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Home to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights movement, Coca-Cola, and startup successes like MailChimp, Atlanta is steeped in cultural history and thrives on its shared entrepreneurial spirit. Inclusivity is certainly what makes Georgia's capital unique and in recent years, has attracted a diverse influx of new city dwellers with its 22-mile Beltline trail development, a burgeoning film and hip hop industry and nationally acclaimed chefs, mixologists and food halls like Krog Street and Ponce City Market.True to its Southern core, the booming restaurant community in Atlanta has brought us together with authentic soul food and ethnic cuisines from Buford Highway. But if you live in Atlanta, the effects of our current industrialized food system are too visible to ignore. Neighborhoods lined with gas stations and fast food chains, without a grocery store in sight, are commonplace. We also see the effects in our school lunches, in our rising rates of obesity, in our depleted soil and in our separation from where food is actually grown.It is in these neighborhoods and schools where leadership and innovation have taken root, quite literally. Born out of necessity, urban agriculture has brought fresh, sustainably grown food to the Atlantans who most need it. Today, it has the potential to ensure that our ever-evolving, multicultural city boasts a resilient local food system just as vibrant, forward thinking and accessible as its parks, music and art.
Metropolitan Atlanta is experiencing a foreclosure boom as the number of failed mortgages more than doubled in less than five years, between 2000 and 2005. These foreclosures impose significant costs not only on borrowers and lenders, but also on municipal governments, neighboring homeowners and others with a financial interest in nearby properties. As a result, foreclosure avoidance strategies must involve not only federal, state and local public agencies, but also responsible mortgage industry officials, consumer groups, and community-based, not-for profit organizations. This report was commissioned by Doug Dylla at NeighborWorks America to help build awareness of foreclosure problems and craft a comprehensive foreclosure-avoidance strategy for metropolitan Atlanta. The work presented here serves as a companion to the Foreclosure Prevention Forum cosponsored by NeighborWorks America and the Atlanta Federal Reserve on May 23, 2005. The forum brought together more than 150 leaders from the mortgage industry, state and local government, the advocacy community, and academic and policy researchers. These participants generated a variety of collaborative approaches to address issues related to mortgage failures and foreclosures in the Atlanta region.The report was written and researched by Mark Duda and William Apgar. It expands on research presented by Duda at the forum and is intended to characterize the current situation with respect to mortgage failures in metropolitan Atlanta, as well as previous research completed by the authors on foreclosure avoidance in Chicago and Los Angeles. The foreclosure data used in this report were generously provided by EquiSystems, LLC, producer of the Atlanta Foreclosure Report.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by The Atlanta Community Food Bank. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America's Second Harvest), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the FA national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the FA network.Key Findings: The FA system served by The Atlanta Community Food Bank provides emergency food for an estimated 397,200 different people annually.34% of the members of households served by The Atlanta Community Food Bank are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2).33% of households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1).Among households with children, 73% are food insecure and 25% are food insecure with very low food security (Table 184.108.40.206).39% of clients served by The Atlanta Community Food Bank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1).32% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1).20% of households served by The Atlanta Community Food Bank report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)The Atlanta Community Food Bank included approximately 683 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 376 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 277 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter.74% of pantries, 65% of kitchens, and 49% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1).Among programs that existed in 2006, 82% of pantries, 84% of kitchens, and 53% of shelters of The Atlanta Community Food Bank reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1).Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 72% of the food distributed by pantries, 47% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 31% of the food distributed by shelters (Table 13.1.1).As many as 91% of pantries, 87% of kitchens, and 81% of shelters in The Atlanta Community Food Bank use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).
The Civic League;
The tremendous growth that Atlanta has experienced over the past decade has catapulted the city into a major metropolitan hub. Along with this growth, many issues have gained significance with regards to plans for the city's future direction of growth. One sector in particular that demands greater attention is the area of non-profit arts and art policy. The arts and culture have many perceived benefits for a community. The arts are commonly thought to improve a community's cultural life, revitalize urban areas, and while they also provide a base of support for artists and art organizations, may also ultimately stimulate economic growth. These benefits are thought to yield other desirable outcomes such as a safe and agreeable downtown, and an attractive site for business relocation.Unfortunately, non-profit regional arts in Atlanta have faced challenges in the areas of funding and audience development and there is anecdotal evidence that arts support is being provided by a relatively small segment of society. The Atlanta Arts Think Tank perceived that one appropriate way to validate the importance of these problems was to analyze data on Atlanta's regional performance, relative to other metropolitan peers.The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the factors that might explain the condition of arts organizations in the region. The study compares Atlanta to nineteen of its peers in an attempt to determine where and if Atlanta is falling short, and what can be learned from other communities.
The Civic League;
This study seeks to assess the results of the Olympic Legacy Program of the Atlanta Housing Authority. It examines the policy changes by the Housing Authority that were designed to reduce the concentration of poor people living in the City of Atlanta. It is focused on the first three public housing projects that were changed to mixed-income communities.
