Since 2016, a dedicated group of Community Foundation donors have been on a journey to learn more about how collective giving can result in greater impact. The Spark Opportunity Giving Circle emerged out of concern for Atlanta’s widening opportunity gaps, and their journey brought them to one of our city’s most impacted neighborhoods, Thomasville Heights. This historically African American community grapples with poor health outcomes and living conditions, as well as severe levels of crime and poverty.
In addition to individual giving, Spark Opportunity donors pool resources to make collective grants to nonprofits and neighborhood coalitions working on the front lines to improve conditions for local residents. In 2018, the giving circle awarded more than $180,000 in grants with a focus in three areas – community leadership and empowerment, developing nonprofit capacity and supporting “anchor” institutions. Grants range from establishing a dedicated fund controlled by residents for community projects, youth development and internship programs, staffing for a community assistance coordinator to focus on residents’ needs, trauma training for community partners and a reading program designed to engage parents and children together.
This story was originally shared in our 2018 Annual Report. To read the full report, click here.