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! 

Westside Innovation Lab: A Recap

Six months ago, the Center for Civic Innovation launched the Westside Innovation Lab. The neighborhoods on the westside of Atlanta are home to some of the richest history, talent, and community collaboration in the city--in the country, if you ask us. We know the best solutions come from the residents and communities themselves. That’s why we launched the Westside Innovation Lab, a process to identify and support community-driven and community-built ideas and interventions within neighborhoods on the westside of Atlanta.

Leadership Breakfast: Atiba Mbiwan

The Center for Civic Innovation hosted Atiba Mbiwan, Associate Director of the Zeist Foundation, for our monthly Leadership Breakfast. Atiba is a well-known figure in Atlanta’s community development circles, but many in Atlanta don’t know the many stories of Atiba’s childhood and earlier years that he shared with us. 

Inclusive Growth in the Digital Economy

Photo courtesy of the Beeck Center

Photo courtesy of the Beeck Center

Last week, the Center for Civic Innovation hosted Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth and Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University. They are on a multi-city listening tour, devoted to discussions on building inclusive growth in our modern, digital economy.

The Atlanta stop focused on the creative economy, equity, and the digital divide. Craig Vosburg, President of Mastercard North America, opened the event.  “Inclusive growth is one of the defining issues of our time. We see an important role for Mastercard and our partners to help connect everyone to the networks that power the modern economy."

Two panel discussions followed.

The first focused on bridging the gap between the creative and tech sectors. Bitter Southerner co-founder Chuck Reece facilitated a discussion between some of Atlanta’s most community-minded creatives, Courtney Hammond of Dashboard, Amanda Sabreah of Partnr, Lain Shakespeare of Mailchimp, and Matt Weiss of A3C Hip Hop Festival and Conference.

Photo courtesy of the Beeck Center

Photo courtesy of the Beeck Center

“In Atlanta, we separate the tech and artistic communities. It’s easy to stay within your four walls. We need to merge,” said Partnr‘s Amanda Sabreah, one of the panelists. “Get out of your four walls!”

Lain Shakespeare, Corporate Citizenship Manager at Mailchimp, shared insight on how Mailchimp’s fresh take on corporate philanthropy, by allowing arts organizations to take risks. 

There’s an opportunity for us to invest in small, medium-sized arts organizations… Founders focus so much on outcomes, but why can’t we focus on the creative process?

The second panel of the day focused on equity in economic growth. The Beeck Center’s Sonal Shah facilitated a discussion between Mike Carnathan of Neighborhood Nexus, Duriya Farooqui of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, Grace Fricks of ACE Loans, Lesley Grady of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and Nathaniel Smith of the Partnership for Southern Equity.

Photo courtesy of the Beeck Center

Photo courtesy of the Beeck Center

Sonal Shah mentioned that so often, when she suggests bold, innovative action in the public policy world, she’s met with hesitation. “What if these ideas fail, people ask me. But we’re already failing so often to meet our public policy goals.”

Nathaniel Smith of the Partnership for Southern Equity reminded the audience that public budgets are reflections of society’s values. “You cannot talk about economic justice without talking about structural racism. Making America great again for some is making white supremacy work again.”

Lesley Grady of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta shared her perspective with the audience as a philanthropic funder. “Too often we forgot who the poor are.” Grady reminded the audience that data is very important, but that you can’t box everyone into a data set or forget about folks’ individual differences.

This event was one stop on the Center for Inclusive Growth’s “On the Frontlines of Inclusive Growth” tour.

Bringing together local businesses, think tanks, policymakers, thought leaders and other influencers in cities across the US, the Center for Inclusive Growth will publish findings from this tour and develop programming to promote inclusive growth in the U.S. during 2017 and beyond.

Additional Resources

Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth
The Beeck Center
Partnership for Southern Equity’s economic inclusion report
Hypepotamus - Discussing the Gap Between Creative and Tech
Atlanta Daily World - Investing in Diversity is Vital for Building Inclusive Economies