The Civic League;
Within the past five years, eleven separate tax allocation districts (TADs) have been created in the metropolitan Atlanta region. Currently, policy-makers in the City of Atlanta are considering the use of TADs to finance the proposed "Beltline" project. While TADs are a powerful tool in a localities' economic development arsenal, these policies are not without cost and not without risk. The sudden surge in popularity of this economic development tool generally has not been accompanied by any systematic assessment or set of policies to guide their evaluation or their use. Thus, this report sets out to familiarize local policy makers with:* How TADs work;* The potential benefits of TADs;* The potential risks and costs associated with TADs and how these might be distributed across different stakeholder groups; and* Policies to help minimize costs and risks.
The Civic League;
This report responds to the question of what do Metro-Atlanta nonprofit leaders know about why individuals give to charity. Specifically, there are several questions that are fundamental to this initial study. They include:* Who is giving?* What motivates individuals to give?* How much is being given?* Where is the giving being directed?The study is an initial attempt commissioned by The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to collect reliable baseline data on individual giving patterns in the Twenty-two County Atlanta region. The information is to be used for understanding the demographic characteristics of givers as well as their perceptions, beliefs, values, and attitudes about charitable giving, volunteering, charitable organizations, and the factors that motivate them to support nonprofit organizations. In addition, the data also provides insight into the types of information that are most useful to individuals when making their giving decisions, and direction about issues the nonprofit sector must address to increase giving and enhance its visibility and legitimacy.
The Civic League;
Plans for the proposed Outer Perimeter were scaled back after the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and State Implementation Plan (SIP) lapsed in 1998 due to non-compliance with national clean air standards. In place of the 200-mile circumferential route, a dramatically modified Northern Arc emerged as an alternative in the revised alternative of the Regional Transportation Plan released in the Spring of 1999 by the Atlanta Regional Commission. In the Summer of 1999 the State Department of Transportation held a series of Public Hearings on the proposed 59 mile route extending from I-75 in the Cartersville area eastward to I-85 and GA Route 316 in the Lawrenceville area. Without advocating a position on the project, this paper examines several issues requiring resolution prior to action for or against its ultimate construction.Research Atlanta released a report in 1993 discussing issues for consideration in the public debate on the highway's fate. The current report lends some updated perspective on these issues and the text of the original report is contained in an appendix.
The Civic League;
The great cities of the world are distinguished by their public parks. The urban fabric of New York, Barcelona, Berlin, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Sydney, and Shanghai are all woven around great parks. Yet, with all of Atlanta's outstanding achievements, the City and the region have a notably undistinguished park system. In a study conducted by the Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute, Atlanta ranks near the bottom of the nation's largest 25 cities in acreage of parkland per capita with 7.3 acres for every 1,000 residents. Compare that to Austin, Texas' 39 acres per 1,000 residents or Oklahoma City's 43 acres per 1,000 residents and it becomes clear that something is amiss in metro Atlanta.This study identifies the obstacles to acquiring and maintaining open and green spaces in the metro Atlanta region. Addressing open space shortages in metro Atlanta is a sizable task. This study could be considered the first step in a larger process. Time spent researching the various obstacles and opportunities regarding open space acquisition raised many questions that are beyond the scope of this project. A second phase might test the recommendations made in this phase by working with local officials on a few select projects, and begin to identify critical pieces of property in metro Atlanta that must be protected from development. A detailed inventory of significant open space and natural resources in the metro area that includes the existing inventory of land inside of Interstate 285 should be considered either as a separate study or included in this recommended second phase.
The Civic League;
This report describes the roles and responsibilities of local school boards, examines how much Georgians know about these roles and responsibilities, and presents the opinions of local school board members regarding both the public's involvement in local schools and the ability of school boards to successfully deliver adequate educational services to local schools.
The Civic League;
On June 13, 2002 the first meeting was held of the Regional Arts Task Force, assembled by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Meetings of the Task Force through 2002 were open to the public, and a number of special "listening sessions" were held in various locations in the Metro area. The mission of the Task Force is: "To make the Atlanta region a premier center for the arts, and for it to be recognized as such." The Task Force members unanimously selected an Arts and Culture Vision Statement: "Arts and Culture will be recognized as defining elements of the quality of life in the Atlanta region."From its very first meeting the Task Force gave a grade of "C" to Atlanta as an arts center, and claimed that Atlanta is not achieving its full potential. Three "root causes" of the problem were selected as the highest priorities of the Task Force:* A regional vision and strategy for the arts;* A coordinated regional arts leadership; and* A sustained regional funding mechanism.Through the Task Force's deliberations, the questions arose as to whether much could be achieved without stable funding.This Research Atlanta study, sponsored by SunTrust, considers a type of sustained funding mechanism that has been tried in other US cities and metro areas, an earmarked revenue source for the arts. It does not address the questions of a regional vision and strategy, or a coordinated regional arts leadership, although the question of vision, and an articulation of the public interest in the support of the arts, are a critical part of any discussion of funding sources.