Purpose Built Communities Receives $2 Million Grant to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts in Atlanta Neighborhoods as Part of Partnership with Harlem Children’s Zone

Today, the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) has announced a $2 million grant through The Audacious Project to support COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts in Atlanta. Purpose Built Communities will receive the grant to support the work of three organizations in city: East Lake Foundation, Grove Park Foundation and Focused Community Strategies. The critical funds will be utilized to offset the pandemic’s impact and meet the short- and long-term needs of vulnerable residents and community wellness partners in the East Lake, Grove Park and Historic South Atlanta neighborhoods. The funds will be matched by a local campaign for an additional $2 million to support these COVID-19 relief efforts.

A commitment of $26 million in funding has been made through The Audacious Project to apply toward HCZ’s goal of raising $50 million to support the implementation of ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts in Harlem and the six U.S. cities. The newly launched William Julius Wilson Institute (WJW) at HCZ will serve as the platform for this national effort.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it has become clear that it is disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations, and specifically Black Americans. In East Lake, Grove Park and Historic South Atlanta, essential services that the East Lake Foundation, Grove Park Foundation and Focused Community Strategies regularly provide to community residents have been disrupted.

With schools closed and planning to utilize virtual learning, children most at risk will lose access to food and safe learning spaces with the appropriate technology and internet access. Parents working in essential businesses or at home continue to struggle without adequate childcare. For lower-wage workers without a safety net, the shutdown of many employers has created layoffs and even greater economic insecurity. Many families do not have enough money to pay rent and utilities, putting them at risk of homelessness if they cannot recover financially.

The East Lake Foundation, Grove Park Foundation and Focused Communities Strategies have each implemented COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts to deploy resources equitably, quickly, and strategically across the communities they serve. COVID-19 relief funds established in each community are primarily providing rental, mortgage and utility assistance for residents and suppling vital food, personal care and cleaning items. Additionally, the funds will ensure families in need can access critical fee-based education and wellness programs when partner organizations resume services and children can access the technology they need for virtual learning.

“During this historic time in our city, stepping up to address racial inequities is more important than ever. One of the ways we can do that is by providing relief during this crisis, and the East Lake Foundation, Focused Community Strategies, and Grove Park Foundation have been vital leaders, advocates and partners for their neighborhoods,” said Carol Naughton, President and interim CEO of Purpose Built Communities. “We are grateful for the leadership and support of the Harlem Children’s Zone and The Audacious Project in this national effort.”

“HCZ and Purpose Built Communities are aligned in our missions to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Given its roots in Georgia, we are excited to partner with Purpose Built Communities, bringing valuable resources for COVID-19 relief and recovery to some of the most impacted neighborhoods in Atlanta,” said Kwame Owusu-Kesse, CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

This generous $2 million grant from the HCZ through The Audacious Project is part of $26 million commitment to support the implementation of ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts in Harlem and six U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Minneapolis, Oakland, Chicago, Newark, and Detroit.

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About Harlem Children’s Zone  

Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) is breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty with on-the-ground, all-around programming that builds up opportunities for children and families to thrive in school, work and life. From early childhood, education and career programs to community outreach and wellness initiatives, HCZ opens possibilities for more people, in more places. Guided by a generation of evidence, HCZ is rooting out poverty on every front across the nation and around the world. In Central Harlem, HCZ’s reach spans 100 blocks, with high-quality programs at more than 30 sites throughout the neighborhood. Through the HCZ Practitioners Institute, more than 500 United States-based community delegations and 186 international delegations — including public officials, educators and nonprofit leaders — have visited to learn about HCZ’s comprehensive cradle-to-career solutions. And now, together with national partners and local collaborators, the William Julius Wilson Institute at HCZ will serve as the leading authority on and resource for place-based, people-focused strategies, support services and tools that open pathways to social and economic mobility in communities across America.

Learn more at HCZ.org.

About The Audacious Project

Launched in April 2018, The Audacious Project is a collaborative funding initiative that’s catalyzing social impact on a grand scale. Housed at TED, the nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading, and with support from leading social impact advisor The Bridgespan Group, The Audacious Project convenes funders and social entrepreneurs with the goal of supporting bold solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges. The Audacious Project’s funding collective is made up of respected organizations and individuals in philanthropy, including the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, The Valhalla Charitable Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies, and more.

The Audacious model was created to be a catalyst for social impact at a grand scale. Key to the mission is being able to pivot rapidly to support where the need is greatest in the moment. In line with that purpose, Audacious is directing funds towards several COVID-19 related solutions tailored to immediate response and recovery. The Audacious Project is proud to support Fast Grants, GiftDirectly, Harlem Children’s Zone, Partners in Health, Project Echo, and World Central Kitchen.

Learn more at AudaciousProject.org.

Additional Links: Kwame Owusu-Kesse’s TED Talk

About Purpose Built Communities

Purpose Built Communities works with local leaders across the country to achieve greater racial equity, better health outcomes, and economic mobility in neighborhoods, with the goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The Purpose Built Communities model of holistic revitalization includes mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness programs and facilities in a defined neighborhood, coordinated by a dedicated, nonprofit community quarterback organization. The Purpose Built Communities Network includes 28 members in 15 states. For more information, visit purposebuiltcommunities.org. Connect on social @PurposeBuiltCommunities and @PurposeBuiltCS.

About the East Lake Foundation

Founded in 1995 by developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins, the East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future through its integrated model for community revitalization.

The East Lake model includes cradle-to-college education at Drew Charter School and its early learning partners (Atlanta Speech School, the East Lake Family YMCA, and Sheltering Arms East Lake); mixed-income housing at The Villages of East Lake; and community wellness through its Resident and Community Support Program and partners’ programs including The First Tee® of Metro Atlanta at the Charlie Yates Course, Start:ME East Lake, a micro-entrepreneurship program with Emory University, and the East Lake YMCA’s East Lake Healthy Connections. This approach to building a strong community not only helps break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, but also creates a place where people of all ages and incomes choose to live.

The redevelopment of East Lake has become a national model for integrated and holistic community redevelopment in 27 other neighborhoods across the country through Purpose Built Communities. For more information, please visit www.eastlakefoundation.org.

About the Grove Park Foundation

The Grove Park Foundation is working with the residents of the Grove Park neighborhood and partners to create a cradle-to-college quality education pipeline, secure and increase affordable housing for Grove Park residents, and improve community wellness – physical, financial, cultural, and social. The foundation accomplishes this working through a partnership model, leveraging community assets and connecting needed partners, programs and resources to an underserved neighborhood that is experiencing high unemployment, high poverty, low resources and intense development pressure.  The goal is to break the generational cycle of poverty by creating wide and sustainable paths out of poverty for low-income residents. For more information, please visit www.groveparkfoundation.org.

About Focused Community Strategies

Focused Community Strategies (FCS) partners with under-resourced neighborhoods to provide innovative and holistic development that produces flourishing communities where God’s Shalom is present. FCS has been partnering with the Historic South Atlanta Neighborhood since 2001. Since that time, FCS has built or restored over 180 homes stabilizing the neighborhood to create a wholesome, viable, and self-sustaining mixed-income community. FCS operates several small businesses including Carver Neighborhood Market and Community Grounds Cafe. These small businesses provide local jobs, a safe third space for the community to gather, and stimulate the local economy. FCS believes there is a different approach in combating material poverty. By offering holistic solutions to chronic problems, FCS believes entire communities can transform.