History & Legacy


In the early 1990s, developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins joined Eva Davis, President of the Residents’ Association at East Lake Meadows, Renée Lewis Glover, Atlanta Housing Authority President and CEO, and local business leaders to try something new: a visionary and holistic approach to build a thriving and economically diverse East Lake community.

Centering their efforts on mixed-income housing, high-quality cradle-to-college education, and supportive community wellness and economic vitality programs, Mr. Cousins, Ms. Davis, and Ms. Lewis Glover were determined to offer all residents equitable access to the resources, tools and supports needed to thrive. Cousins formed the East Lake Foundation to lead and coordinate partnerships and programs with local residents, government entities and a wide array of public and private partners.

The success of the East Lake initiative has served as the framework for a national model of holistic community
redevelopment through Purpose Built Communities. Today, there are 27 Purpose Built Communities
across the country.

The collective work is proof that communities that have experienced disinvestment and a lackof opportunities for decades can be transformed into a neighborhoods where children and their families thrive and experience increased upward mobility, improved health outcomes and greater racial equity.


In the heart of the East Lake community, you’ll find a diverse range of homes, amenities, and businesses. The Villages of East Lake is a unique apartment community that offers 650 market-rate and affordable homes. The East Lake Foundation’s Resident and Community Support Program (RCSP) offers resources and support to residents of The Villages of East Lake with an emphasis on economic stability, career development and community engagement.

Charles R. Drew Charter School, Atlanta’s first charter school, serves more than 1,900 students from Pre-K to 12th grade. Additionally, Sheltering Arms East Lake and the East Lake Early Learning Academy provide educational programs for children from six-weeks old through preschool.

For fitness, recreation, health and wellness, residents can enjoy the East Lake Family YMCA and its East Lake Healthy Connections Program. Start:ME East Lake offers a 14-session program in partnership with Goizueta Business School at Emory University that provides entrepreneurs the tools and connections necessary to build and grow successful businesses. Furthermore, aspiring young golfers benefit from Junior Golf Programs such as The First Tee – Metro Atlanta, located at the Charlie Yates Golf Course.

East Lake is also home to the historic East Lake Golf Club, where legendary golfer Bobby Jones both began and ended his illustrious career. East Lake Golf Club has been the proud host of the PGA TOUR’s TOUR Championship for more than 20 years.

