The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Grants $22.4 Million To Support Affordable Housing And Financial Inclusion In Atlanta’s Westside
Total grants amount brings foundation’s investment in the Westside to more than $88 million
During its September board meeting, the board of directors of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation approved three grants totaling $22.4 million benefiting its Atlanta’s Westside giving area. The grants are in support of the foundation’s refreshed strategy to increase the economic mobility of legacy residents in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods and address both affordable housing and financial inclusion.
“There are many positive changes happening in Atlanta’s Westside, yet there is an urgency to ensure inclusivity so that legacy residents are able to benefit from these changes,” said Danny Shoy, Jr., managing director, Youth Development and Atlanta’s Westside, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “We are making a significant investment in two existing long-term partners, Westside Future Fund and CareerRise, who have been critical to our ongoing work in the Westside, as well as an exciting new innovative opportunity to test a guaranteed income program with the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund. We’re pulling all the levers of our strategy with these three grants; in order to truly address the complicated, intersectional challenges of increasing economic mobility, residents need access to affordable housing, high quality jobs and more opportunities to support their financial security.”
The board-approved grants are:
Westside Future Fund (WFF): $10 million to support WFF’s Our Next Chapter campaign, which is aimed at raising $55 million to accelerate WFF’s goal of establishing 1,750 new units of affordable housing. This grant will specifically support affordable housing projects in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods. Through its signature program Home on the Westside, WFF’s community retention guidelines prioritize residents with live, work and learn connections to the historic Westside. The program’s three service areas include single-family homeownership, rental housing and property tax assistance for legacy residents.
CareerRise: $6.2 million for the Westside Works neighborhood-based workforce collaborative, which provides career services to residents in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods. Westside Works programs and services help Westside residents gain entry-level skills and support their growth and development into flourishing, specialized careers. This grant will help address the near-term need for workers in the Westside to meet employment opportunities in several industries, particularly in sports and entertainment, retail, hospitality and construction, which are likely to begin in 2024.
Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund (GRO): $6.2 million to support GRO’s In Her Hands program to provide 200 female residents in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods with guaranteed income over three years to increase their income and level the playing field for women, who are most likely to experience income inequity and financial insecurity. The grant will also support policy and advocacy to ensure this additional income does not create a benefits cliff for participants, which would be counter to efforts to increase their income. GRO’s policy and advocacy work aims to create needed economic safety nets across Georgia for participants in guaranteed income programs, expanding the impact of its efforts beyond the Westside and other participating communities to women statewide.
This slate of grants represents the largest amount of funds committed by the foundation to Atlanta’s Westside at one time and brings the Blank Family Foundation’s enduring commitment to Atlanta’s Westside to more than $88.5 million since 2007. Last fall, the foundation shared its refreshed strategy for the next decade of grantmaking in the Westside, which aims to increase economic mobility for legacy residents in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods through affordable housing and financial inclusion. Other recent investments from the foundation’s Westside portfolio include two grants totaling $929,600 awarded to Atlanta Land Trust and First Step Staffing – Atlanta.
“The work we’re doing in Atlanta’s Westside is about advancing the hopes and dreams of the people who live there, to help them along the path to stable high quality affordable housing for their families, a career that maximizes their potential and financial security to realize their dreams,” added Shoy. “We have many partners in this work, and we welcome others to join us in supporting this vibrant community.”
To learn more about the Blank Family Foundation’s work in Atlanta’s Westside, visit blankfoundation.org/westside.
About the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation is a philanthropy founded to help transform lives and communities by uniting people across differences to find common cause. Started in 1995 by Arthur M. Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot, the foundation has granted more than $1 billion to charitable causes. Our collective giving areas are Atlanta’s Westside, Democracy, Environment, Mental Health and Well-Being, and Youth Development. Across these areas, we take on tough challenges by uniting the courage and compassion of our communities so we can all thrive together.
In addition to the priority areas of giving, the foundation oversees a large portfolio of grants including support of essential Atlanta nonprofit institutions, such as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Shepherd Center, and enduring founder-led initiatives, such as veterans and the military and stuttering, among others. The foundation will also continue to guide the six associate-led giving committees operating across the Blank Family of Businesses.
For more information, please visit www.blankfoundation.org.