our panel of judges who joined us on stage:

Milton Little, United Way of Greater Atlanta
Hala Moddelmog, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Suganthi Simon, Arthur M Blank Family Foundation
Nathaniel Smith, Partnership for Southern Equity

Carol Waddy, Chick-fil-A Foundation


You can read more about the 2017 Ideas Challenge here


Announcing the Ideas Challenge Top 10!

The Center for Civic Innovation and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta is proud to announce the 2017 Ideas Challenge Top 10! 

The 2017 Ideas Challenge focused on identifying innovative and creative ideas that will engage communities around local and municipal elections in the city of Atlanta and metro Atlanta communities.

We were blown away by the amount of talent and innovation displayed in the applications, and are celebrating the TOP 10 today! They'll be presenting their ideas to a panel of judges on March 1, 2017 at the Center for Civic Innovation and Our Future Atlanta's Atlanta Civic Summit. Learn more about the Challenge and the summit here. 

Meet our top ten:

  • Biking Town Hall Jordyne Krumroy

  • Candidate Speed Dating Adrianne Serrano Proeller

  • Civics Bootcamp Nse Ufot

  • Civic Subscription Box Daniel Otto

  • Get Out the Vote Truck Rhonda Patrick

  • New American Voter Stories Diana Bui

  • Signs of Solidarity ATL - Voter Edition Monica Campana

  • Voter Education Texts Jenn Graham

  • Voting Documentary Evan Brown

  • Young Voter Videos Phi Nguyen




The Center for Civic Innovation Partners with the Sara Blakely Foundation To Invest in 10 Female Social Entrepreneurs in Atlanta


The Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) is excited to announce a partnership with the Sara Blakely Foundation that will support 10 women-led social enterprises and impact businesses in Atlanta. This one year fellowship will invest in the businesses and leadership development of each entrepreneur. These women represent business leaders that are creating both economic and social impact in our city.

Meet these boss women representing the inaugural cohort for this program:

  • Rutu Chaudhari, The Dharma Project, is a yoga instructor that brings her practice of self care to public servants.

  • Susanna Spiccia, re:Imagine/ATL, works with teens to create content for teens on a variety of topics.

  • Marian Liou, We Love BuHi, is a place-maker, bringing attention, support and dignity to immigrant owned businesses on Buford Highway.

  • Beth Malone, Dashboard, runs an experimental art agency that produces exhibitions in dynamic spaces to re-imagine experience. 

  • Tiffany Ray, Generation Infocus, is changing the way we view STEAM education in Atlanta Public Schools.

  • Abiodun Henderson, The Come Up Project, Inc., is breaking the cycle of incarceration by training at risk youth in agribusiness.

  • Monica Campana, Living Walls, uses art to connect to the places around them and to spark community conversation.

  • Yasmeen Sabir, Carver’s Produce, is creating a food hub in the heart of Atlanta to increase the lifespan and the distribution channels of our food.

  • Malika Whitley, Chop Art, runs arts programs for homeless youth in Atlanta.

  • Kristen Daniel, Pentorship, develops a customized training curriculum for re entering citizens returning from prison.


We’re so excited to see the impact that these women have on our city! Stay tuned for updates

from this cohort here on our blog.

Sara Blakley welcoming the women!

Designing Solutions: Georgia State University Partnership

The Center for Civic Innovation’s Westside Innovation Lab hosted its final showcase of social entrepreneurs in November, but the fruits of its labor are still manifesting. Throughout the 6-month fellowship, the Westside Innovation Lab partnered with Georgia State University’s Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design under the lead of two professors, Jefferey Boortz and Bryan Perry, to offer experiential learning to senior design students and free brand booklets to our eight fellows

Announcing the 2016 Civic Impact Awards Winners!

The Center for Civic Innovation held Atlanta's second annual Civic Impact Awards on Thursday, December 8, 2016. CCI launched the Civic Impact Awards to celebrate the people who put in the time and energy day in and day out to change the lives of other people for the better. Without them, the story of Atlanta is incomplete. At the Civic Impact Awards, we announced winners in each category!