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How Grove Park Foundation is 'Quarterbacking' a Neighborhood Success Story

Grove Park Foundation - Revitalizing Grove Park

As the crow flies, the Grove Park neighborhood is less than two miles west of Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

It was once a community that seemed much more distant — far removed from the sense of possibility and opportunity that defines the nearby campus.

That story is changing, thanks to the efforts of Grove Park Foundation, a nonprofit working with residents, community leaders and local partners to reestablish a healthy, equitable and vibrant community.

Southern Company has been an integral part of this ongoing success story. Through the company's PGA TOUR Championship partnership, Southern Company has donated more than $38 million to help groups like Grove Park Foundation revitalize communities.

"Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty," explains Debra Edelson, executive director of Grove Park Foundation, which focuses on providing access to health, education, housing and employment.

"We think holistically about this whole range of services and how they fit together, creating a pathway of upward mobility for these children and families."

The foundation describes its role as the "community quarterback," coordinating with various partners to change the community's trajectory. That requires examining factors that create barriers to access, be it financial literacy or education or even how far it is to the nearest grocery store or pharmacy.

Equal access to education hasn't always been a mainstay of communities like Grove Park, but it's a perfect example of what these partnerships make possible.

KIPP Woodson Park Academy is a state-of-the-art school that serves about 900 students a year. The school benefits from a YMCA on campus, where children can attend preschool and community members can receive health services.

Alongside the education pillar is a push to improve homeowner stability, which has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting job losses. The foundation has helped about 350 families with COVID relief and has helped at least 100 homeowners with critical repairs.

"Those who are fortunate assume that others have what they have," says Edelson. "We hope that over time, we're creating opportunity and durable pathways for a better life."

"I think Grove Park is a great example of how a community and corporate partners and foundations can come together to create change," says Bentina Terry, Georgia Power senior vice president of Region External Affairs & Community Engagement. "It's a model that I hope we continue to employ in many, many other communities."