Milestones in the East Lake Neighborhood’s Journey

  • East Lake Foundation and Atlanta Land Trust break ground on the Trust at East Lake, 40 affordable, for-sale townhomes.
  • 2022 The Villages of East Lake hosts the grand reopening of the legacy properties, the largest preservation of affordable housing in Atlanta’s history.
  • The Villages of East Lake Gardenside opens. It is comprised of 108 housing units, 70% offered to families at 50-60% of AMI or below.
  • The First Tee of East Lake consolidates with The First Tee of Atlanta to become The First Tee — Metro Atlanta.
  • Drew Charter School graduates its inaugural senior class. 100% of the students graduate and are accepted to college.
  • CF Foundation sells three properties at the corners of 2nd Avenue and Hosea Williams to bring new neighborhood retail and restaurants to East Lake.
  • Drew Charter School Junior and Senior Academy adds 12th grade.
  • East Lake Foundation launches East Lake Women’s Alliance.
  • Drew Charter School Junior and Senior Academy adds 11th grade.
  • East Lake Foundation launches Start:ME East Lake Entrepreneurship Program.
  • Drew Charter School Junior and Senior Academy building opens, serving 9th and 10th grades.
  • East Lake Foundation launches East Lake Healthy Connections.
  • Drew Charter School Senior Academy opens in its temporary location, serving 9th grade students.
  • East Lake Early Learning Academy opens at the East Lake Family YMCA.
  • The Georgia Pre-K program begins to replicate Drew’s early education model to improve literacy in 20 additional sites across the state.
  • Purpose Built Communities is established to replicate the East Lake Foundation’s framework of holistic community revitalization.
  • Drew Charter School opens the innovative Literacy Center to close the achievement gap for students who are below grade level, while helping average students exceed grade level standards.
  • The Cox Pre-K Program, a partnership with the Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language & Learning, opens at Drew Charter School.
  • East Lake Golf Club is named the permanent home of the PGA Tour’s TOUR Championship.
  • 2005 East Lake Community Foundation changes its name to East Lake Foundation.
  • East Lake Junior Golf Academy joins national First Tee program and becomes First Tee of East Lake.
  • Drew Charter School adds a 8th grade level, expanding enrollment to 780 students.
  • Drew Charter School adds a 7th grade level, expanding enrollment to 700 students.
  • The East Lake Sheltering Arms Early Learning Center opens.
  • Drew Charter School opens in a new $17.5 million, 105,000-square-foot facility, serving 600+ children in grades K-6.
  • The East Lake Family YMCA opens its doors; the facility is adjacent to Drew Charter School.
  • Publix opens the first neighborhood grocery store to serve the community in 30 years.
  • Charlie Yates Golf Course back nine is completed, and it opens as an 18-hole executive-length course.
  • East Lake Golf Club hosts the U.S. Amateur Championship.
  • The Villages of East Lake Phase II opens.
  • Drew Charter opens in 2000 as the City of Atlanta’s first charter school.
  • Construction begins on second nine holes of Charlie Yates Golf Course.
  • Atlanta Public Schools approves the Drew Charter School application.
  • Villages of East Lake Phase II commences with construction on 360 residential units.
  • The Capital campaign begins for the Educational Village, which includes Drew Charter School and the East Lake Family YMCA.
  • Phase I of construction of The Villages of East Lake is completed, and the first group of former East Lake Meadows residents return; half of the units are subsidized and half are offered at the market-rate.
  • Charlie Yates Golf Course opens; Tiger Woods participates in Dedication Ceremony.
  • East Lake Golf Club hosts the PGA Tour’s TOUR Championship for the first time.
  • Drew Elementary closes, and Charles R. Drew Charter School applies to be Atlanta’s first charter school.
  • The Villages of East Lake’s Resident and Community Support Program begins offering life skills training, resume building, and job training opportunities – this program continues to serve the community today.
  • Phase I of construction begins, including 182 residential units, 91 of which are financed with both public housing and tax credits.
  • Goodwill begins providing job training for East Lake Meadows residents who plan to return to community; the program continues through 2005.
  • Construction begins on first nine holes of Charlie Yates Golf Course (CYGC).
  • East Lake Community Foundation begins offering GED classes through partners.
  • Relocation of East Lake Meadows residents begins, and continues through 1999.
  • East Lake Community Foundation is formed with Greg Giornelli as Executive Director.
  • East Lake Meadows Residents’ Association approves Redevelopment Cooperative Agreement.
  • East Lake Golf Club is closed for renovation; Rees Jones begins restoration of the historic Donald Ross course, and work begins on the clubhouse using the original plans.
  • CF Foundation, Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), and representatives from the East Lake Meadows Residents’ Association begin weekly planning meetings to create a Master Plan for the community.
  • Eva Davis leads an effort to secure a HUD grant for $33.5 million for the renovation of East Lake Meadows.
  • Atlanta is selected to host Centennial Olympic Games in 1996, and future Atlanta Housing Authority President Renee Lewis Glover would use the upcoming games as leverage to gain funding for public housing improvement projects.
  • Eva Davis moves into East Lake Meadows and founds the Residents’ Association connecting community one neighbor at a time.
  • East Lake Meadows opens on the site of the second course of East Lake Golf Club. East Lake Meadows includes 650 apartments, managed and susidized by the Atlanta Housing Authority.
  • Tom and Ann Cousins establish the CF Foundation for charitable giving.
East Lake Foundation
Toggle Navigation