Democratizing Development Fund aims to produce accountability measures between residents, the private sector, and public agencies in the development process. 

ATLANTA – The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) and its Just Growth and Just Opportunity Circles are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Democratizing Development Fund:  

  • Capitol View Neighborhood Association 
  • Mozley Park Education Committee  
  • English Avenue Green Team 
  • Historic Hunter Hills Neighborhood Association 
  • The Ke’nekt Cooperative   

After receiving 19 applicants for this initial cycle, representing more than $365,000 in community need, the five awardees totaled $100,000. These organizations were most aligned with fund criteria and demonstrated commitment to racial equity, and to furthering the values of the Just Growth and Just Opportunity Circles: that equitable development should anticipate and protect against displacement, be enabled by authentic public-private-community partnerships, respect and heal communities, and heal environmental injustice.   

The Democratizing Development Fund was started in 2021 through funding from The Surdna Foundation, WK Kellogg Foundation, and Kaiser Family Foundation. The fund provides support to front-line community-based organizations in order to build their capacity to: 

  • Understand the role of structural racism on regional growth patterns, on development and public/private infrastructure investments; 
  • Integrate equity considerations in their work around development and infrastructure projects; 
  • Engage community members as critical partners in advancing equitable development; 
  • Understand equitable policies that will realize more balanced and inclusive growth.  

“This fund will strengthen the voice of communities that have subsidized their own displacement for far too long. It’s no longer business as usual in the development of metropolitan Atlanta to ignore the will of the community for the sake of profit. I propose that when developers work with community they gain more sustained trust and goodwill, which can lead to increased profit for everyone,” said Nathaniel Smith, founder and chief equity officer, PSE.  

The Democratizing Development Fund will also engage active members in co-designing and implementing the Partnership for Southern Equity’s Development Watch, which seeks to alert residents to early indicators of development deals that are in the pipeline, train resident leaders to understand development processes, and highlight moments of opportunity for intervention in the process, connecting new community capacity for leadership with data to act upon. Development Watch is a part of PSE’s wider Democratizing Development initiative, which aims to produce accountability measures between residents, the private sector, and public agencies in the real estate and infrastructure development process, and strengthen staying power for legacy residents.  

The following highlights the important upcoming work of each funding recipient:   

  • The Capitol View Neighborhood Association seeks to train community members around democratizing access to decision-making, democratizing information about the development process, and democratizing capital.   
  • The Mozley Park Education Committee is proposing a year-long series of film-making workshops for third to fifth-grade students to allow them to share their own stories and experiences, supplement their classroom learning, expose them to a growing industry, and ground them in the history of their neighborhood.   
  • The English Avenue Green Team is looking to fund a community-based workforce training program in English Avenue’s Lindsay Street Park, Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park, and Mattie Freeland Park, which is currently under construction, including water management, landscaping, and environmental justice education.   
  • The Historic Hunter Hills Neighborhood Association is using this funding to train community members to become more technologically proficient, as well as to create a digital database of resources for residents including zoning and ordinance information, renters’ rights, and financial education.   
  • The Ke’nekt Cooperative, which supports community led cooperative small business development and training in Southwest Atlanta, is launching the Ke’nekt Collective SuSu, which is a community-based savings practice rooted in African, Caribbean, Latin and Asian traditions.   

To learn more about the Partnership for Southern Equity and its Just Growth and Just Opportunity issue areas, please visit  www.psequity.org.