From the simple spark of a serious conversation, our donors banded together in a new and mighty way to address income and opportunity disparities. The Spark Opportunity Giving Circle began as a learning group in 2016 after donors attended a Community Foundation event featuring expert Robert Putnam. Because of what they learned about the nation’s growing opportunity gap, they were driven to action and didn’t have to look far – Atlanta is consistently rated one of the worst cities in the U.S. for economic inequity.
Collaborative giving plays a role in community solutions, and through learning and dialogue about the needs, donors co-created an effort with the Community Foundation to tackle the problem locally. In 2017, Spark Opportunity made $157,500 in collaborative grants to nonprofits serving the Thomasville Heights neighborhood on Atlanta’s east side.
The result? Unlawful evictions were fought. Parent leaders got engaged as advocates for schools and the community. Youth participated in service learning and visited cultural institutions. Spark Opportunity’s learning and investing events continue as our donors work to avenge economic disparities and close the opportunity gap.
IMPACT: In 2017, 18 donors pooled their funds and awarded $157,500 to five nonprofit organizations working in Thomasville Heights. One grant was to Purpose Built Schools, a locally-based nonprofit charged with improving student achievement at Thomasville Heights Elementary School. Parent-teacher conference involvement increased from 10 participating parents/guardians in October 2016 to 75 in May 2017.