The Center for Civic Innovation hit the ground running at the start of the new year. First, we are proud to say that we completed our Food Access Lab selection process. In October, we asked the question, “What product or service will help Atlanta address the issue of food access?” 46 sets of entrepreneurs answered with ideas that were creative and filled with passion, and we are excited to welcome 12 winning teams to CCI for the next six months.
Through the selection process for the Food Access Lab, we read hundreds of pages of applications and spent hours on the phone meeting with food entrepreneurs and learning about their experiences and backgrounds and passions. We were so inspired by everyone we met that we decided to support all our applicants, not just the 12 we accepted into the Civic Lab. We created a Food Innovation Network that first met on January 22nd for a brainstorming session around programming and resources that CCI can offer. We are kicking off the first official program on February 16, and if you’re working on a food idea, you should join us!
We kicked off a conversation on January 20th to envision what an Atlanta MLK Jr. Day celebration could be. There is a need for creative, passionate and, most of all, publicly accessible activities for all ages and abilities to reflect on and learn from MLK Jr. We’ll keep you posted as this idea continues to take shape.
Along the same lines, we were honored to host Doug Shipman for our January Leadership Breakfast. He dedicated years to building the National Center for Civil and Human Rights right here in Atlanta and his discussion reflected on the importance of community conversation as a stepping stone to action. Keep an eye out for our recap post in the next week..
We also launched some fantastic partnerships. We worked with the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to host an exclusive screening of Green Streets and a panel discussion with social entrepreneur Tyrone Mullins, our own Executive Director Rohit Malhotra, and others who highlighted what social entrepreneurship can mean for Atlanta.
Finally, we launched a partnership with the United Way of Greater Atlanta around their Spark Prize initiative. This program seeks to provide grants up to $20,000 to innovative ideas related to United Way’s mission around improving health, income, education, and homelessness. Over 60 individuals showed up for our pitch training session and more than 80 applications came pouring in.
January was exciting and be sure to check our February schedule, as we continue to grow our community here in Atlanta!