Partnership for Southern Equity Selected for Ford Urbanite Challenge, Propose Phase Opens March 22

PSE, partners plan to leverage collaboration with Ford to advance their work to make the American South a global leader in mobility innovation and access.

ATLANTA – The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) has been selected for Ford’s transformative, community-centered, mobility innovation challenge. 

The Atlanta Urbanite Mobility Challenge is an 18-month program that will invite local and national entrepreneurs, resident leaders, social sector organizations, small, and diverse businesses to submit innovative solutions that address Atlanta’s unique transit and economic mobility needs. 

The Urbanite Mobility Challenge in Atlanta, a collaboration led by Ford, AT&T, Delta Air Lines, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Novelis with the support of PSE as local anchor, is an opportunity for local and national entrepreneurs to propose equitable mobility solutions for pilot grant funding– up to $150,000 – to be piloted in the metropolitan Atlanta area in 2024, further accelerating the region as a mobility innovation testbed and fostering a just transition to equitable mobility that is crucial to the economic, social and environmental well-being of all Atlanta residents.

“The Urbanite Mobility Challenge presents an exciting opportunity for resident leaders and the metro Atlanta business community to contribute to solving Atlanta’s transportation inequities and economic mobility challenges,” said PSE’s founder and Chief Equity Officer, Nathaniel Smith. “Everyone has a right to a transit system that is safe, affordable, provides access to good jobs and contributes to an equitable ecosystem. Likewise, the people closest to the transit equity problem are also closest to the solution. Ford’s commitment to Atlanta will activate agency with those we serve and help make the American South a global model for community-centric entrepreneurship and transit equity.”

The Atlanta Challenge is designed to activate local leaders, residents, and local and national mobility entrepreneurs to address income inequality and its impact on safety and access. Based on input from Atlanta residents, several opportunity areas were identified for the Challenge, including accessing critical neighborhood resources, safety and comfort when walking or waiting for transit, increasing job access, and connecting to new developments. The Challenge is broken into five primary stages that starts with understanding and engagement and ends with pilot solutions being funded and  launched into the market. 

“Safe and accessible mobility is a necessity for creating economic opportunity, especially in a metro region where affordable housing and job centers are disconnected.” said Sterling Johnson, director of PSE’s Just Opportunity portfolio. “The Ford Urbanite Challenge is unique in that it not only provides residents the opportunity to contribute their wisdom and lived experiences but also to bring their best ideas to the table for funding to solve one of Atlanta’s most persistent and pressing equity issues. We are excited to partner with Ford and our other sponsors on this endeavor and are hopeful this process will contribute lasting change on metro Atlanta.”  

Groups, individuals, and organizations are invited to learn more about the Atlanta Challenge and submit proposals during the Atlanta Challenge’s Propose phase launch event, on Friday, March 22, 11:00 a.m. at the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Atlanta. The Propose phase will end on Sunday, May 19. 


About The Partnership for Southern Equity: Based in Atlanta, PSE is a nonprofit organization that advances policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South. Through forums, research, and organizing efforts, PSE brings together the regional community to lift up and encourage just, sustainable, and civic practices for balanced growth and opportunity.