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Focused Community Strategies Empowers Historic South Atlanta to Thrive

An old liquor store that once defined a corner on the eastern edge of Historic South Atlanta has become the heart of the community. That corner has been transformed into the home of Carver Neighborhood Market and Community Grounds Coffee Shop.

It’s been a welcome change for longtime residents, who dearly needed access to fresh and affordable groceries closer to home.

That’s the kind of transformation Focused Community Strategies (FCS) likes to be a part of.

Focused Community Strategies Empowers Historic South Atlanta to Thrive

FCS calls itself a “place-based community development organization.” They work with neighbors and local leaders to strengthen under-resourced communities by developing mixed-income housing, promoting sustainable economic development and empowering neighborhood engagement.

“One of the first things we did in partnership with the neighborhood was raise the money to purchase this lot,” says Chris Gray, FCS board chair and Transmission Control Center project manager for Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company.

It’s been a fruitful relationship ever since.

FCS believes all people have value, dignity and something to offer their community. The organization works to advance racial equity, economic mobility and improved health for residents and families. FCS provides the tools and resources that help residents overcome obstacles and improve their overall quality of life.

“We've gone from 90% rental to 60% homeownership. We’ve created close to 200 units of housing and more than $15 million worth of investment into the community,” says Jim Wehner, president of Focused Community Strategies.

It’s an approach that Southern Company fully supports, along with FCS's commitment to service and giving back. FCS is the newest beneficiary organization of the PGA TOUR Championship. Through Southern Company’s long-standing partnership with the PGA TOUR, more than $40 million has been donated in the local Atlanta communities, funding education, health and wellness programs and neighborhood revitalization.

“Southern Company and Georgia Power support FCS because I think it's just part of the company's ethos,” says Gray. “The motto of being a citizen where we serve is truly a part of our DNA.”