Introducing: Our 2019 Civic Innovation Fellows

The Center for Civic Innovation is proud to announce the 2019 class of Civic Innovation Fellows. The Civic Innovation Fellowship is a leadership and business development program for social entrepreneurs in Atlanta. This fellowship brings together a cohort of individuals with innovative, outcome-driven ideas to tackle social challenges in Atlanta and provides them with business development workshops, free workspace, mentorship, advising, and leadership development training.

“These civic entrepreneurs represent the best of Atlanta,” Rohit Malhotra, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation, said. “They are designing solutions to issues of inequality in our city in the areas of food security, education, art and culture, criminal justice, and civic engagement, and now they will spend the next six months with us, testing and strengthening their idea. Their work as part of this fellowship program will create ripple effects throughout Atlanta for generations.”

Meet the 2019 Civic Innovation Fellows

  • Rachel Willis | Elevating Equity: Seeks to create a fellowship for Metro Atlanta educators to create and sustain anti-racist, culturally responsive classrooms and schools.

  • Carol Bowman | Learning In Color: Seeks to support APS' School Turnaround Strategy by raising the awareness of the impact that color has on learning and by using community resources (ie. volunteers, in-kind gifts of products and services and funding from corporate sponsorships) to paint the interior walls of classrooms and school buildings using research-based color theory.

  • Max Blau | The Atlanta News Project: Wants to create a digital-first newsroom that publishes stories exposing abuses of power, examining systems that uphold injustice, and enlightening Atlantans about potential solutions to our region’s most urgent problems.

  • Tamara Coleman | Co-LaB: Address the lack of affordable housing for low-income working individuals by creating access to affordable housing near transit and creating opportunities for residents to save more and increase their overall quality of life.

  • Mamie Harper | Carrie’s Closet: A mobile clothing closet that meets the immediate needs of children removed into care utilizing clothing donated from the community and working with DFCS and community agencies to offer clothing, car seats, strollers, diaper, and other items for free.

  • Kavi Vu | Wake Up Atlanta: Seeks to civically educate and engage Asian American millennials in Georgia through fun and digestible videos that are focused on local issues and elections.

  • Starr Davis | The Starr Institute: Creates safe homes that will provide girl Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) victims ages 7-17 with safety and stability by providing comprehensive victim's services, including court advocacy, crisis counseling, trauma-informed counseling, mentorship, education support services, support groups, life skills such as building/maintaining healthy relationships, empowerment and nutritional wellness.

  • Sourabh Jha | Mini City: Addresses the issue of long-term homelessness caused by lack of identification and vital records by streamlining the administrative processes for legal identification, vital records, and employment forms. Mini City is a resource hub that provides identification and employment opportunities to the homeless citizens of Atlanta.

  • Kristina Smith | Hope for Youth, Inc: Seeks to address some of the root causes of lack of minority female representation in tech through coding education, exposure to leadership opportunities, mentoring, and training our scholars to bring coding education to others around the world.

  • Mark-Anthony Mitchell | Greater Works: Seeks to break Southeast Atlanta’s epidemic of recidivism by utilizing new and existing resources to combat, unemployment, homelessness, and inadequate life skills of former offenders and by developing reentry programs that fight recidivism by providing leadership, advocacy, and empowerment to offenders and former offenders.

  • Quyionah Wingfield | Cool Moms Dance Too: Addressing depression, stress, anxiety and cardiovascular-related issues that Atlanta’s families and local communities with children aged 5 to 17 face by providing cultural dance wellness programs proven to be a powerful solution to improve mental, emotional and physical well-being. CMDToo incorporates proven dance movement therapy strategies and mental health awareness programming via classes, training, workshops and summer camps.

In 2016, the Center for Civic Innovation launched a partnership with Food Well Alliance to support entrepreneurial efforts that advance the strength of our local food system. Through this partnership, the Center reserves a select number of seats in the Fellowship for leaders that are focused specifically on local food.

"Atlanta is rapidly changing. Leaders across our region are quickly responding to the rising gaps in food and nutritional access by developing innovative solutions that serve the communities most in need,” said Kim Karris, the Executive Director of the Food Well Alliance. “By partnering with Center for Civic Innovation through our Food Innovation Fellowship, Food Well Alliance is able to invest in the entrepreneurial capacity of these local food leaders. As an Alliance, we believe that community-driven solutions to local food challenges in our city are needed now more than ever."

Now, CCI is also proud to announce the five Food Innovation Fellows that will be joining 11 other peers as part of the 2019 class of Civic Innovation Fellows. 

Meet the 2019 Food Innovation Fellows

  • Akissi Stokes | WUNDERgrubs: Aims to address issues of food insecurity, land degradation, and water scarcity, as well as to counter factors that limit access to low-tech and low-capital investment farming options by manufacturing edible insect products that offer a healthy, affordable, and sustainable food option.

  • Michelle Namer | The Law Farm: Works directly with local farms and production enterprises to strengthen their legal footing in day-to-day dealings and ongoing goals. The Law Farm is dedicated to creating a community resource which ensures relevancy, comprehensiveness, and effectiveness in providing a range of legal assistance to local food system enterprises.

  • Trinita Ervin | Ladybug for Girls Foundation, Inc.: Our solution is to institute a multi-level obesity prevention approach by shifting our programming away from solely serving schools to broadening our scope to include local communities using social and environmental contextual factors. We plan to achieve this through the development of a train the trainer model which will allow us to increase participation in high-risk populations and to connect girls to local health-related community resources.

  • Elijah Lee | Chef Zu: Promotes access and knowledge to non-meat protein alternatives. Our project proposes to offer pop-up style markets selling pre-packaged Nuts, Seed & Grains, as plant-based meat alternatives which are local to Atlanta.

  • Ivory Flemister | From Farm to Fork on Four: Wants to create a working urban garden that serves the community by teaching how to grow their own food, providing fresh vegetables from the garden, having a community table for social gatherings, providing a meditation and sensory garden.


We’re so excited to see the impact that these fellows will have on our city! Stay tuned for updates from this cohort here on our blog.

A Big Thank You To: