In November 2022, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced our refreshed Westside Atlanta grant strategy, designed to increase the economic mobility of legacy residents. The foundation will focus our investments on supporting residents in their ability to choose to stay in the thriving historic neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue.
Atlanta’s Westside has a rich history and legacy as the catalyst for the civil rights movement and has been defined by its successful Black residential areas and businesses. It is also the home of some of the country’s most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Despite this, residents have faced decades of disinvestment and neglect.
One of the foundation’s longtime grantee partners, Quest CDC, is a nonprofit developer located in the heart of Atlanta’s Westside and is led by its president and CEO, Leonard Adams (pictured above). Mr. Adams is an entrepreneur and U.S. Army veteran who saw a need on the Westside when he founded Quest CDC in 2001 with an investment of $30,000.
Since then, Mr. Adams and his team have created a variety of residential options that range from short-term housing to permanent housing for people with a variety of needs, such as homeless veterans and people who have disabilities, mental illness or substance abuse issues. Under Mr. Adams’ leadership, Quest CDC has grown to a comprehensive community development corporation that provides socially equitable housing and supportive services.
For more than 20 years, Quest CDC has created intentional communities to demonstrate that everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve their dreams and has helped more than 10,000 Westside residents create better lives for themselves and their families. After homeless and underserved individuals are placed into secure communities, Quest CDC offers essential services to meet their needs, such as one-on-one case management, daily living skills training, resources to support self-sufficiency, opportunities to develop healthy habits and employment assistance.
“Support from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has had, and continues to have, a layered impact internally and externally here at Quest CDC. The foundation’s commitment to the Westside continues to afford us the ability to continue our mission to create resilient communities and foster social equity through services integration and delivery to those in need,” said Mr. Adams. “Our work is important because it is just and it is the right thing to do. There are still many legacies worth supporting on our beloved Westside, home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many other champions of our time.”
Over the next ten years, the foundation will aim to increase the number of legacy residents experiencing financial security and increase the housing supply to meet their needs. This pathway will prioritize workforce development interventions as well as seek additional ways to help reinforce residents’ income so they can participate fully in their own training and career development.
The Westside is the heart and soul of our city. And its leaders and residents are the driving force behind a movement to honor the past while building an equitable foundation for the future.